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Bridal Beauty: Fragrance Facts

What's the difference between eau de toilette and eau de parfum? Here's a guide to choosing and wearing the perfect perfume for your wedding day.

Want to wear a special new scent on your wedding day? A personal fragrance should be a natural extension of your signature style, but how do you hit the beauty counter and find the right one for you? First, get the facts. Second, start spraying! Enlist your mom or a friend to come with you -- to double the available body surface for testing -- and follow your nose to pick up a fragrance you like. Below, some helpful hints for making sense of scents.

Fragrance Glossary

  • Perfume (a.k.a. parfum): the most potent and usually the most expensive product in the fragrance family. Why it may be worth it to shell out the bucks: It has a higher concentration of oil, so a little goes a long way -- and you won't run out as quickly.
  • Eau de Parfum: falls next in the potency arena. It's not quite a perfume, but it goes that extra mile.
  • Eau de Toilette and Eau de Cologne: somewhat weaker and more watered down than perfume, both eau de toilette and eau de cologne are usually available in convenient spray bottles. Keep in mind, though, that while the bottles may be larger and priced similarly to smaller versions containing the same scent, the bigger bottles are less concentrated, so you're not necessarily getting more for your money.
  • Body Splash: has the lowest concentration of scented oil and disappears into the skin, offering a lighter scent.

Finding the One

  • If you're thinking about wearing a new scent on the big day, be sure to start experimenting at least a month before your wedding -- just in case your nose leads you to something that causes an allergic reaction.
  • Be sure to sniff a scent on your skin before you buy -- you can't judge a fragrance by how it smells in the bottle or on a scent card.
  • Test by spraying on the scent and letting it sit. Your body heat and oils will effect how it smells. Let the fragrance develop for a minute or two before putting it to a serious sniff test. Have your shopping buddy tell you what she thinks, too.
  • Once you've gotten your pal's approval, go home and let your honey take a whiff -- you don't want to wear a scent that makes him sniffle or wince -- or worse, one that reminds him of an ex.
  • Don't overwhelm your senses by sampling too many perfumes in one day. If you don't find "the one" the first day out, make another trip.

Wear It Well

  • For "scent-ual" staying power, apply fragrance in layers (different products, same scent). Start with a body wash, then slather on the scented moisturizer, and end with the perfume.
  • Put fragrance on your pulse points -- your wrists, behind your ears, in the bend of your elbows, on your ankles. These spots generate the most heat and will give off scent longer.
  • In warmer weather, wear lighter scents. Heat intensifies fragrance, so stay away from heavy perfumes on hot, humid days.
  • For a quick pick-me-up, keep fragrances in the refrigerator. Perfumes should not be exposed to extreme cold or heat, though -- adverse temperatures may change how a scent smells.
  • And, finally: Don't overdo it. People should see you before they smell you.

-- Cindy Hobson

See More: Bridal Beauty Secrets