09 February 2018

Don’t say ‘achoo’ this wedding season

Allergies can spoil important moments in your life. Don’t let an allergic reaction ruin your wedding.

You’ve spent months planning your big day. The tables are set and the guests are waiting. You're about to walk down the aisle when you suddenly start sneezing. And it won’t stop. 

Imagine missing your wedding because of an allergy as it did for this unfortunate couple:

USA Today reports that Victoria and Dominic Tumolo had enjoyed cocktail hour, had dinner and were beginning to dance when Victoria began to feel sick.

"I felt my throat start to close. I started to break out in hives. This had happened to me twice before that, so I knew I was having an allergic reaction," she told USA Today.

“I was starting to have trouble breathing and we had to grab my EpiPen and my dad had to give it to me through my wedding dress. I had to take my dress off outside so they wouldn’t cut it off me when we got to the hospital.’’

Victoria was diagnosed with exercise-induced anaphylaxis – she is allergic to milk and almonds, and her symptoms appeared after dancing (exercise).

Here are five ways you can prevent any nasty allergic reactions at your wedding.

1. Know your trigger

If you have an allergy, it’s important that you know what it is and make every effort to avoid the allergen. Stock up on medication (antihistamines and EpiPens), eye drops and tissues. Be prepared.

2. Flower power

Choose flowers that produce little to no pollen. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, your best bet is to stick with the classic – roses. Other allergy friendly-flowers include begonias, columbines, crocuses, daffodils and geraniums. 

Martha Stewart Weddings says you should avoid chrysanthemums, hyacinths, freesias, sunflowers, lilies and daisies.

“Allergies to flowers are typically as a result of pollen rather than fragrance, but it does differ from person to person. Scented flowers such as lilies, gardenias, freesias, dahlias and sunflowers can also trigger symptoms. Safer options include, tulips, orchids, hydrangeas, carnations, low-fragrance tea roses or baby’s breath, but ask for the double flower types which don't contain pollen. Alternatively try silk flowers,” Wilmi Hudsonberg previously told Health24

Bride holding bouquet

3. Food safety

Food allergies must always be taken seriously. Even if you don’t have any, make sure you check with your guests. Ask them to let you know when they RSVP. Common food allergens include eggs, milk, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy.

Table setting at wedding reception

4. Outdoors vs. indoors

An outdoor wedding is beautiful but it also puts you at risk of numerous allergens. Pollen counts are usually high during the morning, so schedule your ceremony for later in the day when the pollen counts are lower.

Ask the venue to cut the lawn at least one day before the ceremony – mowing can release pollen, which may trigger runny noses and itchy eyes. Let your guests know that the ceremony will be outside in case they have allergies – that way they can prepare.

Bridal couple and guests at wedding

5. Makeup

If you are sensitive or allergic to certain ingredients in makeup, make sure your makeup artist knows this – it’s always a good idea to do a trial at least a month before the wedding. Stick with the brands you know and avoid trying new products in the weeks leading up to your big day. 

If possible, wear waterproof makeup – it’s less likely to run if an unexpected allergy triggers watery eyes. 

Bridge has her makeup done

Image credit: iStock


Ask the Expert

Allergy expert

Dr Morris is the Principal Allergist at the Cape Town and Johannesburg Allergy Clinics with postgraduate diplomas in Allergology, Dermatology, Paediatrics and Family Medicine dealing with both adult and childhood allergies.

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