This isn't the "a beautiful hanger, a lace robe, your favorite perfume" pretty list of things you'll want photographed.

this is the tried and true, wedding morning essential list for being prepared for emergencies and making the morning calm and smooth.

When I pause and review the day in the back of my camera for just a moment before the reception starts, I always say the same thing when I look at the morning-

"Wow, was this really this morning, just hours ago, today?"

Even the most beautiful, well planned weddings have semi-chaotic mornings with a LOT of moving parts.

Having photographed dozens and dozens of weddings (I'm afraid to say hundreds), I've seen a thing or two! And this is my list of the things that every wedding always seems to need.

The biggest key essentials.

If you only remember to pack two things from this list, let it be these.

First and foremost: Scissors. And I’ll even say it again, Scissors! You’ll need them to: cut the hanger tags off the bridesmaid’s dresses, remove the traveling water bag from flowers, open a gift when you have nails on… so many uses! Every single wedding I’ve photographed has a moment where someone calls out “does anyone have scissors?!”

On that note… a little sewing kit, and ideally not the type you pick up at the drugstore is a must. Send your most reliable (or maybe craftiest!) friend to your local fabric store to pick up thread in white/ivory/blush, black, and the color(s) your bridal party is wearing. A couple needles, safety pins, and for extra credit- fabric and fashion tape. If all goes well, you won’t need any of it! But it can save the day when someone maaaay not have tried their dress on after it came in and realizes it's four inches too long. I’ve sewn more bridesmaids and mothers into their gowns after discovering a defective or jammed zipper than I can remember, and having a real kit with matching thread and strong needles make the world of difference! Plus, in the event that your bustle breaks (it happens!), this kit will actually help us tie up your train.

  • A small towel. The best way to keep flowers fresh is to keep them in water meaning they’ll be in a vase or water baggie until you’re ready to walk down the aisle, do a first look, or travel to your venue. Many country clubs and event venues have all the paper goods you may need, but a good cotton is really most efficient for this. The water can add water stains to you or your bridal party’s dresses, so making sure they’re good and dry is important!  

  • The three T’s- Tums, Tylenol, Tampons. 

  • Bandaids too. Blister-balm can be a lifesaver with those new shoes you haven't taken a stroll in yet, too!

  • Non-drowsy allergy medications. There’s going to be a lot of perfume, hair sprays, setting sprays, flowers, and if your wedding is outdoors, pollen. 

  • Bathroom essentials, such as a razor, lotion, and gum (for that moment when someone realizes they forgot to brush their teeth! Trust me, it happens!)

  • Spray deodorant / anti-chaffing powder. It’s not glamorous, but makes everyone more happy. It’s good practice to have a lint roller, as well- especially if you or another member of your squad has pets. 

  • Stain Stick. Need I say more?

If you’re wearing a veil, a garment bag or similar to put it in for before and after the ceremony is always worth investing in. Many brides opt to wait to put their veil in until moments before the ceremony and remove their veil after portraits for mobility and comfort (especially if you have a cathedral length!). The last thing you want is to have it rolled up and stuffed under your chair or in the bottom of your travel bag! A garment bag will not only protect it, but outwardly show that it’s something that needs remembered and is of importance to you!

Bride looking in mirror, holding her wedding dress
  • Spare bobby pins, elastics, and a curling iron. Weather happens. 

  • Wrinkle and Static Spray- especially if your bridesmaid’s dresses are chiffon or silk! These materials can hang beautifully in your closet, but can easily pick up static from environmental factors.

  • A steamer. These are worth their weight in gold! A small, handheld unit will do just fine but can be prone to leaks and overheating. I can't recommend a tall, but-travel friendly unit enough! You'll love it, even after your wedding day.

  • A physical list of important contacts, the timeline, and a pen. You’re not going to want to be on your phone the morning on your wedding to give your maid-of-honor your mother-in-law’s phone number, so she can call to see when they need to be at so-and-so’s room! Just have it ready to go on a handy print-out that anyone can refer to throughout the morning. 

  • And finally: bottled water (extra points if it’s got electrolytes or a vitamin boost like LiquidIV, Coconut Water, or Emergen C!), easy to grab-and-go snacks like granola bars or fruit, and a quick-go-tote. Everyone will benefit from being able to grab-and-go, especially in the hot summer months.

What item was the biggest surprise to you on this list? From your own experiences, is there anything that you feel like was missed that is a must have?

Reach out to tell me if this list helped you, or if you think there needs to be another item added!