Among the utmost important aspects of your special day, your wedding perfume might be just as important as the dress, bouquet, or venue. Due to a quirk of our physiology, every time you wear that particular scent after your wedding day, it’ll serve as a reminder of how you felt when you and your betrothed were joined together as one. So without further ado, here’s your ultimate guide to wedding perfume.
So where to begin? The first consideration is whether you will wear a scent you already have, or choose something new. There is something to be said for being the most you you can possibly be on your wedding day, and presumably if you love a perfume enough to wear it regularly, and your partner fell in love with you wearing it, it’ll certainly do the job. But – if you wear something new it will be uniquely tied to the special day for both you and your spouse, so that’s what we suggest. Pull it out on special occasions, date nights, or anytime you need a pick-me-up, and be transported back…That being said, all memories are as fallible as we are, so just to be sure, book an excellent photographer!
Your next consideration is where and when are you being wed? If it’s a barefoot summer affair on the beach; white florals, marine notes, or something citrus will match the carefree and casual tone of the day. If it’s a winter or autumn wedding with a black-tie ballroom reception, choose something sophisticated with warm, spicy, or aldehyde-ey accords. (Aldehydes are the ingredient that made Chanel’s No.5 so revolutionary way back when).
Complement, not compete
You also don’t want to choose something that will mix in unpleasant ways with other aromas from your environment. You should absolutely take into account if your bouquet is a riot of roses, or if you’re walking down an isle lined with lavender bushes. You want to complement, not compete with the shrubbery. If you’re not really the perfume-wearing type, you could consider going au-naturale and weaving fresh flowers into your hair.
Perfume families and types
A helpful question to ask yourself is what family of perfumes do you usually like; and investigate other scents that fall into that. No idea? Essentially perfumes fall into six ‘families’ or groups: floral, woody, oriental and fresh, and then there’s ‘fougère’ and ‘chypre’ which are more complex and entail a combination of elements from the first four.
Another approach is to look up the top, middle, and base notes of your favourites, and look out for them in descriptions when you’re shopping around. Words like: rose, gardenia, vetiver, bergamot, tonka bean, amber etc. The type of perfume denotes its strength, which will impact how intense it smells, and how long it lasts. Eau de Toilette is the common everyday strength most people would apply a couple of times a day. Eau de Parfum is stronger, and would last longer on one application. For example, this would suit a wedding day when one is too busy talking to all the guests and being filled with joy to re-apply (brides can’t exactly tote their everyday magic carpetbag and often need to pack minimally). Cologne is the weakest formulation probably better suited for teenagers determined to drench themselves in the stuff at regular intervals…
Try before you buy
One thing that’s a must: no matter how much you are enjoying the natty little cards they give you, you must try it on your skin, and give it some time. Everybody has different chemistry and skin ph, so scents can smell remarkably different on different bodies. This is a good thing if you and your BFF are equally in love with one, but quite bad if, for example, you buy an enormous bottle online of what turns out to be very expensive pickle juice.
Another tip is to know your limit; it varies person to person but after about 8 they all end up smelling the same. Take a break, get some fresh air, have a coffee (coffee beans can reset) and then revisit.
Mix it up
Finally, if you are an advanced perfume connoisseur or simply cannot find what you want, consider customising or going bespoke. An easy way to do this is to layer two separate perfumes. To do this, you want to be either reasonably confident you know what you’re doing or stick to simpler, more straightforward scents from the same family, for example florals. Some brands lend themselves to doing this more than others, for example, Jo Malone has a huge library of simple, natural and familiar (yet still lovely and elegant) scents that can be combined quite easily with good results.
Alternatively, if you have the time and feel inclined to say hang the expense, going through the process of formulating your own genuinely bespoke perfume will be a once in a lifetime experience. Do a search online to see what companies are available to you locally or online.