The best and worst wedding flowers to cause hay fever.

Something happened this year, I {Sarah} got hay fever! According to the experts* I am not alone! The lack of rain and reduced pollution from cars during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown has contributed to a particularly severe season. As a florist, it made me far more aware of the causes and how to best manage hay fever. So, do I need to change my profession?

Fortunately, not! Some flowers do irritate hay fever symptoms more than others. Sure, antihistamines and waterproof mascara are essential, but understanding which flowers to limit contact with is helpful. A Bride recently contacted us confessing that she experienced horrendous hay fever, even so, still wanted fresh flowers on her wedding day. Yet, she was unsure if she could, but she absolutely can!  So, we want to share some hints and tips with you surrounding hypoallergenic wedding flowers.  Hay fever may not affect you directly, but if there are sufferers among your wedding guests, it is worth keeping in mind to limit the coughing and sneezing throughout your wedding day celebrations.

*By experts I am referring to Dr Hilary Jones appearing in May 2020 on Good Morning Britain. Yes, my knowledge goes that deep!

Which flowers to avoid during hay fever season in the UK?

Hay fever is a common allergic reaction to pollen caused by flora and fauna during early spring and summer. Unsurprisingly, pollen is the big offender because when it is airborne, it can trigger hay fever symptoms.  So which flowers should Brides avoid?

Dahlias
These beautiful flowers are adored by bees and comes in a variety of wonderful colours.  Regretfully they are not good news for hay fever suffer.

Gypsophila
A popular wedding flower, but a hay fever sufferers’ nightmare! Gypsophila (also known as Baby’s Breath) carries dusty pollen with a potent fragrance that loves to set off a round of sneezing.

Asters (September Flowers)
Asters look lovely but can be a pain during their blooming period.  Although most Asters are not air-pollinated, it is best to avoid getting too close to these late-season bloomers. The same goes for its family members, Daisies and Gerberas, which are both allergen heavy.

Sunflowers
You may not consider Sunflowers as a cause of allergies but be warned! The size of the sunflower head will dictate just how much pollen it produces. There are pollen-free varieties available, so if hay fever is a concern, speak with your florist.

Gerberas
Gerbera is an exceedingly popular cut flower. Like Sunflowers, these allergen heavy blooms are a menace to hay fever sufferers. However, bees, butterflies, and birds adore them!

Lilies
Comparable to Gerberas and Sunflowers in the allergy stakes, Lilies release a large amount of pollen, making them a no-go for hay fever sufferers. If you do want Lilies without experiencing sneezing and sniffles, ask your florist to ensure the pollen is removed from the stamen. This is a good idea to avoid the pollen staining the beautiful wedding dress too!

Chrysanthemums
If you are allergic to Sunflowers or Daisies, we recommend staying away from Chrysanthemums.  You may find yourself sensitive to certain parts of the plant, including its pollen, leaves, flowers and even the stem.

Which wedding flowers can a hay fever sufferer choose?

Not all flowers are bad to be around.  Some flowers produce less pollen, others are insect-pollinated or have pollen that is too large to spread far.  This means that those with hay fever can enjoy flowers just as much as other people.

Antirrhinums (Snapdragons)
The closed buds of this flower minimise the release of pollen, making it a safe choice for anyone who suffers from hay fever. They are available in a plethora of colours too, from white, yellow, orange and peach to pink, red, purple, and lilac.

Hydrangea
A Hydrangea is one of the safest options to help you enjoy a sneeze free day. This is because it is pollinated by insects rather than the wind.  Hydrangeas comes in a variety of shades of pink, blue, purple, green and white.

Peony
Peonies are a hugely popular flower for hay fever sufferers because, like the Hydrangea, it is pollinated by insects rather than the wind.  However, Peonies have a truly short season and can only be considered as a wedding flower option for May and early June weddings.

Tulips
Another great allergy-free option for those on the hunt for hypoallergenic Spring flowers! They are a cheerful and colourful choice that will limit sneezing and coughing during your wedding ceremony.

Roses
Possibly the most popular and traditional wedding flower.  Roses are not only reliable, they have good year-round availability, but better still – they release extraordinarily little pollen into the air.  It is better to choose a tight budded variety to help minimise pollen exposure, as opposed to the open and voluminous head of a shrub Roses.

Astrantia
Astrantia is a gorgeous wedding flower with a delicate star-shaped head.  It adds texture to any bouquet, making it an exceedingly popular choice for spring and summer weddings.  It rates low on the allergy scale, so there is no need to be afraid of that hay fever headache!

Carnations
Say goodbye to itchy eyes and a runny nose with carnations! Although they have fallen out of favour with Brides, these ruffled blooms can easily add texture to any arrangement. They can look pretty when clustered together too.

Always keep in mind that every person reacts differently to pollen. Even low-pollen flowers cannot guarantee that you will have no form of allergic reaction at all. Ask your local florist for advice to create a hay fever friendly bouquet!