Eight years ago, wedding planner Natalie Dawley, had a wedding at The Corinthian. Everything was going smoothly until her bride put on her dress. It was way too big. “She knew she hadn’t lost weight and the dress fit the same as her last alterations appointment,” said Dawley, who owns wedding planning boutique Two Be Wed. “It was apparent that the dress store, which was no longer in business, had failed to do her final alterations.”

Still, there was no time for placing blame. Getting the bride’s dress tailored last-minute involved picking up a tailor and his sewing machine at his place of business and having him fix the dress on the spot. “We gave [the bride] a glass of champagne, or two, and she was calm as can be,” says Dawley.

The chances of having what happened to Dawley’s bride happen to you are probably slim but small fashion emergencies do happen — I got lipstick on my dress as I was leaving for the church — so it’s good to be prepared. Here are some tips to combat common wedding day emergencies and remember that a little fashion emergency shouldn’t put a damper on your big day.

Broken zippers or straps

You’re happily in your dress, ready to walk down the aisle or enjoy your reception when your zipper busts. It’s good to always have a small sewing kit on hand for small tears or loose buttons but a zipper is a little more complicated. If there’s no time to sow it, reach for the safety pins. Or, Dawley suggests, wear a nice shawl to conceal the broken zipper.

Safety pins can also come in handy if your dress straps break. Rocío Valadez of Vogue Cleaners says she has also seen brides staple the straps back on but you have to be careful as that can damage the fabric.


Of course you want your gorgeous gown to look pristine throughout your wedding day, but let’s face it:, stains happen and removing them from your dress can be tricky. The first thing you should do is to stay calm and then attend to the stain as fast as possible.

To treat most stains, Valadez suggests gently blotting the stain with a bit of baking soda and rubbing alcohol or white vinegar on a white cloth or cotton ball, leaving it for a few minutes, then dabbing it off. Dish detergent works well for lipstick and other makeup stains but it requires more care. Dampen the area of the stain with a wet towel, then add a drop of dish detergent and gently rub in the detergent with a small brush. You may need to repeat the process for the stain to come out. Then clean the area with a lightly wet towel with motions from the center of the stain out. If possible dry the treated area with a blowdryer.

To quickly treat a wine stain, pat the stain with a white cloth, towel or cotton ball to first absorb some of the wine. Then you can gently dab equal parts wine vinegar and water on the stain. Keep in mind that there are always ways to conceal a stain — from a strategically placed brooch to rubbing a bit of chalk or baby powder on what remains of the stain — so you can continue to do what you should be doing on your big day: having fun!

Broken heels

What are the odds? You’re almost ready to head to your ceremony when your heel snaps. Yes, it’s happened and if you’re lucky, either you, your planner or someone at your venue will have superglue on hand to secure that heel back on. Better yet, be prepared and have an extra set of shoes to begin with, or if all else fails, borrow a pair from one of your bridesmaids or relatives while you find an alternate solution.