Etiquette

How to tell guests scent free zone?

Both myself and quite a few of my family members are highly sensitive to some scents.  Is there a proper or polite way to inform my guests that the wedding will be scent free?  Would this be appropriate to put on a wedding invitation, or do I hope enough people go to our website and find out from there?
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Re: How to tell guests scent free zone?

  • Unless you are seriously/deathly allergic to something, I would not mention it. I would definitely not put it on the invitation at the very least. There isn't really a polite way to tell people not to wear perfume or cologne, and I would find that request very odd unless someone's life was in danger because of it. Do you tell people you work with that they can't wear scents either? I'm just curious because otherwise, it would seem you are in situations like this frequently and can obviously manage.


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  • What kind of scents are you worried about? Do you have issues going through regular daily life because of it? I'm just confused as to why you'd need to mention this to your guests. Do you need to alert co workers or people you're in social situations with to this sensitivity? Will your wedding be in an unusually small, confined space or something?
  • Mine and my other family members all have scent free workplaces.  We avoid scented people as much as possible, it's landed at least one of my cousins in the hospital lately.  We're pretty concerned about it.
  • In Response to Re: How to tell guests scent free zone?:
    Mine and my other family members all have scent free workplaces.  We avoid scented people as much as possible, it's landed at least one of my cousins in the hospital lately.  We're pretty concerned about it.
    Posted by baileysdream
    I'd say that's quite serious enough to warrant an insert in the invitation.  Maybe something like "Due to the serious allergies of many members of our familes to fragrances, we respectfully request you refrain from wearing perfume, cologne, body spray, etc.  Please contact us with any questions."

    My concern is--are the sensitivites bad enough to react to scented deoderants, hair products, etc?  Because those things will be hard to get around.

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  • Also, I'd be prepared that no matter how you spread the word, SOMEONE will wear perfume.  If it were me, I'd be asking my doctor the best way to prevent a reaction and be prepared for what could happen.

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  • My church is scent-free. They have a notation on their website and in their bulletin. At most, you could put a small note on your website. "Due to the severe allergies of a number of guests, please refrain from wearing heavily scented perfumes or colognes." You and your family can also make some mention of it by word of mouth.
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  • I just saw the part about your cousin. An insert is fine, and I like J&K's advice on wording.
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  • I would advise that you inform the guests you know are "highly sensitive" to bring epi kits
  • I worked with a teacher who would have a seizure if someone wore perfume or cologne. It was a first grade class and we still had to ask the parents not to let their kids wear any to school. I really think you should put an insert in your invitations about this. There are too many people that don't go on wedding websites.
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  • Ugh I hadn't even thought of this, but I have severe reactions too (bright red itchy eyes, migraines that lead to vomiting with prolonged exposure). I'm going to have to talk to my venue to make sure we have good ventilation options. 
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  • This might be unpopular, but I think health trumps etiquette.

    If you and several family members could wind up in the hospital due to guests wearing perfume I'd call it out. Put it in an invitation insert, put it on the website, call the guests individually, do whatever you can to make it known. Heck, if you need to, put it on the invitation itself.

    There's no reason that anyone should end up in the hospital because someone feel like wearing purfume.
  • bongebonge
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    One of my bm has a severe (but not quite alergic) reaction to scents. She can't even handle months old car freshners, thankfully our hall is big. I am doing fake flowers just for her. 

    I would put it on an insert if your health concerns are a major source of stress, but NOT on the actual invitation.
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  • I really don't think that the answer is to tell guests who are that allergic to scents to just have an epi pen on hand. It seems to me that it would be easier (and very understandable) to ask people not to wear any fragrances than it would be to go into a situation where you may have to inject something very akin to adrenaline into your system for the sake of someone's vanity.

    If the sensitivity is that serious, I honestly would go with all three, putting something in the invitation (an insert or not), on the website and to make sure to spread the word by mouth. Don't see that your signature scent is worth half the wedding party down for the count.
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  • add an insert, but I would also contact the venue and make sure they tell their workers to stear clear of scents as well.
  • People with hyper-sensitivity/allergies to scents must have learned ways to handle going about their day-to-day lives where they might run into a "scented" person and they should just apply those coping techniques at the wedding. I mean, unless you live your life in a bubble you're bound to run into the occasional person who over does it with the cologne or perfume--at a wedding or elsewhere.  Carry an epi-pen.

