Picture it: You’ve planned every moment of your wedding day down to the most finite detail. The string quartet played your processional perfectly, the dried flower petal toss is destined to go down in wedding blog history, and you floated across the ballroom with your new husband during your first dance with the poise and synchronistic grace of those ballerina emojis. All is perfectly on point—because you planned it to be. And then? You have to pee.
Here’s something you didn’t plan. Here’s something no one plans. Maybe you even set a burgeoning basket of ladylike essentials in your venue’s bathroom, filled with flip flops and bobby pins and hairspray and other accoutrements for your female guests, without a moment’s thought of how you yourself would fare in the bathroom. But once you’re there, alone, having to pee for the first time, in your thousands-of-dollars wedding dress? That basket of flip flops can offer no solace.
You need a plan (yeah, another plan). And maybe two or ten of your closest friends. Some pointers:
Bring some bridesmaids
Girl, you are not high-maintenance if you need some ‘maids to attend to you in the restroom on your wedding day. If you ask me, this is like… the number-one thing a bridesmaid is for. Even the term “bridesmaid” makes me think of lots of fancy ladies in some turn-of-the-century painting all fussing over one very fancy lady while crammed into a powder room. It’s Maid Stuff 101. So when the time comes, grab a couple of your gals (start with two as a default, then add on more depending on how intense your crinoline is) and head to the loo. They’ll be essential for things like holding your skirt up for you, zipping or buttoning you back up, adjusting tape and straps that you can’t reach—all that stuff that was really lovely for your photographer to capture when you were getting dressed hours ago, but is now just hilarious and awkward in a bathroom.
Figure out your strategy
Chances are you’re seriously taped, strapped and buttoned into your gown and underthings, so the goal here is to undress as little as possible. No need to disrobe if your dress is A-line—simply have your lady-maids lift your skirt(s) while you hover. Wearing a more fitted silhouette? Have each maid grab an opposite edge of the hemline and peel up while you gently shimmy (totally normal thing to do!). Your shimmying plus their upward yanking should (slowly and steadily) get the skirt up above your hips. Then it will be completely obscuring your entire face and line of vision, but who needs to see when there’s bridesmaids? Another important strategy move: Grab the stall that’s sized to be wheelchair accessible (making sure, of course, that no one in a wheelchair actually needs it at that moment). You’ll need all the space you can get, sister.
Time it right
Your wedding day is all about you, but your bathroom break is all about the schedule of your wedding day. Even if you memorize this primer and are super-prepared, your bridal bathroom break will absolutely take longer than you expect. So, plan your go accordingly. Don’t sneak off before a big event (like the first dance or speeches), and don’t put it off till it’s emergency-status and you have to bolt during a moment that could be important. If it’ll cut the stress for you, you can plan a bathroom schedule with your bridesmaids as you map out your day and the reception (the lull between the ceremony and cocktail hour, after speeches, and during general dancing/merriment are all great options).
Handle with care
If for any reason you do need to entirely de-dress, duh, be careful! First, everyone should wash their hands before doing anything, to ensure there’s nothing stain-y on all those fingers that are about to be touching up your dress. When it’s time to take it off and put it back on, think back to when you tried it on at the store where you bought it: How did your stylist get you in and out of it? (There’s a method to these things, and stylists have it all figured out—the rule of thumb, usually, is step into that A-line, or pull that mermaid over your head.) What to do with the gown once you’re nude? Ask a 'maid to bring a hanger into the restroom so you can safely keep the dress up, up, and away from the bathroom floor and all other things…bathroom (is there anything more inexplicably disgusting than a mysteriously wet sink counter in a public restroom?). Oh, and: Ditch your shoes before disrobing. Yes, being shoeless in a public bathroom is gross, but your bridesmaids are already watching you pee, so we’re past that.
Have a toolkit
Whatever you needed to get your wedding day look to 100 percent? Bring it to the bathroom with you. Because Murphy’s Law! If you’re taking off the dress to pee and then putting it on, you’re throwing an entire tenuous equilibrium out of whack—meaning anything could happen. For example, even if you spent half of your engagement searching the globe for industrial-strength boob tape, that stuff can only be stuck and unstuck so many times during a bathroom break before it loses its stick (for proof, check out pics of me at my own wedding shortly after my fourth margarita). And even if your MOH was a whiz with those satin-covered buttons the first time around, no one should be expected to stay that sharp after Uptown Funk—bring a button hook. Stuck zipper? Meet tube of Chapstick. Popped seam? Hello, sewing kit! Honestly? You probably won’t need any of this stuff—but having it on hand will give you peace of mind, so it’s worth it.
Leave the drinks outside
The easiest way for your dress to get ruined during a bathroom trip is not someone dropping your skirt in toilet water by accident (you’re all adults!). It’s someone accidentally elbowing over their raspberry mojito which was precariously balancing on the paper towel dispenser while they were zipping you back up. I’m stressed just typing this out. For most of us, ferrying our drinks with us everywhere we go at a party or club is habit (for reasons ranging from safety to just being downright territorial), but please, on your wedding day, leave them far away from the bathroom. And have your bridesmaids do so as well. You can all get infinity more at the open bar as soon as the bathroom break is over (but beware: drinking will lead to more bathroom breaks—it’s science).
Leave your self-consciousness outside, too
I’m not a fortune teller or statistician but I’d say there’s an 80 percent chance that someone, or several people, or at least your mom, will see you pee on your wedding day. There are two ways to deal with the psychology of this: 1) you can be very embarrassed, freak out, decide you can’t, and kick everyone out of the bathroom, which ups your risk of soaking your tulle train in your own urine to about 90 percent, or, 2) you can take a deep breath, squat, get it over with, then have a laugh with your pals at the bar and clink champagne at the fact that your friendship is now at Helping One Another Pee-level. I’m a pretty private person and even to me option 2 sounds more appealing. If you truly cannot? Plan your wedding outfit accordingly, or drink minimally. Or patent a robot assistant.
There’s not much more to it than that, folks. The most important thing to keep in mind? Don’t stress! Take your time and do what you need to do (and enjoy a moment of stillness while you’re at it)—then get back to your wedding and have a blast. And for those of you riding the bridal jumpsuit trend: Get ready to be naked. Real naked.