Don't let pesky bees become an unwelcome guest at your summertime celebration.
jessika william wedding rice toss
Credit: Liz Banfield

You love the idea of a beautiful, flower-filled outdoor wedding ceremony, but have you considered the risk of uninvited guests? While bugs in general are a concern for celebrations held outside, bees pose an especially difficult problem. While nobody likes being stung by a bee, these nuisances can quickly become dangerous to those with allergies. Does that mean you have to let go of your idea of exchanging vows outdoors, or else ditch those floral arrangements? According to Allison Jackson, owner and lead event planner of Pineapple Productions, you won't need to go so far as all of that. Here, she shares her tips for battling bees, wasps, and hornets on the big day.

Assess the Area

"When working on an outdoor wedding, one of the first things we do is to assess the venue, and that includes looking for bee nests and hives," says Jackson. Bees often flock to tall grass, flowering plants, and dark, covered areas like sheds for nesting. That means it's vital to pay close attention to these areas. "If nests are found, we deal with the situation by relocating the wedding to another area on the property, or by calling pest control," the pro adds.

Avoid Sugary Pre-Ceremony Drinks

If you didn't notice bees in your venue assessment, you're not necessarily in the clear on your wedding day. That's because bees and wasps are attracted to food aromas, and they're particularly partial to sugary sips. The solution? Limiting the amount of sweet treats before the ceremony (and again during the reception should it be taking place entirely outdoors). "When we are concerned about bees, we suggest serving less sugary drinks. Cocktails made with mint and basil are good choices, since these herbs are known to repel bees," says Jackson.

Think About Floral Decorations

You might love the look of a beautiful ceremony arch decked out in flowers, but the bees will, too. If you're allergic or know there are already bees in the area, you may want to consider a different backdrop. Same goes for flowers lining the aisles. As pretty as fresh blooms look, you'll be hard-pressed to find a way to keep the bees at bay if you bring in an abundance of flowers. A good alternative? Place flowers at your ceremony entrance but not near you, your groom, and the officiant.

Rely on Dryer Sheets

Did you know scented dryer sheets repel bees? Jackson suggests placing a few underneath ceremony seats to keep bees at bay. If you don't mind the smell, you can also rub dryer sheets along your wedding dress; this is especially important if you're allergic to bees. Also lay out some dryer sheets or commercial bee repellent wipes in your bathroom for guests to use.

Go Natural

If you don't want to place dryer sheets all over you revenue, use natural bee repellents instead. For example, you can incorporate marigolds or mint leaves (both of which are said to be despised by bees) into your wedding décor. You can also make a DIY bee repellent spray with certain essential oils that repel bees, such as citrus, peppermint tea tree, or cinnamon.

Be Prepared

Despite taking all of these precautions, bees may still show up to your ceremony. Who knows if they'll love someone's sweet-smelling perfume or deodorant? Be prepared by stocking your venue with sting-fighting essentials. "Tylenol and Advil can help with pain, and antihistamines like Benadryl prevent swelling and itching," says Jackson. "If we are aware of guests who are allergic to bees, we might recommend having an EpiPen on site, or even a doctor depending on the level of concern and risk."


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