Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils and hydrosols for health and well-being and has created a re-emergence in the use of aroma for celebratory occasions. Pure essential oils of plants, and the aromatic water which results from their distillation (hydrosols) are incorporated into the bridal shower, marriage ritual, the reception, and even into the honeymoon! Recent research gives further meaning to the historical symbolic use of flowers and their aromas in the wedding ritual. According to Valerie Worwood, essential oils improve the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, improve the immune system, and relieve stress. The research of Alan Hirsch, MD shows a 40% increase in penile engorgement with particular aromas. Whether or not they are used with these findings in mind, essential oils of Rose, Lavandula angustifolia, Neroli, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, and Vanilla heighten the elegance of the wedding occasion. Hydrosols of Lavender, Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), and Yarrow flowers invigorate and enliven ancient tradition.
The Bridal Shower: Invitations to the bridal shower, the wedding ceremony, and the reception can all be scented with pure essential oils to offer guests and aromatic taste of events to come. Essential oils are diffused via candle diffusor or electric diffusor to scent the room of the bridal shower. Bridal gifts are scented with essential oils. Gifts of lingerie and stationary are wrapped in tissue scented with essential oils. Any books or paper items given as gifts are purchased two weeks in advance, and scented. For books, place 2-4 drops of essential oil on a piece of paper or scrap of fabric and lay them between the book’s pages. For paper, place 2-5 drops of essential oil on cotton balls and place them in a box with the paper. Allow these scented pages to sit and absorb the aroma for several weeks. For a personal touch, leave scented ribbons to mark your favorite passages or parts of a book. Or, give the gift of aromatherapy to the bride-to-be. Be wary of aromatherapy bought in gift stores. For a product to be considered true aromatherapy, with all the stress-relieving, beneficial qualities of the plants from which they come, the oils must be pure essential oils. Read labels carefully or make your own gift by adding drops of pure essential oil to unscented lotion, sweet almond oil, or an unscented cream. Use 10 drops of essential oil per ounce of lotion, cream, or oil. New Age Creations makes an Aromatherapy First Aid Kit™ for Love and Romance which contains all the oils needed to make a gift for the bride-to-be. The Kit itself makes a lovely gift as well!
Rather than punch or soda, the beverage of the day is carbonated water scented with essential oil of Rose or Jasmine, or a combination of 1 part hydrosol to 3 parts carbonated water, or try some of the other aromatherapy beverages or treats described below.
New Age Creations makes an Aromatherapy First Aid Kit™ for Love and Romance which contains all the oils needed to make a gift for the bride-to-be. The Kit itself makes a lovely gift as well!
The following recipes are from Mindy Green’s article “Culinary Aromatherapy” in The World of Aromatherapy anthology:
3 ripe Peaches
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
4 ice cubes
1-2 drops Mandarin essential oil
Whiz everything together in a blender. Start with one drop of essential oil and taste before adding more.
2 cups prepared Lemonade
2 tablespoons Lavender hydrosol
For a special touch, add ice made with fresh Lavender or Violet flowers frozen into the cubes.
1/4 cup honey
1-2 drops Vanilla or Lavandula angustifolia essential oil
Begin with one drop, it is usually enough. Stir well. Serve with scones or biscuits.
Aromatic Whipped Cream
1/2 pint whipping cream
1-2 drops Rose or Neroli essential oil
Whip cream to desired consistency, add essential oil and mix well. Start with one drop only. Add sweetener if desired. Serve with Strawberries or on simple dessert.
The Wedding Ritual: Essential oil worn by the bride will serve to enhance her aromatic beauty, envelop her in an aromatic aura fit for a princess, and calm her nerves! As she prepares for the exciting day, she relaxes with regular foot soaks and massages and the regular use of aromatherapy for body care. Five drops of Peppermint or Sage oil in a foot bath soothes and relieves tired feet. Ten drops of essential oil added to an ounce of unscented lotion can be used to tend the feet, or anywhere on the body. While Peppermint and Sage are good for the feet, floral oils such as Ylang-Ylang, Lavandula angustifolia, and Neroli provide relief from jittery nerves and tension. Aromatic baths of 5-7 drops of essential oil are swished into the tub just before stepping in to increase the efficacy of this stress relieving time.
Cotton balls with drops of essential oil have been clipped to the inside of the bag holding the bridal gown, to envelop the wearer in the scent of thousands of flowers. Essential oils are diluted in carrier oil and applied to the hair and body or diluted in alcohol to be worn as a perfume or cologne on this special day. The bridal dressing room or waiting room is well scented with a calming essential oil such as Lavandula angustifolia. The bride is regularly misted with Rose Geranium hydrosol with 2 drops of Rose oil added to calm her nerves and keep her in a positive state of mind. The light misting will also serve to set her make-up and keep her face from perspiring. The families of the couple and the members of the wedding party are not forgotten, and they receive a regular refreshing spritz as well. Essential oils are dripped on to cotton balls which are hidden into the bouquet to emit magnificent fragrance throughout the wedding ritual.
All corsages or other floral arrangements which are worn or carried are scented with essential oils. For men, a drop or two of Vanilla CO2 is placed the ribbon of a corsage. For women, Neroli, Rose, or Lavandula angustifolia is used. Cotton balls containing essential oils are hidden in bouquets to be carried by the flower girl, the mother of the bride, or others in the wedding party.
