This week I thought I would write about my can't-leave-home-without-it, absolutely amazing, handy, dandy Wedding Emergency Kit! I'm going to do this as part of a series of helpful posts I hope to create for aspiring wedding planners and people who are just generally curious about what goes into the business of what I do for a living.
|Wedding Emergency Kit aka The Big Pink Box|
This kit is a total work in progress, one that's taken me years to assemble and yet at nearly every event I think of something new to add. For those of you who don't really care about the history of my Wedding Emergency Kit (I'm guessing everyone?) skip ahead to the list of included goodies.
When I first started this business I carried around a little pouch the size of a make-up bag filled with some of the bare essentials (band-aids, clear nail polish, stain remover, safety pins, sewing kit, etc.). As I started to outgrow that I moved it to a small box and finally bit the bullet and made a trip to Target where I created my current system. Right now my Emergency Kit is made up of four small pink boxes that fit into one large pink box that also holds my trusty steamer.
When I first arrive on-site I bring in my pink box and I put it in the bridesmaids room (assuming the ladies are getting ready at the wedding site). I let everyone know that the box is there for their use if they need anything throughout the entire night. Even though letting the girls dig through the kit results in more lost/used items, I figure that's what the kit is for and I want them to feel like they have anything they need at their finger tips. Nothing makes me happier then when someone calls out "does anyone have [insert product here]" and I get to shout out - Got it! I know that's lame, but it's true, totally makes me giddy.
|A peak inside the Wedding Emergency Kit|
In terms of organization, I taped a list onto each box of what's included so that before every event I can go through and figure out what needs to be replaced. There's always a quick trip to Walgreens the week before the event because inevitably something gets used or lost at the last event. In a stroke of not-so-genius I taped over the lists to "laminate" them. This works well for keeping the pages from ripping off but not so well for adding new items to the list without taking off the entire page and staring over. Still haven't figured out a good answer for that... I've separated the boxes into four sections "Utility", "Beauty", "Attire" and "First Aid/Health". Being effective on-site is all about organization and the quicker and easier you can make things for people to find the better. After all, these are items used in an "emergency" like, heaven forbid, a bad breath emergency!
I really like the current system but I don't know about the durability of these plastic boxes. They're pretty flimsy and when in the sun seem to melt a little bit... they've been with me for about a year so we'll see how long they last.
|The four little pink boxes that fit into the Wedding Emergency Kit|
Okay behind Pink Box #1...
|Wedding Emergency Kit First Aid|
So I've titled this kit the First Aid/Health kit. Generally that's true but there are some items in here that could easily fit into the "attire kit" or "beauty" kit. It's really a judgment call.
|First Aid/Health Box Contents Part 1|
First Aid/Health party one, from left to right:
Allergy Medication: I've definitely had cases of hay fever pop up with the bride and groom at outdoor weddings during allergy season in Sonoma/Napa. A beautiful outdoor venue with lots of flowers and vineyards can also mean red faces, watery eyes and sneezing! Unfortunately by the time the symptoms come on there isn't much the meds can do in a short time, but they help a little.
Antibacterial Hand Gel: This is useful if you're helping clean up a wound or injury or if your hands feel just generally dirty.
Chapstick: Great for sunburned/wind burned lips of course
Neosporin: Helpful for nicks and cuts. There's always one.
Band-Aids/Bandage: Again for nicks and cuts.
Blister Band-Aids: REALLY helpful for brides or bridesmaids that haven't broken in their new shoes. They stay on better than a band-aid and they're more discreet.
Bactine: I picked this up after a particularly nasty fall one of the guests had at a wedding to bulk up the kit.
Visine: Again great for those watery, red allergy eyes.
Tums: For nervous tummy butterflies or spicy foods
Advil: Used to have a mini travel Advil but had to keep replacing it after every event so I splurged for a big one. This gets used more than anything else (by my staff and the guests!)
Antibacterial Wipes: Again for cleaning up after helping someone who is bleeding.
