One of the best on-going compliments I receive from my wedding couples and even primary wedding shooters is, “And this is why we keep you around!” It’s usually said as a fun jest after I’ve pulled something out of my emergency kit that was needed or “Saved the day!”

Why do I have a kit? Why not? I actually have two: my bridal and my groom’s survival kit.

My firm belief is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I keep a basic kit of tried and true necessities that keep the wedding day as stress-free, as comfortable, and to stay as close to our timeline as possible.

This kit came out of the desire to keep stress down, create more time for photos and more time for you to spend with your friends and family – very similar to why I made my family formals checklist.

Here’s my “Things that have gone wrong, if only we had *THIS*” wedding emergency kit in no particular order. – This will be updated as I add/take things away.

1. Baby Powder

Holy hot damn, I’m so glad I got this tip from someone on Pinterest. Brush a good amount between your thighs and breast to keep you cool and not chap up if you’re doing an outdoor wedding or if it is predicted to be a hot day. Not only will you keep cool, feel great, you’ll smell good and sweet. I keep the small travel size one in my kit. I also put one in my groom’s survival kit, my second shooter carries with her/him when s/he does the groom portraits.

2. Deodorant

I pick up a travel sized spray and put it in my bag. To me it’s more sanitizing than a stick and can be used by an entire bridal party if someone forgot to pack anything like that.

2. Small Sewing Kit

I usually keep the small “assorted” colored threads one with me because there are many different colors of dresses, this small kit also includes safety pins and buttons. I do keep a big spool of white and black, and at least 3 needles (they break!) in case there’s other issues with the dress, veil, tux, etc…

Wedding tip: if you forgot your sewing kit and are getting ready at a hotel, have someone go to the concierge and ask for at least 2 of their sewing kits. A good hotel will have your basic necessities (toothbrushes, bobby pins, extra lotion, small sewing kit and shampoos), it never hurts to ask them – especially since you are a guest there.

3. A Good Pair of Scissors

Nothing is more used in my kit than my small titanium blade scissors. They are sharp and cut through anything – I love them. It’s very important to have a good pair on your wedding day, things need to be cut all the time: hanging straps, tags, loose threads, even a last minute hemming – you need good sharp scissors. I love my titanium blades because they stay pretty sharp and are durable.

4. Bobby pins & extra hair ties

This is a staple in my kit. They tie and fix everything – not just for hair. Just remember to take them off your wrist for photos.

5. Boutonnière pins

There have been so many times where a pin had broken or was loss in the shuffle of the day. I keep a box of white and black in my groom’s survival kit just for this reason.

6. Mints

Everybody loves a mint! I keep lifesavers and altoids in my kit. I do not keep gum because sometimes there’s no where to throw it away and a groom or bride may forgot and be chewing gum at the alter.

7. Protein bars

I keep at least 2 in my bag in case someone gets hungry.

8. Tide Bleach Pen

Because stains happen.

9. Tweezers, nail clippers, clear nail polish, nail polish remover, and nail file.

I have redone and did manicures for brides and bridesmaids in the past. My aunt owns many salons in Naples, I practically grew up in them, you pick up tips and tricks here and there. I keep my nail polish remover in a mini spray bottle for easy application. The clear nail polish does wonders for runs in pantyhose, tears in the veil, or a last minute glue job if necessary. The nail clippers can be used to clip small threads or tags in a pinch, tweezers for just about everything else.

10. Blotting paper and Tissues

Anything more than a beautiful wedding glow and I got your back. Tissues are for tears; remember to “pat” and never rub.

11. Lint Roller

A staple in my groom’s survival kit.

12. Bug Spray

If you have a wedding outdoors or plan to do any photos or video outdoors, especially in Florida, you need this! I like the OFF! Brand “Smooth&Dry” powder formula. It’s not sticky or greasy and smells halfway decent. Don’t forget to spray some in your hair as well to protect your scalp for a Florida summer wedding on the beach – those noseeums are horrible during sunset.

13. Hand-Sanitizer

This is for everything! A make-up artist actually told me that she uses hand sanitizer to clean her brushes between clients on the go, like a wedding. You can do the same by swirling your brushes in at least 90% Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol), it’s best for 99% which you can pick up online. When the alcohol evaporates, it leaves behind a clean brush! I personally like to have it on hand for it’s intended purpose. (Pun not intended!)

14. Fashion Tape

Oh, this is a must have. It’s a staple in my bag. It goes to fixing every fashion mishap I can think of- minus a broken zipper that needed actual sewing repair. It can also be used photographically as a stand in for jewelry wax or setting up small macro or detail shots.

15. Floral Tape

It does more than just fixing flowers, I’ve used it for tying back curtains for a boudoir shoot I assisted, because it doesn’t leave any residue, I like to keep it around for such things like that. I’m happy to say I haven’t needed to fix any floral arrangements, bouquets or boutonnières.

16. Chapstick/lip Balm

I always put a new Chapstick or lip balm in my bag for each wedding. And I just give them to whomever needs it – I will never reuse Chapstick or lip balm once it is used.

17. Zip ties

Because you never know!

18. Q-Tips

Always a staple, I like to use them especially for lipstick applications. Once applied, make a small “O” with your lips, then twirl one end of the q-tip through the hole and pull it out. This will keep any excess lipstick from transferring to your teeth.

19. Crochet Hook

Faster and easier way to help the bridal party put the bride in her dress with those “hoops that loop over the button” type of dresses.

20. Bandages

For the cuts, scrapes, bruises, and blisters in between.

21. SuperGlue

SuperGlue can actually be used in a pinch to fix broken nails, and stop small cuts from bleeding. It’s also quite handy to have.

This kit is constantly changing for me. Each new wedding I do I may learn something new or “wish I had *THIS*” to solve the problem. And the same can be for you. Build your kit with the basics first, then think about anything you fear can happen, then add it in.

Good luck on your wedding day!