bridesmaids in matching shirts
Adria Lea Photography

If you’re in the throes of wedding planning, you’ve probably seen many mentions of wedding day must-haves over and over again in all your blog-combing and magazine-flipping. Maybe you’ve even seen some of those very cute pre-made wedding day emergency kits you can buy online filled with essentials like breath mints and double-sided tape. And, yes, you could bring a metric ton of those alleged “essentials” with you (or, more likely, with whichever bridesmaid has the largest sequin clutch) to give you some peace of mind, but take it from me: The chances you’ll use most of that stuff (sandpaper?) in the wedding day emergency kit are slim to none, and you’ll probably be so stressed trying to round up all 172 of those required items, you’ll miss your own wedding.

I’m not saying go unprepared. You should obviously toss the actual essentials into your clutch: A couple of bobby pins, some safety pins, a tampon, the lipstick you plan on wearing all day. But what else do you ACTUALLY need that many of these fairy godmother bridal experts never seem to cover?

Here's our foolproof wedding day emergency kit list.

Toupee Tape

No, actually! There's a reason this oddity makes our wedding day emergency kit list. I’ve done the research (because my own wedding dress had a very deep, plunging neckline and absolutely zero back whatsoever) and this is the best kind of double-stick boob-and-other-body-part tape the Internet has to offer. Think about it: What could be worse than a nip slip at your own wedding? Your toupee falling off… anywhere, at any time. It’s cheap, it’s simple, it’s sticky as hell (like…removing the bodice of my dress was difficult), and you can find it in convenient pre-cut strips to toss into your clutch for easy access if you or a maid needs some emergency coverage on the big day. Kim K would vouch.

Pepto Tablets

Why does nobody talk about the fact that the best day of your life is also the most nerve wracking day of your life which means the most stomach-churning day of your life? You can be super happy and also super unable to digest a damn muffin, ladies, and there’s no shame in that. If you’re someone who doesn’t get an upset stomach when they’re stressed/overwhelmed/adrenaline-high, then you are a superhero and can move onto the next item on the list, but if you’re someone who does, congrats on being human, and toss some Pepto tabs or the stomach remedy of your choice into your wedding day emergency kit, because you just might need ‘em. You probably won’t—the nerves will give way to blissed-out nirvana within an hour, flat—but knowing you have ‘em and won’t be spending your wedding day about to barf is a good thing.

Bug Spray

If your wedding is in the spring, summer or fall, or anywhere remotely tropical, and if any portion of it takes place outdoors, Murphy’s Law states that you’re about to be the world’s best-dressed mosquito magnet, congrats! However, that so doesn’t have to be a thing: Grab a travel-sized bottle of Deep Woods, and pack it with you for the long haul. Re-apply liberally. Yes, you will smell like DEET instead of magnolias on your wedding day, but that’s a small price to pay for not scratching through the entirety of your ceremony, or not having a bunch of angry red welts glaring back at you from your photo album.

Chapstick

And not for your lips—which hopefully have been thoroughly exfoliated, masked and de-chapped by the time your wedding day rolls around (but if not—don’t stress, no one will notice). Rather, chapstick is a miraculous zipper de-sticker! Which is why it makes our wedding day emergency kit list—wedding dresses have notoriously finicky, delicate zippers that can get easily stuck during rushed bathroom runs. To un-stick a zipper jam, just rub the chapstick against the portion of the zipper track surrounding the jam. The emollients in the chapstick should help smooth things over. Phew!

Mini Bottle of Hand or Body Lotion

Surprise multitasker alert! In addition to prettying up your hands in a pinch (for all those close-up photos of your new bling and beautiful bouquet), hand lotion works amazingly as a hair smoothing and shining balm, and an instant static buster for clothes and hair, which is why it makes our wedding day emergency kit list. (You’ll probably encounter some serious static on your wedding day, especially if you wear a veil—polyester tends to have that effect.) The trick? Just apply to hands and rub in extremely well—maybe even wipe hands with a paper towel after rubbing in extremely well to remove any excess. Then, run hands through hair to smooth flyaways, add shine and eliminate static, or run along the surface of the underside of your dress or veil to tame static cling.

A Steamer

OK, so, you can’t bring this one with you in your clutch (although my steamer is probably my most trustworthy friend and I’d bring him everywhere if social mores permitted it), but you’ll want to have it around while you and your 'maids get ready. Irons are death traps, people. For one, many synthetic fabrics (out of which which many bridesmaids dresses are made) cannot be ironed and will melt if they are (fun!), and for two, irons are billion-degree metal plates of danger that should not be anywhere near you on the most photographed day of your life. Skip the iron and grab a steamer (you’ll use it forever after your wedding, and wonder why you ever ironed in the first place), and have it on hand to prep the bridesmaids dresses, mom’s dress, your veil, and anything else that needs pressing (hell, press your table runners if you please!). Your dress should be pre-pressed from your seamstress, but having the steamer on hand right before you get dressed for any last-minute wrinkles is a great idea. The best part? They’re ultra-portable (no ironing board needed!) so you can toss it in the car with you and take it to the venue to steam your groom if you anticipate him showing up looking like he just walked out of a car wash.

A Spare Copy of Your Vows

Unless you memorized your wedding vows (most likely to succeed!), losing the one copy you have of the one reason (literally) everyone has gathered here today would…really suck. So go ahead and make a spare, and store it somewhere other than the place you put your first copy. Like in your dad’s shoe, or in your wedding planner’s pocket, or behind the bar with a bartender who will wonder what you’re doing behind the bar. Just put it somewhere. In all the hustle and bustle of the morning, you might have trouble keeping track of that very important little piece of paper that will actually make you a married person. So having a backup should really be a part of your survival kit.

That’s all I’ve got, but of course, you should fill out the rest of your wedding day emergency kit list based on your own unique needs. If you’re prone to headaches, you might get one on your wedding day as the excitement mounts—bring ibuprofen. If you anticipate blisters in your new shoes, bring flats for later in the night. And if your dress has billions of satin-covered buttons running down the back, bring that button hook, girl. The lesson, here? There is no one “Wedding Day Survival Kit” to satisfy the needs (and emergencies) of every bride—because there is no one wedding day, and there is no one bride. To be prepared, just consider this list, then, take a deep breath, think about the things you know you’ll need, and forget the rest—it’s just one day, and as long as you’ve got your true love, family and bridesmaid squad by your side, “emergencies” don’t stand a chance.