There are websites and magazines everywhere telling all of the future brides a million different things that are absolutely essential for her to have on her big day. Some of it is absolutely necessary to combat Murphy's Law that everything can go wrong, will go wrong. Some of it is essential so that your big day doesn't pass you by in a flash without you enjoying it and appreciating every moment. Some of it is essential for your sanity. This list will help you figure out what is absolutely essential on your big day so that you can have a survival kit prepared to bring with you on your wedding day.
Other things that people swear are "needed" are actually totally bogus. If you're trying to cut back on costs, then there are so many things that are totally unnecessary to have that you will not miss one bit if you don't have them. If you're just a more laid back bride and don't want a giant "to have" list, then check out the things that are totally unnecessary to have, despite what other people might try to tell you. Your wedding day is for you and your future husband to celebrate with friends and family the fact that you've found your "the one" and are choosing to spend your lives together. Let the unnecessary things fall away so that you can focus on that.
Remember that no matter what people, magazines, or websites say, the day is yours to have or not have whatever you want. Just remember to pause and enjoy the day so that it doesn't pass you by in a blur!
24 Unnecessary - Guestbook
Let's be honest here, you might take a look through the guestbook right after your wedding, but are you really going to look at it again? Probably not. You're probably not ever going to look at it again, so why have your guests spend the time and why spend the money? Instead, try to make it around to your guests throughout the night and build a memory with them instead.
23 should have - Healthy protein bar
You're going to be so busy getting ready and enjoying the moment that you might forget to eat well, but the hanger is real and no one wants to be a hangry bride. Make sure that you keep a protein bar or a snack that is quick and easy to eat but is packed with nutrients and energy to keep you going. I'm not normally an advocate for the quick fix in terms of food, but on your wedding day, you're probably not going to want to stop what you're doing to make an egg-white omelet with chicken and veggies and feta cheese.
22 Unnecessary - Customized bridal party gear
Okay, so this looks really cute when you see photos the bride and her girls in matching "bride's team" shirts and robes. But at the end of the day, once the big day is over, no one is going to use those again. If you feel that the money is worth the cute picture, then by all means, but if you're looking to cut costs, this is a great place to start. You can have just as cute of a picture of you and your girls wearing your own robes or pajamas that show off your personality: one girl might be in a band t-shirt and shorts, another girl might be in a silky nightie, and that would be just as cute of a picture.
21 should have - Breath freshener
Whether you prefer mints or a breath spray, you're going to want something to freshen your breath before you have to share your big kiss. Just make sure that you're not packing gum. First of all, it's actually not all that helpful for keeping your breath fresh because it produces more saliva, which is usually the freshness issue in the first place. Secondly, no one wants to see a bride chomping away on gum while she says her vows.
20 Unnecessary - Customized toasting flutes
A lot of brides and grooms go out and buy engraved and customized toasting flutes for their big day, thinking that it will be a great keepsake. But what is going to happen is that either you'll forget to use them and use the glass that you have in your hands, or you do use them, and then they sit in storage or in your cupboards for the rest of your marriage because no one pulls out a "Mr. and Mrs." glass to have champagne on special occasions.
19 should have - Bobby pins
I have found that no matter how much hairspray you use, there is bound to be some kind of hair mishap on a day when you're wanting to look your best. Keep a bobby pin on hand just in case. A great tip is to spray your bobby pins with hairspray and then letting them dry before putting them in your hair. This trick will help them hold a little better and is a godsend if you have fine hair. If you have more of an up-do having hairpins (which are different than bobby pins) is also a great idea to have on hand.
18 Unnecessary - gift to your groom
You've just spent a lot of money on this wedding day together, not to mention the honeymoon. Do not then feel obligated to have to exchange gifts on the day of your wedding as well. Your gift is this day, the marriage, and the honeymoon, which has probably been a more expensive gift than you were intending it to be anyway. If you really want to exchange something, exchange letters of love to one another.
17 should have - Meds
Whether you have allergies, get a wicked headache, or need a little something to calm your stomach, medication is a good thing to have on hand so that you're not trying to get someone to make a run to the pharmacy for you. I always keep tums, gas pills, lactose-free pills, Advil, Tylenol, non-drowsy Gravol, and Benedryl in my purse. Yes, it is like carrying around a pharmacy, but they have the travel size of everything nowadays so it doesn't take up too much space, and I cannot count the times that they have come in handy for me or someone with me.
16 Unnecessary - Garter
The garter is just another expense that feels like a bit of a waste. No one sees your garter since it's hidden by your dress. A lot of people actually have started to forgo the whole bouquet and garter toss because it can interrupt the dancing and fun and is another tradition that people don't necessarily enjoy but do because they feel that they have to. Do not do anything on your wedding day that you're doing just because you feel like you have to.
15 should have - Deodorant
You're going to get excited and nervous and you've probably been running around all day, which means that you might want a little touch up of deodorant before you walk down the aisle. You're not going to want to cheap out on this one and make sure that you get something long-lasting that will not leave white stains. Even if your dress is white, if you're leaning on your future hubby or your dad wraps your arm around his arm, you could easily leave a white mark on one of their jackets, which is not ideal.
14 Unnecessary - Contouring
If you don't normally contour then don't do it for your wedding day. It's amazing how many women get their make up all done up so much on their wedding day that they don't even look like themselves in the photos. Your husband thinks that you are beautiful just the way you are, so try going for a more soft and romantic look so that when you look back on photos you can recognize yourself!
