Tips for Keeping Guests Safe and Healthy During Wedding Events
by MARY TOOTHMAN
Many brides begin to plan their special day as little girls — imagining just the right pillowy bridal gown, visualizing their handsome partner, and feeling like a star for the day.
The word “perfect” comes up a lot in bridal discussions — that’s the goal: a perfect day.
Far, far in advance, brides may have decided on carrot cake, and a venue that resembles an old farmhouse.
Careful lists may be made for years. Special bridal planning books are often kept, tracking every small detail. There are often backup plans — maybe another venue in case the first choice falls through. There may even be a stand-in bridesmaid.
But there are a few categories that even the most organized bride might overlook….and often they have to do with health issues.
What if one of the groom gets an allergic reaction to something?
What if the flower girl breaks out in a rash?
Can those bound to a wheelchair roll down the aisle or get to their seat? A relative who was able-bodied five years ago may show up in different circumstances on the wedding day.
Are provisions on hand for situations like these?
In the season finale of the popular television show “Grey’s Anatomy,” which aired May 17, lovebirds (and doctors) Alex and Jo are finally getting married. A wedding planner is on hand, barking out directions.
But having a seasoned wedding planner on hand did not make all run smoothly for the TV couple.
As she is standing before the guests with a microphone rallying them in preparation for the ceremony, she clears her throat and says she has a question.
“Does anyone happen to have an EpiPen handy?”she asks. “I seem to have accidentally eaten some shrimp and I am quite allergic.”
She starts to gasp, her throat closes up and she falls right out.
The character in the show asks for an EpiPen (r), which is a potentially lifesaving portable prescription unit containing an epinephrine injection, often used in cases of acute allergic reactions. The woman was going into anaphylactic shock.
Since it’s television, she is surrounded by doctors who perform a lifesaving procedure right on the spot. But if it had happened in real life, would most wedding set-ups been prepared? Should they be?
A cautious way to go might be to consult with those most involved with the wedding about how far to take precautionary or safety measures. The venue itself may also offer accommodations to be used in case an emergency may arise.
Another consideration to be made in order to take extra care for the well-being of guests and bridal party members is the selection of menu options that will work for all types of special circumstances.
A facility in Baltimore advises couples to take a look at food issues in advance of their big day — not just focus on the tastiest icing for the cake.
At New Palmist Retreat & Meeting Center, managers offer advice to ward off potential problems. Take food sensitivities, for instance.
The hosting couple is advised to be aware of guests who are vegetarian, vegan or may have special medical medical conditions that require them to closely monitor the food they eat, like diabetes.
“As these types of dietary concerns become more common, it is necessary for hosts to be sensitive to the needs of their guests,” say experts on the venue’s site. “When you are in the middle of your big celebration, the last thing you want is to have offended or harmed someone by providing inconsiderate food options.”
Experts say it is important to remember that each couple is unique, and wedding needs can be conformed to best fit their needs.
In Florida, though, few people are immune to the brutality of outdoor weather at events, and taking steps to ensure everyone is not only comfortable but safe is very important.
With Florida heat, UV rays, and insects – wedding parties and guests will have limits. According to experts at TheKnot.com, ways to handle the heat include:
- Provide some relief from the high temps. Some type of shade or portable air-conditioning can make things much more pleasant. Box fans, ice cold hand towels and ice cold refreshments are helpful.
- Serve lighter meals. Heavy food and heat are a bad combination.
- Time the wedding wisely. Do not begin an outdoor wedding at midday. That is when the sun is hottest, and guests would be sweltering.
- Wear cool, “breathable” attire. If bide and/or groom are set on an outfit that will be too warm, selection a second wedding outfit that is cool. Wear the heavier garments just for the ceremony, then change. Crisp linen and light-colored garments work well.
- Remember the bug spray and sun protection.
Before getting dressed apply sunscreen to any exposed skin. Consider wearing a moisturizer and foundation or powder that contains SPF. It may be a good idea to try this out before the wedding to make sure no one is allergic.
In the guest bathroom, provide a basket with sunblock wipes as well as bug spray (which should also be available at the ceremony site). Small containers of hand sanitizing lotions are a good idea too.
So, as wedding season begins to roll around this month, make sure you’re taking the right steps to keep your guests safe and happy. Know the guest list and take into account different aspects that could impact those who come to see you tie the knot. Planning and executing a wedding can be stressful enough, don’t let an unexpected medical issue put a blemish on your perfect day.