Well, as most of you know, the story of my life runs much like the premise of the movie 27 Dresses - always a bridesmaid, not yet a bride. In fact, I received 27 Dresses as a Christmas gift this year from my sister's fiance. He thought it was ironic. The really ironic part is that my college roommate had just announced her engagement to me that morning.
In my travels, I have learned the following: you never know what's going to happen. It's cliche, but cliches are cliches for a reason. Sometimes they're true. In perusing different bridesmaid and wedding help guides, most notably The Bridesmaid Guide by Kate Chynoweth, and Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Weddings by Joshua Piven, Sarah Jordan and David Borgenicht, and through my own personal experience, I have learned that there's always a few things you need to have on hand... just in case. And the real challenge? Fitting it all in a tiny purse.
This is the first in a several-part series, in which I plan a "survival kit" that should fit into a smallish clutch purse. I will assemble the kit, make the purse, and bring it with me to a wedding to see how it goes. Not an impossible feat. I hope.
And so, in no particular order:
Item 1: Safety Pins.
As a crafter, I am rarely without them. Ask my dad's cousin, Lizzy, whose dress back burst asunder between the ceremony and reception! I had some safety pins in my purse and managed to get the dress cobbled back together before the dancing portion of the evening. They're also handy for tacking dresses to bras and fixing corsages.
Item 2: Listerine Pocket Packs, Breath Spray, or Gum.
The reason for this one is, hopefully, obvious. After a day of drinking coffee and eating catered sandwiches and, having woken up at 6 AM to do hair, no bridesmaid's breath is going to be perfect. Keep it fresh - especially at the key times during the ceremony and reception.
Item 3: Bobby Pins.
For obvious reasons, not the least of which being giving to a younger cousin so he can try to break into the girl's bathroom.
Item 4: Small Mending Kit.
In case of rips, tears, or catastrophic dress problems. Really, only three colors of thread are needed: white, black, and whatever the bridesmaid dresses are. However, if you have a season full of weddings, white, black and clear nylon will work in most situations. Also handy is a multi-purpose needle, a small scissors, some spare buttons (again, white, black or neutral), a seam ripper, and some double-sided hem tape. In Girl Scouts, Juniors I think, we made mending kits that fit in film canisters. (Remember film canisters?) Kept the needles and pins in place without worrying about having a pincushion.
Item 5: Dress-Tacking Double-Sided Tape.
Avoid wardrobe malfunctions. Tape your strapless dress to your person.
Item 6: Super Glue.
Because you just never know.
Item 7: Band-Aids.
Good for uncomfortable shoes, accidents, paper cuts, and destructive family members.
Item 8: Hairspray.
Hair has to last a long time, but just for the night. That's why they make tiny bottles. Well, that, and air travel.
Item 9: Stain Remover.
You can just ask my friend Jacquie about this one; I'm going to hell for what I did at that wedding. I played my flute in the choir, and didn't eat much before the ceremony due to practicing. When they opened the doors to the reception hall, there was a cocktail hour featuring wine. There was a hug between myself and the bride, and a spilled glass of merlot. Make sure you have stain remover or access to club soda. In a pinch, Sprite can also lessen the severity of a stain. Trust me. There is a special guilt you feel when you destroy a wedding gown. Don't.
Item 10: Lotion and/or Hand Sanitizer.
There's a lot of people at weddings, a lot of things to hold, a lot of food, and a lot of dancing with awkward relatives. Stay fresh, and keep your skin moisturized.
Item 11: Make-Up Kit.
I'm not a high-maintenance girl, but when I want to look good, I want to look GOOD and there's a few small things I carry. Waterproof mascara for sure - it's easy and compact, and will survive even the most tearjerking ceremony if you get the right kind. A small one-off thing of eye shadow is good to have on hand - I have a 2-color, and I use my finger instead of a brush to apply it. I also have a few different colors of cream eyeshadow that I use as an overlay. It helps to keep the make-up going for a long time. Also keep a tube of lipstick, chap stick or the happy medium: tinted Burt's Bees. And to make sure, keep a hand mirror with you. Sometimes an empty corner is easier to find than an empty bathroom.
Item 12: Clear Nail Polish.
Good for fixing broken nails, chipped manicures, runs in nylons, and bored flower girls.
Item 13: A Deck of Cards.
Not an absolute necessity, but good for those lengthy cocktail hours, or times you're waiting while the photographer works their magic. It's also good to just keep a throwaway deck to hand off to bad dancers and wallflowers - then they have a reason to stay off the dance floor, and will hold you in some regard.
Item 14: Deoderant.
Or no one will want to dance with you except those chaps you just gave the deck of cards to. And nobody wants that.
Item 15: Pain Killers and Multi-Vitamins.
Recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for aches, pains, and the father-of-the-bride. Recommend multi-vitamins to avoid hangover.
Item 16: Tissues.
Carry these anywhere you can. At my friend KJ's wedding, I cautiously stuffed a few between my bra and the dress (it was a halter; there was some space). This came in handy when the groom got all weepy-eyed during the ceremony. It did make it a little awkward for my family in the congregation to see me reach into my dress for supplies, but I didn't mind it one bit. No one's eyes should have been on me, anyway.
Item 17: Requisite Identification and Personal Necessities.
This includes your driver's license, cell phone, car keys, hotel room key, directions or maps, sunglasses, and especially lady-related items. Also included in here is your disgretion: if you're a smoker, obviously, cigarettes or nicotene gum here (personally, I'd hope for the gum); if you're a sports fan and there's a big game, an mp3 player with a radio tuner and a set of headphones or a tiny speaker are the obvious choice; if you want your own pictures, you'll probably want your camera in there.
The next order of business will be assembling the kit - getting all of the items together and organizing them.
I've placed an order with an Etsy seller to get the parts I need to create a small clutch purse for this kit! More on that once I've started working - I might even post a tutorial!