13 should have - Pins or a mini sewing kit
You never know what kind of wardrobe malfunction can happen during the big day. You never know if it's going to be you or one of your bridesmaids or your mom, but it doesn't matter who it is, you will be prepared. If you have safety pins or even a mini sewing kit then you're going to be in good hands if and when something happens and someone needs to pin a dress closed or keep a sash attached to a dress. If you don't need it, well then it didn't take up too much space and it was good to have just in case.
12 Unnecessary - Something borrowed, something blue
You know the saying so well: something old and something new, something borrowed, something blue. If you're the kind of bride who absolutely lives for these kinds of traditions, then more power to you, but if you're sitting there trying to think of what kind of a blue thing you could have on you when your colors are not blue then just relax! Traditions are wonderful if they actually mean something to you, otherwise, you're just doing something for the sake of doing it, which is not ideal.
11 should have - Something sentimental
Whether it's a photo of you and your husband to be, or it's a picture of your parents on their wedding day, or it's a stuffed animal your guy won you at an arcade, or maybe your fiance wrote you a letter to read the day of the wedding, whatever it is, make sure to have something that is going to bring you back into the moment and remind you to be present and enjoy this day because you're only going to have it once.
10 Unnecessary - Tricky lingerie
Here is a little secret for you: your husband is going to think you look smoking hot in anything that you wear on your wedding night. Some of the lingerie that they make nowadays takes a team to get on and get off. There are so many straps and clasps and getting it all done up and your body in it is going to leave you in a sweaty mess. Now imagine getting on some kind of strappy body suit thing and then needing to pee in your wedding dress. I'm shuddering at the thought. Keep the lingerie simple to put on and take off.
9 should have - Earring backs
I don't know why I am cursed to lose the back of my earrings whenever I dress up, but it happens almost every time. Have some extra earring backs so that if you lose yours, it does not mean that you're going to also lose your earrings. Simply replace the lost back piece and move on, avoiding the need to have one of your bridesmaids crawling on her hands and knees looking for the tiny little back of your earring that may or may not have been lost in the bridal suite.
8 Unnecessary - low cal food
Yes, you're going to want to look good and maybe you have a form-fitting dress that you want to look fabulous in, but you don't want to starve yourself on the big day. Dieting is going to result in a grumbling stomach and low energy. Some stomachs can be really sensitive to ingredients in diet food, so you're going to want to eat foods that you know your stomach likes and won't get hurt from eating. Instead, eat healthy things that are going to fill and nourish you.
7 should have - Music
It doesn't matter if you want something that is pumping and exciting to get you and your girls jazzed up, or if you want something beautiful and soft in the background to keep you calm and relaxed, or if you want romantic and sweet to set the stage for the big day, or even something nostalgic to get you and your ladies singing along as you get ready for the day, whatever your tastes and preferences are, you're going to want to put something on while you get ready, if for no other reason than to help avoid nervous energy.
6 Unnecessary - Your phone
Make sure that you put someone in charge of communication on your big day so that you're not being harassed with a million texts or phone calls. If you assign someone to manage your phone and field all of the questions and issues on the big day, then you can be free to relax and enjoy the morning as stress-free as possible. Plus with your phone in your hands, you might be in the habit of checking social media and "checking out" on your phone, but this is YOUR day. Don't worry about what is happening anywhere else and just be present at the moment with your girls.
5 should have - Band-aids
If you've been saving the shoes that you're wearing for this occasion only, then you likely have not fully broken them in yet. Most of the gorgeous shoes that we like to wear to our wedding are not the kind of shoes that are forgiving and comfy and padded for our feet. But beauty is pain, right? Well, it doesn't have to be THAT bad. Band-aids can help with blisters and sore feet from new shoes so make sure to have some on hand. Just make sure that they're either going to not be visible, or embrace the band-aide look and have something truly funky and nerdy.
4 Unnecessary - heels
I'm a really big advocate for comfortable footwear. A lot of brides are opting for adorably nerdy sneakers, or you can even get pearl sneakers. There are also really cute flats out there that are amazingly comfy to walk in, look adorable, and won't hurt your feet. Your dress is going to be covering most, if not all, of your shoes anyway, so why put your feet through agony when you can't even showcase those heels? Give your feet a break and let them be comfortable as well as stylish so that you don't have to worry about sore feet on your big day.
3 should have - Lipstick
You're going to get hungry or thirsty and you're going to find that you need to re-apply your lipstick (although I would like to point out that there are some lipsticks that don't come off when you eat or drink and I highly, highly recommend this type to anyone on their big day). Just make sure that you have a lip gloss or something to help if it's super drying like they tend to be. Make sure to have it on hand throughout the day to re-apply as needed.
2 Unnecessary - drinks
If you want to celebrate with your girls or want a drink to calm the nerves, it's totally fine, but do not get sucked into the idea that you HAVE to have champagne on your wedding day. I don't know about you, but I find that if my mind is preoccupied, I can easily overeat or over drink without realizing what I'm doing. You don't want to be tipsy when you're walking down the aisle in front of all of your friends and family. If you do want to celebrate with some bubbly, ask your MOH to watch your back and make sure you stick to just a drink or two.
1 should have - Stain Remover
Even though everyone is going to be hypersensitive to not letting anything get on the bride's dress on the big day, accidents happen. So make sure you keep some kind of stain remover (like a tide to go pen) on hand as well as white chalk. The white chalk will disguise any remnants of the stain and is also helpful for getting rid of dirt and scuff marks on the bottom of your dress. This way you'll shine bright like a diamond all the way down the aisle.