What Are You Wearing?

You’re likely in 1 of 2 camps: Either all is confirmed and you’re intently turning the pages of your calendar in anticipation of your wedding date or you’re in the throes of wedding planning. Either way, I’d venture to guess that you’ve overlooked one crucial, both intimate and alluring detail – the importance of marking this momentous occasion with an equally special aroma.

Scents are like time capsules. One whiff of homemade cookies and I’m transported back to grandma’s kitchen with fond memories of stealing dough as she looked away. The scented breeze trailing a man who wore the same fragrance as my father once carried me down memory lane all the way to my childhood home. That is the power of fragrance and why scent is integral in separating your wedding day from all others.

I’m sure that your current fragrance is perfect and perhaps invites tons of compliments. But consider the moments in which it shined brightest—the dates for which it prepared you, how it mingled with sweethearts of days passed, the one who gifted it to you, and all the moments it served as sidekick along your journey to the altar. Now, you’re preparing for a new chapter. A fresh page. A new life. All of this begs for a new fragrance start—perhaps via mutual prenuptial gifts including a spa day. This is a great way to usher in a bit of self-care during the planning process and build the anticipation and surprise of arriving at the altar to experience the aromas with which you’ve each chosen to mark your day. Alternatively, you can select a fragrance jointly, choosing a single versatile scent to serve as an intimate love letter to one another, to be debuted at the outset of your lives together as spouses (and however you each see fit thereafter).

Choosing the right scent is key. So, if the details of the world of fragrance baffle you, then we have much in common. I’m an admitted fragrance novice. I love them and wear them, but I’m terrible at discerning notes and oblivious to “rules” regarding optimal seasons of wear for each type. As such, I visited Kimberly Waters, owner of fragrance parlor MUSE, who’s well equipped to educate on the matter.

Before opening MUSE, Kim leveraged her longstanding passion for fragrance into a sales role with Coty, a multinational beauty enterprise, eventually earning a position with luxury fragrance house Kilian. There she deepened her industry knowledge, evolving to understand fragrance as art, with each application serving as an expression of one’s personhood. That is the spirit with which she’s imbued MUSE, her Harlem brownstone in New York City. The first floor serves as her fragrance parlor, welcoming a variety of scent-curious guests. I was one of them. Upon entry, it was clear that this would be a fragrance selection experience unlike any I’d had previously. It wasn’t pushy and transactional, typical of department stores, forcing me to dip and dodge unwanted sprays from a sea of assertive fragrance salespeople. Everything from the ambiance and ability to experience fragrances from a broad range of highly curated, niche vendors was refreshing. It very much seems to be the place to find fragrances which inspire passersby to inquire about what you’re wearing, instead of if you’re wearing this or that.

After a warm welcome, class was in session, as I was eager to receive fragrance selection tips. According to Kim, there are certain notes, or olfactory triggers, within each scent that are generally regarded as best aligned with warm or cool calendar seasons. Fall often aligns with scents that feature leather, smokey, woodsy, and spicy (i.e. vanilla, cinnamon, etc) notes. As the temperatures outdoor rise—lighter, citrus, or fruitier notes with hints of floral ingredients are often sought after, as they evoke thoughts of nature blooming, the beach, and summertime fun (applicable for tropical destination weddings as well). “I encourage everyone to regard these as general guidelines rather than firm rules,” says Kim. Expounding, “cool-season oriented scents tend to be sweeter smelling, muskier, and engulfing, which many regard as more inviting.” On your wedding day—the day on which family and friends are invited to help celebrate, the day intended to be filled with joy, hugs, and kisses—an inviting scent may indeed be most fitting, regardless of the time of year, climate, or geographic destination.

Next, I treated myself to a range of scent samples. MUSE’s highly curated assortment includes extrait de parfum (most concentrated and often most expensive form of perfume, usually containing 20- 40% oil concentration), eau de parfum (typically containing 15-25% oil concentration, making it stronger and longer-lasting than eau de toilette and eau de cologne fragrance types), as well as scented oils. Truly something for everyone.

My favorites scents were bold, like Stephane Humbert Lucas’ God of Fire. It’s alluring, musky and woodsy, yet sweet with its mango and berry undertones. It’s an all day extrait de parfum, retailing for approximately $250. Next was Baraonda, the Nasimatto fragrance with a name meaning “chaos” or “uproar” in Italian. It fast became one of my all-time favorite scents. It’s smokey and sweet, yet boozy, immediately sparking my imagination, transporting me to some dark, packed uptown speakeasy during the Harlem renaissance.

On the milder side, there’s Les Fleurs, a Maya Njie fragrance. It’s simply refreshing. A well-balanced blend of floral and notes of orange, magnolia, and wood. It’s understated and light, yet supremely alluring (eau de parfum, priced at approximately $150).

After a thorough selection of fragrance samples, I exited the parlor that evening feeling…awesome. Amid an often hectic schedule, the experience of slowing down to designate space to explore my likes and dislikes, using fragrance as a vehicle of expression, was awesome and uniquely mine. To that, add the time-stamping quality of fragrance and it becomes abundantly clear – this is a reward due you and your Love. After your vows have been stated and sealed with a kiss, when thoughts of the planning process have graduated into fond memories, after the guests have gone and you fall into each other’s embrace, you’ll appreciate this attention to detail. This intimate gift with which you’ve blessed one another will be invaluable as you hold each other near and set about the journey of creating a lifetime of new memories together.

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