Couples ‘scentscaping’ weddings with personalized odors

It started with casinos and spas, followed quickly by retailers before landing in the wedding sphere.

Scentscaping your wedding is now a thing.

Couples are adding their personal scents (not to be confused with their body odor) to their weddings in the form of diffusers, candles, lotion, perfume mists and more. Some are even taking it to the extreme, pumping in scents a la Las Vegas casinos. We’ve moved way beyond relying on the simple bridal bouquet to emit pleasurable aromas. This is serious scent business.

Josh Macfarlane, 31, a New York lawyer, and his fiancee, Bridget Ansel, wanted to add something distinctive to their English countryside wedding in August 2019. “Given our wedding was outdoors, surrounded by trees and natural flowers, we thought doing something in the fragrance field would be cool,” Macfarlane said.

The couple visited Olfactory NYC in Nolita (North of Little Italy) to design a personalized scent, selecting one based on Olfactory’s Cam perfume (figs, violet and sandalwood) and adding woodsy tones. They bought scent diffusers for the bathrooms, along with scented place cards. For the dozen diffusers and place cards for 200 guests, the cost was about $850.


Customized scents are a way to make a wedding unforgettable, said Sarah Avigne, the events director for Jade & Onyx Events, a wedding planning company in Austin, Texas. Those who have been to hotels, spas or luxury stores with a signature scent can immediately recall the moment and feeling of their visit, she said.

“It’s because scent is so strongly tied to memory, that scentscapes have become more popular for brands and experiences in recent years,” Avigne said. “Similarly, couples with high-end weddings are usually looking for something to make their wedding unique to their personality or culture, so including a signature scent has become a great way to make their day literally unforgettable.”

Lately, scents have become popular for couples who want a destination wedding but are restricted because of the pandemic. The aromas, she said, can transport the couple and their guests to a tropical island, or to a European countryside without them actually being there.

For her May 2018 wedding to Prince Harry, Meghan Markle reportedly wanted to add a scent to St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle because she didn’t like the 15th-century chapel’s musty odor. According to the Daily Mail, the duchess requested atomizers. The Buckingham Palace allegedly declined this controversial move, but later sources say they allowed her to add Diptyque Baies diffusers to mask the church scent.


Talia Brown Thall, a Toronto-based stylist and personal shopper, had plenty of support when she decided to scentscape her February 2019 wedding at the Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto.

Ever since she made her first scent purchase when she scored her first job, where she worked in high-end luxury store sales, Thall was fixated on orange blossom. So as soon as she got engaged, she worked with Jo Malone London to create an orange blossom scent. Thall added Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom scented candles to the signing table, as well as the scented hand soaps and lotions in the bathrooms.

“It was just another personal detail to help make the wedding feel like it was detailed with parts of us in it,” Thall said. “I wanted people to smell the love of our wedding: It just added magic.”

Scentscapes can be magical for couples on a budget, as they can start as low as the cost of a candle or a diffuser ($25-$100). They can create the illusion of having more flowers. Or they can transport guests into a different experience, using the scent to create a totally new vibe for a themed speakeasy side room, for example, Avigne said, explaining that a speakeasy would probably have woodsy notes, but could lean a little fresh or oriental.


Erica Hoke, the owner of Foxfire Candle Works in Houston, encourages couples to consider their surroundings when creating a scent for their wedding. They should consider the color palette, the feel of the tablecloths, the taste of the food and the sound of the music, she said.

Hoke says she has created many scents with hints of cedar and leather to go hand in hand with a rustic wedding. She adds that scent to lotions, sugar scrubs, soaps, diffusers, mists and candles. The cost tends to range from $1,000 to $2,000 for most weddings, she said.

Many couples like to choose scents that are symbolic or reflective of their wedding flowers, said Beth Guastella, the general manager of Jo Malone London North America. The peony flower has historically been considered a symbol of prosperity and good fortune, so Jo Malone’s Peony & Blush Suede fragrance is a popular choice, she said.


Guastella also asks couples to consider the season as well as the mood they’re hoping to create. The company will then suggest scents (starting at $72) designed to be paired and layered with complementary or contrasting fragrances to create a scented statement tailored to the wedding.

Jo Malone London has a scentscape wedding service, and it is one of the most sought-after signature services at Jo Malone stores, Guastella said. The service encompasses all fragrance considerations for a wedding, from choosing the scent for the venue and finding a personalized fragrance combination for the engaged couple, to offering advice on choosing a scented memento for wedding guests.

Anuket Luxury Apothecary, a fragrance company in Tampa, Fla., offers a few wedding scent services. Among them: the PleaScent package (starting at $250), a do-it-yourself service that includes one scent for the event and up to four rental diffusers; and the Heaven Scent Package (starting at $2,000). Packages include three scent consultations, unlimited scents for up to four locations, up to 20 rental diffusers, coordinators for setups, refills and cleanup and guest gifts.