How to Scent Your Wedding & Create Everlasting Memories

Here's another way to customize your big day.
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
Chapelle Johnson
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
Chapelle Johnson
Associate Editor
  • Chapelle writes articles for The Knot Worldwide. She covers all things wedding-related and has a personal interest in covering celebrity engagements and fashion.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Chapelle was an editorial intern for Subvrt Magazine.
  • Chapelle has a degree in English writing from Loyola University New Orleans.
Updated Aug 30, 2022

Nowadays, there are a lot of ways to personalize your wedding. From your wedding registry to your wedding ceremony order, making your special day unique is becoming almost as easy as saying "I do." If you follow pop culture, you might have heard of how Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton personalized their weddings by scenting them and may be wondering how to scent your wedding. This creative wedding trend will not only leave your wedding smelling nice but also allow you to create a memorable olfactory experience for you and your guests. If you're ready to learn all the ins and outs of having a scented wedding, read our sweet-smelling tips and ideas from fragrance experts.

What Is Wedding Scentscaping?

Wedding scentscaping is the process of filling wedding spaces with custom fragrances to inspire a different vibe in each area. Jennifer Gorline, head of private label sales for Candlefish, says that scented weddings can evoke emotions if done correctly. "Being intentional about how your environment smells can transform moods, productivity and overall enjoyment," Gorline says. There are multiple ways your wedding scent can be added throughout your wedding, like on your stationery, wedding favors or centerpieces.

How To Scent Your Wedding

The main reason why couples are trying out this wedding trend is its connection with scent memory. JJ Vittoria, founder of Olfactory NYC, explains why scent has a big impact on humans. "Our olfactory senses are linked closely to memory and emotion in the brain, which is why smell has such associative powers," Vittoria says. By scenting your wedding, you're creating an unforgettable bond between your chosen scent and your special day. "The scent becomes a photograph of the event as well as an expression of the couple's personality and extension of the wedding theme and decor," Vittoria says.

Experiment with your olfactory memory and learn how to scent your wedding using these fun and creative ideas.

Add fragrance to your stationery.

Scented stationery has been a part of written history for centuries. Some historians trace scented letters back to the Victorian era when Victorians would add fragrance to their envelopes, letters, ink and even sealing waxes. So why not do this pleasant-smelling tradition for your wedding? Spray your wedding scent (from a distance, so you don't stain the paper) on all your wedding stationery, like your wedding invitations, escort cards, and save-the-dates. This way you're setting the tone for your wedding as soon as your guests get a whiff of your luxurious wedding fragrance.

The Knot Expert Tip: Consider guests with allergies when spraying your wedding scent. Make sure you spray just enough so the scent is noticeable but subtle and everyone has a pleasant experience. You don't want your guests going into sneezing fits when they open their wedding invitations.

Find your kind of venue

From barns to ballrooms, discover reception venues that feel like you.

Scent your venue.

After you've spoken with a fragrance expert about your wedding scent and come to a final decision, you can start thinking about where you want to incorporate it at your wedding venue. You can use wedding flowers, fragrance lamps, candles, or diffusers (depending on the size of your wedding venue) to bring your scented wedding to life. Gorline suggests you don't position your fragrances next to where your guests will be eating and drinking. The wedding scent shouldn't overpowering––you want your guests to have the chance to smell your delicious food. Other places you can scent are the ceremony area and bathrooms. "These are often smaller spaces where the fragrance can really permeate. Another good option is to place candles by the entrances, so the scent is one of the first things the guests experience," Gorline says.

Have a fragrance bar.

Guests love fun cocktail hour or wedding reception activities and it being interactive makes it even better since it makes it personal. Contact a store specializing in crafting custom scents about having a fragrance bar at your wedding. For example, Olfactory NYC brings some of their "scentologists" to the wedding for a custom scent-making experience. Your guests will enjoy blending different perfumes and colognes and appreciate getting an elegant wedding keepsake in the end.

