Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just Days Before 'I Do': The Must Have, Dress Saving Emergency Bag

A week before our wedding, I added putting together a “dress cleaning emergency bag” to my to do list.

I had already planned on having a bag with the necessities with me, like makeup and a sweater, but after reading a post on one of my daily blog reads,
Thoughts of the All Consumed Bride, I decided to add some emergency dress cleaning items to my bag. And it’s a good thing I did, because my dress managed to get pretty dirty during our first look, even though I’d had it bustled before we left the hotel to avoid this very issue!

(it's hard to see in this picture, but there was a label on the top of the bag listing the things that needed to be added at the last minute, so I wouldn't forget anything)

When Mr. Cola and I arrived at our venue, about 40 minutes before the ceremony start time, I suggested to my MOH/sister that we go unbustle my dress, to make sure it didn’t need to be ironed or anything before walking down the aisle. If you remember this photo from my alterations
post, I had a hidden bustle that looked sort of like a bubble skirt in the back.

I had decided a few minutes before we rushed out of the hotel after getting ready that I wanted to wear my 2 ½ inch platform flip flops for our first look, saving my feet from extra time in my 4 ½ inch wedding heels. Well, this decision to be 2 inches shorter for our first look, combined with my bustle style that had my train fold up underneath the skirt, meant I was exposing the middle section of my train to the ground. Oops!

Our first look was awesome and amazing (and deserves of a post of its own), and I did try hard to not get my dress dirty. But it happened, and when my sister took out my bustle not long before the ceremony was to start, I was super glad I’d packed my emergency bag full of supplies!

I was swarmed by all 3 of my bridesmaids and my mom, and everyone had the same mission: to get my dress cleaned!

(Ever the faithful blogger, I was trying to get pictures over my shoulder of them cleaning! All I got was cleavage shots though, so I'll spare you all.)

Man, I love these ladies, they were on their hands and knees in their dresses, scrubbing away, and then ironing out the wet spots.

I could do nothing more than stand there, in the incredibly hot bridal suite (more like a closet), trying not to die from the heat, and touch up my makeup while being bumped from behind. Strangely though, it wasn’t a stressful time for me (just really hot), because I immediately came up with another contingency plan; if they couldn’t get it clean, we would just rebustle my dress for the ceremony, no big deal.

(See? Calm and collected, waiting to see if my dress would get cleaned in time.)

The dress did come clean though, and was dried with about 5 minutes to spare. And I was very glad for the chance to show off the long train of my dress at our ceremony!

So now that I shared this little story with you, I thought I’d also share everything that was in my dress-saving emergency bag, which I mostly packed the weekend before our wedding.

The dress cleaning items:

- bottle of club soda

- bottle of water

- lint roller

- washcloth

- paper towels

- tissues
- clothes iron with really good steaming power

- mini sewing kit and safety pins
- tide pen

- Shout cleaning wipes

- chalk (I actually didn’t have this in my bag, because my dress wasn’t white, but I’m adding it to the list for you because I’ve heard it can work well to cover small spots on white dresses)

(and by the way, it was a combo of the club soda and Shout wipes that got my dress cleaned, plus the iron to get it dried)

The rest of the items in my bag:
- my purse (with all the things I normally carry in it like my hairbrush, mints, extra lipstick, etc)

- Clean and Clear oil absorbing sheets (I used these on my face throughout the night, they worked really well for not taking off my air brush makeup, but got rid of a lot of the shininess that would show up in pictures.)

- my full makeup bag

- deodorant & perfume

- chapstick

- cardigan sweater

- aerosol sunscreen (SPF 45, which my
DOC helped me put on just minutes before our ceremony, holding up a sweater to not get any on my dress)
- Band-Aids
- hair scrunchiis and extra bobby pins

- flip flops (well, actually when I arrived at our venue, my wedding shoes were in the bag because I was wearing the flip flops)
- our wedding bands (I didn't want to trust anyone else!)

- granola bars
- cell phone charger

- portfolio (with all driving directions, vendor contact list and contracts, extra copy of the ceremony and vows, marriage license, etc)

- Plus there were a lot of useful things in my bathroom baskets that I could have used if needed, like hairspray, cough drops, nail file, etc.

A small battery powered fan would have been useful too, but I didn't think it would be anywhere near as hot as it ended up being. Our photographers just posted this picture on their Facebook page from a recent wedding they shot, and it cracks me up. I would have totally done the same thing if I'd had a fan handy!

I tried to keep a lot of the items in my bag neatly organized into plastic bags (and also just in case any of the liquid items decided to leak all over).

In conclusion, I highly, highly recommend bringing some dress cleaning items with you on your wedding day. You can never be too careful!

Are you planning on having an emergency bag on hand on your wedding day? What other items would you add?

(unless otherwise noted, all pictures in this post are personal photos, taken by myself, my family or wedding party)


  1. OMG - thank you, thank you, thank you. This was a great post and will be very useful in 10 months! :)

  2. I'm so glad it came clean for you! You and your dress look so gorgeous, too! :) I had most of those items on hand in my emergency kit, as well. Don't ask me how I did it, but I managed to not get anything on my dress during the first look. Although, a bee did fly under one of the layers of lace, but that's another story!

  3. Great list of emergency items! We'll be doing our first look out in the vineyard somewhere, and even though my train is nowhere near as long as yours, I'm sure it will get a bit dirty out there. I'll be sure to pack a kit like yours :)

  4. Ohh this is helpful. Thanks!

  5. Your preparedness never fails to impress me :)

  6. I hadn't thought of bringing dress cleaning supplies, but I will now! Thank you.
    And I am soooo very impressed by your oh so calm demeanor. I'm pretty sure I would have been totally stressed. I will have to think of you for inspiration if something like this should arise at my wedding next month.

  7. Yea! So glad something I shared helped you out. My dress was so filthy dirty after our ceremony. Even during the ceremony some guests said they could see the dirty parts (though thankfully it didn't show in the photos). But I pulled it out of the box a couple nights ago and was surprised at what a great job my dry cleaners did of getting most of it clean.

    We definitely used the shout wipes and soap and wash cloth to try to touch up my gown so you were smart to bring this. As I have mentioned, I am shocked at brides who do not get their gowns dirty at all...especially if you'll be outdoors at any point in the dress.