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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The Science of a Wedding Scent

A special-day fragrance can enhance your wedding mood, and it can enhance memories for years to come

Marilyn Kennedy Melia CTW Features
What’s the one item many brides don’t think about that could help calm wedding jitters, subtly impress guests and create a unique memory of the day? This seemingly magical wedding ingredient can be found right under your nose: scent. Our sense of smell usually doesn’t get the respect and attention it deserves, experts say. But a whiff of a particular scent will evoke more emotion-laden memory than a photo or other memento, notes Dr. Rachel Herz, a Brown University professor and author of “The Scent of Desire” (William Morrow, 2007). The science surrounding scents is advancing, and we now know specific ways it can be used to enhance mood and memories, adds Lyn Leigh of The Fragrance Foundation, a trade group. Here, how to let your nose lead you to a wedding that pleases all the senses: Special Day, Special Fragrance Studies conducted by Herz reveal that the emotions that ring when we experience a particular event can be triggered months or even years later if we again smell the scent that prevailed at that event. Even if you have a favorite perfume that you’ve always worn, , the power of a special scent devoted to your wedding is enough reason to try something new for that day, contends Agnes Mazin, of Drom, a fragrance-creation firm. Herz agrees. “My recommendation is to get a new fragrance exclusively to use for your wedding and related activities - you might want another scent for the honeymoon,” she says. “After the wedding it will be a fantastic reminder of the emotions of the event. But you need to be restrained in using it, bring it out only for anniversaries or other special days. If you overuse it, it will lose its special attachment to the wedding.” Subtle Pleasantries You don’t want your guests - or your groom - to step back, overwhelmed, when they get near the perfumed you. “You want to draw people in, not put them off,” explains Leigh. “Colognes are more popular today than perfumes,” Leigh adds. The fragrance is more diluted in a cologne, and even more so in a body lotion. Leigh suggests using a body lotion in the same scent as the cologne, and then spritzing cologne only on your pulse points, and possibly on the palm of your hand. “You will be shaking hands with many people, and this could leave [guests] with a very delicate hint of the fragrance,” says Leigh. The flowers you carry aren’t likely to interfere with your fragrance, notes Victoria Jent, who writes the blog, EauMG. “Most commercially produced flowers are odorless and are raised for their hardiness and appearance, not their fragrance,” she says. And body lotion in the same scent as your special fragrance makes a good bridesmaid gift, adds Leigh. “You can suggest that they wear the lotion at the wedding” she adds. The effect will be just a faint echo of your own fragrance. Mood Associations Because smells and emotions are so linked, that presents an opportunity to imprint a mood by deliberately associating it with a fragrance. So, let’s say you’re shy and worried about greeting all your wedding guests. Take a soak in the tub or do some relaxing yoga moves and envision yourself relaxed and at your best on the big day. Then, take a spritz of that very special scent [you should reserve it for only special occasions, but this qualifies]. Then, when the wedding day arrives and you don the fragrance again, it should help summon the calm confidence, says Dr. Herz.