How Do I Allergy-Proof My Outdoor Wedding?

Q:

I'm planning to have my ceremony outdoors during the spring, but I'm worried about my guests who have bad allergies. Is there anything I can do to make those guests with allergies more comfortable?

A:

Spring is a great time to get married outdoors. The temperature is just right and there are tons of beautiful flowers in bloom. Of course, then again, you named the one slight downside: environmental allergies. The reality is that there isn't much you can do to truly allergy-proof an outdoor ceremony. Because allergens, like pollen, are carried by the wind, even a tent that's not fully closed off won't provide much protection.

The key to an outdoor springtime wedding is to try to make guests as comfortable as possible. First, spread the word that the ceremony will be outdoors, so that everyone can prep for it. Put that info on your wedding website, your invitation inserts and tell bridal party members to spread the word too.

If possible, offer guests access to an air-conditioned indoor space (air conditioners filter out pollen) they can go to if their allergies start to flare up and they need to take a moment to step away from the ceremony.

During the ceremony, you might want to have sunglasses on hand (printed with your wedding hashtag perhaps?) to protect your guests' eyes from irritating pollen. Finally, pack the restrooms with a few over-the-counter allergy medications, like Zyrtec or Claritin, as well as plenty of tissues. The tissues can do double-duty for all the happy tears too!

At the reception, consider the flower types used in your centerpieces. Flowers generally don't trigger as many allergy symptoms as trees, but it's still good to take note. Super-fragrant flowers like jasmine and lilies, typically have higher pollen counts than flowers that are less fragrant. So ask your florist to go light on the fragrant flowers in your centerpieces.

Special thanks to Dr. Sakina Bajowala of Kaneland Allergy & Asthma Center, North Aurora, Illinois

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