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wedding perfumes

Making your special day 'special'

There’s been a lot written about fragrances for weddings. Most of it by, or at least PR for, the big multi-national fragrance houses who, characteristically, believe what you need is their products on your wrists during your big day (of course! as with any other day!) They may be right. Sitting down to your wedding meal, you may indeed prefer the familiar over the refined, the down-to-earth over the exotic, the everyday over the special. You may indeed want ‘spaghetti bolognese’ or ‘chicken balti’ as your wedding meal in preference to ‘haute cuisine’ and ‘fine dining’. It’s your day, and it’s your choice. But really, shouldn’t everything about your big day be, like the day itself, EXTRAORDINARY?

Wedding ImageSo, when it comes to your perfume, just like your dress, you will want to find something truly outstanding. But if you’re not very careful you are going to end up wearing the “same old, same old” anyway, even when attempting to break out from your everyday fragrance. Choose ANY department store scent, one of those all too familiar labels, and even if you haven’t worn that particular brand before, there’s a very real chance that person next to you in the office has. Or more to the point, the person at the very next table at your wedding reception probably will have too.

So, what is to be done? How are you going to make sure your special day remains, well...special?

Well, to listen to one well-known perfume company out there, the answer is to “mix” two of their perfumes to end up with “your special creation” (as if mixing the balti with the spaghetti creates ‘fine dining’). Really? No! Good heavens, we don’t want novelty, at least not in that sense - some ghastly mish-mash that masquerades as innovation. No, what we actually want for our wedding perfume is three things: something truly creative and different from the mainstream, something incredibly beautiful, and something genuinely unique. Above all, as with everything about your wedding, you want it to be exclusively ‘YOURS’ (and even by that much overused word, we do actually mean here: not worn by or probably even known to anybody else at your big do!)

At this point you’ll be pleased to hear (but hopefully already not surprised) that Woodforde’s Perfumery is a wedding planner's dream and have some fantastic solutions for your special day because all the perfumes in our store tick several of these key boxes. Whereas ALL the big department store brands are dress designers, selling the name they have made in fashion to a some multinational who attaches their allure of fame to cheap chemicals for mass consumption, Woodforde’s by contrast specialises in perfumes made by the world’s top perfumers (a word here meaning people who make perfumes and not dresses for a living), using natural ingredients (derived from flowers and plants that grow in sunlight rather than chemicals from an industrial complex) and made in a traditional perfumery (oils macerated in an artisan workshop rather than in a petrochemical factory vat). But above all, as they are rarely are found in department stores (or anywhere else for many of them), they are about as EXCLUSIVE as they come.

So, if you really want something on your wrist for your big day that will impress not just your guests but who’s beauty will invoke happy memories of your wedding for rest of your lives, you really need to think about a perfume from Woodfordes.

What perfume should I choose?

Go into most department stores looking for your wedding scent, and you’ll most likely be greeted by a blank face (we know, we’ve tried it). Hopefully, we can do a little better than that! Just with everything else about your day, your personal opinion, your likes and views, are going to be paramount, but not all perfumes make good wedding scents and first of all we want to guide you through your choices. So even if you end up buying your perfume somewhere else (and unfortunately we don’t operate a distance sampling service so you will have to visit our Sidmouth shop if you want a consultation), here’s some initial ideas here to get you thinking.

Let’s start with perfume strength. Contrary to most other social situations - going to work, meeting friends, having a meal out - where it might be outright rude to dominate and monopolise the conversation - during your wedding day, well, actually darling, you ARE the conversation! Applying this to your wedding perfume (as with your clothes for the day), whereas perfumes for everyday wear might be conservative, restrained, and understated, your wedding scent can and SHOULD place you at the centre of attention. For once, you can wear a BIG perfume: powerful, both in its ‘sillage’ (its dispersion radius), and its ‘longevity’ (lasting power). So if you are going for the traditional wedding as a showy event and want your perfume to stand out as much as your chosen dress, you’ll want a ‘statement perfume’ too. Further on in this article, we’ve therefore put together a list of big, powerful (and beautiful) perfumes for you to consider.

