OH SHIT KIT: The wedding day items that could save your ass

Updated Mar 15 2021
"Oh shit!" kit bags from Etsy seller becollective.

Shooting weddings has taught me a lot about common mishaps and mistakes that are prevalent and almost communal in the fact that they've happened in almost EVERY SINGLE WEDDING. One of the last weddings I shot, the bride had craftily brought her own "Oh Shit" Kit. That's when the proverbial lightbulb went *ding* in my head, and I thought — like every Californian needs an Earthquake Preparedness Kit, every bride should have an "Oh Shit" Kit.

Here are the things to include in your bridal "Oh Shit" Kit:


Needle and thread: In fact, pack an entire mini sewing kit with scissors, needle, threads, extra buttons, safety pins, etc.

Scissors: There's always something that needs cutting, whether it be a loose thread or the price tag left on a dress or tie.

Super glue, or any other kind of adhesive: I once saw a bridesmaid break her heel right before the ceremony — super glue came in reeeeeally handy.

Sunscreen: VERY necessary if you're having an outdoor wedding, not only for the bride but for the whole bridal party. Even if you're not having an outdoor wedding, consider bringing some sunscreen if you plan on doing portrait sessions outdoors.

Bobby pins and hair stuff: Bring extra bobby pins, hair ties, and a brush or comb.

First aid kit: I love these Johnson & Johnson mini first aid kits so much that I supplied them in my welcome bags for all my out of town wedding guests. They came in really handy in a lot of unfortunate occasions — like when I got stung by a bee at the rehearsal dinner!

Stain remover: A Tide To Go pen or Shout Wipes have saved many a near wedding outfit stain disaster at one too many weddings, let me tell ya. Whether it's a stains on your white dress from sitting on something funky, or an unbalanced bridesmaid with a glass of red wine, these babies come in SUPER handy.

Something for headaches: Advil, Aspirin, Tylenol — whatever works for you when that stress headache rears its ugly head. Also great for near the end of the evening when your feet are KILLING you from your fancy new wedding shoes.

Lighters: Trust me, even if you're not a smoker, bring a lighter. There's always a candle that goes out or even a bon fire pit at the venue that may be calling your name.

Something naughty: Speaking of lighters… sometimes an emergency stash of your guilty pleasure can be the ONLY thing that will bring you back from the brink of wedding day insanity. Keep a secret cigarette stash for a quiet moment to yourself. I've seen bridesmaids do a pre-wedding nip on a flask to calm nerves. (The one pictured above has room for both!) Hell, what about a Vicodin or a mini vibrator? Whatever calms ya down and makes ya' happy in an emergency 'sitch.

Bin bags: Useful for trash, for tossing gum into, for tossing soiled items, or, if nothing needs tossing, it never hurts to have an extra bag around. Just toss a few plastic bags into your tote and thank me later.

Extra undergarments: If you're wearing 'em, pack an extra pair of underwear and nylons. I love Hanky Panky undies because, not only are they comfortable (I wore them on my wedding day) but they come wrapped up tight in these little bundles, perfect to stick in your "Oh shit" kit.

Flash drive: A flash drive with files of all your important documents — speeches, vows, schedules, etc. (Also, how much do you love that I found you a Transformers flash drive? You're welcome.)

Snacks: Bring an apple, a bag of trail mix, or an energy bar in case you don't have time to eat. It'll calm your stomach and any residual crankiness. Also a bottle of water can be a life saver.

Tote bag: The great thing is that all these items are small, so you don't need to bring a very large bag with you. A tote that's the size of a lunch bag will do just fine. So find something fun and funky that will stand out and be easy to find like this child's lunch bag.

Okay… I know I'm missing something here, right? What else did you forget, or remembered to bring that absolutely saved your "oh shit!" wedding moment?

  1. Tampons. I've never actually had a wedding I've planned where I've needed them, but it's one of those "If this happens and we DON'T have them, whole day will be thrown into chaos" items.
    And tissues for the mom crowd. They never remember them.

    • That is the first thing I thought would be on the list! It is certainly the first "emergency" item I pack when going anywhere else!

