it into their winter wedding “was alogical extension.” From the rosemary scattered during the procession to theblack tea–scented candles placed onthe altar, no detail went undeliberated.Especially the perume o choice.The aesthetic o the day was richand wintry (birch branches and deerantlers as design accents, a darkbrown Carolina Herrera skirt andcharcoal corset as bridal attire, andthe moody Marin Headlands abovethe Golden Gate Bridge as backdrop),and the couple wanted to capture thateeling in a ragrance. Mandy Atel, aBerkeley, CA–based natural perumerand ounder o Atelier Perumes, wascharged with the task.Ater smelling approximately 50essences, Alexandra narrowed her choices to cedar, nutmeg,cocoa, coee, Peru balsam, ginger and pink graperuit. “Thescent was perectly evocative,” she recalls. “I had Mandy make a solid version in sterling lockets or my bridesmaids,and we gave a liquid in tiny bottles to each guest at thereception.” The scent was a success—not least or the brideand groom, both o whom wore the ragrance that day andcontinue to do so. “The smell takes me back to our mostproound moment and treasured day,” Daniel says.And Atel isn’t surprised: “Scent links you directly to your memories,” she says. “Smell is the most primitive o the fve senses,” adds Chandler Burr, scent critic or
T, TheNew York Times Style Magazine
and author o
The Perfect Scent: A Year Behind the Scenes of the Perfume Industry inParis and New York.
“When a scent is overlaid onto an expe-rience, your memory o it will be not only heightened butlonger lasting and more accurate.”But this phenomenon alone doesn’t account or the trendat issue. As or what does, the theories vary. One cannotdiscount the celebrity actor; with each passing week,it seems that another A-lister—whether it’s SeanCombs or ShaniaTwain, David Beck-ham or MariaSharapova—launches a ragrance.Among musicians, mostrecently Prince and Hilary Du, it’sbecoming common to link a song title totheir ragrance’s name.Also contributing to the interest in scentare two lesser-known names: RichardAxel and Linda Buck. These researchersare the corecipients o the 2004 NobelPrize in Physiology or Medicine “ortheir discoveries o odorant recep-tors and the organization o the olac-tory system.” “Few things have donemore to boost scent’s proile o latethan the awarding o the Nobel Prize,”says Rachel Herz, Ph.D., a visitingproessor in the department o psy-chiatry and human behavior at BrownUniversity Medical School in Provi-dence, RI, and author o
The Scent of Desire.
“Not only has scent researchbecome more legitimized within thescientiic community—and betterunded—but there’s a greater publicawareness o scent’s power as well.”What has emerged, she contends,is a whole new zeitgeist—one thatinally acknowledges scent’s rightulplace among music, ood and lighting(the classic mood-boosting pantheon)at any special event. “Scent had remained a largely unex-plored component o sensory enrichment; only in the pastew years is that changing.”Oddly, ever more restrictive smoking laws seem to play a signiicant role in the wedding-scent trend, says AlanHirsch, M.D., ounder and neurological director o the Smell& Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago.“Until not too long ago, cigarette smoke would obscuremost scents at any event, including a wedding,” he explains.“With the sharp decline in public smoking, however, peopleare more aware and appreciative o ambient aroma—oursense o smell is actually improving as smoke-damagedolactory receptors regenerate—so you have a sensory voidthat needs to be flled.”But he believes there’s more to the equation. “When youadd aroma into the sensory theater that is a wedding, youachieve all kinds o eects.” One o the best is communalanxiety reduction: “You’ll likely have lots o strangers meet-ing or the frst time, and a pleasant aroma can induce acalming, uniying eect,” says Dr. Hirsch. “Itbecomes part o a shared, happy experienceon the most intrinsic level.”And in providing that experience, you’retrafcking in another layer o thetrend: scent branding. “There’sa movement toward branding anexperience with ragrance,” says NYC-based ragrance consultant Ann Gottlieb,“and weddings are no exception.” The ideais to use scent’s primal power to make anexperience stand out in guests’ minds.
The Sisterhood of Scent
Brides are taking ever greater advantage o thescent-memory link—sometimes at the prompt-ing o the women in their lives. “I’m actually not
Couples arescent branding
thepower of scent
to makethe experiencestand out inguests’ minds.