Choosing the right fragrance for your wedding day
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Lewes-based perfumier Nancy Meiland offers her advice on choosing the perfect fragrance for your wedding day
The journey to a wedding is awash with decisions, fittings, tastings, last minute inspirations, logistics, beads of sweat, clinking of champagne flutes, excitement, nervous flutters and moments of pure joy with loved ones.
In the midst of all of this, the search for a bridal scent might not be at the top of your to-do list. It should really begin swiftly after the question is popped!
So where to start? Once inspiration has struck for other elements of the wedding and a mood, feel or theme is starting to emerge you can start to think about what you wish to evoke with your perfume. Music, flowers, the dress, the time of year and the location will all really aid your decision-making.
First, ask yourself what impact you would like the fragrance to have as you walk down the aisle. Do you imagine a classically feminine, delicate floral trail of scent in your wake or a bold, statement, and contemporary scent, unique to you? Or would you hope that there would not be a fragrance cloud at all, rather a subtle, intimate scent that reveals itself when others are close to you?
Then try to decide on the concentration of the perfume. For the more delicate trail of scent I would recommend either an eau de cologne or an eau de parfum. These are worn as a mist of fragrance, an aura of perfume that you can be fairly liberal in applying. If you are after a more intense, statement fragrance that wows both the crowd and those close to you I would opt for a parfum concentration (bear in mind that fragrances vary on different skins and the concentration is different between fragrance houses, but broadly speaking this will help you to narrow the field).
Next, what else is important to you in the character of the perfume – would you like a perfume inspired by nature? Or an almost edible, gourmand scent (such as Thierry Mugler’s Angel)? Is there an individual flower ingredient you are drawn to or that ties in with the bridal bouquet or the theme of the big day (such as the orange blossom in Serge Luton’s Fleur: D’Oranger or my contemporary ode to the rose in Rosier that captures the moment a water droplet forms on a petal). Do you like woody fragrances known as chypres, or powdery, beguiling oriental scents (such as Miller Harris’s Fleur Oriental or my own Aquilaria, a smoky and sweet scent)? Is it important that it smells unique to you and is not immediately recognisable (in which case, try the addictive floral bouquet in Ropion’s Carnal Flower for Frederik Malle). If you are after a minimal, barely there scent that is tender and contemporary, try the fragile, honeyed, water-like L’eau d’Hiver by Jean Claude Ellen for Frederik Malle. A good guide to have to hand if you’re really getting into it is Perfume – A Century of Scents written by Lizzie Ostrom.
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With these things in mind, seek out a perfume store with a wide selection of niche, high-end fragrances where you can start to try things on the skin and get samples to take home if possible. And don’t forget to rope in your groom and/or at least one other friend or family member for their very important opinion.
What is the perfume like on your skin after two minutes, half an hour, and then after an hour? Hopefully, there is an overall harmony in the notes, not one ingredient spiking out overtly amongst the others. Check it hasn’t gone too screechy, catty or unexpectedly spicy (and not in a good way). The notes should expand on the skin through the top, middle and base notes. Most fragrances last up to six hours on the skin but some may need decanting into a purse spray for your bridal clutch so that you can reapply through the day and into the evening.
Ultimately there are no hard and fast rules to choosing a bridal perfume, but it’s most likely you will want a perfume that is as near an expression of your personality and your unique individuality as you can get. That way it will be a fragrance that has a story to tell, has meaning to you and one that you wear and that doesn’t wear you. And after some fun sniffing and mulling over, you’ll have a beautiful fragrance that, whenever you doff its cap, will instantly take you back to the most deeply treasured memories of your special day.
Nancy Meiland is a Lewes-based perfumier whose first eponymous collection, Paper Leaf, comprises three scents, Illuminé, Rosier and Aquilaria, which are all inspired by the natural world around her Sussex home - www.nancymeiland.com.
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