How To Bring A Wedding Dress From Los Angeles To Kruger National Park, South Africa
(A cell phone documentation)
“Even the elephant carries but a small trunk on his journeys. The perfection of traveling is to travel without baggage.” Henry David Thoreau
I met up with the WD in Paris.
It had made the trip from LA. The WD had been packed with great care for the journey. The dress had already been through one security machine and one Air France closet.
The bride walked out carrying the hanger high above her head with one arm. The dress was draped over her back. She wanted no help.
We had a 12 hour layover in Paris until our next flight. The dress hung in a hotel closet while we had lunch and saw Versailles and the Louis Vuitton Foundation. The dress was happy. (Louis Vuitton Foundation designed by Frank Gehry)
In the airport in Paris I noticed the bride’s arm had dropped a bit and the bottom of the dress was dragging on the floor. The bag was getting a bit dirty. The bride decided it was now to be a two person job. The mother of the bride was happy.
The dress went through a second security machine. ( In pre 9/11 travel this would not have happened) The mother of the bride was nervous but did not say anything.
We land in Johannesburg and change to South African Airways.
The mood is festive. People start calling out “Is that my dress? Are you bringing this to me? Am I invited to the wedding?” There is a discussion at security as to the best way to put the dress through the machine safely. They straighten the bag carefully before it goes through. I’m beginning to see that a wedding dress in Africa is important business. We lay the dress on a bench carefully in the airport lounge. When no one is looking I open up the dress and check it. Three security machines are a lot to go through. The dress is fine.
The mother and the mother in law are now both carrying assistants and happy to be doing it. The stewardess on South African Airways decides that the best place will be to lay it flat in the overhead compartment and moves the luggage so the dress can lie flat.
We arrive in Capetown and rent cars. The dress rides in the bigger one and reaches the hotel in Capetown quickly and unscathed. The other car is lost.
The dress rests in the closet for a week in Capetown and prepares for its final flight to Skukusa.
There is one more airport and security machine to go. Everyone is excited.
The maid of honor has arrived and is carrying the dress with the bride.
The dress waits quietly for the most important moment of its life as the rest of us eat breakfast in the airport.
We land in Skukusa.
It is a a very different kind of airport.
The luggage is loaded one last time.
The dress goes on its final portion of the journey on the back of a jeep for an hour through Kruger National Park. (Under the groom’s suit for protection.)
The dress sees its first elephant up close in Africa and realizes that it is a long way from Vera Wang.