Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hey, little sister, what have you done?

On helping a friend find a scent for her wedding

In eleven days, my friend Tiffani gets married. On Monday, Tiffani, I, and another member of the bridal party (Hi Kate!) got together to work on some wedding favors. As we talked over logistics of the upcoming nuptial related events, I asked a question every perfumista must know: what perfume will you be wearing on your joyous day?

Tiff is not a perfumista. She has what I would describe as a mild interest in perfume. She's not adverse to hearing about it, or even trying some things, but she's not really interested enough to seek it out on her own at the sacrifice of other hobbies/collectibles/opportunities. She told me she was just kind of hoping that, as busy as she, overwhelmed by last-minute work for the wedding, some perfume might fall into her lap.

That, I told her, is where I come in.

After rustling up a collection of about ten or so bottles of my collection, I dragged them out into the lounge along with some scent strips for her to use to narrow down her search. Her wedding is a late afternoon/early evening outdoor 'do in mid-June. It's being held at Bridal Veil Lakes, which -- if you google image search the locale -- you'll see is a site providing everything that the PNW has to offer in the way of natural beauty. It's like getting married in a field next to a lake smack in the middle of the first Twilight movie.

I tried, as every good perfumista does, to bring her a wide variety of options while, at the same time, sticking to things that would fit the event (time, place, occasion). I brought her everything from gourmands to florals to ultra-realists to oriental/incense scents. This isn't a leather scent kind of wedding, so I skipped those, and I skipped ozones, woods, and chypres for similar reasons. While I may love scents in these families, I know better than to try to foist them upon some poor unsuspecting woman on the day of her wedding. I also left out anything I didn't think could hang in there with a busy afternoon of vows, photos, food, and dance, so, for example, as much as I might love S-Perfumes 100% Love, it would take so many applications to make it stick, I nixed it. Similarly, I dropped anything so prohibitive expensive that the bride could not later reasonably acquire a bottle of her own to enjoy and remember. Consequently, while I might be more than willing to pony up $300 for a bottle of L'Artisan Iris Pallida, I also recognized that the woman in front of me would never be the kind of perfumista who thinks that is a totally reasonable amount to pay for a bottle of perfume if you really liked it.

After trying everything from Bond No. 9 New Haarlem to Chanel No. 5 to CB I Hate Perfume Black March to Prada Infusion d'Iris, she narrowed it down a bit. But among the myriad of roses and vanillas and irises that tend to be my favorites, given the summer outdoor setting and the DIY tendencies of the bride, I had no idea what the bride would go for. I stuck toward florals, figuring if Tiff showed an interest in something more foodie or spicy I could swap always go get other scents. My floral instincts were spot on though for an outdoor summer ceremony.

Ultimately, it came down to two scents: Kai EdP and Chanel Coco Mademoiselle.(Kai haters, talk to the engagement ringed hand: I like it, and so did she.)  While I was surprised, I don't think anyone was more surprised than the bride herself when she ultimately settled for the Chanel. If you'd asked her before we began if she would ever consider herself a Chanel type of woman -- any kind of Chanel -- she would have felt about 90% sure the answer was no. But after spraying her thoroughly with both Kai and Coco Mademoiselle to wear home for the evening and have her fiancé smell, I received a obviously perplexed but nonetheless happy voicemail the next day telling me that she had settled on Coco Mademoiselle. Both she and her fiancé liked it and, she said delightedly, "I could still smell it on me this morning, and that's cool!"

And that is one of the crazy wonderful things about perfume. It never stops surprising me, and whenever I see someone else surprise themselves with their own delighted responses, I am totally gratified. It has the ability to give the wearer new insight into how they see themselves, or how they want to be seen. It opens up memories and experiences that you might not have ever even knew you were missing. It is a little miraculous thrill, right there happening in the middle of an otherwise rainy and insignificant day.  I would never have predicted this outcome for Tiffani, but it makes me happy to see her so pleased with her own choice. I promised to decant her an 8ml sprayer of it (and bring my bottle for back up), an expected and delightful opportunity for me to contribute in some small way to the memory of her special day.

In case you're interested, here's the full list of scents I pulled out to test:
Bond No. 9 New Haarlem, Annick Goutal Vanille Exquise, Annick Goutal Songes, Stella McCartney Stella Nude, Juliette Has a Gun Lady Vengeance, Juliette Has a Gun Miss Charming, Téo Cabanel Oha, Kai EdP, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Chanel No. 5, Prada Infusion d'Iris, Lorenzo Villoresi Alamut, L'Artisan Dzing!, Tauer L'air du désert marocain.
"There is nothin' fair in this world.
There is nothin' safe in this world.
And there's nothin' sure in this world.
And there's nothin' pure in this world.
Look for something left in this world --
Start again. Come on!

It's a nice day to start again."

~ "White Wedding," Billy Idol


star said...

One of my mags gave an award to Avon's In Bloom, so I got a bottle on sale. It's great!


SadeRa盈君iford0412 said...
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ScentScelf said...

{casts a sidelong glance at the previous comments as she moves on in to comment...}

I love that you did this for your friend! What fun. I of course *did* wish to know what you offered up. Amused by the curved ball of Dzing! (plus a good move, methinks, to keep the nose brain active).

Stopped by a few days ago, but didn't have time to comment...have had a Billy Idol earworm since, thank you very much... ;)

耿賢耿賢 said...
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angel_phoenix said...

What would I have done without you? I'm excited to wear my special perfume - and honored to be talked about in your blog! ;)

waftbyCarol said...

Great fun to help your friend !!
It will be a scent that has a special place in her heart , for the rest of her life !
No greater gift you could give her...
BTW , I added you to my bloglist at Waft...I dunno how I missed you before !