15 Wedding-Day Beauty Emergencies and How to Solve Them

Here's what to do if you spill red wine on your wedding gown, break a heel walking down the aisle or worse..

Updated 09/04/12
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Beauty blunders are a major hassle, but on your wedding day they can lead to complete chaos. Not to worry. We asked several noted wedding planners to weigh in on how to solve 15 common wedding-day beauty emergencies. Their answers range from genius quick fixes (who knew safety pins were so handy?) to solutions a bit more complicated. Read on to find out more.

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What do I do if I spill red wine on my wedding dress?

Since red wine is a part of traditional Christian Eucharist wedding ceremonies and the Jewish Kiddush, not to mention a cocktail hour favorite, it's entirely likely that you'll come into contact with a bit of it on your wedding day. If you spill a drop of two, it's essential you act fast so as not to let the stain set in entirely. "Gently dab—don't rub!—the stain with a moistened napkin," urges Angel Swanson of the Southern California-based boutique wedding and event planning firm Love and Splendor. "You can use water or club soda, but the key thing here is the dabbing. After the area dries, you can use a piece of chalk to gently cover any parts of the stain the club soda didn't remove. Have a friend take your gown to an experienced bridal dry cleaner as soon as possible after the wedding.

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What do I do if I wake up with puffy eyes?

"The 'frozen spoon' trick is a godsend," says Brides' own beauty editor Dana Wood. "Put two metal teaspoons in the freezer and let them hang out there for 15 to 20 minutes while you're drinking a giant glass of detoxifying lemon water. Once the spoons are frosty, lay them on your eyelids face up, with the rounded part in full contact with your lid. Keep them in place for a few minutes." Don't have teaspoons handy? Wrap ice cubes in a paper towel and apply to lids instead.

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What do I do if the strap on my wedding gown breaks?

"Make sure you buy a sewing kit before your wedding day, and track down a bit of thread that matches your wedding dress," says Massachusetts-based wedding consultant Heather Minicucci of Simply Inviting Weddings. "You can always sew the strap back into place or use use a safety pin to attach it."

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What do I do if my mascara runs?

"If your mascara is not water resistant, chances are it will run," says Jenny Orsini, owner of Jenny Orsini Events. "If this happens, use a wet Q-Tip to remove the mascara. Be prepared to touch up your under eye with concealer, foundation and setting powder as well." If water doesn't do the trick, you can try something with a bit of grease. "I like to use a small tub of Aquaphor Baby and a Q-Tip," explains Angel Swanson. "It removes everything from runny mascara to stray eyeliner." "

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What do I do if I break the heel on my shoe?

Your walk down the aisle should be dramatic, but not because the heel of your shoe suddenly snaps. "Make sure your shoes are not poorly made," urges Brides fashion director Rachel Leonard. "Practice walking in them a few days before the wedding to scuff up the soles a bit." This will help to prevent any slips or falls. If you do break a heel, all hope is not lost."Bring a hot glue gun," suggests Heather Minicucci, "and then you can glue the heel back together."

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What do I do if I ruin my manicure?

You smudged your polish before it had a chance to dry? Not a problem. "Use a Q-Tip or your finger to apply a small amount of nail polish remover to the damaged area," directs Jennifer Orsini. "This will remove any polish globs and smooth away rough edges. Let the nail dry, and then apply clear nail polish to the area." It's a good idea to have a small bottle of your nail polish color stored in a safe area the day of the wedding. Not your purse, per se, since a polish spill could result in a second beauty emergency.

A broken nail is a bit more complicated, but curable nonetheless. "Make sure your emergency kit (or your wedding planner's) contains an emery board," says Angel Swanson. "In a major pinch, you can use a thick fabric (like denim, burlap, etc.) to roughly 'file' the area down."

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What do I do if my groom has coffee breath?

"Offer your sweetie a mint," says Angel Swanson, "or head to the bar for some fresh mint or a lemon wedge for a natural halitosis cure."

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What do I do if one of my bridesmaid has out-of-control cleavage?

