Ask HR Bride: Unwelcome Guests

Dear HR Bride,

I’m having a September wedding in Virginia Beach. Because the weather will still be nice, we’re having an outdoor reception. I should be worried about the chance of rain, but my biggest concern is bugs! I’m having nightmares about a champagne toast amidst a swarm of gnats and not being able to avoid the pesky mosquitoes as  we cut the cake!

Please help!

Anxious Outdoors

Dear Anxious Outdoors,

Whether you’re having a picnic or a wedding reception, we agree that bugs are no fun, especially here in Hampton Roads with so many great outdoor venues! There isn’t a (safe) way to guarantee they won’t show up, but there are some things you can do to prevent them from crashing the party.

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I doubt eau de citronella goes well with your wedding gown but you can disguise citronella in the form of torches and candles, repelling insects and setting the mood at the same time. Citronella works to distract various insects from being able to find something (or someone) to bite,  and especially targets mosquitoes, flies, fleas and ticks.

While we’re talking about scents, avoid any scented lotion that insects might want to try. There are plenty of unscented lotions available that will still give you shimmer without the sweat bees. You can also provide a basket of one-time-use repellent wipes or cans of spray repellent for guests to use.

If you’d rather make your own bug repellent, here is an easy recipe for Mosquito Mist from Design*Sponge that is not only natural (and easy), but environmentally safe as well!

What you need:
- 1 cup of grain alcohol (organic if available), vodka (ditto) or witch hazel
- 30 drops of essential oil* (i.e. lavender, citronella, rosemary, rose geranium or lemon oil)
*These can be found at your local health store; use one scent or a combination of the scents
- Spray bottle

Putting it all together:
- Place all ingredients into a spray bottle (a mister one works best)
- Shake well
- Spray liberally over any exposed skin
- Reapply often!

Read more at Design*Sponge

A bonus of Zinnias? They’re a favorite of butterflies!

If you’re picking an exceptionally buggy time of year, aim for a reception that starts a little later in the evening. Dusk is a popular time for bugs to make an appearance after they’ve laid low during the heat of the day. An evening reception will also lend itself to the ideal atmosphere to light your citronella candles.

If you’re aiming for a midday reception, mosquitoes won’t want to battle the heat but you may have to deal with flies and bees. If you’re planning on putting your bouquets on the cake tables or including flowers in your centerpieces, pick light-colored amd less fragrant flowers. For example, bees tend to be less attracted to Chrysanthemums, Marigolds, Zinnias, Trumpet Vine, fuchsia, Dahlia and Honeysuckle.

We all know that insects, especially flies, love our food and chances are the food at your wedding is going to be pretty delicious! As soon as dinner is served, make sure plates are cleared (including bread baskets) to minimize the amount of food left out. If you’re having a buffet, ask the caterer to bring lids to all the dishes and make sure any leftover food is covered once everyone has eaten.

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