For an extra special entrance, two doormen on stands spritz aromatic hydrosols just beyond the entrance, creating a cooling and relaxing aromatic mist. The wedding hall is dreamily aromatic via diffusors placed throughout, creating a scentual connection between all in attendance. Candle diffusors are easily placed among other candle arrangements. Essential oils are flammable and are never dropped directly into a candle flame. Slips of paper or ribbon with drops of essential oil are placed in the attendance book two weeks prior to the occasion, so the pages will emit delightful aroma as they are turned. After the ceremony, the newlyweds exit through a shower of rice and rose petals.
The Reception: Essential oils and hydrosols are incorporated into recipes served at the reception. Especially wonderful is champagne scented with one drop of Ylang-Ylang essential oil per bottle, and a champagne fountain filled with aromatic hydrosol instead of champagne. For alcohol-free receptions, essential oil and hydrosol beverages such as those at the bridal shower add elegance. The icing of the wedding cake is scented with essential oil of Rose or Neroli essential oil. One drop of essential oil of Ginger per glass is added to carbonated water is served after the reception dinner to settle stomachs which may be upset from nerves and over-indulgence.
Of course, the reception hall is filled with the aroma of diffusing essential oils as well. Rather than candy, gifts to the guests are bundles of floral potpourri including Rose petals and Lavender and scented with essential oils, wrapped in silk to be placed under the pillow or to scent drawers or paper. Bride’s maid’s gifts include small mister bottles of aromatic hydrosols or stationary scented with essential oils. Thank-you notes to all attendants are scented with essential oils as well.
The Honeymoon: After such an enticingly aromatic celebration, the newly married groom is certainly prepared for a honeymoon to remember. The hotel has been contacted in advance, and the bridal suite is delightfully aromatic upon entrance. Bridal lingerie is scented with essential oil of Vanilla and drops of Lavandula angustifolia is placed on the pillows and edge of the sheet. Jasmine essential oil can also be used to recreate the Indian ritual of the first night of matrimony spent on a bed of Jasmine flowers. Massage oils scented with essential oil of Neroli, carbonated water or champagne scented with Ylang-Ylang, and strawberries served with Rose-scented whipped cream, and an aromatic honey add further aromatic pleasure to a blissful honeymoon. Flower petals of fresh Roses, and fresh Jasmine flowers are added to the bride’s bath, along with a drop or two of essential oil. This bath is taken before romance to relax her mood and increase sensual desire. A more elaborate bath for the same purpose includes the dried herbs of Roses, Acacia flowers, Rosemary, Myrtle and Thyme. One ounce of the mixed herbs are gently simmered in a quart of water for 10 minutes, then allowed to steep while the bath is drawn. The herbal water is then strained into the bath, and a few drops of essential oils swished in. [From Herbs & Things by Jeanne Rose, 1972]
After romance, the couple has a sponge bath with a lightly fragrant hydrosol added to warm water. A drop or two of essential oil are added to this as well, if desired. This is a most relaxing, and bonding experience.
Aromatic flowers and plants, resins, and oils have been used throughout the ages for life’s ceremonies. The use of essential oils and hydrosols is reminiscent of this ancient tradition and are easily incorporated into the great variety of cultural marriage traditions. Perhaps they are used for their increasingly studied benefits to mind, body, and emotions, or perhaps they are used simply to add pleasure and to create fond aromatic memories of this special occasion to all who participate.
The Oils: The following essential oils are most versatile for wedding celebrations and romantic use. Although they tend to also be the most expensive, remember that only a drop or two is used at any one time. The Aromatherapy First Aid Kit™ for Love & Romance contains all the essential oils listed and a bottle of carrier oil at a very reasonable price. The following information is from Aromantics by Valerie Worwood and “The Women’s Oils” article in The World of Aromatherapy.
Lavandula angustifolia: a steadying influence on the psyche; calming; relieves intellectual indecisiveness. [Dr. Hirsch’s research shows that the aroma of Lavender, in combination with other aromas, has been shown to have a physiologically aphrodisiac affect on males.]
Rose (Rosa centifolia): luxurious, earthy yet erotically sexual; warm and mysterious; traditional symbol of the Virgin Mary and of spiritual union; good for confidence and bringing out deep emotion.
Neroli (Citrus aurantium): calms highly charged emotional states; relaxing yet stimulating; energetic and confident; helps to positively face emotional fear.
Ylang-Ylang extra (Cananga odorata): soothes frustrations; excitingly exotic; sensually stimulating.
Vanilla CO2 (Vanilla planifolia): familiar and consoling; offers safety and unleashes hidden sensuality. Jasmine (Jasminum officinale): the mistress of the night; brings out a man’s desires and fantasies while accentuating the feminine and stimulating seduction; traditionally associated with romance and union; lifts dark moods and anxieties; relaxing and sedating.
Jeanne Rose has been a practicing aromatherapist for 30 years, author of 18 books on herbs and aromatherapy and founder of the Institute of Aromatic Studies with two courses in aromatherapy. The basic Course is for those with some interest while the Intermediate/Advanced Course is for those wishing to practice the arty and craft of Aromatic Essential Oil Therapy. Jeanne Rose’s Correspondence course is approved for Nurses for 150 CE.
Rose, Jeanne. Herbs & Things, Perigee, New York, 1973.
Rose, Jeanne and Susan Earle, Editors. The World of Aromatherapy, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, 1996.
Worwood, Valerie Ann. Aromantics, Pan Books Ltd., London, 1987.
– The article above is being used with permission –