…without completely upstaging the groom.
It’s supposed to be the bride and groom who get all the attention at nuptials that aren’t yours. She’s a vision, he aced his wedding grooming, and a photographer is there to document it for eternity.
But let’s not kid ourselves: Every single guest there is actually scanning the crowd, silently scrutinizing over who wore what, who rolled out of bed, whoe neglected to comb his hair or iron his shirt, who’s the most eligible bachelor/ette in attendance, etc… it’s one big peacock-fest, with plenty of pressure to look your best. While we trust you took appropriate measures to tailor your jacket and pants, it’s the personal finishes—the grooming decisions you make before the date—that invite positive attention from the pack, flirtatious advances from mothers-in-law or bi-curious groomsmen, and the satisfaction of knowing that you, yes you were the best groomed man at the whole damn thing. (Aside from the groom. Maybe.)
And of all the personal grooming decisions you could make for that special occasion, here are seven wedding grooming moves we most strongly endorse.
1. Leave Your (Under-Eye) Baggage at the Hotel
Maybe last night’s rehearsal dinner got buckwild, and you woke up for the big day with more than one regret: two big bags under your eyes. No amount of hangover remedies will depuff them or lighten the dark circles that raccoon your face. However, there is one grooming product that will. Get an under-eye gel that reduces swelling and evens skin tone, making you seem more rested and alert. After all, you’ve got an even bigger celebration tonight, so look alive! And keep the eye depuffer on hand for tomorrow’s brunch, too.
GQ recommends: Clinique for Men Anti-Fatigue Eye Gel
2. Be the Best Man-icured One There
Of the pre-wedding appointments that you should make, a manicure is the second most important (especially if you’re the groom, since your hands are going to be photographed one thousand times). If you’ve never had a manicure, then allow us to sell you on it: They snip away hangnails and cuticles, trim and round the nails, buff dead skin and blisters, then moisturize in their wake, plus you get an insanely satisfying hand massage. And all this time, you thought of manicures as the things women did to paint their nails or apply fake ones. Now your dance partners will remember you for two reasons: your charming funky chicken, and your ultra smooth hands during the swing numbers.
3. Say “I Do” to Antiperspirant
This is no day to raise a stink, and standard-fare deodorant is simply not enough—especially once the celebration begins. Think of how easily it is to sweat through your white oxford. You can abide a little perspiration at the brow, but any accumulation under your arms and you might be a little reticent to raise the roof. That’s why this day is a big day for antiperspirant deodorant, even if you don’t usually wear it.
GQ recommends: Dove Men+Care Clean Comfort Antiperspirant 48-Hour Protection
4. Find a Stand Out Scent
Post-deodorant, spray on something extra—something inviting and refreshing. While most “traditionally masculine” scents incorporate broody wood notes, a wedding calls for something lighter. Look into niche perfumeries, many of whom make unisex fragrances that complement any wearer. The best ones for men have “green” notes that balance the more feminine floral notes: Look for vetiver, oak moss, or citrus (such as Italian mandarin) paired with florals like lavender or neroli.
GQ recommends: Arquiste — Boutonnière no.7
5. Fix Your Smile
Another wedding grooming appointment worth making: one at the dentist. You should already be visiting the tooth doctor twice a year, but it’s never a bad idea to tack a simple cosmetic procedure onto the appointment. If your teeth are at all compromised by years of coffee, wine, beer, spaghetti sauce, or a pinch of hygienic fatigue (but really, you gotta brush 2-3 times daily), then book a whitening appointment at least a week in advance of the ceremony. Your pals will notice a difference—a good one—and you’ll be preserved photographically with a widened smile instead of an unconfident smirk. After you whiten your smile a few shades in office, the teeth need a few days before regular consumption habits can be resumed (again, coffee, beer, red wine and sauces). So, unless you plan to drink white wine and gin all night at the nuptials, then plan ahead.
GQ recommends: Confadent Oral Care Gum to retain your white smile after treatment
6. Make Vows with Your Barber
The most important pre-wedding appointment, if you ask us, is your date with the barber. Schedule this for the day before the wedding, and book the full suite: A clean shave or beard trim, and a fresh fade or scissor cut. Looking shabby is disrespectful. (No seriously—I once ushered a friend’s mother down the aisle at his wedding, and she muttered under her breath: “You could have at least shaved for my son’s big day.” To be fair, I was intentionally rocking the week-long scruffy look, but I probably could have sacrificed that one week for the special occasion. I did, in all fairness, look a little lazy. Also, to my friend’s mom: You’re hella passive aggressive, but I smiled right through it. Best of luck.)
7. Let the Groom Shine (and Resist Your Face’s Urge to Do the Same)
Today is all about the new couple. You’re not about to upstage either of them, but you shouldn’t take any risks, either. Seeing as you’ll be buttoned up all day and shaking a leg all evening, your face is bound to get shiny. Tuck a skin-toning wipe in your breast pocket for a quick bathroom cleanup later in the day. This will balance oil production, cleanse the pores, and hydrate, all in one. Now when you see photos from the festivities, you won’t look like a disco reflector on the dance floor.
GQ recommends: Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes
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