“We spend an hour smelling,” she said. “Then we talk about editing down the choices to six to 15 ingredients. We go outside and evaluate. Then we talk about the direction of the fragrance. Perhaps it’s an Oriental, heavy with amber or a beautiful powdery musk.”
Once a decision is made, three different versions are created. Some ingredients may be swapped our or omitted, or the ratio of components changed. The couple goes home with these samples, decides on a winner, which is then sent to them in a larger, more ornate bottle.
Ms. Serrano-McClain said that a third to half of her requests are for weddings.
“I’m not trying to recreate their love story, but I do want to create a perfume that symbolizes some piece of their love so that when they smell it again, it conjures up all of that love, and that special day,” she said.
Cost: $450 for a 50 milliliter bottle. mcmcfragrances.com
Mr. Hennessy, an heir to the long line of Cognac makers and grandson to the founder of the LVMH Group, offers four, in-person sessions and spends several months selecting specific oils and ingredients. (He keeps 200-plus notes in his Paris lab). He also consults with perfumers with niche specialties, from masculine scents to flowers.
When crafting wedding scents, Mr. Hennessy considers how a perfume reacts on someone’s skin and how it will expand throughout the night.
“I would build the scent with a few head notes to feel fresh, beautiful and romantic, because that’s how one is feeling at the beginning of their wedding,” he said. “I want something that opens very lightly during the event, because perfume cannot take over the ceremony.”
“I would build with 80 percent in heavy, dry, down base notes, like woods, vanilla or Oriental,” he continued, “because they have long-lasting diffusion. As the body heats, perfume accelerates. At its peak is when you want it fully opened.”
Mr. Hennessy has two boutiques, one on Washington Street and another on Madison at 74th Street.
Cost: $35,000. www.bykilian.com This includes a black lacquered box with a crystal carafe, made by the French crystal manufacturer Saint-Louis, containing 650 milliliters of the bespoke perfume; six additional glass 50-milliliter bottles with engraved plaques; two travel sprays; and a funnel.
THE FRAGRANCE SHOP NEW YORK
If an experience without the investment is what you seek, make an appointment with Lalita Kumut, the owner of the Fragrance Shop New York, on East 4th Street. For the last 25 years, she and her staff have been creating customized perfumes from more than 300 exotic oils. These include ylang-ylang from the Philippines, tea tree from Australia and black current from South Africa.
Twenty to 30 minutes are all that is needed, during which about 25 oils are sniffed and tried on. These are pared down to six to 14 oils, which Ms. Kumut personally blends. “Layering is like music you’re making with scented low, medium and high notes,” she said.
Cost: $50 for a rollerball; $90 for a 2-ounce spray. fragranceshopnewyork.com
Sue Phillips, the chief executive and founder of the Scentarium, a perfumery in TriBeCa, says business has tripled from last year, with same-sex couples making up about half her clientele.
“The 90-minutes experience is about personalization and authentically reflecting who they are,” she said. “It’s how do you want that fragrance to reflect what someone feels on that special day?”
Clients are first asked to fill out a short questionnaire. Among the questions: Describe your dream house. What kinds of foods do you like? What is your favorite season? Ms. Phillips then places clients in one of four fragrance families: fresh, floral, woodsy or Oriental.
She has already created 18 fully blended perfumes, which showcase a full fragrance palette. Each is smelled, and placed in order of preference. Then the top choices are combined together. “I’m looking to create a complete character, something smooth and consistent with no jagged edges,” she added. “I don’t want one particular note jumping out over another.”
Cost: $750 for an 20- milliliter atomizer scenterprises.com
Some couples might want to gift their “wedding scent” for guests to take home. This is a service provided by Sharon Farsijani, the owner of Desert35, a year-old luxury perfume and cologne company in the Gramercy area.
Her clients first take a personality test. (She created this test with the help of students and professors from the psychology departments of N.Y.U. and Columbia.)
After a couple answer nine questions, they’re placed into one of four fragrance groups; natural and simple; floral; and oriental and woody. During a one-hour session, four fragrance samples are designed using up to six oils from her 50 offerings. The couple then chooses the one they like best.
“There’s beauty in simplicity,” she said. “Too many scents and you don’t know about the ratio of how they blend together or if the scent is based on quality.”
Ms. Farsijani hired a master perfumer who creates a final fragrance. Two months later, 100 15-milliliter designer bottles, engraved with the couple’s initials and celebration date, are ready.
“It’s as powerful as a photo or a video,” she said. “The smell takes you back to the memory of the event, which is based on the couple’s creativity, which is really an extension of the couple.”
Cost: $3,000 for 100 15-milliliter bottles. desert35.com