    I just think it's inappropriate to dictate guests' personal hygiene decisions.  For your part as a host, I would do unassigned seats so if someone with a sensitivity realizes there is a heavily scented guest, they can avoid sitting near them or discreetly move to another seat if that person approaches them.   But I wouldn't dream of putting an insert into an invitation saying something about it. 
  • ceh789ceh789
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    edited March 2012
    I think an insert is fine, but as someone who suffers from exreme scent senstivitiy I'm generally much more concerned with adequate ventilation than perfume wearers.  I assume you've chosen a venue that has good air circulation?


    In Response to Re: How to tell guests scent free zone?:
    Do you tell people you work with that they can't wear scents either?
    Posted by Summer2011Bride
    No, but I explain what a problem it is for me and since I work with human beings, I haven't encountered anyone who chose their daily perfume bath over my ability to not pass out.

    If a co-worker did contine to wear excessive scent, I'd speak with HR about it - my employer, like most these days - includes excessive scent in the not allowed section of the official dress code.
  • I agree with NOLA.  Those with the sensitivities (which is not necessarily a diagnosed allergy - I say that because I consider myself sensitive to a lot of fragrances b/c I get headaches easily but I'm not allergic) have learned how to cope day to day so why should the wedding be any different?  Do they never go out in public?  I avoid the perfume areas in department stores at the mall, but it doesn't keep me from going to the mall.    If you were going to meet up with these same people at a restaurant for dinner, would you tell them ahead of time to not wear perfume?  Or call the restaurant and tell them to guarantee that your server will be perfume-free (in reference to the suggestion above about making sure the catering staff and vendors don't wear scents)?   If you really feel the need to, you can reserve a table as a "perfume-free table" (like they do with peanut-free areas at some schools) but I really think this falls on the people who are sensitive - they have to decide for themselves how to deal with their sensitivities.
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  • In Response to Re: How to tell guests scent free zone?:
    I think an insert is fine, but as someone who suffers from exreme scent senstivitiy I'm generally much more concerned with adequate ventilation than perfume wearers.  I assume you've chosen a venue that has good air circulation? In Response to  Re: How to tell guests scent free zone? : No, but I explain what a problem it is for me and since I work with human beings, I haven't encountered anyone who chose their daily perfume bath over my ability to not pass out. If a co-worker did contine to wear excessive scent, I'd speak with HR about it - my employer, like most these days - includes excessive scent in the not allowed section of the official dress code.
    Posted by ceh789
    My point was that unless you never leave your house, whether it be at work, the supermarket, the movies, a restaurant, etc., there is absolutely no way of knowing  or preventing someone from wearing a scent she is sensitive to. So my question was more along the lines of, what does she normally do to avoid interactions when out in public? That's what she should do at her wedding also. Again, unless you stop leaving your home ever, she has obviously found ways of coping out in the general public where you can't just go to HR about someone wearing a heavy scent.


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  • In Response to Re: How to tell guests scent free zone?:
    I think the insert idea is a good one.  If I accidentally caused someone to have an attack because I wasn't aware of the problem, I would feel terrible!
    Posted by CMGr
    This.
    I understand that normally you can't dictate guests' dress in any way, but I think this is an exception.  The sensitivity is obviously severe.  I can tell you that if I went to a wedding and caused a severe reaction for someone in the host family or, God forbid, the BRIDE (who, ps, may not really be able to avoid hugging people), my thought would be "why the fuuck didn't someone tell me not to wear perfume??"

    That being said, I'd still have an Epi Pen for people who might not get the message.
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  • I think the difference between the mall or other social situation, is that weddings and receptions usually entail a high number of people in a small space. People in malls move around, and help diffuse the scnet a bit. These people will be in a semi confined space for several hours. Also, you are not obligated to hug, or at the very least, greet people at the mall with more than just a polite nod. 