Gauze Pads: For particularly messy falls
|First Aid/Health Contents Part 2|
First Aid Health Box, Part Two:
Toothpaste: For brushing up before the ceremony (or between courses)
Body Lotion: No pasty calves in this wedding party
Nail File: In case someone breaks a nail, horror
Nail Polish Remover: Really helpful for the bridesmaid that shows up with black nailpolish
Gum: In case you had an onion bagel that morning.
Tissues: This is the other item in the kit that gets used more than anything. I always try to remember to pocket these right before sending the bridal party down the aisle and hand them out as necessary.
Sunblock: This gets used more by my staff than guests but it's helpful for all day setups in the sun.
Mouthwash: Again for kissing breath
Tampons: God save the bride that has a surprise "visitor" at her wedding
Bugspray: Used to have little bugspray wipes but after a particularly buggy strike one night we got a big bottle to save our skin (again more for staff than guests)
Deodorant: In case someone forgets. Does anyone have a good method for re-using deodorant after someone uses it? I just throw them away, do you think it would be sanitary to cut off the top layer? I'm not a fan of spray deodorant...
Q-tips: In case someone needs them... can't really think of a time when you NEED q-tips, but you never know.
Breath Mints: Do you see a theme with bad breath? I've got a method for anyone, pick your poison.
Toothbrush: Goes with the toothpaste but I'm such a freak I had to color coordinate the pictures in the style of a rainbow, pretty.
|Packed all tidy, isn't that nice...|
That's it for First Aid/Health. Now for Attire:
|The Attire Box|
Attire Box, Part One:
|Attire Box Contents|
Wine Away: I picked this up after a very full glass of red wine went down the front of the bride's gown, yikes! We'll see if it works...
Tide Pen: Great for little stains
Chalk: A little secret weapon, if the stain won't come out of the white gown, the chalk will cover it...
Extra Socks: Once had a bride who's shoes were too big, or maybe it was that her feet hurt, either way she HAD to have extra socks. Do you have any idea how hard it is to run out and find extra footie socks when you're in the middle of nowhere? Now I keep a pair on hand.
Sole Mates: LOVE these. Used to have a variety of clear and black but now I'm down to only black, need to re-order. These are great for high heels in the grass or on gravel but they don't last the entire night, the heat from your dancing will melt the rubber off and then they become a weird looking hazard on the bottom of your heel. For the ceremony though, these are key.
Hem Tape: To do a quick hem if needed on a dress, not sure how well this stuff works but I picked it up just in case.
Sewing Kit: This is a really tiny one but it will work to sew on a button or fix a dress. I've got some extra thread in popular colors if needed.
Lint Roller: Very helpful. In a pinch duct tape works too.
Static Remover: Great for bridesmaids dresses that stick to your legs. This little one came in a little emergency kit product that I picked up at a store once along with the stain remover and the mini clear nailpolish...
Stain Remover: Just an extra in case the Tide Pen doesn't work
Clear Nail Polish: Great for stopping panty hose runs although I have to say not many people seem to wear panty hose anymore.
Extra Safety Pins: Always useful.
Boob Tape: Missing from the photo because it all got used last weekend when the bride decided to ditch her painful corset bra and we had to tape her dress to her body. Need to replace.
Attire Box, Part Two:
|Attire box, the steamer portion.|
This is mainly made of up the steamer, steamer instructions and steamer attachments. I LOVE this steamer. It's compact, heats up in seconds and works like a dream. I always have an assistant stationed in the getting ready area to steam bridesmaid, mother of the bride, or the bride's dress. It's a tough job but SO helpful to the wedding party.
Box Number Three, the "Utility" box:
|Attire box, all packed up|
Utility Box, Party One:
Extension Cord: It's a small one and the lighting company always seems to have extra so I haven't needed it yet, but I figure it's good to have on hand.
Extra Phone Charger: That's mainly for me, but also helpful for other iPhone users.
Three Hole Punch: This is in case I need to put things in my trusty binder last minute.
Double Sided Tape: Very helpful for a variety of uses, gets used most often for taping name cards onto the seats of chairs in the front row of the ceremony in a windy location.
