Relationships

The Bride and the Brood

An interview with a woman who just realized her outdoor wedding will very likely be overrun by horny cicadas.

A bride in her wedding dress, surrounded by cicadas.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Maria Dorsey /iStock/Getty Images Plus and KayDee Owens on Unsplash

Lauren Migaki was expecting a small wedding this summer. But it might get a whole lot bigger. Migaki, a senior producer at NPR, and her fiancé, Sam D’Agostino, an officer of partnerships at the Pew Charitable Trusts, have invited friends and family to Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., on a Saturday in early June. But Migaki only recently realized that her intimate outdoor ceremony very likely will get crashed—by Brood X. Her wedding day is smack-dab in the middle of peak cicada season, according to the Washington Post’s calendar. What’s a bride to do when her nuptials might be interrupted by 10,000 shrieking, mating insects? Migaki talked to Slate (with a cameo from D’Agostino) about the folly of best-laid plans, hosting a Fear Factor reception, and what party favors are best for a cicada wedding. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Dan Kois: So when did you get engaged, and when did you start planning the wedding?

Lauren Migaki: We’re one of those couples who got engaged in lockdown. We got engaged in March last year. We had not wanted to have a super long engagement, but it became clear that there wasn’t an obvious end to the pandemic coming. So we started planning for June, just wanting to get married fairly soon. And did not at all think of the cicada situation.

When did you pick that June date?

We picked the date in December.

Yeah, no one was talking about cicadas then.

I think it was kind of arbitrary—you know, we wanted to avoid Memorial Day, and the first week of June is as nice a week as any. You’re trying to avoid the D.C. heat of August, the humidity, and you hope in June it’s not sweltering.

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Where is the ceremony?

We’re having the ceremony in Rock Creek Park. We reserved a little picnic shelter, thinking, ha ha, we would be totally prepared in case of rain. And we’re planning on coming back to our house and doing a backyard pizza party. It’s pretty small—family and a few close friends. We’re estimating about maximum 30 people.

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We hired a photographer and, as a radio producer, for me it was important to capture the sound of the day, so we paid extra to have an audio recorder. And, huh, I am just realizing now that the buzzing might be overwhelming. I don’t know how magical the sound of the day will be.

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I am just imagining the sound recorder holding their microphone up and …

We don’t have a band or a DJ, so maybe the cicadas will just be the soundtrack.

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When did you really realize that your wedding date fell in the middle of Brood X?

Honestly, it really dawned on me yesterday.

Yesterday!

You know, I had all of the facts, but I hadn’t yet put it all together. I was doing some wedding-related stuff yesterday, and was seeing more social media posts about people being freaked out about the cicadas coming, and I was like … oh … oh no!

Oh man.

And then I’m looking online and people are saying, “It’s fine as long as you’re not in a wooded area”—well, great, we’re in the woods.

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So what are you going to do?

You know, at this point, we’ve been so flexible over the past year, I think we’ll just run with it. I found some really great possible wedding favors online. There’s a shop on Etsy that makes chocolate-shaped cicadas filled with caramel, which I think could be a really nice wedding cake topper.

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You know cicadas are, like, the protein source of the future. They’re supposedly delicious. Would you serve cicadas at the reception?

Wow. My little brother is training to be a chef, he’s going to be there, and so if he wanted to come up with a dish, I would not necessarily be opposed. A Fear Factor–style wedding. But it’s not high on my wish list.

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What did your fiancé think when you told him?

Let me ask him. [Walks to another room.] Sam?

Sam: Yes?

Lauren: What was your reaction to finding out our wedding was during cicada season?

Sam: I, um … I don’t know that I’ve fully processed it.

Of course.

Sam: My only experience with cicadas was one year in Missouri when two different groups of cicadas hatched the same year. We had to run to and from the bus stop because we were dive-bombed constantly. So I hope it’s not that bad.

Lauren: Oh, God. I did think that maybe we should give all the guests nice umbrellas. I just don’t—will everyone be, like, wading through cicadas? I don’t know.

It seems like, whatever happens, it will be an incredibly memorable wedding.

We were joking about how the first anniversary is paper, and the 10th is tin, so maybe the 17th can be cicadas.

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