How To Choose Your Perfect Wedding Day Fragrance

As your wedding day approaches, you want everything to be perfect. You've already found the person you're going to marry, the one perfect wedding dress or attire that makes you feel most confident, and now it's time to find the one fragrance that will bring everything together. Choosing the best scent to wear on your wedding day is a sensory experience that can evoke emotions matching the joy and love of your nuptials, so finding the perfect option for you is just as important as choosing table settings and floral arrangements.

The use of perfumes, fragrances, and scented elements on the body date back to ancient civilizations, including ancient Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia, as reported by McGill University. The terminology stems from Latin roots, dissected into "per" and "fumus," which translate to "thorough smoke" and first evolved from the use of lighting incense into the liquid perfumes used today. Knowing the history of perfumery and fragrance creation will give you an educational foundation for deciding on the perfect wedding day scent, but you should also take into consideration your budget, theme, partner, and guest list. Here's what else you should know for finding the best fragrance for your wedding day.

Determine your budget

First and foremost, you should have a budget for the amount of money you're able to spend on your wedding day fragrance. It's no secret that weddings can be expensive events and your bank account can definitely feel the impact, so make certain that you aren't overextending your wallet when purchasing your bridal scent. Perfume costs vary, with many bridal options having price points at $100 or below, per Kate Gates Co

There are multiple considerations to make when determining your fragrance budget, and while it might seem like the scent will be intended for single-day use during your nuptials, the bottle of perfume you purchase can become a keepsake to evoke emotional memories of your special day in future years. The smells inhaled through our noses activate the areas of the brain that control emotions and memory, so a smell can bring you back to a happy memory or remind you of a loved one, per The Harvard Gazette. Similarly, fragrances can establish sensory connections between the experience you have while wearing the scent, ultimately leading to future instances of the scent emoting memories (via The Spokesman-Review). This means that the scent you choose for your wedding day will take you back to the day of your nuptials when you sniff fragrant notes related to your bridal perfume in the future, so you may want to invest in something special. 

Match the theme of your wedding

If you already have a signature scent, then you may opt to wear your signatory fragrance on your big day. On the flipside, if you're someone who typically doesn't apply perfume on a regular basis, you might be overwhelmed by the plethora of available choices. One principle to keep at the foundation of your wedding planning is the theme of your event, including the physical landscape, weather, dress code, and the overall vibe of your nuptials. Just as it's customary to appropriately match décor, table settings, floral arrangements, and all other details of the celebration in a complementary fashion so that everything flows well, don't exclude your wedding day fragrance from the choreographed thematic setting of your wedding. In fact, Brides recommends coordinating your bridal scent with other aspects of your wedding. 

For instance, a fragrance fit with tropical tones, coconut, and salty beach notes might not be appropriate for the exchanging of nuptials in front of a mountainous landscape. If your wedding is more of an upscale or formal affair, complementary scents for the sophistication of the event may involve stronger notes involving spice, musky ambrette, and woody influences. Given that romance is at the heart of weddings, opting for a fragrance with notes of floral elements, particularly rose, and lighter aromatic scents can seal the amorous emotions emitted during your wedding day. 

Seek out something sentimental

Your wedding day will be one of the most memorable days of your life, which makes the choice of fragrance worn all the more central to your experience as you marry the love of your life. So you may opt for a perfume that evokes memories from a particular moment in your relationship history, such as the first time you met your betrothed, or a special day the two of you shared that you hold dear in your relationship timeline. 

Another approach to finding the perfect wedding day fragrance is shopping for the ideal perfume alongside your significant other. While it's tradition to first see the wedding dress at the ceremony, there's no rule prohibiting your soon-to-be spouse from smelling your proposed scent for your mutually anticipated big day. One way to go about this approach is to try various fragrances in a store, spraying a spritz of a potential wedding day scent on your arm. After the fragrance settles onto your skin, have your betrothed smell the scent and give their opinion. If the elements of the fragrant spray emanate sentimental memories, smell pleasant to both parties, or the overall scent is something that you both believe will cement your wedding with future memory associations of the perfume's aromatic notes, then you've found the one! 

Complement your partner's scent

As you shop for your perfect wedding day fragrance, whether you shop together with your fiance or decide to search separately, a factor to consider is how well it will pair with your betrothed's chosen fragrance. Just as it's recommended that you get your significant other's opinion on your potential perfume, you should also get a sniff of their potential scent prior to the big day for the same reasons. 

