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Our Favorite Non-Floral Fragrances For Your Wedding Day

It’s typical — and understandable — to start with flowers when choosing perfume, but according to Tania Sanchez, co-author of Perfumes: the A–Z Guide, “it’s a mistake to assume that the reason to wear perfume is to impersonate a flower bed. This is a very fine strategy if your aim is to attract bees; otherwise, you could do better.” As someone whose nose wrinkles when in the vicinity of decidedly floral scents, I couldn’t agree more. Here, some of my favorite finds  — some fresh and citrus-y, others woody and spicy, all with zero to low floral notes.

By: Mary Clarke

Enter Slideshow
  • Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau

    Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau

    In heavy — almost daily — rotation, this scent has me sniffing my wrists all day long. The toasty, caramel-y, buttery notes never cloy, thanks to the darker underpinnings of cedar and amber. Despite the creamy woodiness going on, there’s a surprisingly transparent quality overall. Perhaps creator Lutens said it best: “I set out to use this fragrance like a lovely invisible ink to write a message on the air” $135, barneys.com).

  • Coolife Le Deuxième Parfum

    Coolife Le Deuxième Parfum

    This is the second in a scent series from Coolife creative duo, Pauline Rochas and Carole Beaupré. The first fragrance, Le Premier Parfum (naturellement!), is a woodsy floral designed to “activate the sacral chakra, unleashing sensuality.” Le Deuxième gets to work on the heart chakra, opening the pathway to the energy of love. Featuring essential oils of Peru balsam, Calabrian bergamot, orange flower and ylang ylang, the airily potent scent is unisex — perfect for a couple to share ($175, bycoolife.com).

  • Nuxe Prodigieux le Parfum

    Nuxe Prodigieux le Parfum

    There’s nothing better than a hit of sunny, beachy goodness in the dead of winter. Prodigieux le Parfum is the spritz-on sister of cult favorite Nuxe body oil, featuring a tweaked-from-the-original blend of bergamot, orange blossom, vanilla and coconut milk. Wear it and be transported to a honeymoon state of mind ($69, nuxe.com).

  • Dries Van Noten par Frederic Malle

    Dries Van Noten par Frederic Malle

    I’ve been wearing this scent on and off for months now (as a warm fragrance, it’s especially nice in cooler weather), and can happily report that never, ever have I received so many compliments or “What are you wearing?” questions. Chalk it up to the perfectly realized composition of natural sandalwood, vanilla, saffron and patchouli blended with notes of violet wood, lemon, nutmeg and clove ($195; purse-size mini refill spritz, $54, fredericmalle.com)

  • Sarah Horowitz Parfums Perfect Veil

    Sarah Horowitz Parfums Perfect Veil

    In conceiving this scent, perfumer Sarah Horowitz-Thran set out to create a “non-perfume perfume, like clean, naked skin — only better.” A delicate, refined blend of lemon, bergamot, sandalwood, vanilla and musk, the quintessential, transparent “skin scent” can be worn alone or layered atop another scent — like, yes, a veil — to add warmth and staying power ($75; mini roll-on, $40, sarahhorowitz.com).

  • Rich Hippie Devotion

    Rich Hippie Devotion

    Bright and intensely fresh and citrus-y upon initial whiff, Devotion dries down to a soft airy blend of French lemon, Moroccan verveine and Italian clementine ($48, rich-hippie.com).

  • Rouge Bunny Rouge Tenera

    Rouge Bunny Rouge Tenera

    Vanilla is at the heart of this quietly alluring scent, deftly counterbalanced with precious woods and black pepper. Winding throughout: gentle notes of patchouli, amber, leather ($129, us.rougebunnyrouge.com).

  • Olfactive Studio Lumière Blanche

    Olfactive Studio Lumière Blanche

    Almond milk. Sandalwood. Cardamom. The keywords had me salivating even before I took my first whiff. Hints of lemon and licorice enveloped by musk round out this gorgeous blend. Not as heavy or edible-gourmand as it sounds, this elegantly nuanced fragrance lives up to its name, which translates to “white light” ($145, olfactivestudious.com).

  • Atelier Cologne Grand Néroli

    Atelier Cologne Grand Néroli

    Much as I love them, I nearly gave up on citrus scents a few years ago, frustrated at how quickly the top notes would fade. Enter the geniuses at Atelier Cologne, who have unlocked the secret to long-lasting citrus fragrance, earning the devotion of lemon lovers everywhere. The citrus lineup taking center stage here: néroli (orange blossom), petitgrain (from the bitter orange tree) and Sicilian bergamot, backed up by Persian galbanum, oakmoss, birch leaf, musk, cedar and vanilla (from $70, ateliercologne.com).

Our Favorite Non-Floral Fragrances For Your Wedding Day

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