Give scented wedding favors.

Speaking of wedding keepsakes, give your loved ones scented wedding favors to take home. Guests always love wedding favors they can actually use, so consider giving your guests handmade soap, miniature bottles of perfume or cologne or candles infused with your signature scent. Your gifts will impress your guests and act as a beautiful (and sweet-smelling) token of the great times they had at your wedding.

Use fresh or dried flower petals for your wedding exit toss.

Still not sure how to scent your wedding? Then use flower petals during your wedding exit toss. Not only does this option smell great, but it's also beautiful in pictures and eco-friendly. Dried lavender is a popular choice because it has a strong fragrance that isn't overbearing and is a pastel purple color that will take your wedding photos to the next level. You can have flower petals preportioned in cones or sachets for the wedding exit toss or a flower petal bar so guests can choose from a variety of colorful blooms and delightful smells.

Tips for Scentscaping Your Wedding

Figuring out what your wedding scent should be and how to scent your wedding can feel daunting since you're trying to make it fit your theme. But don't worry, read our five tips for making the process easy and stress-free.

Determine your wedding scent early on.

If you want your wedding to be a cohesive event where everything has a purpose, have your signature wedding scent match or complement your wedding theme. For example, if you're having a romantic wedding with blush tones and flowing fabrics, you probably shouldn't do a warm and spicy fragrance throughout your wedding venue since it would throw off the wedding style and confuse the senses. This is why figuring out your scent early on is best so your scent connects with the decorations, wedding favors, and even your reception activities.

Scentscaping your wedding involves creating a custom fragrance that reflects your and your partner's tastes. Gorline suggests couples determine their wedding scent by thinking about their experiences together as a couple. "Do you love going to the beach together? If so, maybe you'd like to use something with sea salt, eucalyptus and marine scents. Getting married around the holidays? Maybe you incorporate a pine fragrance to celebrate that time of year. Sharing your favorite fragrances with your guests is a great way to give them a peek into something personal they might not have known about you as a couple," Gorline says. Vittoria believes the scenting process can help you learn more about your partner too. "Often couples discover a lot about each other when making a shared scent. This makes for a truly interactive and fun experience on its own and a perfect prenuptial date for a couple," Vittoria says.

It's easier to scent indoor weddings.

If you're planning an indoor wedding, scentscaping will be a breeze since it's easier to trap scents in enclosed spaces. But that doesn't mean couples having outdoor weddings can't join in on the excitement. Use the natural outdoor elements to inspire your wedding aroma, then put it in the bathrooms and on your stationery. Picture rose, orange blossom, or woodsy tones. "Think about where you're getting married, the time of year you're getting married and what kind of environment you want to create. There are certain fragrance notes that can pair well with all three of those elements," Gorline says.

Don't go overboard.

Avoid your guests going outside to get a breath of fresh air because of how strong your wedding scent is by remembering one word...subtly! Of course, your wedding is all about you and what you enjoy, but you also have to keep your guests in mind when choosing and diffusing your scent. So before you start spraying your stationery, use one invitation as a test so you can gauge how much to spray on the other invitations. And before you rent two diffusers for your reception venue, try using one diffuser and see how the scent fills the space.

Gorline suggests staying away from gourmand fragrances since they tend to be overpowering. Those are almost edible scents like vanilla, chocolate, cotton candy and coffee.

Check if your venue allows open flames.

Don't purchase your custom candles until you've spoken with your venue about their open flame policy. Some wedding venues don't allow candles at all while others allow them with some rules attached (like the candles have to be in a glass hurricane candle holder). So talk with your wedding planner and wedding venue about your options and what safety precautions you'll need to take if candles are allowed.

Pair your wedding scent with your flowers.

Remember, your wedding flowers will create a scent too. You can solely use your wedding flowers for your wedding scent or talk with your fragrance expert about making the two scents work together. For example, if you're using jasmine floral centerpieces, think about using a fragrance that is lemon based since those two scents pair well together.

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