‘What fragragrance to wear at your / a wedding’ perfume guides are plentiful, but almost exclusively aimed at women (either as brides, bridesmaids or guests). This isn’t a phrase you’ll often hear me utter in life, but: ‘what about the men?‘ Sometimes they attend weddings, too. Sometimes (more frequently than ever, these days) they even like to smell nice. While the ripples of shock subside, I present for your delectation a guide that proposes [warning: other puns will follow] a selection of scent suggestions for men to wear at a summer wedding, and exactly how to go about finding the perfect one…
What are you wearing?
Yes, okay, extremely likely to be a suit if you’re in the Western hemisphere, but think about the colour and material. Our senses are complexly intertwined, so tones and texture of fabric can genuinely give you a head-start into fragrance families to look for. Silk blends suggest cool, smooth compositions perhaps with cardamom or sandalwood as notes, while light wool might suggest a drier, woody scent – something with cedar, vetiver or guiacwood in the base.
Even consider ‘matching’ the colour of your suit to the packaging or bottle a brand has put their fragrance in – they spend considerable amounts of time and money ensuring the way a fragrance looks evokes something of the way a composition smells. If your suit is black or grey, look instead at the accessories (tie / cravat / handkerchief) – dark red or plum colours could lead you to an opulent rose (yes, it works amazingly on men’s skin and features in many masculine launches of late!) or something with berries, pink pepper fruity notes.
This isn’t a strict guide, because everyone has differing opinions on what certain colours ‘smell’ like; but it’s a starting point. And when you’re suddenyl struck wide-eyed with terror at the overwhelming choice in the perfume shop aisle (before heading up the aisle to the altar), you need somewhere to start.
If you already love a fragrance but want to try something different
It’s a good idea to have a differing scent for a wedding – particularly if you’re the one getting married – because smell is the sense that’s most closely plugged into the section of our brain that stores memory and emotions; therefore, you can tap into those happy times again whenver you wish, simply by spraying that particular scent again. Also, we hope you’re treating yourself to a new outfit, not just whatever happens to be the cleanest and least-creased thing knocking about on the bedroom chair; so why wouldn’t you wear a new scent, too?
Have a look at our genius Fragrance Finder – simply input the name of a scent you already wear, and it’ll give you SIX suggestions of new fragrances to try with similar notes, themes or ‘feel’ about them, all in differing price ranges. It REALLY works – just try it for yourself to see!
Know your skin type.
Fragrance can waft fabulously on some people for hours, while that same scent might only have a mere whiff left after an hour of you wearing it. It depends, basically, on how oily your skin is naturally, and the climate you’re in. Fragrances are generally composed of oils in an alcohol base, and these evaporate at differing rates (hence Top / Heart / Base notes); so the drier your skin, the hotter the weather, the more quickly your scent will disappear.
If this is your experience, you might want to avoid a scent that’s mainly citrus-based or a very light formulation (such as Cologne) as those notes can evaporate within half an hour; though having said that, modern advances using aroma chemicals can help vastly prolong some citrus scents. See if the fragrance has an Eau de Parfum or ‘Intense’ version – these have a highter fragrance to alcohol base ratio so last much longer – or layer with matching products such as shower gel and body lotion. The more moisturised your skin, the longer the fragrance will cling to it.
Also consider carrying a pocket-sized version for on-the-go top-ups – many houses offer travel sizes, or you can buy brilliant (and very stylish) mini atomisers, such as Travalo, in which you can safely decant from your full-size bottle.
Travalo atomisers £28 ab-presents.co.uk
Characterful, suave and assured as the perfectly tailored menswear it’s the fragrant emblem of, founded in Rome in 1945, the pared-back style is perfectly reflected in Master Perfumer Michel Almairac’s hands. Green apple studded with pink pepper feels like a cool sip of gin, while violet and Ambroxan are perfectly blended with tonka bean and musk, like a second skin. Instant classic, aisle be bound! [You were warned about the puns], and there’s two other versions – one fresher, the other an Intense – also available.
£95 for 100ml eau de parfum (60ml exclusive to retail)
PS: You can try a sample of Brioni in the Niche VI Discovery Box (along with nine other niche scents for £23 / VIPs £19)
Icon Racing Red
There’s some extra pep in this engine – perhaps the sizzle of spicier notes with the warm glow of that rich amber base does it, but nonetheless we can say the red is rather racier than its somewhat sleeker (but still fabulous) Racing Blue garage-mate. Sun-filled solar notes remind us of driving, top down, ‘round winding lanes on holiday (perhaps pressaging the honeymoon?) with a carefree abandon, the zing of the citrus speeding the verdant freshness of leafy fern and geranium – a welcome reception before the nuzzle-me-closer frankincense-y infused church pews base kicks in.
£94 for 100ml eau de parfum
One for gents that desire being veiled in something more opulent and exotic, this highly refined, almost leathery iris feels like an intricately carved wooden shutter suddenly flung open to welcome evening air and blazing skies, a tang of salty shores nearby carrying waves of delicate, powdered spices on the breeze. Beneath an earthy, mossy layer nestles seams of liquid vanilla, milky ripples later reflect moonlight, harbouring the expectation and tingling anticipation of tonight’s nuptial adventures…
£178 for 100ml eau de parfum
Acqua di Giò EDP
Requring the comfort of familiarity with a fresh feel? ‘An eternally iconic fragrance reinvented for the future’, this new interpretation reflects Armani’s sustainability commitment. Aromatic and luminous, the consciously-sourced ingredients fizz with the freshness of green mandarin, lightly musky, tobacco-like notes in the clary sage heart, and a sheer yet enduring patchouli essence. An instant hit when it was launched in 1996, this so-stylish contemporary and eco-conscious (refillable) update is to be celebrated again – Alberto Morillas working his magic with the planet in mind.
£98 for 125ml eau de parfum
PARFUMS DE MARLY
A distinctly greener vibe for this much-loved niche house, bringing the feeling of a contemporary Cologne but (importantly) with the benefit of far greater staying power in a concentrated eau de parfum. Bursting with citrus up top, the petitgrain grants an immediate freshness, a fruity interpretation of cashmere wood fused with crisp apple and the shady cool of violet. Amberwood ripples throughout, making this feel like a much-needed stroll through the woodlands if you’re feeling the need to escape the wedding-planning madness.
£175 for 75ml eau de parfum
Juicy mandarin is married here to the powerhouse icon that is Molecule 01 – the first fragrance that propelled this house’s perfumed fame. The sophisticated freshness just keeps on going (and helps you hang on) thanks to perfumer Geza Schoen. ‘I’ve touched it up with a little extra shading to extend it, adding a mandarin ingredient used in flavourings to give it super-juiciness’ he explains. Then the warm-skin purr of ISO E Super sashays in: ‘That’s unusual – for a top note ingredient like Mandarin and a base note like Iso E Super to dance together naked like this, without other notes coming between them.’
Escentric Molecules M+ Mandarin £95 for 100ml or try a sample in their M+ Discovery Set £20
Here’s a thought – if you’re nervous about that first dance, or ‘dad dancing’ as a guest, simply spray the M+ Mandarin and imagine everyone naked. Well. Maybe not everyone, depending of course on how you feel about your in-laws. But seriously, the right fragrance truly can give you an extra boost of confidence, helping you feel stronger and energised throughout the day as well as making scent memories to last a lifetime. I so hope this little guide has given you some help to finding yours…
Written by Suzy Nightingale