Guide to wedding day 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


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)

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

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

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.

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.