A wedding is an important event whether you're the groom, the best man or a guest. It is one of life's most important milestone and a day of lasting impressions. Whether relatives, friends, business associates or new in-laws, this is a day you want to make to make a good impression and choosing the perfect scent can be .
Why you should wear a cologne
While it's a day full of meaning, it's usually also a long, stressful day full of meeting people, hugs, handshakes, eating and dancing. With many weddings taking place in the summer, it's also likely to be hot. Not to mention, for many weddings, you'll find yourself in a suit or tux for the day.
With all these people in close proximity, a good cologne can at least reassure you that you'll keep smelling fresh all day. Even men who don't regularly wear cologne may find peace of mind knowing they smell good as the wedding day rolls on.
How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Cologne
Like always, when picking a cologne for a wedding, you'll want to consider the time of day, how formal it will be, what kind of setting it will be in, the season and the impression you want to make.
1. Choosing a cologne based on season
While it might seem strange to change fragrances based on the time of year, our sense of smell changes with the seasons and temperature so you might find a cologne you loved in winter feels overwhelming in the summer.
In general, your sense of smell is heightened in summer so lighter, cleaner fragrances will smell more appealing. For instance most the Fresh family in the fragrance wheel — greens, aquatics and citrus will fit well in hot weather. Meanwhile in winter more complex, warm, spicy fragrances from the Oriental side of the chart will likely smell more appealing. Meanwhile for fall and spring florals and woody are safe bets. Like with anything on colognes, this is more a rule of thumb than a hard and fast law but
2. Choosing a cologne based on time of day and formality
I lumped these two together because in general evening weddings tend to be more formal than day-time events but I know that's not always the case. In general, evening fragrances tend to be heavier and more attention getting while daytime fragrances are more subtle and understated.
Floral and citrus are good bets for casual and daywear while spicy, woody and amber based colognes are favorites for evening. If you have a formal daytime wedding or a casual evening wedding, you can adjust accordingly. Personal preference is key.
3. Choosing a cologne based on location
Another element to consider when choosing a cologne for a wedding is the location. This is important because you don't want an cologne that feels overwhelming if you're in a small chapel or tight quarters. Likewise, if you're in a large outdoor space like the beach or the garden you'll want a cologne that can project and hold its own.
You can also match the fragrance notes to fit the the location — an aquatic fragrance is perfect for a beach wedding whereas a spicy Oriental fragrance would fit the mood at a formal evening wedding.
4. Choosing a cologne based on longevity
Weddings can range from an hour or two to an all-day event and you usually don't have much downtime to freshen up, especially if you're the groom. This means ideally you should find a fragrance that will last for the full event. If that's not possible, you can bring a bottle to refresh the scent midway through.
Whatever you do, don't douse the cologne on more heavily with the hopes it'll last longer. Cologne wears off at the same rate no matter how much you put on. Over applying it will smell overwhelming and still wear off at the same time 1-2 sprays would.
5. Choosing a cologne based on your own comfort
Finally consider your own comfort level. If you're not used to wearing cologne, you might feel most secure wearing a fresh, clean fragrance that gives you that shower-fresh feeling all day but doesn't make you feel like you're wearing a cologne per se. I wrote a best-of list of subtle colognes here which you might also find helpful.
If you're more comfortable with making an impression with your cologne, there are numerous sophisticated designer colognes that can give you a polished presence.
Once you've considered these five factors it's time to pick a winner. To help guide you, here are some colognes for every wedding occasion you might find yourself in, whether it's a casual beach wedding or or a formal black tie event.
Best Wedding Day Fragrances for Men
Best Formal Wedding Cologne
Armani Code eau de toilette for men, once known as Black Code, is the original fragrance in the Armani Code line. It was introduced in 2004, and underwent a name change in 2005. This is a masculine fragrance with oriental overtones, featuring top notes of bergamot and lemon, heart notes of olive flower, with base notes of guiac wood and tonka bean. Although you may find it a bit much on the first application, it settles down into a quiet, unobtrusive fragrance, with fairly good longevity and sillage.
