It's wedding season, and slowly across the country ladies are picking out their dates, getting a tad too crazy at bachelorette parties and gearing up for the right-of-passage duty of being a bridesmaid.
As a bridesmaid, your job isn't just to stand and look pretty. You're also of service to the bride, which means you'll be getting a behind-the-scenes experience with all of the drama and emergencies in the hours leading up to the big trip down the aisle.
I reached out to some former bridesmaids for their tales and picks for the ultimate bridesmaid essentials beauty bag - everything you'll need to save the day, stay happy, and avoid witnessing or experiencing pre-wedding panic.
The perfect bag
It all starts with the bag, of course. "It's frustrating to constantly be searching for stuff!" one bridesmaid, Alaina, offered, and she has a great point. Consider something with well organized pockets, or utilize a series of smaller cosmetic bags, well-labeled sandwich or freezer bags, and plastic containers to make sure everything is easily accessible and stays organized within the larger bag.
A hairspray that survives a tornado
One of my high school teachers once said she knew she had enough hairspray on in the late '80s when her hair didn't move in a tornado. While I don't advise creating a hard hat of hairspray, you do need something that will keep your hair locked in, is easy to use in touch ups, and will help you re-style if you're changing up looks. Sebastian Re-Shaper is re-workable for up to 18 hours, has a strong hold, and comes in an nice 1.5 oz size - perfect to throw in your bag.
Deodorant is a no-brainer for your big day, but you might want to grab a spray deodorant in lieu of a stick - especially if you need to dodge white residue on your dress. You'll also avoid the gooey deodorant balls that can form in your pits (you know what I'm talking about), which don't make for great pictures.
Safety pins, scissors, and a mini-sewing kit
Safety pins fix a lot of things in a flash, like a suddenly ill-fitting dress. In absolute worst case scenarios, a sewing kit and scissors can save the day.
Bobby pins, like safety pins, solve hair emergencies and sometimes can be used for creative solutions, like pinning a dress to a bra if a safety pin isn't around. You never know when the bride or fellow bridesmaids will need a quick fix.
Mints, gum, a snack, bottled water
Fresh breath is a must (especially if you're eying a groomsman), and many said it's easy to go long periods of time without having access to food. Pack a box of granola bars or other non-messy snacks (nothing smelly, one bridesmaid, Callie, reminds) and water, which won't stain or cause a commotion. If you want to bring alcohol, remember to stick to clear liquor or white wine and champagne - but also remember you need enough snacks to soak it up.
Attack of the eyeliner? Waterproof mascara not holding up? You never know when the moment might strike that you'll need to remove some rogue makeup, so TheBalm BalmsAway Eye Makeup Remover is a bridesmaid bag must.
Keep your make-up glued to your face with TimeBalm Face Primer, as you won't always have lots of opportunities to touch it up during the evening.
Chapstick & Lip Gloss
Repeated several times by bridesmaids, chapstick was referred to as a must-have. Keep lips soft and moisturized with a solid chapstick, which can be used between lipstick touch-ups. For a glossy, photo-ready finish, top your lipstick with your perfect hue of Read My Lips Lip Gloss from The Balm.
Oil blotting sheets, a compact, and other make-up basics
Oil blotting sheets will get rid of shine before a photo session, and other basics are good to have on hand if you do steal a few minutes to touch up.
Flip-flops or roll-up flats
Because seriously, who can wear heels for hours on end AND get down at the reception? Consider bringing an extra pair or two for the bride and other bridesmaids.
Band-aids and/or a small first aid kit, blister block, and other blister treatments
Accidents can happen, but blisters are pretty much a given. One of our favorite stylists, Laura Piercefield, said "[Blisters are] one of the biggest complaints I've heard from bridesmaids. They wear shoes they didn't break in properly."
Aspirin, ibuprofen or Tylenol, allergy meds
Aspirin can be used to attack a zit flare-up the morning of the wedding. Simply crush 1-2 aspirin in water (2-3 parts water to one aspirin) and apply paste to the pimple. Leave on for 15 minutes and wipe off. In addition, someone is bound to have a headache, and if it's an outdoor wedding or during a peak allergy season, better stock up on the non-drowsy allergy meds. Just forget the muscle relaxers. No one wants a Sixteen Candles moment.
White chalk or white out
Stains happen, especially make-up on a pretty white dress. There's not always an easy fix, but these two items can help mask in a true emergency.
As one bridesmaid, Carin, pointed out, you're probably going to be hot at some point in time, whether it's an outdoor wedding in the summer or the reception hall is nice and toasty. Small battery-operated fans are cheap, or opt for a chic and decorative paper fan to find your inner southern belle.
Cards or something to entertain
There's a lot of sitting and waiting during the wedding prep, which means boredom and a chance for the bride to let nerves get the best of her. Keep the anxiety at bay with something fun or amusing to entertain, whether it's cards or MadLibs. Weddings are supposed to be fun, after all, so rock your bridesmaid position and be the ring leader of the pre-wedding party.
There you have it: a Mary Poppins-esque bridesmaid bag that will help you take on bridal emergencies as they come. What have been your bridesmaid essentials?