Here comes the bride! Wedding season is officially here, so you might be finding yourself with an overwhelming number of RSVP cards to fill out, or maybe you’ll be sending out invitations for your own nuptials. Couples planning their weddings already have enough to worry about (the caterer, the cake, Great Uncle Gus’s dance moves), but there’s one worry they might not even be thinking about for the big day: allergies.
Allergies should have no place at the sweetheart table – or any table in the venue, as a matter of fact. With a little bit of planning ahead, the bride and groom can avoid allergies altogether. Here are our tips for managing and preventing allergy symptoms on your wedding day:
Think about indoor vs. outdoor.
Many couples prefer to be surrounded by the beauty of nature while they say their vows, but if you’ve got serious outdoor allergies, it might be best to have your ceremony indoors. If you’re absolutely set on an outdoor venue, however, we recommend a few things:
- Avoid having your outdoor ceremony during peak pollen season. Take a look at our month-to-month allergy calendar to see when particular pollens are at their worst.
- Check the pollen count. If it’s a low count for the day, celebrate! If not, stock up on medications and the supplies you’ll need throughout the day. Pollen counts are highest in the early morning, so consider scheduling your ceremony for a little later in the day.
- Start taking your medications a few weeks before the big day to prevent symptoms from developing. Allergy medication is more effective at preventing symptoms than it is at curing them.
- If your wedding will be on a lawn, make sure the grass is cut at least a day or more before the ceremony. Mowing can release pollens into the air.
- Let guests know that the wedding will be outside so they can prepare the same way you are.
- Wear waterproof makeup in case of watery eyes caused by allergy symptoms. (Though you may be doing this anyway!)
Pollen can do more than just cause you to sneeze or have watery, itchy eyes. Oral allergy syndrome is an allergic reaction caused by eating certain types of foods. The proteins in these foods mimic those found in certain pollens. For example, if you are allergic to birch pollen you may have a reaction to apples, carrots, almonds, peaches, cherries, and more. Different types of pollen allergies will cause different types of reactions to a variety of fruits and vegetables. The symptoms of oral allergy syndrome include an itchy mouth, scratchy throat, and swelling of the lips, mouth and tongue. Many people with OAS are able to eat the same reaction-causing foods as long as they are cooked. If you have OAS, discuss your “no go” foods with your caterer.
Have an allergy-safe meal option.
While people with OAS can eat the foods they are allergic to if they are cooked, this is not true for food allergies. Avoidance is the best management for someone with a food allergy. To accommodate guests with food allergies, meet with your caterer in advance to offer an allergy-safe meal option. The “Big 8” food allergens are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy. You’ll want a dish that avoids these ingredients. A vegetable-based dish with a milk- and butter-free sauce may fit the bill. Your caterer likely has experience in preparing meals for people with dietary restrictions, so make sure to discuss this with them ahead of time. The waitstaff should also be educated in the ingredients of the hors d’oeuvres and main dishes so that they can communicate allergen information to your guests.
Powerful scents can aggravate your allergy symptoms and even cause headaches. No bride or groom wants to deal with that on their wedding day! Faux candles are scent-free, with the benefit of also being fire-safe. If you can’t find low-fragrance flowers that you like, consider silk or paper flowers for your bouquets. Not only will they be allergy-friendly, they’ll also last forever. Be sure to stress the importance of being fragrance-free when you meet with your florist and the venue’s coordinator.
Clean in advance.
If your wedding involves an indoor space, make sure it is cleaned at least a day before the ceremony since cleaning will kick up dust and other airborne allergens that could irritate your symptoms. You should also use vacuums with a HEPA filter to trap more allergens while cleaning.
Do trial runs.
We don’t just mean the rehearsal. Meet up with your makeup artist to do a trial run of the makeup you’ll be wearing on the day to see if any of it has an adverse effect on your skin. If you’re having flowers, visit your florist to see if the arrangements are too fragrant or might aggravate your allergy symptoms. (Many flower pollens are too heavy and large to reach your sinuses, so with regard to flowers it is usually more about scent than it is a pollen allergy.)
Choose allergy-friendly favors.
Skip the urge to give your guests chocolate and other food-based favors to take home. Instead, consider a small engraved item or something that won’t trap or conceal allergens.