The Best Under-$100 Investments I’ve Made To Get Me Through 12 Weddings in 2 Years

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It seems as if all of my friends who weathered the pandemic with their partners decided to take a leap and tie the knot… that, or I just turned 30. No matter the reason, by the end of this year (if all goes as planned), I will have attended 12 weddings in the span of two calendar years. While I am delighted and blessed to have so many friends who want me there on their special day, I can’t say I’ve easily integrated these events into my calendar or budget.

With four weddings under my belt so far, one of the best investments I’ve made so far has been my “wedding kit” filled with the essentials that I’ve found to streamline some of the un-fun guest logistics so I can just enjoy the wonderful celebration my friends have coordinated. Here’s what it includes:

1. A toiletry kit

baboon to the moon
Baboon to the Moon Large Dopp Kit — $25.00

Colors available: 3

I only use the majority of my “wedding kit” for weddings—I keep all my supplies (minus the makeup, which I use regularly) together and in my luggage, so I know it always comes with me. Also, I’ve found that since I normally pack these accouterments last, it helps to start with them in the bag and add around them. This way, I don’t forget my essentials and I don’t overpack, or scramble to stuff it all in. I use a nylon Day Birger and Mikkelson I picked up in the Copenhagen airport half a decade before, but any larger pouch will do. Baboon to the Moon’s dopp kit compares in size and style.

KT Tape

KT tape
KT Tape, Pro Synthetic Kinesiology Athletic Tape, 20 Count, 10” Precut Strips — $17.00

Colors available: 9

Strapless KT tape usually costs less than boob tape, and it qualifies as an FSA purchase! A bulk roll amounts to ~5 comparable rolls (we found this 20-count currently on Amazon), so consider it an insurance policy on having to spend a significant portion of your weekend looking for boob tape. Plus, not only can you more freely practice with it and lend it to fellow guests, but it can also come in handy the morning after. After standing and dancing for hours in heels, this versatile tape can be a lifesaver for sore feet and legs—lest we forget, it’s the product’s intended purpose.

Breast Petals

breast petals
Clear Breast Petal 3-Pair Pack — $10.00

When you’re foregoing the bra, these small adhesive flowers help make not only for a smooth finish, but also a less-painful post-wedding, pre-shower experience. I prefer these disposable ones over the reusable silicone ones when using tape since they’re similar material.

Garment Tape

garment tape
Fashion Forms, Garment & Body Tape Dispenser — $10.00

I tape myself, which can prove challenging when dealing with plunging necklines or barely-there backs. I often walk away with a little tape peeking out where I rather it would not. So I just stick a slick of this double-sided tape on my dress to keep it in place.

Block Heeled Sandals

blocked heel sandals
Dolce Vita, Pang Sandal — $80.00

Colors available: 2

You really only need one good pair of wedding shoes, so I went with a pair of twisty, square-toed sandals. They match everything, their puffy detailing keeps my incredibly blister-prone feet safe from rubbing, plus they work for most terrains. The thin and wide block heel comfortably supports standing as a bridesmaid and sliding all over the dance floor, too.

Sizes available: 6-11

High-Waist Compression Shorts

spanx higher power
Spanx, Higher Power Short — $38.00

Colors available: 4

These high-waist compression shorts complete my “base layer” as I like to call it. They work the same as a slip, but also protect against inner thigh chafing. They’re also much more comfortable and convenient than the all-in-one Spanx. If you’re worried about the top rolling down, use some of your fabric tape for extra security.

Sizes available: S-3X

Complexion Palette

Hourglass, Ambient Lighting Edit - Sculpture — $85.00

I’m not a huge makeup girly, but I do like getting dolled up for special events. That means my makeup purchases usually gravitate to palettes and mini kits that I can use for both day-to-day and momentous occasions—plus, I like how they’re more likely to include how-tos. After coveting Hourglass’s swirly, aesthetically pleasing compacts for nearly 10 years, I finally broke down and bought the Ambient Lighting Edit during a holiday sale. I’m thrilled I did: I could pile on these six dummy-proof shades of highlighters, blush and bronzers and never even approach looking clownish. Plus, true to its title, my radiant glow looks great in every photo I take. (Note: This is the only list item that lives in my regular makeup bag.)

Mini Eyeshadow Palette

urban decay mini
Urban Decay Naked3 Mini Eyeshadow Palette — $33.00

In my day-to-day, I’d just combine some highlighter and blush and swipe it on my brow bone, but weddings call for a more dramatic approach. While this six shade nude eyeshadow palette may be mini, it sure is mighty, providing a good variety of doe-eyed looks for both day and night. I’m the guest who can’t stop bawling, and I’m happy to say that my stay put from ceremony to post-reception cocktails regardless of how many tears I’ve shed.

Mini Eyeliner

benefit roller liner
Roller Liner Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Mini — $12.00

I only wear eyeliner for special events, mostly because I’ve always found it a pain to apply. But Benefit’s mini Roller Liner is the perfect size in both tip and tube—meaning, my poor fine motor skills have no trouble creating a precise cat eye that’s even on both sides.

Tinted Lip Balm

benefit lip tint
Benefit, California Kissin’ ColorBalm Moisturizing Lip Balm — $21.00

Colors available: 16

I am never without a drink in my hand at a wedding—either water to rehydrate myself after crying my eyes out (note: I know that’s not how it works) or beer or wine in aid of experiencing the dance floor feel-goods. Lip stain has been invented for exactly these purposes, but I have a chronically chapped kisser and don’t want to deal with the fallout the morning after. Plus, FYI: TSA considers Aquaphor a liquid! I came across these little lippies in a four-piece set over the holidays and promptly bought many colors (so did my sister). I love them because they provide long-lasting moisture, plus more than a subtle tint of color that doesn’t bleed or feather—perfect for reapplication! I’ve deemed Poppy as my signature hue.

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