    • I will tell you this, I was in need of tampons on MY wedding day! dispite planning my bc pills around my wedding day, my "friend" still decided to show up that morning. Thankfully, my MOH had a ridiculous oh shit bag that included tampons!

      • Stress it causes all kinds of hell with hormones. I have tried to plan around it but I'm just going to accept that it's just going to happen, just because it can.

    • I usually go with a couple tampons and a $1.00 package of panty liners (20 count). Reason? If you're the least bit worried about sweating through your top, a regular pantyliner stuck inside the seam catches the sweat, so the shirt/gown doesn't. (Old theatre costumer trick.) Works on the guys too.

  2. Great list. Some things I'd add on are extra bobby pins, hair ties, hair spray, scotch tape, hair brush, comb, hand-held mirror, extra corsage pins, extra earring backers, copy of all the important/vendor phone numbers, a to-list for the big day (This saved me a ton of headaches & worry. I prepared it when I was in a calm & relaxed mood), umbrella, Krazy Glue (It saved the day in quite a few spots!), spare change & ribbon/tulle (We had forgotten the flowers to give the mothers & were able to make something makeshift with spare flowers & tulle)

    • corsage pins! yes! my bother in law lost his backing of his magnetic corsage fastener and we had to find something else. i believe his first replacement fastener was a paper clip, then a 10c coin πŸ™‚

    • I second the mini mouthwash! It was a last minute addition to my kit and I was so nervous the morning of the wedding I ended up puking mid lipgloss application. I don't do well with stage fright! So having mouth wash was lovely….

  3. Dental floss!
    I attended a wedding, and a bridesmaid tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, "Are you Sarah? [The bride] says you probably have floss." I always do, so I was happy to help.

    • So true! I was in the bridal party at a wedding where the photographer was involved in the ceremony and couldn't take any pictures until afterwards. One of the girls grabbed a little point and shoot to catch some of the candid moments while we were all getting ready, and the bride was so glad afterwards!

  4. Tape. One wedding I was in we needed it to fix a hemline.
    , another wedding we used it to make pasties for a too thin dress, you can pull fuzz off of suit jackets. It's great stuff.

  5. I also brought bobby pins, and my allergy medicationFlip flops for when my feet couldn't take heels anymore, and believe it or not, a spare set of undies… I had a comfy set to wear all day… then a sexy pair to put on towards the end of the night for the hubby. I was NOT about to deal with chaffing all day. πŸ˜‰

  6. I'm currently wondering how I made it this far in life WITHOUT a cigarette flask. What's up with that?

    I would add safety pins to the list, though that might fall under sewing kit. And duct tape. You could, in theory, construct an entirely new dress from duct tape.

  7. Bobby pins, more than two safety pins, a sharpee and a regular pen, tape, a refillable water bottle, and tissue.

  8. It was supposed to be hot on the day of my July wedding, so we bought one of those mini battery-powered fans for the groom and his guys to use to cool off during the outdoor portrait session (since they were all in black suits). Of course, when we went up the hill to the gardens for the photos, we forgot it back at the reception hall, so we didn't have it when we needed it, but every single one of those guys was begging me asking me where it was – so it *would* have been awesome if we'd remembered. πŸ™‚

  9. My girls carried clutches down the aisle, and I doubled them as a gift and an emergency kit. Here's what I put in them:

    * hand sanitizer
    * hand lotion
    * bandaids
    * advil
    * lip gloss
    * nail polish
    * blotting papers
    * tissues

    Then in my kit/clutch I had:

    * hand lotion
    * lip glosses
    * lip chap
    * cuticle pen
    * blotting papers
    * cash
    * tissues
    * cell phone
    * compact mirror
    * sunglasses

    Let me say the blotting papers were a GODSEND. They are tiny, really thin paper that absorbs any moisture you may have on your face (ie, sweat). Perfect when you need to look not so greasy in your pictures.

    Doubled-sided tape is always a good one too. I remember having to borrow some from my mother-in-law at a wedding to hold my dress properly.

