Given the fact that you're ironing out every single detail of your big-day ensemble—from your hair and makeup to your shoes and your gown—it only makes sense that you'd also consider something like the fragrance you'll wear, too. After all, our sense of smell is incredibly powerful—and we often link certain scents back to fond memories. Since there are few days you'll be more fond of than your wedding, fragrance experts are totally in favor of brides and grooms selecting a special perfume or cologne for the big day. But does it have to be something different and unique, or can it be a beloved scent you've been wearing for several years or even decades?
Marissa Zappas, trained perfumer, likes the idea of choosing a totally new fragrance specifically for the wedding, one that you and your partner can both cherish and go back to together. "If you wear a perfume on your wedding day that was previously worn by your mother or grandmother, or a perfume from a different point in your life, it won't be neutral or have the same poignancy," she says. "When you go back to this smell, you won't clearly remember your wedding and all the romance imbued in that celebration."
Linda G. Levy, president of The Fragrance Foundation, agrees, adding that a special occasion fragrance can hold a meaning that will forever remind you of your wedding, no matter how many years or decades pass. However, she does note that a bride or groom should wear the fragrance for several days or even weeks prior to the wedding day to ensure compatibility with her or his body chemistry. This can help minimize the potential for any unpleasant surprises on the big day.
When selecting your wedding-day fragrance, make sure it's truly something that's special and memorable rather than an "everyday" fragrance. Zappas suggests going with whatever perfume helps you cultivate the emotion you'd like to embody. She recommends taking time to browse your local perfume counter, ignoring the sales associates and letting your imagination guide you to that special day.
When it comes to scents you might want to stay away from, Matthew Milèo, founder of MILÈO New York, suggests avoiding citrus, spice, mint, and nutty notes, as those can easily overpower the delicacy of a white floral. "It's best to blend white florals with deeper woody, earthy, and resinous notes, like Sandalwood, Orris Root, and Oud, to extend its longevity and tenacity," he says. "Be sure to look for hexane-free extractions, like organic solvents and enfleurage, to ensure that your joyous scent is free from petrochemicals, which can cause headaches and drowsiness (not a great side effect to have on your wedding day)."
Lastly, instead of surprising your soon-to-be spouse with your new scent, consider running it by him or her. The last thing you two need is a noxious scent that's keeping you apart on your wedding night!