Manfred Richter – Pixabay

With so many events being postponed at the moment, one of the silver linings is extra time for planning. Maybe you’ve worked out all the colours and mixed a music playlist for your special day, matched the food with the wine, and organised the perfect cutlery and floor coverings, but are you going to be engaging all the human senses?

Remember it’s not just about how things look, sound, feel and taste. Scents are powerful shapers of mood, and makers of memories. The power of aromas comes from the way they bypass our intellects and make deeper, more animal connections.

A rose by any other name

In Japan, aromatherapy is commonly used in workplaces to improve morale and boost productivity, as well as reducing anxiety and depression. In real estate sales, the old freshly baked bread trick has spawned modern variants such as citrus, green tea and cedar.

In the business context, some firms have come up with signature smells to anchor their products deep in customers minds.

Many celebrities have their own signature perfumes and candles, but you don’t have to be David Beckham or Gwyneth Paltrow to play around with aromas. All it takes is some understanding of what you’re mixing and matching, and how you’re delivering your aromatic experience.

girl in lavender field


Fragrance 101

Perfumers think in terms of ‘notes’ (top, heart and bass) with the top notes lasting 5-15 minutes and the bass notes as long as six hours. Examples of top notes are lavender and bergamot. Heart notes include most of the fruity smells. Bass notes tend to be spices and woody aromas.

You can aim for similar combinations or single note effects using essential oils (in burners or candles), electronic aroma dispensing devices, fresh flowers, or incenses.

Fantastic food-related smells can come from obvious sources like coffee, chocolate, herbed breads, lime and vanilla.

The key is to compliment or augment whatever you’re doing at your event, making positive memories.

Scents or smells?

Remember one person’s heaven in terms of aroma might be another’s hell. Scent memories are very individual things. There are also allergies to consider, and some people have headaches triggered by incense, for example. Other people have anosmia, which means they can’t smell anything at all.

If your event is in a single room, think about what scent or scents might contribute to what you are trying to achieve. If your event is large, try different scents in different rooms. Experiment and see what works.

Less is more

Aromas are at their best when they come from natural rather than artificial sources, and when they are subtle, rather than overpowering, so go easy and test things out before the crowds arrive.

Enjoy your extra-memorable event, and remember to smell the roses!


David Lowe