Ask a bridesmaid what the bride needs for the big day and you might get a different list: Bandages? Check. Tweezer? Check. Antacids? Check. Nail-polish remover? Check.
Anything can happen at a wedding, and it usually does. The motto of the bridesmaid is "be prepared." (Forget it Boy Scouts, bridesmaids have been around a lot longer.)
Bridal emergency kits are a great way to handle problems as they happen, especially at destination weddings where you can't exactly run out to the nearest drug store. Traditionally full of odds and ends that the bride and/or groom might need or forget on the wedding day, a kit is often designed by a bridesmaid (or several) as an added "gift" for the bride. (Sometimes a group of friends will get together to create a kit that is passed from one bride to another.)
Jackie, who is getting married this May in Santa Monica, has been a bridesmaid and has first-hand experience with kits. She has high praise for one item that might seem odd to have at a wedding: white chalk. "It does a great job covering up dirt on satin and basically saved my friend's wedding dress," she said, adding that "a few emergency kit items that are good to have are blotting papers, Shout wipes or the Tide-To-Go pen. Also, straws so you can drink without messing up your makeup." Ben Cardozo, 29, said the emergency kit came in handy twice at his wedding in August 2006.
His bride's bustle began to fall after a long hora. Armed with a sewing kit, safety pins and a flashlight -- all of which were in the bridal emergency kit -- a cousin fixed the problem in the reception hall. And when Cardozo went to cut the cake, the knife he and his new bride wanted to use still had a sticker on it. After Cardozo removed the sticker an unsightly residue was left. Another cousin, who had put the kit together, whipped out anti-bacterial hand gel, which cleaned the knife in no time.
Andrea Edelman, a Jewish bride-to-be who is getting married this May in New Jersey, said her ultimate kit would include "a collapsible CPR mask, adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, my own makeup -- just in case something goes wrong with the makeup artist -- tissues, extra stockings/undergarments and a nail file."
Anyone can buy a ready-made kit online from theknot.com ($55) or bridalemergency-kit.com ($50-$100), but an effective bridal emergency kit does not have to be an expensive proposition.
A hard-sided case works best, especially one with trays that help keep items separate, but any case will do. If it's a destination wedding or you're traveling to the ceremony, pick up the items closer to where the wedding will take place to cut down on the amount of schlepping you'll have to do.
A visit to the local drug store, or even a bargain shop like the 99-Cents-Only store, can prove both fruitful and cost-effective. Look for trial-size packages that are lighter and take up less room. Also, talk to the bride about her preferences so you don't end up spending more time or money than needed.
Suggested items for your bridal emergency kit:
Bobby pins/hair elastics Brush/comb Chalk
Clear nail polish for stocking runs
Eyeglass repair kit
Makeup (bride's lipstick, eye makeup and foundation)
Mini sewing kit (scissors, several threads in different colors, as well as extra buttons for the groom's shirt)
Nail polish in bride's shade
Nail polish remover
Pantyhose (make sure you know the bride's size and color)
Perfume/cologne (trial size)
Straws (so the bride can stay hydrated without messing up her lipstick)
Antacid Antibiotic ointment
Cough drops Dental floss/toothpicks
Deodorant (reapply before the reception if needed)
Eye drops/contact lens solution
Tweezers Tampons/sanitary napkins
Sunburn gel, lotion or spray Bug spray
Just in Case
Cellphone Bottled water/pre-packed snacks
Garbage bags (to keep changing room clean)
Vendors' phone numbers