Summer is high season for outdoor weddings, but it also happens to be high season for pesky bugs. Don't let mosquitoes, bees, and other flying insects ruin your wedding! Take a look at these tips on how to have a bug-free summer wedding.
Unless you have your heart set on a sentimental location, like your own backyard, it is smart to take bugs into consideration when selecting an outdoor wedding venue. After all, how much will your guests really be able to enjoy your wedding if they spend the whole time running away from bees, while dressed in their fancy wedding clothes and jewelry? Ideally, scope out the possible site a year before your wedding date, right at the same time of year. Is the area lined with bushes which are positively buzzing with bees? Do the mosquitoes descend like an invading army when dusk falls? In general, areas which are very close to water, woods, and heavily scented flowers will be the most bug-filled.
Any wedding location can be improved, even if it is fairly buggy to start out. To deter bees, choose your flowers wisely, avoiding those with fragrances that draw bees. A good tip for the bride is to select a jeweled hairpiece to match her wedding jewelry, instead of a fresh flower in the hair, which is known to attract insects. If you are concerned about bees coming around the food stations and dinner tables, there are a few things you can do. First, keep food covered as much as possible, and locate trash receptacles away from where your guests will be congregating. Another great tip is something which you frequently see at restaurants with outdoor seating: set up open cups of sugar water along the perimeter to draw the bees away from where your guests will be eating. It works like a charm!
Lakes make for beautifully scenic backdrops for weddings, but they also tend to have a lot of flying insects around them, especially mosquitoes. I will never forget seeing one bride's wedding pictures and wondering why she had red bumps all over her arms. It turned out they were mosquito bites! Don't let that happen to you or your guests. For very buggy areas, try renting one of those propane powered mosquito traps which has a quiet fan and lures in the bugs by releasing carbon dioxide. There are similar devices which have electrical plugs and lure the mosquitoes to their death with ultraviolet lights. People swear by these devices, and if the area you are trying to clear of bugs is your own backyard, you might even want to buy a couple. Ideally, they should be set out well before the start of the wedding, so that most of the mosquitoes in the area will be cleared out before your wedding guests arrive.
There are also some proven low-tech ways to help keep flying pests at bay. Set up tiki torches around the perimeter of your reception space, as the smoke helps (somewhat) to keep mosquitoes away. The old standby citronella candles can also be used on tables and set out in areas where your guests will gather. Place them in attractive candle-holders to make them a pretty addition to your wedding. (Keep in mind that some guests may not like the scent of citronella, so don't overdo it.) For a tented wedding, you could even have net sides that are rolled down as dusk approaches to keep your guests comfy and happy inside.
Last but not least, is personal insect repellent. Though not particularly pleasant (the scent certainly does not smell like Chanel No. 5!), when the bugs are really biting, better to use a DEET spray than get eaten alive. Insect repellent wipes are a less messy alternative, and would be nice to put in the toiletry baskets in the restrooms for guests to use. With all of your preparations made, you can rest easy knowing that no bugs are going to spoil the fun of your wedding!