  10. 1 – a razor! Nothing worse that realizing you missed a huge patch on your knee or forgot to shave your armpits when you're about to put on your dress! 2 – lotion! Dry skin is a no-go anytime, but especially when you're in your wedding dress. And it can double as shave cream if you're having to do last-minute shaving without time to hop in the shower!

    • I second this! Be sure you have a working charger for all important phones. My now-husband's phone charger suddenly stopped working the day of the wedding–of course!–and thankfully my Lady of Honor was able to bring hers for him to use.

  11. The most useful items in my OSK were:

    Hand sanitizer wipes (not gel): helpful for cleaning off sticky, makeup hands and sanitizing too.

    – Tissues. Obv!

    – A cotton hankie for blotting yourself if you feel sweaty or feel a spell coming on–leaves no tissue lint behind.

    Clear nail polish. Looks pretty, fixes things. (stocking runs, also adheres slippery straps to shoulders)

    Lip balm. Sometimes all that lipstick dries you out!

    Safety pins.

    – A Sharpie. Because you will ALWAYS need to label something last minute.

    Bobby pins. Can be used for hair or as paper/fabric clips.

    Antacids and Pepto pills. Rich food! Oy vey! Also anti-nausea tablets. NERVES!

    Eye drops. You really don't want to have a dry eye in the house.

    Advil. HEADACHES! πŸ™‚

    – A nail file. Snags, yikes!

    Bandages. Painful shoes/paper cuts/slippery shoes!

    Mints. They freshen your breath and reduce nausea.

    Nail clippers. Not only can they fix nails and cuticles, they also act as simple scissors for threads and things.

    – Emergency snack (granola bar). You really do forget to eat on your wedding day.

    – A copy of your vows and a copy of your wedding day dossier/contact list/plan, as backup.

    – My naughty item was a Vicodin wrapped in a baggie and hidden in my purse, which my Lady of Honor could ONLY dispense if I gave her the "Voldemort needs his horcrux" phrase. I was recovering from ankle surgery and wanted to be sure I had emergency OMG pain meds. However, to prevent me from popping it while intoxicated (opiates and booze don't mix!), I instructed her to ONLY dispense it if I could remember my phrase-that-pays–which I could not have done if drunk. I didn't end up needing it, but felt better having it.

  12. Soooo many good ideas in here! I'm actually going to add a few of them to the post right now. Good thinkin' guys!

    • Megan – where did you find the teal "oh shit" bag? I'm DYING to get it for my friend for her wedding this fall.

      • I found the personalized lunch box on PersonalizationMall.com and just took a screen shot using their Preview Feature. I will warn you though, someone tried to have a different company make one of these "Oh Shit!" bags and the company wouldn't do it for 'em. But give it a try and let us know if Personalization Mall will rock it!

    • 100% on insect repellent. I've made a little chest of drawers for the bathroom before (out of a set I already had) with emergency items in it for the guests to use. People love it. I painted the drawer fronts with blackboard paint and wrote what each drawer had it it on the drawer front. I also put a jar of mints on top with a bottle of perfume for a freshening up spray. People love that sort to thing it feels like a bit of extra luxury and guests feel thought of…. and it doesn't cost that much to put together.

  13. Altoids – or your favorite brand of breath mints. Definitely mints over gum. The last thing you want to see and/or hear is someone in the wedding party chomping away on gum while you're saying your vows! I had all of these items in my basket as a church wedding planner. Love this post – so hilarious, and helpful! πŸ™‚

  14. Deodorant.

    Binder clips (yes, office supply binder clips). I've used them for holding back curtains, keeping table cloths in place and emergency clothing "alterations."

    Insect repellent wipes (for particularly nature-ey outdoor events).

    But the top three items consistently requested from my kit are scissors (carry more than one pair – they go missing), safety pins (Every. Single. Wedding.) and tape (double stick is great, but duct is awesomely versatile).

  15. I made something like this up as a gift for my friend for her wedding. Another thing I included in there was a pair of fuzzy white plush slippers, in case the dress shoes got to be too uncomfy. She loved them so much that she ditched the heels and wore slippers down the aisle!

