When you’ve been a bridesmaid eight times, like I have, you pick up a few hard-won beauty lessons along with taffeta and chiffon gowns you’ll never wear again. I’ve been the victim of overzealous makeup artists who were dying to try a new smoky eye technique. I’ve had my hair teased to unnatural heights and picked an entire pack of bobby pins out of my updo at the end of the night. I told myself I’d wear the dresses again (it never happened) but one thing that did stick was a precautionary approach to event makeup and an “everything that can go wrong will go wrong” attitude when it comes to weddings. I’m now retired, but if I were to ever pick up a bouquet again, here’s what I would stash in my survival kit for the big day.
I’ll never forget the time I packed the wrong bra and had fluorescent pink straps peeking from beneath my pastel yellow dress at the ceremony until I could call for a strapless backup. Tape would’ve fixed this problem and given me support whilst being basically braless. (This was before boho brides were all the rage).
There’s an old proverb: “Don’t ever take your shoes off at a wedding because you won’t be able to get them back on.” In the summer heat your feet will inevitably swell, so be prepared by wearing insoles and gliding an anti-blister stick along the backs of your heels to create a kind of invisible barrier against blisters. Fun fact: This stick can also be used to prevent thigh chafing.
Makeup Remover and Q-Tips
Had I been wise enough to pack these I could’ve toned down the aforementioned smoky eye mishap with a quick swipe of makeup remover. The problem wasn’t necessarily the makeup application itself; I was 16 at the time and not used to such heavy handedness. The look was so jarring that my extended family barely recognized me in the wedding party greeting line. Lesson: Do you, boo.
At wedding #3 my makeup artist opted for a super nude lip, which did NOT complement my olive skin tone. Maybe that experience was the precursor to my almost unhealthy obsession with carrying around 10 different lip hues? A bright lip colour would’ve looked severe at the ceremony, but I wish I’d worn a classic red at the reception. Lesson: Don’t be afraid to switch up your beauty look between the ceremony and reception. What looks appropriate for a church mass might be boring by the time you hit the dance floor.
Razor and/or Tweezers
Even when I’ve waxed or shaved before the big day, I’ll admit there have been times when I spotted a few strays in natural light as an eager cameraman closed in on me. It’s less likely someone will have a razor or tweezers in their clutch than the usual suspects like hairspray or mascara.
Ok, fine, not a beauty staple but stash one or two in your makeup bag to be the heroine amongst your fellow bridesmaids. I would’ve killed for so much as a breath mint during those endless hours of group photos.