Armani describes the scent as inspired by the "satin lapels of an Armani tuxedo" and as such this is a good one for a more formal affair where you want to be elegant and sophisticated.
Best Garden Party Wedding Cologne
If you want something natural and outdoorsy but still sophisticated, try this woodsy scent from Diptyque. It's a beautiful dive into the scents of wood with Italian cypress, myrtle, cedar and rosewood all making appearances. It's sensual and spicy while not being overwhelming.
Best Beach Wedding Cologne
Creed Virgin Island Water feels like a sandy, beach vacation in a bottle. It's a bit lighter than most Creed colognes with a heavy coconut, lime scent.
It's also unisex which gives it a unique edge (and less to pack if you have a destination wedding). It's definitely casual and sultry, the perfect fragrance for a beach wedding.
For the Evening Wedding
This cologne will last all evening — it's got great longevity but isn't overbearing. It's a sensual, sexy woody oriental fragrance which feels very sophisticated and masculine. It's more of a cologne for an elegant dinner party than an all-night dance reception.
Best His / Hers Fragrance Pairing
The name Vera Wang is synonymous with weddings, and her men's cologne was specially designed as an extension of her bridal fashions.
Vera Wang for Men cologne starts with a bright, citrusy flair, then fades to a soft, yet masculine blend. Sillage and longevity are good — to me it smells a bit older, I believe it works best for the over 30 crowd. Citrusy top notes are of green mandarin leaf and yuzo, heart notes are nutmeg, leather, and anise, and the finishing base notes are tobacco and sandalwood.
However what makes this fragrance particularly interesting is that it was designed to complement Vera Wang Eau De Parfum Spray — a women's perfume. It's a nice touch and a detail that will make you feel even more connected.
Best Winter Wedding Cologne
Dolce and Gabanna The One for Men is the newer edition of their men's flagship fragrance. First offered in 2008, this cologne features top notes of grapefruit, coriander and basil, with heart notes of cardamom, ginger and orange blossom, finishing with base notes of cedarwood, ambergris and tobacco. Although this scent may not be to everyone's taste, I find it especially good for cool weather. Longevity may vary, depending on your personal skin chemistry.
I find this to be a warm, spicy fragrance, particularly good for winter wear. Recommended for a destination wedding on the ski slopes, or a festive wedding during the winter holiday season.
Best Summer Wedding Cologne
Dior Homme cologne, introduced in an updated version in 2013, is faintly floral yet masculine, the creation of master perfumer François Demachy. It features top notes of calabrian bergamot, heart notes of grapefruit blossom, with musk base notes. Reported longevity is 4-5 hours, which means this scent should last for all your wedding festivities and still survive some dancing.
I find that Dior Homme Cologne has a fresh, subtle and refined outdoorsy scent. Perfect for a summer wedding.
Go-Anywhere, Do-Anything Versatile Cologne
Sometimes you just want a tested and true fragrance. Aventus is a scent that should be in every man's collection. It's just so damn versatile and smells good on everyone and their dad. You can wear it to a job interview, a date, the club or your own wedding. If you're tired of choosing between floral arrangements and seating lists and just want one cologne for everything, go with this. Everyone will love it. You're done.
Best Cologne for Wedding Crashing
Okay, maybe you're not crashing a wedding per se but sometimes you're there to dance, flirt and have fun. This is the cologne for you. It's fun, sexy and perfect for tearing up the dance floor.
From the iconic bottle to the notes of fresh mint, lavender, orange blossom and woods, it's bold, in your face and everything you want for an unforgettable evening. Read my full review here.
I hope this guide helps you select a fragrance and enjoy your wedding day that much more. Don't see your wedding event? Email me and let me know what type of wedding you have planned and I'll continue to add to the list.
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