  16. I am LOVING this post!! And although I don't have anything to add, I have started my list & have a great idea for the bag itself πŸ˜€

  17. I would love to add fashion tape (i'm sure someone's mentioned it already, but JUST IN CASE), bobby pins, and chapstick. lipstick can be so drying!! and all that smooching you gotta do (friends, family, partner….) I also totally second pepto bismol, mints, and deodorant (i am always forgetting deodorant when i'm stressed…irony.)

    Also, a note: I am super pro sun safety, but everyone should know: SPF reflects light, and will make you look PALE PALE PALE. so don't be surprised if that happens. to avoid looking greasy, that dry touch sunscreen is great, but even better are powder sunscreens – keep the sweat back, too (and are also compact and adorable!)

  18. I am totally freaking out about how awesome that flask is! Even if you don't smoke, you can stash things like ids or credit cards in it and stick in your purse!!

    • I actually DO use a cigarette case as my wallet. It's the perfect size! Also, if you click on the picture of the flask it'll show you were you can get one. I kind of want one now that you mention the whole wallet concept (perfect for a night out)!

  19. I was the boyscout of bridesmaids apparently:

    For some crazy reason, I was the ONLY one that had a pocket knife, super glue, or mending kit (complete with safety pins) among other little bits of requirements.

    All were used on several occasions during the event. The bride just said 'go find the bridesmaid with the crazy curly hair and she'll have whatever you need for what just went wrong'. I ALWAYS have everything of this nature at all times….even if given a tiny little 'fancy' purse that holds nothing but chapstick. I'll just strap it to my thigh or use the oh so wonderful 'cleavage pocket'. Bridesmaids should ALWAYS be prepared. The Bride just might be a little bit distracted for all the little $@&! that can go wrong. πŸ˜€

    • At my sister's wedding this past weekend, I definitely brought and used the pocket knife multiple times. My sister's friend even used it to whittle down a candle that didn't have enough wick exposed to keep lit. As my sister said, "Only you would bring a knife to a wedding". πŸ™‚

      • My brother got married back in August, in Minnesota, while I live on the East Coast. It was nice to actually be able to carry a proper knife instead of a dinky blade (my state has carrying restrictions, which I follow, even though I hate them), and the week before, let alone at the event itself and the breakdown after, I used that knife dozens of times. A good sharp blade is a godsend.

        Has anyone mentioned carrying/ packing a Leatherman tool? Heck, even a mini tool kit or one in the car is a good idea. Don't forget car care kits- jumper cables and the like.

        Crystal ginger candy is really good at beating back nausea.

        A full array of tapes (electrical, duct, double, hem, masking, floral, etc.)

        A length of twine, cord, rope, maybe tent stakes and a mallet if something needs to be anchored, like the wedding arch

        And if you're using Krazy Glue, don't forget to carry nail polish remover in case anything gets stuck to your skin

        Someone has already mentioned eyeglass repair kit, but what about a spare pair of contacts, or glasses, in a CASE not just tucked in a pocket

        • My leatherman goes where I go, unless it's somewhere by plane, then not so much. You better believe it's in my dainty little white clutch πŸ˜€

  20. I was the boy-scout-bridesmaid in a friend's wedding a few years ago…our dresses had little decorative folds on the bodice. Well, I stuck a few necessaries into the folds and lo and behold, the minister (the groom's father) started crying in the middle of the ceremony–boom! Pass that tissue up the line of bridesmaids!

  21. Daiper pins – stronger and less likely to pop open.
    Qtips and non-greasy hand lotion.
    By the way, these emergency kits make great gifts for showers (wedding or baby) and thank you gifts.

    • Yes! I had a bit of an OSK, with bandages, scissors, spare pantyhose, painkillers etc, but no anti static spray. My sister had never tried on her BM dress wearing pantyhose, and was having massive static problems. Mum managed to get some before the ceremony, but if you look closely at the photos (pre-ceremony), there is some strange static thing going on with her skirt!
      And I've heard horror stories of BM dresses made from silk with artificial lining (or something – one was a natural fibre, the other wasn't) and they all had major static problems…

  22. As maid of honor at my friends wedding my "oh shit kit" list was extremely comprehensive. Her father caught a hold of my list when I was adding last minute things to it at the rehearsal dinner and he made so much fun of it! "Why do you need this? Why do you need that?" Anyway my kit included all of the above items plus an iron and mini ironing board. I almost talked myself out of brining the iron but was glad I didn't when the groomsmen needed to iron their shirts! Called it! πŸ™‚

  23. If you're having a traditional Jewish ceremony:
    -Print out a ketubah text. It doesn't need to be pretty, you just need a text for people to sign.
    -A lightbulb/glass for stepping on.
    -Mini bottle of WHITE grape juice/wine.

