Shopping for wedding day fragrance is a wonderful experience... provided it's on a quiet weekday, you've got plenty of time, you're feeling clear-headed and you're full of big-day inspiration. The truth is, you're more likely to be battling the crowds on your lunch break, brewing a huge headache and arguing with Mum on the phone.
In the upcoming November/December issue of Brides, I've talked about some very special independent perfume boutiques that make the perfume-finding process ultra luxurious and relaxing. But it's not for everyone: many prefer stepping through the glamorous, twinkling, glossy aisles of a department store, so with that in mind, here is your 10-step guide on how to cope with the craziness and find that perfect-fit fragrance:
1: Switch off your phone. You can still have a dreamy, delicious bridal perfume quest in a busy store, so don't let your mobile disrupt you!
2: Go to your favourite brands' counters. If you're on your lunch hour and short of time just pick one (you can do another outing/brand another day). Big names like Guerlain, Chanel, Dior, Estée Lauder, Jo Malone, YSL, Tom Ford and Armani all have a variety of floral, oriental, woody and fruity scents.
3: Ask for help! Wait until a sales assistant has your full attention. Describe the type of wedding you're having and how you want to feel on the day. Explain what you usually wear and what types of smells you tend to go for (and what you steer clear from).
4: Get sniffing. Try as many fragrances as you can (on blotters, not your skin yet), allowing a few minutes to wave off the alcohol (while you're waiting, write its name on the blotter). With each one ask yourself: 'is this how I want to smell on my wedding day?'
5. The Yes, No, Maybe edit. If you really don't like one scent, discard it. If you definitely like it, place the blotter on the counter to your left. If you're undecided, place it on the right.
6. Re-edit. Go through the 'maybe' selection and whittle it down, leaving one collection of 'yes' scents you really like.
7. Pick your two favourites, and try before you buy - you may feel differently about them later. Top tip: spray the tops of your wrists (it'll stay on longer because your arm hairs are porous).
8. On another outing, check out another favourite brand and follow the same process. Eventually you will have a small selection of perfumes from various brands that you really love.
9. Pick the one that fits like a glove! You'll naturally gravitate towards one: it'll 'click' with you, like a great fitting jacket or perfect LBD.
10. Wear it through your wedmin, especially to your dress fittings and shoe/accessory shopping outings, integrating it as part of your top-to-toe wedding look so that, on the big day, it feels seamless and familiar.