By Alexandra Brown

Memories are often closely associated with the smells we have encountered, like your favorite fall evening making smores with the aroma of the fire burning or that one summer afternoon at the pool with the intense fragrance of coconut tanning oil. And who can forget the magic of the holidays, with warm sugar cookies baking in the oven? So why not associate your special day with a scent for guests to remember?

Scentscaping has become a popular trend among brides and grooms. One famous example was Kate Middleton and Prince William’s wedding; she lit Orange Blossom scented candles all over Westminster Abbey during their royal ceremony.

Scentscaping is using a fragrance to create an atmosphere conducive to the mood you want to set.

There is almost an endless range of scents a couple can choose for their special day. Most fall into one of the following scent categories:

  • Floral: feminine and romantic – rose, jasmine, peonies
  • Citrus: clean, fresh, lively, energetic – lemon, grapefruit, orange
  • Spice: exotic, therapeutic – nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla
  • Green: natural, pure, innocent – pine, mosses, cucumber
  • Woods: warm, comforting, depth – cedar, patchouli, musk
  • Water: fresh, clean, ocean – ocean breeze, lavender
  • Food-like: warm, sweet – coffee, honey, chocolate

Something to consider when choosing a scent is to match your scent with the season during which your wedding is taking place. Citrus and floral scents head the list of the most popular and work particularly well with spring and summer weddings.

Green and wood scents are also among the most popular scents and work well for summer, fall or winter weddings.

Other scents such as spices or food-like aromas can be vibrant and intense, so make sure you don’t overwhelm your guests with a scent overload.


How to Choose a Signature Scent?

A popular way to choose a signature wedding scent is turning to a memory that the couple shares or even something special from one of their childhoods. It could be any special occasion – a first date, first trip together or a great go-to date location. 

Maybe you loved to meet at a particular coffee shop during your first few months of dating and, as such, could consider the scents of warm coffee or gooey honey from your favorite latte on the menu.

Conversely, it could be something that triggers fond memories of a departed loved one who won’t be present.


How to Incorporate the Signature Scent into the Wedding?

Using candles is your best option. They can be incorporated into different centerpieces, around your altar space, on dining tables, or gift tables. Make sure your venue allows candles! If not, you could consider using oil diffusers, sprays or natural fragrances such as flowers. Oil diffusers do offer a stronger scent, so you would not need to set out as many diffusers as you would candles.


Tips to Scentscaping:

  • During mealtime, it is best to skip scentscaping. You could end up with an conflicting aroma in the venue if you are serving salmon and asparagus while the spice scented candles are burning. Guests can easily lose their appetites. The best plan of action would be lighting them during the wedding ceremony, and then lighting candles or setting out diffusers after dinner and the cake has been cut.


  • As badly as you may want to customize your specific scent, consider that candles are already crafted to strategically blend different aromas evenly. You may love your fresh orange zest scented candle, while your significant other loves the musky pine-scented candle. These smells are amazing on their own, but they may create an overwhelming and confusing scent combination during your guest’s experience.  


  • Understand how your scent will develop over time. The best option is to burn a sample for however many hours your ceremony and/or reception will last. This will help you understand if the scent fades over time, if it will strongly absorb into your clothes and if you love the smell after being exposed to it for an extended period.


  • Consider looking at a fragrance wheel on Google or Pinterest to see how different flavors mesh together.