    I have been to two weddings where the people responsible for these things forgot them or were unable to get there in time due to bad weather. These things take up minimal space, just have them on hand.

  24. This is great! I'm usually the bridesmaid that brings all the emergency just-in-case stuff in her bag and I've added all these ideas to my list! I try to have a pencil or pen and notepaper or sticky notes, makeup remover and q-tips for touchups, and a felt-tipped marker for last-minute signs. It's also good to have directions to all the venues in case someone needs them. And at several weddings, someone with a smartphone or someone offsite with access to a computer has been key for last-minute internet-accessing!

  25. Having been to a few weddings as a bridesmaid/assistant photographer I can highly recommend DRINKING STRAWS. It means the dolled up ladies can have a drink of water without their lipstick coming off. They are brilliant.

  26. Two or three travel size deodorants. Even if you don't forget yours, someone else might. Having a couple on hand is great if more than one person forgets so they don't have to use it after someone else (ick).

    Packing tape. Works great for mending jobs and as a lint removed.

    A manicure kit with nail file, nail clippers, tweezers, ect. Someone will need at least one of these.

    A travel size pack of baby wipes. Perfect for any clean up job and is gentle on the skin.

    • Spray deodorant. Every single person at the wedding can use it without anyone getting each other's cooties.

  27. Dare I suggest panty liners or pads? I cannot even tell you how desperately I needed to go to the loo before our Aussie ceremony and the dress was a relatively fitted silver satin number. I spent most of the ceremony hoping upon hope that I wasn't standing there with a large wet patch on the front or back of my gown. (Romantic huh?) To my significant relief no shameful wet patch and I was able to go sort myself out after the ceremony but by that point I was about to explode and it's not easy hoisting up well fitted satin when you're in a hurry. I made sure I was wearing a panty liner for the American nuptials and courtesy of the lovely ladies here on the Tribe it was a much less stressful venture because I had the "how to go to the loo in your foofy wedding gown technique" burned into my brain. (It WORKS by the way!) Wedding dress wrestling should be an Olympic event and to even find your undies in the crapfight of tulle and underskirts that are under some dresses, including my own, can be practically miraculous. Add to that the fact that brides and grooms aren't just starved, they're also deprived of opportunities to go to the loo and panty liners make a lot of sense.

  28. Our wedding will be at home but I think I'm going to put one of these together anyways. It'll save us (me) from having to run all over the house trying to find something that was potentially put away to make room for guests. Great idea!

  29. I definitely need an "Oh Shit" bag!

    But I would fill it with just cigarettes, alcohol, Valium and a mini vibrator. And chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

    You know : the essentials. πŸ™‚

    • Hey! You basically named all the contents in my bedside table! JK, I don't smoke so… ALMOST all the contents of my bedside table. πŸ˜‰

  30. I'm very very surprised that no one has mentioned tampons or pads. Even if you *think* your cycle is like clockwork…sometimes nature has other ideas.

  31. With all the fine suggestions here we have surely graduated from an "Oh Shit" bag to an "Oh Shit" dump truck. ( Tavi would approve.)

    Next Halloween I'm going to dress up in one of my more hideous bridesmaid gown and drag a little red wagon filled with all the excellent ideas from this post. I will be the Boy Scout Bridesmaid. Maybe I'll even stick a fake hatchet in my hair and be the Dead Boy Scout Bridesmaid.

    Now if I can just get somebody to let me appear in their wedding like this….

  32. A lot of people are mentioning blotting papers, and I felt I should mention that toilet seat covers are made of very similar paper and get the job done as well. (Just use a clean one! πŸ˜‰ )

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