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The Manual

The Wedding-Day Guide to Grooming: How To Style Hair, Beards, Nails (and Groomsmen, Too)

by Matthew Taylor Ruggieri on June 4, 2013.

This past weekend I attended my first wedding of the year. That’s right, Memorial Day has come and gone and we have now officially entered the season of “I Do.” What I took away from the evening (aside from the heart-shaped cookie-cutter favors and a hangover) was that grooms and their groomsmen are in need of a little grooming guidance. If you’re getting married soon, take note.

Trust the classics:Your wedding is not the time to try something drastically new with your hair. I recommend going with a classic, clean look that won’t ever go out of style. Do you really want to look back at your photos 20 years from now and think, “Why did I think that was a good idea?” Lucky for you, the Mad Men-inspired side part and the pompadour are both trendy looks right now that seem to never lose their cool.


Schedule your cut strategically:

Determine your hairstyle pretty far in advance and get your hair trimmed about a week before the big day. You want a few days for your cut to settle in and look natural. Do a test run or two with the products you intend to use, just so you know how to style it the way you want on the big day.


To shave, or not to shave:

When it comes to facial hair, a day’s worth of scruff is perfectly acceptable as long as it doesn’t grow in patchy. As a fail safe, you can never go wrong with a clean-shave. With all the kissing involved, your betrothed will appreciate a smooth face.

Tip: For the best possible shave, avoid shaving for a few days before the wedding and get a professional shave the day of. This will drastically reduce your chances of razor burn and having a red and blotchy face immortalized in photos you’ll be looking at for the rest of your life.

If you’re a guy who rocks a beard on a daily basis, I respect that and wouldn’t tell you to shave it for your wedding. However, you do need to neaten it up with a good trim. Try a beard oil like MCMC Fragrances Dude No. 1 to smooth and soften the hairs and leave a nice woodsy scent.


Flash those pearly whites:

Use some Crest Whitestrips to brighten your smile. It will make you look younger and more pulled together. That’s a fact.


Groom your brows:

Your eyebrows don’t need to be perfect, and I absolutely don’t recommend waxing, but they shouldn’t be distracting. Get rid of stray hairs and pay close attention to the space above your nose (a.k.a. the unibrow). Speaking of the nose, take a long look in the mirror and trim any long nose or ear hairs you see.


Get a manicure:

One of your wedding photographer’s go-to shots is going to be the couple’s hands. Let an expert clean up your cuticles and shape your nails. If it’s your first time at a salon, check out our quick guide on the man’s manicure.


A little makeup goes a long way:

I recommend keeping some concealer like Evolution Man Conceal and Treat handy in case you need to cover any blemishes that pop up. Don’t let a pimple steal your spotlight. Also, oil-blotting sheets like Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets fit nicely in a suit jacket and work wonders at reducing shine.


Advice for groomsmen:

Your boys are your best friends—we get that—but there’s no need to dress and style yourselves exactly alike (you are middle school girls on twins day). Let each guy’s personality show with individual hair and facial styles. One trend I’ve noticed groomsmen wearing is different patterned skinny ties or bow ties within the same color family. You want to look coordinated, not duplicated. Have fun with patterns; stripes, dots and micro-print floral are nice touches that keep suits from looking stuffy.

One last word of advice, a nice grooming or shave kitmakes the perfect groomsmen’s gift and helps ensure that your guys show up looking their best for your big day.—Madison Ruggieri, co-founder of TheMotley. Follow her @themotley.


In Store:

Baxter of California Grooming Lotion Baxter of California Grooming Lotion
A light hold, low shine lotion that gives hair and beards manageability and softness.
The Motley Palo Santo Anniversary-Edition Cologne The Motley Palo Santo Anniversary-Edition Cologne
Deep smoky wood notes, with a hint of suede and sweetness, make this fragrance bold and intriguing. Suede adds a warm sensuousness.
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Jack Black Oil-Free Sun Guard Sunscreen SPF 45 Jack Black Oil-Free Sun Guard Sunscreen SPF 45
This vitamin-enriched, oil-free, very water- and sweat-resistant lotion offers superior broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and absorbs quickly without greasy or heavy residue.

Matthew Taylor Ruggieri

Men's skincare expert at The Motley. Dreamer of the golden dream. Fan of Bob Dylan, Jean-Luc Godard and Richard Avedon.