    I like the wording that a previous poster suggested, and I would suggest that the people you have spreading the word, realize the seriousness of the issue, and relay it. You don't want people spreading the message by saying "Oh some people don't like scents, and so they're asking us to not wear any, isn't that the funniest thing? Talk about a bridezilla, hahahahaha." They need to be sure to relay that this is an actual medical problem that can, and will, land people in the hospital if it isn't taken it seriously. 

    .  
  • I actually agree with seesawgirl on the main difference.  And also, since the bride herself is so sensitive, what is she going to do?  Run away from people wearing perfume that want to hug and congratulate her?  To me, that would be even ruder than just letting people know about the issue.  It's a health issue, not something to make pictures prettier or be a controlling crazy person.

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  • I think the insert in the wedding invitation is fine, and I like some of PP's wording suggestions.  I think it's also ok to give the venue a heads up, and I'm guessing you considered scent issues in choosing a venue with adequate ventilation and planning your decorations/flowers.  

    I rarely wear perfume, with the main exception being events like weddings, so I would definitely want to know.  I have worked in a scent free environment before, and I get that people have sensitivities.

  • Question for OP:  don't your guests already know about your "scent"sitivity (like what I did there? lol)  since they're close enough to you to be invited to the wedding in the first place? 
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  • In Response to Re: How to tell guests scent free zone?:
    Question for OP:  don't your guests already know about your "scent"sitivity (like what I did there? lol)  since they're close enough to you to be invited to the wedding in the first place? 
    Posted by Mrs.B6302007
    I'm not the OP clearly, but it's possible that people are invited to the wedding that are not close to the bride and groom.......I'm sure we've all dealt with our own parents or future in-laws putting super distant relatives or their own friends on the guest list that the bride and groom have never met (I know my FIL's did this.....we have a guest list that my FI doesn't know who half the people on it are!).  I would think that her question is referencing these people, and not the close friends and family invited.
  • When I am around someone who is doused in perfume, I get away from them. If I am on a plane, I've ended up puking before. Neither are great coping options at a wedding. 
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  • In Response to Re: How to tell guests scent free zone?:
    Question for OP:  don't your guests already know about your "scent"sitivity (like what I did there? lol)  since they're close enough to you to be invited to the wedding in the first place? 
    Posted by Mrs.B6302007
    Like the poster above me said, it is quite possible that the bride is not close to all the guests. I have not yet met some of FIs family and family friends. They are spread across the country, so while I have met quite a few, there are definitely family members on his side that would not know that I am deathly allergic to grass, for instance. Conversely, FI has not met most of my extended family. He will meet many of them for the first time at the wedding.
  • cbvcru67cbvcru67
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    edited March 2012
    Mrs B., I'd imagine the bride's close friends and family are aware of the sensitivity, but other individuals- like the extended family, family friends and co-workers all on the groom's side would most likely not be aware if the bride isn't very close to them.  This would also probably be the case for friends of the bride's parents.

    ETA: D'oh! Saw this was answered while responding - sorry for the repeat!
  • Yeah, most likely that's the situation.
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  • My mom is really sensitive to fragrances. I never really wore perfume or scented lotions growing up and still don't if I'm going to see her at all. She doesn't have a life threatening allergy, but she completely loses her voice and gets migraines (which causes her to miss work since she is on the phones all day). So I totally get the issue.

    For the most part, a little squirt of perfume should wear off quickly, but there are people out there who I swear bathe in it. I don't get it but.. whatever, haha. I think I'm going to spread it by word of mouth but other than that I think my mom will be able to avoid the highly fragrant people. If it were me I may make more of an effort to spread it around since as PP mentioned, I couldn't easily avoid people at my wedding! I do get migraines if I'm exposed to a high concentration of certain scents, but nothing I think I'll have to worry about. In your situation though, I agree that an insert with the invitation would be ok.
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  • I'm sorry, but this is one time where you need to - politely - tell the Emily Post-weilding etiquette vigilantes to... 

    A close friend of my was married two years ago, and due to her aunt's severe allergy to scents, they put a small line on the invite to ask guests (respectfully) not wear any. I can't remember the actual wording, but I was in no way inconvenienced by this stipulation, nor did I think it was a breach of etiquette. 

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