One of my best friends got married to his beautiful, intelligent, charming wife in the early summer of 2001. I arrived a week early to help with all of the preparations since, as his Best Man (well, we chose Simply the Best as my title since I happen to be female) those details fell within my responsibilities. The couple chose the location to save costs and because it had great meaning to them both; it was her family homestead amidst the glorious greenery of Minnesota where they had spent ample time in their courtship. The flowers were all in bloom in the garden and the gentle breezes cooled the landscape. I remember the earthy smell of the place and the whole in-nature concept fit the couple perfectly. They rented tables and a tent for the outside seating and had a couple of port-a-johns brought in to not overwhelm the old farmhouse’s ancient bathroom. It was simple, romantic, natural, and lovely.
As in all things, simple can sometimes become complicated. We stumbled upon a very interesting problem the day before the wedding and rather shocking problem the morning of the wedding. We removed our shoes for the rehearsal (the wedding was simple and lacking in opulence and the entire bridal party went barefoot) and started walking down the garden path to the arbor under which the bride and groom would be united. As I placed my feet on a patch of clover, I noticed that bumblebees were buzzing about collecting pollen and generally being bumblebees. This was an immediate concern for me personally because I am deathly allergic to bee stings. One sting and I’d swell up like Violet Beauregarde, needing immediate assistance from EMTs. With shoes on, I rarely worry about where I plod along in grassy spaces; shoeless, I was not as confident. We created a path directly to the arbor that avoided clover and wildflower, minimizing the chances of me tromping on a bee. Also, I created out of a spare garter a way to conceal my epi-pen should I need to inject myself during the ceremony.
Or so we thought.
In the morning, we all went outside to confirm the setup of chairs and sundry items for the ceremony when we heard this phenomenal buzzing noise. We looked up to see a large ball of bees squirming around each other on the wedding arbor. It was just your average, every day run-of-the-mill bee swarm. Now as any apiarist can tell you, bee swarms are common and nothing to be, entirely, frightened of. However, in less than two hours we needed that arbor for the wedding vows. Now we had hand woven roses throughout the entire structure which took hours, so no one was going down without a fight over the use of the arbor. We found the Father of the Bride who came to the rescue with a beekeeper’s smoker (it’s amazing to me what people have in their garden sheds). He gently persuaded the swarm to disperse and relocate somewhere else. The ceremony went off without a hitch, and barefooted and rooted in the earth, my best friend married his wife.
What did I learn from this experience? Find out who in your wedding party has allergies to anything that might be unique about the location or that might stem from your ceremony. Besides the weather, there are other considerations for an outdoor wedding. Also, marry into a family who knows to handle bees.
**title quote by Victor Hugo