Using her ‘just about to be married’ status, the beauty writer Emma Reinhold set out to find the perfect perfume for her wedding day. Her scented journey revealed some lovely ideas for anyone contemplating a big day. Here’s how she got on.
One of my earliest scent memories involves a wedding.
Cast your mind back to 1987; yes, there was lace, lots of it, plus some seriously big hair and the ubiquitous electric blue mascara. The groom wore pink (that’s another story) and the bride, well, she was a vision in white satin and gypsophila, leaving a trail of Giorgio Beverly Hills as she walked down the aisle. The headiness of that fragrance – the tuberose, jasmine and gardenia and that overdose of orange flower in the top note; to this seven year old, she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and I wanted to smell just like her.
Fast forward thirty-odd years and it’s my turn to walk down the aisle. There’s no lace, nor a sprig of gyp in sight and the Giorgio has been kept firmly in the memory cupboard. Finding the right fragrance for your wedding is another layer of complexity in an already frantically busy time. It pulls the whole bridal look together and, as I can testify, is possible to trigger memories for many years to come.
But do you opt for a favourite scent or do you treat it as an opportunity to try something entirely new? As with bridal make-up and hair, it’s important to go with a fragrance that you feel comfortable wearing. The day is about you looking and feeling like the very best and happiest version of yourself. Throw out the notion of a particular brand, budget or fragrance family – rose is not for everyone – and let your heart lead the way.
My search for a wedding perfume started with an appointment with fragrance specialist, Les Senteurs. James Craven really is the authority on fragrance and his encyclopaedic knowledge is delivered in the most gentle, reassuring way. Season, location, style and venue were all discussed, much as it would be in a dress fitting, before several scents were blind tested on me. And much like a dress fitting, these different ‘styles’ provoked very different responses. It wasn’t quite the fragrance equivalent of discovering the ‘meringue’ but James translated my brief perfectly and pushed my olfactive boundaries just as I’d asked him to.
Meanwhile out on the high street, the choice was equally interesting. So which scents made my shortlist?
Guerlain, Aqua Allegoria Sparkling, effervescent and sunny, if you could bottle the excitement of getting ready with your bridesmaids, this Mandarine Basilic edit from the Aqua Allegoria collection would be the scent. There’s zesty freshness thanks to bergamot and the eau de toilette format makes for a lighter finish for brides looking for perfume personality but not necessarily the punch of an edp.
Jo Loves, Rose Petal 25 . Feminine and romantic without being cloying, this is a real classic for the big day. Think English country wedding on a beautiful summer’s day. It’s an unashamedly rosey scent but with a modern twist for today’s bride thanks to ambrette seed and musk. It still retains a sparkling quality that radiates happiness.
Ormonde Jayne, True Love. Your something ‘blue’ thanks to its exquisite packaging. There’s a grace and elegance to this fragrance thanks to its line-up of beautiful blooms including rose, jasmine, freesia and ylang ylang. The perfect bridal bouquet. If you are feeling indecisive, there’s a discovery set featuring the Ormonde Jayne’s best-sellers so you can swap your fragrance up during the day.
Le Labo, Rose 31 The sexy sister to the previous Jo Loves’ Rose Petal 25, there’s a comforting, almost nuzzling quality about this scent. It’s rose for rose-haters. A powdery element softens, while spicy cumin and warm cedar give it body beyond the ‘I dos’. Layer with the ancillary products for deliciously scented limbs and touchably soft tresses.
Atelier des Ors, Nuda Veritas. Warm, solar but with a green freshness, this radiant scent conjures up a feeling of calm and stillness as the sun rises at beginning of the day. A trio of white florals – jasmine, tiare flower and osmanthus – lend an elegant, diaphanous femininity, like a veil in the breeze, while patchouli and ambroxan hint at the suggestion of something more sensual.
And what did I choose? James’ choice of Atelier des Ors, Nuda Veritas was just too beautiful not to wear. A very special scent.
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Our wonderful photography is by the talented Kate Anglestein