"You can't micromanage the bridesmaids' alteration appointments," reassures Jessica Harris of the boutique event studio Alden Blair Events, "so this isn't your fault. At this point, work with your planner to find a solution you can live with—if it can be covered by a stylish wrap, eliminated by a strategic safety pin, or managed by fashion tape, then ask your bridesmaid to cover it up and give her the supplies to do so." (All of these items come standard if any wedding planner's emergency kit.) "If it is beyond help, you have to determine what is more important—addressing the issue or maintaining peace. My advice: all eyes will be on your anyway, and great friends should be cherished—bosom and all."

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What do I do if a groomsmen looses his tie, vest or shoes?

Chances are your groom didn't handpick his groomsmen based on their ability to follow directions, so it's entirely likely that one (or more) of them may have picked up an incorrect cummerbund or left a bow tie behind. Don't fret. "Call the tuxedo rental shop," urges Chicago-based bridal consultant Frank Andonoplas of Frank Event Design, "and ask them to messenger a replacement." Any nearby tuxedo shop will do, as they all carry standard black ties and shoes. "I also tell brides that one groomsmen missing black shoes or a vest will not ruin the day or the photos," explains Jenny Orsini. "A talented wedding photographer can always pose the groomsmen in a way that diminishes the focus on the missing vest or tie."

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What do I do if my engagement ring gets stuck on the wrong hand?

"Soak your hand in ice water to get some swelling down," says Angel Swanson, "then use any slippery goo to wiggle the ring off. Anything from butter to oil to hair conditioner to lotion can be used. Wiggle and turn slowly and gently avoid unnecessary manipulation, which may lead to additional swelling."

For more tips on how to care for your engagement ring, check out The Do's and Don'ts of Taking Care of Your Engagement Ring.

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What do I do if I have uncontrollable hiccups?

"My remedy has always been to swallow repeatedly and then drink a glass of water while plugging your ears," admits Angel Swanson. "It sounds hilarious, and you'll probably look silly, but it works for me!"

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What do I do if a zipper breaks?

Safety pins, it seems, couldn't be more valuable when it comes to curing wedding-day beauty emergencies big and small. Here's one more reason why you may want to stick more than one in your clutch: zipper malfunctions. "Just before she walked down the aisle," Jessica Harris recalls, "a dainty little grandmother approached me and motioned to the back of her dress where the full length zipper was broken from neck to tailbone! We delayed the beginning of the ceremony so I could use large safety pins to secure her dress from the inside. No one could see the safety pins, and she walked down the aisle without giving the other guests a show."

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What do I do if I get a run in my stockings?

"Clear nail polish often helps with this," explains Dana Wood. "But if you're really freaked-out at the size of the snag, ditch the stockings altogether! Just make sure your legs are moisturized—no flaky flakes!"

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What do I do if I wake up with a huge zit?

"The best-possible scenario," explains Dana Wood, "is to have your dermatologist on speed-dial; he or she can inject the pimple with cortisone and it will shrink immediately. If that isn't an option, your main objective is to try to reduce the redness as much as possible and then conceal, conceal, conceal. For redness: If you have a few hours, dab on old-school white toothpaste, make sure it contains mint, and leave it on for as long as possible. If you're pressed for time, dab on Visine. To cover: Definitely use a concealer that doubles as an acne remedy and use a little powder from time to time to matte it down.

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What do I do if I am hungover the morning of my wedding?

You told yourself you'd be good at the rehearsal dinner, but then people started making champagne toasts...."Treat this like you would any other hangover," says Jessica Harris. "Close the drapes and get some additional sleep, and when you're ready, ask your Maid of Honor to order a carb-heavy breakfast—no eggs, hold the dairy. Hydration is also key. If you need to delay the start of your hair and makeup appointments, it's better to rush these things than miss out on the sleep you need. If you're in a crunch, make the makeup a priority and get a simple updo."

For a step-by-step guide to doing your own wedding hair, check out this easy, romantic DIY updo.

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