So that’s one option. However, more low-key choices are also available. Your wedding style or your personality type may be more restrained and you might want to choose something more intimate, aiming to speak perhaps to your partner rather than the whole room. After all, whether your wedding is traditional or alternative, formal or relaxed, at its heart is an intimate and poignant marriage ceremony between two people. The most beautiful scents are also often the most subtle. Woodforde’s Perfumery stocks the most beautiful soft florals, some of the greatest woody orientals ever produced, as well as delicate spicy creations by the world’s top perfumers. Following this path may not project your scent to all your guests, but may produce the more memorable and the more intimate recollection of events. We’ve listed these too. We’ve categorised this direction as ‘romantic scents’ in the list later.

One consideration above all however, common to either style and already touched upon, is perfume quality. Department store scents are made using cheap chemicals because this is the only way to support their business model. When a top brand spends millions of pounds a year advertising and marketing their product, that’s millions of pounds they are not spending on ingredients. Sadly, what purports to be the best because it is marketed the heaviest is, inside the bottle, very often the lowest quality, and perfumes costing over £100 can easily contain little more than 20 pence of cheap aroma-chemicals.

We’re not suggesting you should go out of your way to buy the most expensive perfume for your wedding day, because you shouldn’t need to. This is because the world’s top perfumers follow a different business model, preferring to spend most of their budget on quality ingredients rather than advertising hype (and with good reason - they are putting their name on the bottle). However, spending a little more on your perfume WILL bring huge dividends. A perfume costing up to £200 (or more), while sounding extravagant, is actually exponentially better value because the ingredient quality leaps with every extra pound you spend so you end up buying the most beautiful natural ingredients.

And, like a fine wine, your nose WILL discern the difference. Synthetic jasmine (to choose but one ingredient from hundreds used in perfumes), costing a hundredth of a dollar a litre (and used in toilet cleaner, floor cleaner, and...yes, those very big name perfumes) is but a single molecule. Ostensibly, it smells superficially of the flower, but the experience is thin and very one dimensional. Natural jasmine by contrast, from say Egypt or India and costing $400 a litre, is combination of hundreds or molecules, and it is that complexity that contributes to the depth and exquisite intricacy of its smell. The very finest Jasmine meanwhile, from the Grasse in the South of France, is so revered in perfumery that it can cost $39,000 a litre. There is obviously a large difference between $0.01 and $39,000.00 for just one perfume ingredient, but that huge gulf in ingredient prices would not even exist without a real, recognised and RECOGNISABLE quality differential.

At Woodforde’s, we’ve always based our choices of which perfume houses to stock on three things: quality, quality and quality. We don’t do ‘names’, ‘celebrities’ or ‘fashion designers’. And to be frank, neither should you! The best attire, the best food, the best drinks, the best venue for your wedding, and by making these the very best you can afford will make it the very best day of your life. None of these should be chosen from hype, an advert in a wedding magazine, or a branded image. Go out of your way to find something special and you will make your day something special.

NEXT UP: We show you how. Your Wedding Perfume Part II: ‘Finding your style’.

photo credits: pexels.com

Did you know?

Perfumes specially made for weddings have a long history. One of the oldest still in production is "Betrothal", still based upon its original formula (although updated to reflect a lighter, more modern, appeal), produced by Grossmith.

A special perfume, "Betrothal" was originally produced to celebrate the wedding in July 1893 of Princess May of Teck and Prince George (the then Prince of Wales and Duke of York). They subsequently became King George V and Queen Mary, the grandparents of Queen Elizabeth II.

Princess May of TeckPrinces May of Teck

More recently, the American film star and heartthrob of the 1950's, Grace Kelly, who appeared alongside Marlon Brando in "on the waterfront" and with Cary Grant in "to catch a thief", wore Gin Fizz both during her engagement and at her wedding to Prince Ranier of Monaco.

Grace Kelly Promotional Photograph Rear Window Princes Grace of Monaco