Have you heard of a wedding scent but have no idea what it is or if you need one? Well, we're here to answer 15 of your frequently asked questions about wedding scents! I chat with Fragrance & Lifestyle Expert, Emma, from Jo Malone London about their wedding scent experience and why a wedding scent is so special. We also ask for tips to make your scent last all day, ways to scent your wedding venue and so much more! Prefer to watch rather than read? The full video interview is also included below. Okay, Emma, question one, let’s go!
The importance of wedding scent with Jo Malone London featuring Fragrance & Lifestyle Expert, Emma!
1. What Is A Wedding Scent?
As it says, it is a scent that is chosen specifically for your wedding, but what it becomes is really memories in a bottle. It becomes this time capsule to relive whether it's in five or 55 years' time.
2. Could you tell us a little bit more about the Wedding Scent EXPERIENCE and process at Jo Malone London?
So it's a complimentary consultation and it's something that we absolutely love hosting at Jo Malone London. I'm gonna say for my colleagues, and myself, it's one of our favourite things to do. Because we really recommend actually coming in as a couple. You can come in on your own or with your other half or with whoever you trust. But it's a nice opportunity to really get to understand your big day. So we'll, first of all, find out all about the setting, and the location themes and then we go through the scents and we try and find scents that reflect that, but also reflect your style and preferences.
Then, it also means we have a bit of fragrance fitting. So once we've narrowed it down, we really indulge in a pampering hand and arm massage as a way to explore at least two different options on both arms and then make a decision. But it also gives us the opportunity to maybe look at how the wedding scent that you settle on may be taken throughout the whole day as well. So the fragrant flicker of candlelight is always so transformative and a way in which you can then expand your scent and make it encapsulate the entire day.
3. How long does a wedding scent appointment last normally?
So on average, about half an hour to an hour. But we really don't want people to feel like, oh no, there's another thing I have to do on this endless wedmin list. This, I cannot stress enough, is one of the most fun things and a delicious detail. I'd say it's akin to menu tasting. Whether you want to do it early on in the process or whether you want to do it as one of the final finishing touches, we can really accommodate it around how long you have.
4. Can I gift a wedding scent, maybe for anniversaries or wedding favours?
Yes, I mean gift giving is our forte with the iconic cream and black boxes. So we do often help couples getting married have those special gifts for those people that are in the wedding party because they've been those all-important helpers. But we also found recently that table favours can look so smart in a Jo Malone London cream and black box. In some of the stores, we have the capacity to emboss on the boxes as well. So you can even do guest initials and it acts as your table favour and place name, which is really smart!
5. what makes a wedding scent so special?
I think it is that power of memory if I'm honest, I think most people have had that moment where they're walking down the street and you are stopped in your tracks by a particular smell or scent and you are taken to a time in your life or a particular place. It's such an instantaneous and emotionally compelling sense. I don't think any other senses come quite as close to scent. Sound and soundtracks and sometimes some songs can be very powerful like that, but I think it really stands alone in that kind of instantaneous visceral response.
We have tips on how to preserve your wedding scent afterwards, like making sure you keep it out of direct sunlight and in a cool place so that you can preserve that scent as long as possible. Also, I think tips on how to then use your wedding scent. Some people have a firm favourite and they just then want to wear it continuously and that's absolutely fine. But I almost feel like the wedding scent is one you only bring out for anniversaries and other people's weddings when you are likely to be reliving your wedding memories too.
6. How can I choose a wedding scent that complements my style and also my wedding style?
Oh, that's a really good question actually because there are so many different ways you could choose to use that scent to reflect, like you say, your taste preferences and your personality but then also in details of the day. I'd always say let your personal preference and taste lean first, which can be led by your nose.
There are some examples. I mean, Peony & Blush Suede, for example, is the most romantic scent. It really sort of just feels like you've got armfuls of tumbling peonies, so for people who are having peonies in their bouquet and flowers, it's that perfect tie-in. Then because of the concept of scent pairing, there may be ways you then want to add additional details of the location. With scent pairing, it means you can combine scents because they are so stunningly simple in their design. We'll really create them to quite a minimal palette of tasting notes and the whole concept is that you can layer scents to create something that's bespoke to you. And this isn't just for weddings, this is for day-to-day! A lot of people think of it as something like a capsule fragrance wardrobe, which they accessorize throughout the different seasons, different occasions and different moods as well.
