Wedding Tip — Make a Contingency Kit

At every wedding, behind the scenes, about a hundred and one things don’t go according to the script. And there’s no way you can prepare for every possible contingency.

Thankfully, I’ve NOT seen them all, but I’ve seen a few. The rings that were left at home. The nearby tornado. The band that was late. The dress that wouldn’t bustle. No utensils for the cake cutting. Um, Aunt Flo.


Wedding Tip - Make an Emergency Kit
Wedding Tip – Make an Emergency Kit

This all ties into another wedding tip featured here on the Picture Michigan blog, and that is to have a great Mistress and/or Master of Ceremonies! They will have access to all vendors, keep an extra eye on the weather, and have your Contingency Kit handy.

I’ve heard this called an emergency kit or a wedding-day survival kit. This is not a stash of items you know you will need during your wedding day. This is a kit of stuff you hope you will not need. But you have it in the event of a hiccup.

First off, troubleshoot with those involved in the planning of your big day and plan according to your events. Items in a contingency kit for a December wedding may be different than for a July wedding, which also applies for an Arizona wedding vs. a wedding on Mackinac Island.

Secondly, be less-than-obvious. Who would have thought we’d need a pair of pliers to bustle the wedding dress??

There are also a ton of lists online.

Here are some items that may go beyond things you’ve already considered or found.

  • Find a tool called a Leatherman. It’s a handy tool that’s kind of like a Swiss Army Knife, except without the fork and spoon. This handy tool includes a pair of pliers and screwdrivers.
  • A small penlight. Seriously, ya just never know.
  • Those feminine hygiene products you think you may not need because the bride won’t need them this week. It does not mean a bridesmaid didn’t loss track of time.
  • A sewing kit is very obvious. Safety pins not so much. Have a variety of them handy!
  • Medical tape is like duct tape junior. A smaller role makes it convenient.
  • Things that are normally in a purse such as makeup, clear nail polish, hair spray and so on, should go in this kit. Add to it a travel-size bottle of baby powder.
  • Travel-size of nearly everything available is a good idea.
  • Bic lighter.
  • Superglue.
  • Straws.
  • Spare cash/change.
  • Extra phone battery/charger.
  • It’s a stressful day. A little stress relief can be as close as a shot of nicotine and/or a shot of libation. It’s okay. Just make sure there’s a little mouthwash nearby too!

As for the tornado, I really have no contingency for that one. The small tornado touched down a few miles south of the wedding location and we were a few miles north for a photoshoot with the bridal party.

Funny thing about it all, was that we were completely unaware until we returned. We never heard the sirens.

It was windy and the rain was torrential. The bridal party was huddled under a gazebo during this photoshoot. We all had planned on the possibility of rain. The ceremony and reception was scheduled to be outdoors and under a tent. All went well. The pictures turned out awesome!

Wedding Tip - Make an Emergency Kit
Wedding Tip – Make an Emergency Kit




Wedding Tip — Consider a Band

This is one of those wedding tips that is not really a money saving tip. Sometimes, some things are worth paying for. That is, if you can swing it. Hire a band for your wedding reception.

I’ve photographed a ton of weddings and various events. I’ve seen a lot (and fortunately I’ve not seen it all!).

A D.J. for the receptions is always a great way to go. With the right experience, a D.J. can make or break a celebration. In my years of shooting weddings, I hate to say, there has been a D.J. or two that just did not cut the mustard.

A band providing the music at the reception has always gone great. A great band with wedding and event experience is key here. It adds an extra touch of class for that special day that is a once-in-a-lifetime celebration.


Ricky Nalett and Nikki Fowler of Life Support
Ricky Nalett and Nikki Fowler of Life Support


I do have a band out of Lansing that is at the top of my recommendation list. They are Life Support.

And I do have a D.J. I recommend also. He’s just as good as any band you could hire.

Based in Grand Rapids, his name is Larry McLain, an experienced radio guy and wedding guy. Larry has a graceful balance of class and fun. He doesn’t have a website, but please contact me for his phone number.

Larry McLain Wedding Reception DJ
Larry McLain


Wedding Tip — Get an Emcee

This one is perhaps the most important wedding tip I can pass along. It comes up during the first meeting I have with the bride and groom.

Wedding Tip - Have an MC
Wedding Tip – Have an MC

Having an Emcee is important. And, it is very very important. Also referred to as the Master and/or Mistress of Ceremony, this is your project manager for the day. Important important important!

I like to joke about this person being the bossy cousin or aunt that likes to carry around a clipboard. But seriously, this Emcee is not introducing the opening band. The role of this person or persons is to be on top of every little detail throughout the day. They know where the rings are, they know all the immediate family members for photos, they have all the vendors phone numbers, they hand out the checks if needed. They work with the vendors that are on site regarding timing for cake cutting and first dance and ceremony start-time.

The persons taking on this role must absolutely know their importance.

And for me, as the photographer, this person is my BEST FRIEND for the day!

There’s a little more to the story behind the photo here. This is Jenn and Marie. Marie is the bride. (duh, right?) Should I also mention that it was Jenn’s birthday? (again, duh, right?) Jenn was also the Mistress of Ceremony. With that in mind I hope the photo tells the story. Additionally, it’s worth expressing that the bride is the star of the day. The Emcee is the hard working grunt of the day. Both require a boatload of humility.