Similarly, you'll want to make certain that both of your scents are complementary to one another and to the thematic aspects of your wedding. The aromatic combination of one person wearing a light, coconut-scented perfume and the other wearing a heavy, musky fragrance is asking for an unpleasant odorous nightmare. Take this as your sign to make certain that you and your soon-to-be spouse coordinate your wedding day scents. 

Additionally, since the fragrances you wear on your wedding day will be tied with emotive memories for your shared lifetime, Wedding Bee recommends ensuring that both of your wedding day fragrances are likely to be available for years to come so that you can continue to be reminded of the joyful, amorous emotions of your special day. Choosing a classic fragrance that is iconic of a major brand may not feel original, but it's one way to ensure that you'll be able to reproduce the sensory memories of your wedding day in the future.

Give it a practice spray

Prior to your big day, you'll definitely want to wear your selected perfume beforehand to make certain that you really do love the scent, and perhaps more importantly that you don't experience any adverse reactions to the fragrance. Healthline reveals that side effects of an allergy or sensitivity to a perfume can appear as a red, itchy rash or hives on skin, sensations of skin itching without signs of a rash, and potentially the development of blisters. Due to sensitivities to aromatic ingredients, additional symptoms include headache, excessive mucus drainage, sneezing, and nausea. Since odors are inhaled through the nose, you might experience itchiness inside or around your nose if you discover a sensitivity to a specific fragrance.

The experience of wearing perfume has been likened to a fragrant musical composition with an array of contributing factors which culminate in a score which evokes emotional reactions, per McGill University. Upon spraying perfume onto skin, initial fragrant top notes emanate for up to 10 minutes, followed by the core aromatic elements of the scent becoming apparent within approximately 20 minutes of application. Keep in mind that what you smell upon application may not be the notes emitted after several minutes. This is why running trials with your chosen perfume is critical because you may love the initial top notes of the perfume but find that the core foundational notes present after the top notes fade aren't aligned with your sensory ambitions for your wedding day.

Properly apply your fragrance

Before you give your fragrance a practice spray, ensure that you know how to use perfume for optimal effectiveness. Southern Living advises that perfumes and body sprays should be applied to your skin when it's freshly clean and hydrated, sharing that the ideal time to apply fragrance to your skin is just after you've taken a shower. Your skin will be hydrated and likely at a warmer temperature, which makes fragrance absorption more effective. Getting ready on your wedding day can be chaotic, so if you can't apply your perfume right out of the shower, try the hack of putting unscented lotion on your skin to create a moisture-rich environment and then spraying your perfume once the lotion has soaked in. Using unscented lotion is important because any additional scents applied to the skin, including those in body washes and shampoos, can interfere with the perfume's signature notes and mute the effect of the fragrance.

On your wedding day, make certain you're spraying perfume on the correct pulse points of your body. Since areas like the neck, wrists, collarbone, and backside of the knees are naturally warm, perfume absorption in these areas is most effective. When you apply your bridal perfume, refrain from rubbing the liquid into your skin since doing so can dilute the aromatic elements, even completely eliminating the top notes. Instead, dab the fragrance onto your skin very lightly. 

Consider possible sensory sensitivities

Your wedding gives you the opportunity to stand up in front of your family and friends, and express your everlasting, unconditional love for your betrothed. Upon selecting your wedding day fragrance, take stock of the guests who will be in attendance at the wedding events and consider whether anyone has sensory sensitivities. In a rising trend termed "sensory-friendly weddings," the needs and comfort of guests with a variety of sensory exposure vulnerabilities are being addressed in kind, compassionate, and empathetic manners by couples, per Equally Wed. Sensory-friendly weddings are considerate of guests with neurodivergent conditions, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), multiple chemical sensitivity, and neurological conditions like epilepsy and narcolepsy.

The thoughtfulness behind planning a sensory-friendly wedding extends to being mindful of sensory experiences at your wedding that affect all five senses, so there may need to be considerations when choosing your perfect fragrance. Since modern perfumes use synthetic and manufactured ingredients which are prone to cause allergic reactions or sensitivities in those who smell them, many soon-to-be wed couples are opting for low-scent or no-scent weddings. This doesn't indicate that you have to go perfume-free during your big day, but if any of your guests have sensory sensitivities then you may search for a scent that is light, made from clean and natural ingredients, and less likely to instigate sensitivity symptoms than other fragrance options.