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How to Design Your Wedding for All 5 Senses

By Caroline Witts

There's more to a wedding than meets the eye. You want your special day to appeal to everyone's ears, noses, fingertips, and taste buds as well.

No matter how big or small your wedding, here’s how you can enhance the experience by appealing to all five senses: sights, smells, sounds, flavors, and touch:

Color and Sight

Bright contrasting colors bring your wedding to life. You don’t have to spend a fortune to decorate the altar or reception area with a stimulating ambiance: Plant your own cutting garden with a mixture of colors.

While all five senses are important, eyesight is the one we use the most. It's also the sense that matters most in your wedding photos.

Your wedding colors should capture the eye and the camera lens. Pastels and shades of white are calming. Vivid colors like magenta, purple, red, orange, blue, and yellow are inspiring. Color your wedding with table linens, bridesmaid dresses, and native flowers.


Fragrance stirs memories. Candles, flowers, potpourri, perfumes … even the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies are pleasing to the nose. Choose your favorite scent, but don’t make it overly strong because some wedding guests may be sensitive or allergic to the smell.

Fresh fruit and sugar emit a sweet essence. When decorating with flowers, the scent is just as important as the color and appearance. Keep in mind, smell and memory are the most closely connected of the senses.


Music is a given for your special event, but the type of tunes and when they’re presented are crucial. Choose soft music such as jazz, easy listening, and instrumentals before the wedding ceremony and during the dinner hour when guests are chatting.

Your walk down the aisle can feature any music you want … you don’t have to stick to the old standards.

When it’s time for dancing, pump up the volume! DJs can play whatever they have available. Live music from a band, orchestra, or quartet is the epitome of class.

If your ceremony is outdoors, let the wind, birds, and swishing trees sing their own songs for your guests. Nature brings the sweetest sounds!

Savor the Flavor

Food is a big deal, especially at a catered event. You want the wedding reception meal to be perfect, but what tastes good to one person may not please another. Along with traditional choices of meat, chicken, fish, and vegetarian dishes, spice up the offerings with international favorites.

Choose a signature dish that represents the bride and groom. If the two of you have a fond memory of chicken a l'orange, share it with your guests. The next time they see that dish on the menu, they'll think of your wedding day.

The same goes for beverages. Offer a signature cocktail.

When it comes to sweets, chocolate is a definite favorite! Various types of fresh fruit, flavored pastries, and ice cream will please adults and children alike.


Having something for your guests to do while the bride and groom are taking pictures is important. Place some Rubik's cubes or fidget spinners on the table.

If your reception is outdoors, consider offering small, soft throw blankets as a souvenir. These can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. Have them embroidered with your name and date.

Encourage your guests to enjoy the outdoor venue. Invite them to take off their shoes, experience the surrounding trees and colorful blooms, and stroll through the lawn.

Let the sparks fly as you wrap things up. Consider a send-off with sparklers or party poppers to appeal to all five senses at once.

There’s one final sense to keep in mind: a sense of humor. Sure, there will be hiccups and glitches along the way, but with a sense of humor, your wedding will always remain a time of joy and laughter.

Caroline Witts is a wedding planner and freelance writer. She prides herself on saving couples money wherever she can. At her wedding, her cousin caught the bouquet and was married six months later.

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