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Scentsational! Choosing Your Flowers According to Scent
They come in all sizes, shapes and shades, but it’s the fragrance that effortlessly puts that grin on your face. Besides this olfactory appreciation, smell and memory are intimately linked and one whiff can send you back to a time, place or person that you’d long forgotten. Whether eating ginger biscuits powerfully recalls your grandmother’s kitchen, or freshly mown lawn reminds you of summer holidays; smell has the power to stop you in your tracks. You can, in turn, use aroma to bolster future memories of one of the most important days of your life. By choosing your flowers according to scent, you’ll not only create a nifty mnemonic device, but you can actually influence your guests moods and tap into their emotions. To help you pick the perfect perfume, here’s a brief look at the complex world of fragrances, along with their matching floral counterparts.
Scents and Scentsibility
Like many things in life, aromas are subjective and what you love might not appeal to the person sniffing next to you. To help simplify and then categorise smells, numerous classification systems have been created but the most recognised (and consumer-friendly) is the Fragrance Wheel. It was developed in 1983 by Michael Edwards, a consultant in the industry, and because it’s been modified over the years it’s blossomed into somewhat of a perfume Bible.
According to his wheel there are four basic scent categories:
There are also subcategories including:
While all fragrances are different they also share common traits, and these similar smelling bouquets are grouped into fragrance families. Unbeknown to us, certain smells appeal naturally to us (the nose knows!)- we instinctively choose a group and tend to stick with it for life.
Making Scents of it All
Do you have a favourite wedding flower? Do you want to know what it says about you? Here’s an explanation of several scent profiles (which sound like the descriptions on a wine bottle), the kind of person who typically wears the fragrance and the flowers that exude it.
Scent analysis: Squeeze lemons, limes or grapefruit and you have the familiar, zesty burst of citrus flavours. It’s the invigorating smell of a dewy summer morning and it’s light and easy to wear.
Personality: Laidback and low key but up for anything, this person tends to be sporty and energetic and lives life to the fullest.
Flowers: Snowdrops, gladiolus.
Analysis: Classic, romantic and effortlessly feminine; this is the most popular fragrance family and it ranges from the smell of a single flower to the heady combination of a mixed bouquet.
Personality: Elegant and confident but also sweet and flirtatious, this playful persona is a hopeless romantic.
Flowers: Rose, jasmine, sweet pea, peony, stephanotis.
Analysis: Feminine with an undertone of exotic sensuality. These are the warm, spicy aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg with hints of amber, incense and rare wood.
Personality: This extrovert knows how to make an entrance! Bold and confident, stylish and sophisticated, there’s an air of mystery to this person and a definite wild side.
Flowers: Tahitian gardenia, frangipani, orchid.
Analysis: It’s opulent and warm, like a reading room filled with old books and a worn leather chair. There are nutty and spicy notes infused with amber, cedar, vetiver and unusual woods like patchouli and sandalwood. This distinctive odour is earthy, strong and slightly masculine.
Personality: What you see is what you get. This free-spirited adventurer is confident, charismatic and unpretentious and they also have a compassionate and nurturing side.
Flowers: Poinsettia, poppy, violet, gardenia, marigold.
Analysis: This is the oldest fragrance family and like the name suggests, this smell is like a mouthful of juicy fruit. Think of oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, mandarin and lemongrass. These recognisable aromas are effervescent and intense and leave you feeling rejuvenated.
Personality: Strong minded and decisive, this pragmatic person is confident and elegant and they’re often sporty.
Flowers: Orange flower, magnolia, geranium, pelargonium, wax flower.
Analysis: A summer salad with cucumber, basil and fresh herbs – it’s a crisp and clean fragrance. Nature is the theme with wafts of vines, cut grass, tea leaves and pine needles. While it’s lively and modern it also leans towards being unisex.
Personality: This sophisticated soul is chic but not boring and most definitely loves the outdoors. Their temperament is open, direct and honest.
Flowers: Freesia, hyacinth, lily of the valley, narcissus.
Analysis: The sea breeze on a hot summer day, the cool air after a thunderstorm - this crisp, marine smell is refreshing and revitalising.
Personality: A dreamer at heart, this person is playful, youthful and easy going. They also have boundless energy and prefer being outside.
Flowers: Snowdrops, lotus.
Analysis: Indulgent and sweet, this category is your perfume dessert tray. Comforting and edible, these are the delectable scents of vanilla, caramel, chocolate, pomegranate, honey, almond and apricot.
Personality: Fun but laidback, cheeky but carefree, the Gourmand is always ready to laugh.
Flowers: Lavender, chocolate flower, lilac, rhododendron.
Analysis: When were you last on holiday drinking a fruit cocktail? It’s attractive but not overwhelming with recognisable flavours like peaches and pears, apples and plums, berries and cherries and mango.
Personality: Like a cheerleader with a naughty side, they’re bubbly, optimistic and full of character. They love colour and tend to be ambitious.
Flowers: Osmanthus, amaryllis, apple blossoms.
Analysis: Imagine a Moroccan restaurant with the exotic flavours of clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise and pepper and breathe in the comforting notes of leather, sandalwood and amber.
Personality: Sensual, introverted and intellectual, this unique individual is generally subdued but does show an occasional flamboyant side.
Flowers: Carnation, patchouli, chrysanthemum, stock.
Analysis: For the bride who is either hypersensitive to smells, doesn’t like the smell of flowers, or simply doesn’t want their scent to influence the wedding in any way at all.
Personality: All types!
Flowers: Ranunculus, calla lilies, amaryllis, protea, poppies, tulips, anemones.
Deciding on the flowers for your big day is a very personal decision, but it shouldn’t be overwhelming. Remember that between the heavily perfumed and odourless options, you should be able to find the perfect balance between colour and fragrance. So remember that when it’s time to make the decision, just follow your nose and stop to smell the flowers!