You've probably heard that smell is closely linked with memory. But it is also highly emotive, and is used by the perfume industry to convey a mixture of emotions. Because I am obsessed with smells, this is such a fascinating thing to me. I can't think of a time in my life when I haven't keenly been aware of smells. In fact, there are random things, like certain face washes or lotions, which will take me back to an earlier period of my life as soon as I smell them. And along with the memory comes the emotion I felt at the time. You're probably wondering why I am telling you this, and how on earth it is relevant to you.
Think of this. If studies have shown that the sense of smell is linked to memory and emotion, more than any of our other senses, and smells can evoke particular memories, wouldn't you want to be intentional about the smells on your wedding day? Wouldn't you want those sweet emotions to come flooding back when you revisit a specific scent?
Everything from the perfume you spray and the flowers you choose, to the reception hall you use and the food you serve will create links to your memories of the day. And you probably don't have a particular interest in associating your wedding day to the way your husbands previous girlfriend smelled, or a weird funk in the air at the reception center. So while you should keep all of those things in mind as you plan your wedding, this post is primarily for helping you pick the best Wedding Day perfume.
Why the Perfume?
Perfume has a way of making a statement about you. It is a unique impression of who you are, and catches someone's attention without saying a word. Christian Dior said that "A woman's perfume tells more about her than her handwriting." Whether that is true or not, your perfume is definitely influenced by your likes and dislikes, and says something about who you are.
Know What You Like
Do you prefer fragrances that are fresh, fruity, sweet, spicy, floral, or musky? Knowing this can help eliminate some of the extensive options, and let you get down to perfumes that will really appeal to you. If you don't know which fragrance you prefer, think of everyday scents you like. Do you like the smell of a fresh bouquet, baked goodies, tropical fruits, the ocean, a forest? Let your sales assistant know scents you like, so that they can be matched to perfumes with similar fragrances. If you are looking for a few suggestions for perfumes based on your scent preference, you can also check out this post from the Perfume Blog which makes recommendations based on floral, oriental, citrus and woody fragrances.
Determine the Emotion
How do you want to feel on your Wedding Day? Do you want a perfume that will make you feel fancy, calm, enhance the romance, create a little spice? Scents have a way of setting the mood. For example, lavender is known to have a calming effect, whereas citrus is invigorating. So deciding how you want to feel will help put you in the right direction for choosing your perfect Wedding Day scent.
Think of Your Personality
Your personality is a huge factor in what perfumes you like. Are you more trendy or stylish, bold and brazen, romantic and tender? Some perfumes have more fun and energetic scents, while others are more sultry and sexy or soft and sweet. Don't let the scent clash with your personality.
Know the Notes
Some scents, such as a flower, have one fragrance which are smelled all at once. But when it comes to perfumes, the scents are composed in a "Fragrance Pyramid", with a top note, a mid or heart note and a base note. Top notes, those you smell immediately, consist of citrus, fruity or ozonic notes. As the fragrance dries, you begin to smell the mid note - floral, spice and herbaceous. They are sometimes called the heart notes, since they are central to the scent of the perfume. Then, at the end of the day, you are left with the base note, the woods, balsams and musks.
How to Choose the Right Scent for You
Because everyone has a scent preference of their own, it is important that you sample the scents to make the best selection. What is more, scents mix with each person's skin in a different way, and the scent changes depending on who wears it. You could spray a perfume on the sample card and like it, but after you take it home and wear it the next day, discover that it almost stinks on your neck. Therefore, the best way to choose a fragrance is as follows:
- Test the scent on a sample card - this does allow you to pick up the top note and determine if you even like it before wearing it all day. Try several this way, and then pick the one you like best. If you start getting overwhelmed with smells (they all start smelling the same), just take a sniff of your arm. People often try to use coffee beans to neutralize olfactory senses, but your own skin is actually the best way to bring your sense of smell back to normal.
- Spray your selection on your skin - don't rub your wrists together, because that breaks down the scent. Just lightly dab them together.
- Be sure to notice how the scent fades throughout the day to see how it smells on your skin, and to catch the mid note and the base note. Take note when someone complements you on a perfume that you are sampling. This is a hint that it is working for your skin and not against it!
How to Get the Most of Your Perfume
Spray the perfume on pulse points. You know people put perfume on their neck, wrists and neckline, which are all pulse points. This is because these points are where the veins bring warm blood close to the surface of the skin, which in turn warms up the perfume. Think of a candle warmer. When you turn it on, the candle becomes warm and is more fragrant than it was when the wax was cold. The same is true of perfumes. So technically, you could even spray the inner side of your elbows, knees, belly button, ankles, or anywhere else that will keep the perfume warm and unlock the scent. Spraying perfume in your hair is also a fun way to boost the scent, because you will catch a whiff of it as your hair moves.
Understanding the Eaus
Getting the most of your perfume is also dependent on the concentration of pure fragrance in your perfume. Below are the typical quantities of fragrance to alcohol in perfumes:
Eau de cologne is it's own class, typically having a light and fruity scent and also sometimes containing essential oils. They usually only have 2% to 5% pure fragrance.
Eau de toilette usually has about 5% to 12% of pure fragrance, and because of the high alcohol content, it evaporates more quickly and doesn't last as long.
Eau de Parfum typically has 18% to 25% pure fragrance.
Parfum can have up to 50% pure fragrance. As you can guess, the more concentrated the perfume, the more it costs.
Have you ever had someone walk by and it seems like their perfume trails behind them? This is the sillage (pronounced see-yazh) of the perfume. It literally means "wake", like the smell left in their wake. On a Wedding Day, brides definitely consider people's reactions when she approaches the aisle, but the sillage as she passes them in the aisle is another way to make an impression. Choosing a perfume with a low sillage means only those close to the bride will pick up the scent of her perfume, while a high sillage ensures that her impression is left wherever she goes.
Because we're on the topic, and some of you are sure to be curious, my current favorite perfume is Terre de Lumiere L'Eau. I definitely don't get paid to tell you about it, and it's sure to change to another perfume at some point. But I bought it on our anniversary trip in Paris, and it is such a beautiful reminder of the good times we had there