It's exactly the same for the wedding day. You may then have one scent that's very close to you and your style and your personality like Peony & Blush Suede and then you may add something that's a little bit different and more unique. I often find that the newer scents, the scents that are a little bit more different to you, act more as that anchor of the day because they're that little bit more surprising and you sort of latch to those as being that definitive scent memory moment.
7. Do you recommend that couple's scents should complement each other or should the scents be personal to the individual?
Well, the beautiful thing is again, with the scent pairing concept, is that you'll never have two scents that sort of jar against each other. They never feel cluttered because of that simplistic formula. But, it is a really interesting question on whether we do actually think if people are doing a scent pairing option, that they have one unifying fragrance that they both wear and then one that is more reflective of their own individual personalities and style.
My brother who's getting married in July is actually doing that. They've got the Orange Blossom as a fragrance they're both wearing. It is actually traditional to have, in the Mediterranean culture, a sprig of Orange Blossom in the wedding bouquet. It's a symbol of everlasting love so it's a really happy scent full of sunshine and this sort of sparkling note of barmy summer nights and orange flowers. That's the one they're having as their joint scent, but then he's having Oud & Bergamot over the top for a little bit more of a kind of mesmerizing and hypnotic sent. Whereas the bride is wearing Poppy & Barley, so she has her own scent, a little bit more in the Peony & Blush Suede territory, which is quite mellifluous and feminine. So there really are lots of different options to be able to play with.
8. Can you buy a bespoke scent more than once?
Yes, absolutely because the two scents that you choose are not mixed into one bottle! They are kept separate. And then layering is an art in itself, which is why we like the hand and arm massage as a way of demonstrating how you can wear your scent. Because it may be as simple as a mist of both fragrances, but, especially on a wedding day actually being a long day, a way to really enhance the longevity is having one fragrance in a body créme or a lotion and that can really sort of anchor and weigh down the other scent, so it really does last all day. And then you would have the other fragrance misted over as a cologne. So, yes, you will always then be able to recreate that effect.
I mean there is, I suppose, a number ultimately of different pairings and combinations you can create. But because of dosage and how much you mist one versus another, it genuinely is limitless. And I think it ends up being bespoke when a scent interacts with your own skin chemistry anyway.
A lot of times people can be really disappointed because they come in and say I loved this scent on someone else and it doesn't smell quite the same on me. But that's why it's good to be on that journey of finding your individual scent that's perfect for you as well.
9. Is there a science behind why certain scents remind you of places/events?
Yeah, there is actually. So we just touched on that moment of oh, you know, that takes me back to my grandparents or a childhood memory. With our sense of smell, it works quite differently from our other senses. It's almost precognitive. You have quite an instinctive response. You smell and you tend to know whether you like it or you dislike it before you necessarily know what it is, which is very different from a visual image.
There are evolutionary reasons for that because, in the early days, we would need to know the pathways to find food to be able to remember them. When we smell it's processed through the limbic system, which is part of the emotional brain, and also responsible for emotional learning and memory. So it is all very closely tied to strong evolutionary reasons which we still rely on. You know, you smell smoke before you see it and instantly there's an alarmed sense and it's something that lets you know you have to get out. Like when you go to the fridge and smell something it's so important to be able to remember those foraging pathways. If you go to the supermarket when you're hungry, your sense of smell is already so sharp and heightened with that smell of fresh bread that they sort of pump out it's just too much! But we have glimpses of that in our everyday. We probably don't use it as consciously as we could do, but it is very subliminally powerfully working.
10. What are the most popular scents to layer together?
So this is where again there really are no rules. But in terms of scent pairings, we have some scents that we know are always, especially for weddings, winning combinations. The Peony & Blush Suede that we mentioned, I know is particularly our number one scent for weddings. It really makes sense. It is so romantic. But oftentimes the people marrying by the coast, then Wood Sage & Sea Salt layered with that is incredible. And it's this sea salt, fresh, quite exhilarating sense of sea air and mineral fresh sea breeze blowing the peonies. You just get this mingling of the flirty and voluptuous peony scent with crunchy apple, and then this really kind of salted crisp, linear scent of the Wood Sage & Sea Salt. So it's incredible together.
