May Muguet Marathon: The Nuptial Bouquet

May Muguet Marathon: The Nuptial Bouquet

It seems fitting that there is a lily of the valley fragrance called The Nuptial Bouquet, given how often lilies of the valley appear in bridal bouquets. Atkinson’s fragrance by that name includes notes of lily of the valley, violet leaves, myrtle flower, sandalwood, and musk. It is supposed to refer to the flowers carried by Queen Victoria in her own bouquet at her wedding to Prince Albert. From the website:

A cherished bouquet of ardent Romance composed of the very blooms Queen Victoria carried down the wedding aisle to her beloved Albert. Hearkening back to a time when flowers, steeped in meaning, spoke volumes…
A fragrance for royal romance, a retro contemporary interpretation of Queen Victoria’s bridal bouquet: the green and white loveliness of lily of the Valley, violet leaves and exquisite myrtle flowers enhanced with delicate white musk and sandalwood.

It’s a lovely story, but I can’t find any reliable source that confirms Victoria carried lilies of the valley on her wedding day. In fact, although the inclusion of myrtle has taken on a life of its own as a royal tradition, that too may be a myth. While it is true that there are myrtle plants in royal gardens descended from one planted by Victoria, it seems that was NOT in her own bouquet but was from a gift to her by Prince Albert’s grandmother. Nevertheless, it is true that royal brides from the 19th century forward have had at least a sprig of myrtle in their own bouquets, including Queen Elizabeth.

In fact, since Prince William and Kate Middleton were married in 2011, and The Nuptial Bouquet was launched in 2013, I think its floral notes refer more directly to Kate’s bouquet, not Victoria’s. And we DO know that Kate carried lilies of the valley.

Kate Middleton's wedding bouquet of lilies of the valley.

Kate Middleton’s wedding bouquet; image from http://www.TheKnotNews.com

The Nuptial Bouquet is a very lovely muguet fragrance. It opens as a light, green, lemony muguet, the green also coming from the note of violet leaves, which lend a certain crisp freshness. It is very much a bouquet of spring flowers, without being overly sweet. Its floral notes don’t last terribly long, but they do last for a while, and the drydown, which is a green-tinged musky sandalwood, lasts a long time as a skin scent.The myrtle note adds an herbal aroma that I find very appealing. I prefer aromatic florals over fruit florals; this is not a full-on aromatic floral, but it is definitely not “fruity”. It is a feminine floral, light and fresh, with a sheer, floating airiness that reminds me of a bridal veil.

Speaking of veils, wasn’t Kate’s veil gorgeous? As we have another royal wedding coming up next weekend, let’s bask for a moment in the beauty and artistry of the craftspeople whose work will be on display. Kate’s veil was of silk tulle, embroidered by hand with garlands of flowers by the Royal School of Needlework. I was able to see the veil, and her dress, and other accessories, when they were on display at Buckingham Palace after the wedding, and they were simply beautiful. My only disappointment was that I wish the embroidered flowers had included lilies of the valley, which I did not see in the garlands, as there are many truly lovely lace and embroidery patterns for lily of the valley blossoms.

Detail of vintage lily of the valley lace pattern

Lily of the valley lace; image from http://www.sovintagelinensnlace.com.

A minor matter! If a bride wants the effect of a sheer, lacy, floating lily of the valley on her wedding day, she  might be very pleased with The Nuptial Bouquet. I am!