Spray Bottle: If you have heat lamps in a place where there's a fire marshall they will require you to have a spray bottle filled with tap water to test the heat lamps. To be honest I have no idea what they're looking for when they spray them down but they always request it and generally the caterer or florist will have one but I keep one as a back-up. I guess this could be good for table flowers that need a pick me up or spraying down bridesmaids hair before getting it done, but the heat lamp fire marshall test is the reason I have it.
Bottle Opener: Used most often for groomsmen having a beer before the festivities, always gets lost. I don't have one in the picture but I usually have a wine bottle opener as well for the same reason.
Pocket Knife: My assistant picked this up for me because she said I needed it but to tell you the truth it kind of terrifies me.
Duct Tape: Ah, my best friend, duct tape, what don't you do? If I were stranded on a deserted island and only got to take one thing it would be duct tape. Or deodorant... or sunblock... you know what, forget it, I hate this analogy, just know that duct tape is SUPER useful.
Utility Box, part two:
Lighters: I haven't found a brand I'm absolutely in love with but I always carry a few lighters for lighting candles. They always seem to be low on lighter fluid.
Razer Blade: Can't remember if I've used this yet but it seems useful.
Measuring Tape: Need to get a larger one in here but this one works for measuring small things like once we were moving this HUGE table and we had to see if it would fit through the doorway. A larger one would help with making sure tables are centered in the room or for lining things up in a straight line, like the chairs for the ceremony.
Scissors: I always have lots of scissors because these seem to get used a lot and I put them down places and forget them.
Screwdriver: Again not sure if I've used this yet but I'm sure one day I will be so happy it's in there...
Massive Stapler: This has definitely gotten some use when installing ribbons or fabric or fixing a board, etc.
Pens/Markers/White-out: For writing notes, coloring in chips and dings or fixing important docs.
Head Lamp: Great for packing up boxes or striking at an outdoor event. Yes there's great lighting around the party but when you're loading up your car in the woods you'll be so happy you have this.
Extra ribbon: I always throw in a spool or two of ribbon in the colors of the wedding and it always gets used whether it's fixing a flower girl basket or someone's personal flowers or sprucing up a dessert display, extra ribbon is a must.
Hole Punch: I got this when I was making a welcome note packet at a wedding and it lives in the kit now... who knows maybe I'll need it on-site one day.
Extra Business Cards: Because if you've thrown a good wedding someone is definitely going to ask for your card in the course of an evening, yay marketing!
The utility case, bursting at the seams
Lastly the Beauty case:
Hair Dryer: Really helpful for quick drying table linens after a vase has tipped over and water goes everywhere OR for drying someone's hair OR for drying someone's clothes after they've fallen/jumped into the pool!
Bobby Pins: Extras for when the brides hair falls down throughout the night.
Brush/Comb: Again for fixing hair.
Hairspray: For late night fix-ups
Dry Shampoo: Okay this stuff is AMAZING. This once saved an entire wedding party when they all showed up with hair that had been rinsed (not washed) in the shower that morning. Note: this is the WORST thing you can possibly do before getting your hair styled. Either you wash and clean your hair that morning or you arrive with dirty hair from the day before. Somehow people get this advice confused and think that showering and just wetting their hair in the shower is the way to go but that just means you'll show up with totally GREASY hair. We used an entire bottle of this once when all the girls showed up that way and now I know to send a letter out before hand making sure they know the protocol. It's also helpful for me at the end of the night when I'm looking a little ragged for a quick pick-me-up or the bride after she's been dancing and sweating all night to spruce her up for the grand exit.
Black Waterproof Mascara: This isn't a must-have brand or anything, just some mascara I picked up in case the bride needs it.
Tweezers: Helpful in a pinch. Ha. Ha. Ha.
I could probably add some concealer and more make-up in this box, but truthfully that's something I have the hair and make-up artist leave behind or I tell the bride to bring. It would be kind of crazy to invest in the amount of colors I would need for different skin tones, colors. Maybe someday.
|The Beauty Box, the lightest of all the pink boxes|
Well that's it! Hopefully this will help you build your own wedding emergency kit or maybe was just generally interesting to read. Is there anything you found you needed on your wedding day that you didn't have? Or anything you've used that you think I'm forgetting? Would love your ideas, I'm always trying to make it better!