Setting Up a Wedding Perfume Station
It was but a whiff of orange blossoms. It was fleeting but highly potent, immediately painting a picture of a grove of bitter orange trees filled with tinkling laughter, childish chatter, and the patter of rushing feet. Then it hits you, a profound longing for your childhood haunt, your childhood friends, and the innocence of a time long gone.
A Proustian moment — it's what happens when a sensory experience such as a smell, a taste, or a texture involuntarily evokes memories of a time long forgotten. A wedding perfume station makes perfect sense if you want your wedding to make an indelible “Proustian mark” on you and your guests.
A Perfume Station at an Arab Wedding
Fragrances and scents are an integral part of the Arab culture and lifestyle. Arabs typically burn perfumed bricks or wooden chips soaked in scented oils to perfume their household. They also often burn bukhoor when they are dressing or preparing to go out so they can perfume their hair and garments.
After perfuming their hairs and garments, they may spritz on perfume, then cap it all off with a touch of oud or essential oil from agarwood. Instead of spraying on perfume, they may also choose to use essential oils. They may layer oils on the skin to create their unique, signature scent.
Fragrance is also an indispensable component of the Arab’s spiritual life. Arabs normally anoint themselves with aromatic essential oils and burn oud chips or incense in preparation for prayers and other solemn rites.
Given the pervasive nature of fragrances in the Arab culture and lifestyle, it is not surprising that perfume stations are typical at Arab weddings. Naturally, scents and fragrances cannot be missing on an occasion as momentous as a wedding.
Why You Want a Perfume Station
However, even if you are not from the Middle East, a wedding perfume station is still an ingenious idea. Remember how a sensory experience can effortlessly trigger a particular memory? Putting up a wedding perfume station practically guarantees a sensory trigger to evoke memories of your wedding.
With a perfume station, you can deliberately associate your wedding with a particular scent or an admixture of scents. Additionally, a perfume station engages your guests and invites them to actively interact with your chosen fragrance or fragrances.
As such, it is more likely that the scents in your perfume station can become inextricably linked with memories of your wedding. Consequently, years later, when a guest gets a whiff of that oud base and a heart of iris flower-topped by a note of lemon — the perfume "served" when you got wed — chances are high they will recall your wedding.
The same goes for you, naturally. A perfume station will help you create better memories of one of your life's most precious moments. By deliberately associating your wedding with particular fragrances, you give yourself an easy way of reliving your wedding.
Reminiscing about your wedding ceremony can become as easy as putting on the same perfume or perfumes that were available at your wedding station.
How to Set Up a Wedding Perfume Station
To set up a wedding perfume station, you need to decide on the perfume, the décor, and the experience.
You will need perfumes your guests can try and perfume oils you and your guests can layer, experiment with, and combine.
There should also be dakhoon and oud you can burn to infuse the space with the quintessential Middle eastern fragrance and medkhans (incense burner) on which to burn your scented bricks and wooden chips.
Important tip: Get your perfumes and perfume oils from your favorite perfumer. When it comes to dakhoon and oud, quality is paramount. Arab weddings make an impression not only through their ornate decor but also through the quality of their fragrance.
You will probably need to hire an event designer (or, if you already have one, commission them) to create a special kiosk festooned with flowers, luxurious crystal bottles, golden flasks, and other accouterments for your wedding station.
The more opulent and lavish the decoration, the better, of course, as Arab weddings are characteristically grand affairs. The decor should also go with the theme of your wedding.
You can design your own perfume station experience as you see fit. Typically, there will be oud and dakhoon burning on medkhans. You can also leave the burning of oud and dakhoon to your guests.
You should also assign one or two people to your perfume station. They will answer your guests' questions about the oils and perfumes available at the station and suggest perfumes for your guests to try. They will also guide your guests in creating do-it-yourself scents using the oils provided.
You can include a perfume-making activity in your program to highlight your perfume station. By allotting time for the perfume experience, you can encourage all your guests to try your perfume station. You can also join your guests, mingling, socializing, and adding another dimension to the perfume crafting experience.
Of course, if you decide to incorporate the perfume experience into your wedding program, you might need a bigger station and more station assistants.
Finally, you should seriously consider making a signature scent for your wedding.
Use this to fill dainty vials engraved or embossed with your and your spouse's names and your wedding date. Those will make such elegant and meaningful wedding gifts or party favors. Members of the wedding party and entourage might be given mini, engraved crystal bottles of your signature wedding fragrance together with vintage designer accessories.
A Wedding to Remember
Scents are linked with memories and emotions, and just a whiff of a particular scent can bring to mind memories long buried and forgotten.
Use the power of scents to make your wedding memorable.
Set up a wedding perfume station, and you can permanently link a particular scent or scents with your special occasion. The least complicated and the most convenient way to do this would be to commission a perfumer or a perfume house to set up your perfume station for you.