But there are so many pairs. I feel very biased towards the ones that I love. I love the Cypress & Grapevine actually with Fig & Lotus Flower and they were launched together. They paint this (again, very apt for weddings) picture of the fabled Hanging Gardens. Which, legend has it, that King Nebuchadnezzar II created for his wife, Queen Amytis. It was about recreating their homeland, of this lush mountainside and terraces of this incredible greenery and foliage. The two scents together are ultimately this verdant oasis, a modern desert, a romantic, beautiful setting and story. So, I think it's the perfect love story in two scents actually.
11. Is there a minimum spend required to scent your wedding with Jo Malone London?
No, not at all. And this is where it's really important that it can be as big or as lavish as you like. It could simply be that wedding fragrance, which will always like I say, be that time capsule to revisit. Or it can be table favours for every guest with the candles and clusters looking tremendous. It really is equally going to be a special day regardless of any minimum spend.
12. Where are the best places on the body to spray your scent?
Oh, that's a really good question. Traditionally we've always said pulse points and that's still true. They are the hottest parts of the body, so that's why wrists always come to mind. As well as the back of the neck or the neck area and back of the knees. But they pulse out the fragrance, basically when we smell it works off an evaporation curve so the more heat, the more evaporation, which can also be a sort of double bind. So that's a great way to get the intensity, but then they can be faster-wearing areas. We recommend misting from about 20 centimetres so that you cover the surrounding skin as well. With the body crémes, they really can help anchor that scent all day and dance with you into the night, and you know, confidently, you've got that scent.
13. How Can I make my wedding scent last all day?
So the créme, and we actually have a really detailed bath and body collection with a lot of the fragrance, not in every single scent, but most of our scents come in the form of a body wash or a cream correlation so you can really start that pampering moment. I know it is such a whirlwind day as well, that you really want those moments of pause that are just for you to breathe. So shower gels or bath oils can really help with that. Actually, just in terms of the getting ready rituals, as I say, the creams, which are actually very weighty texture, because they've got cocoa butter and almond oil in them you feel super nourished with glowing skin as well. So there are aesthetic benefits beyond just the scent.
Then something we've started to introduce more recently, and I think it's a beautiful idea, especially for weddings, is the hair mist. So having scent in the hair, a lot of people I know do have a little bit of a cheeky mist of their fragrance but we always feel bad about it because of the alcohol. But these hair mists have a vitamin B5 formula and argon oils to give a bit of shine. But you do also really have that moment of scent when you get caught by a breeze or you turn your head and you activate the fragrance that way. So it can be a really nice touch for the wedding day.
14. Other than perfumes and candles, what are some other ways you can scent your wedding?
So, yes you are right. Candlelight is always really dreamy and it's very transformative. Some venues can be cautious about naked flame. But there are ways around it with the hurricane vases and I would definitely recommend working with your florist as well. Because they may have tips on how their arrangements are going to look in combination with hurricane vases.
But other tips that we have and if you've got some really good helpers, they can really help bring the venue to life through scent in other ways. So misting hems of the table linen, or on napkins. Again, scent is activated through movement, so when guests are getting up and down it really helps lift the room with fragrance. And that can be a really nice touch on stationery as well. So even on your invites, if you know your scent upfront, having that as you send out really sets the tone. Equally, thank you cards or any paper elements throughout the day as well is a really nice touch.
15. In terms of scenting the whole day, where in the venue should we put our fragrance?
It really does depend on the venue. You might find that if you are wanting equal distribution of scent, dotted on tables work really well to make sure you've flooded the whole room with scent. But then, equally, for a visual effect, you might want to think about clusters on focal points for photography. So it may be staircases or window arches, anywhere that may be upfront with the photographer that you're going to be taking a lot of pictures of. Use those areas to your advantage as well.
Wedding scents are a time capsule that will always bring you back to your special day
Hopefully, we've answered all your important questions and you now know why a wedding scent can be a fun and bespoke addition to your day. Adding small personal touches through DIY, speeches or vows always will make your day true to your love story. A huge thank you to Emma and the Jo Malone London team. We were completely blown away by their knowledge. Emma is so eloquent! Quite frankly, we'd read her shopping list. Watch the full interview above!