The Handsome Groom
This article is dedicated to helping you be a handsome groom.
I’m sure you’ve heard the clichés before:
- “My guy doesn’t really care about the photography, he just wants to watch football.”
- “He’s not really involved in the planning, he just writes the checks and only cares about his bachelor party.”
- “I’ve been looking for the perfect dress for months, but he’ll just rent a tux from Men’s Wearhouse a couple weeks before the wedding.”
- “The Groom is just another accessory.”
Let’s put a stop to this kind of thinking once and for all. The wedding is a chance for us guys to feel good and look sharp. We’re making a commitment to our life partner. It’s the high point our lives! An unmissable opportunity for a gentleman to express his masculinity, and to be at his very best. Whether you’re a groom in a heterosexual wedding, or two grooms tying the knot in a same-sex marriage, here are my pro tips to becoming a handsome groom.
Your wedding is an opportunity to shine. You’ve worked hard in life, and you’ve worked hard to get the girl (or the guy). So get yourself clothes and accessories that give you confidence and make you feel like a million bucks. You don’t have to break the bank, by the way. Don’t get the tired Men’s Wearhouse look. There are plenty of services out there, like The Black Tux (a “Rent The Runway”) for gents. You can rent a super nice wedding tux or suit for about $300-400. I’m not hating on Mens’ Wearhouse, but if you go that route, you’re going to end up wearing a template and looking quite predictable. The wedding is an opportunity to show your own unique style, so take advantage!
Make sure your measurements are appropriate, and realistic. Do your measures as close to the day as possible to reduce the possibility of weight loss or weight gain affecting your sizing.
A few killer accessories can make a huge difference. Get a sweet timepiece. Nice cufflinks. Fancy socks. A real bowtie. Maybe a killer pair of shoes.
When I photograph guys, I’m drawn to these types of accessories. You’ll see that I put particular emphasis on them in the pictures, and that sometimes the smallest personal detail can make all the difference for the handsome groom.
You’d assume this section is going to talk about working out and getting in shape for your day. But you already knew you had to do that. So what I want to talk about is: WRINKLES. Guys, seriously, don’t unfold a new shirt and put it straight on. Don’t put on a wrinkled suit. Grab the ironing board in your hotel room and make sure your clothing is steamed and pressed. If you don’t want to use the hotel iron because you’re afraid it might ruin your clothes, then make the proper arrangements beforehand. Make sure your wedding clothes are properly stored and cared for. Call housekeeping if you have to.
By the way, while we’re talking about taking care of your outfit, don’t forget to shine your shoes! Nothing undermines a handsome groom like a pair of scuffed or dull shoes.
The Ties that Bind
Here’s a common scenario I encounter at a wedding: I walk into the guys’ hotel room, and the groom and groomsmen are looking at YouTube videos to try to learn how to tie a tie or bowtie. Guys. You’ve got plenty of time before the wedding day to practice this. This is an essential skill for the handsome groom. Make sure you learn it ahead of time, and don’t procrastinate until the last minute. At the very least, know that you’ve got a groomsman or two that can help everyone out. The wedding day is full of enough stresses. The last thing you want to worry about is that your lack of bowtie skills will make you run late.
Get Professional Grooming
One of the most overlooked components of mens’ style is the grooming. With the beard trend of the last decade, high-end barber shops are everywhere. If you have facial hair, make sure you spend some time in a barber’s chair on the wedding morning. It could be a great experience for all the groomsmen, too.
Having your hair coiffed and your beard perfectly in place gives you confidence and peace of mind. And confidence gives you the freedom to enjoy your day. When I’m taking creative portraits of my grooms, I give the necessary amount of guidance and direction. How to stand, where to look, what do to with your hands. I determine the right lighting, lens choice, and camera angle. But what about when the groom is “out in the wild”? Just walking around his wedding reception? I am capturing candid moments, getting photojournalistic shots. If your grooming is on point, you’ll know that you’re looking sharp, even in the most candid of moments.
I’ll even touch on a couple of nearly taboo grooming topics that nobody wants to think about: eyebrows, ear hair, nose hair and neck hair. Get those cleaned up, gentlemen! As a professional wedding photographer, I am big on details. Don’t neglect these seemingly unimportant aspects of your personal grooming. Either go to a men’s salon, or pick up the clippers and scissors yourself and get it done.
What?!? Did you say “makeup”? That’s right guys. The handsome groom wears makeup. Most men shudder at the thought. But the reality is, in every David Beckham and George Clooney ad you see – they are wearing makeup. Good makeup for men is subtle, just covering blemishes and shaving cuts, maybe accentuating the eyes or toning the face a bit. If you have a good makeup artist, nobody will even suspect a thing.
For my own wedding day. I asked the makeup team to do some gentle touchups for my groomsmen and the men in my family. Soften the bags under the eyes. Cover up the small blemishes and shaving cuts. This makes a huge difference in the photographs – trust me.
Sleep and Self Care
With all of the festivities and excitement around the wedding day, it’s usually hard to avoid the late nights and heavy drinking. Especially when it comes to last-minute bachelor parties and rehearsal dinners. Guess what? This is the kind of stuff that will make you look tired and worn out. The reality is that a wedding day can be an emotionally and physically draining experience. In a good way, of course, but you still need a big reservoir of energy to survive the demands of the day.
To be a handsome groom, consider your pre-wedding plans to ensure you get enough sleep. Make sure you’re sleeping on a comfortable mattress and not passing out on a couch. If you plan to party and stay up late the night before, make sure that you don’t then have to be up at 6AM for an early wedding ceremony (Indian guys, I’m especially talking to you!). Girls always claim they “need their beauty rest”. What about us guys?!? You know what they say: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So make a plan to get plenty of rest.
Stick to your healthy habits even during the craziness of your wedding weekend. Get that workout in. Do your yoga. Have your Vitamix. Take it from me, because I try to lead by example. As your photographer, I often have to be on my feet for hours at a time. I have to have my own reservoir of energy to effectively capture your day. Sometimes we’re talking 12- to 16-hour days, and multi-day weddings (again, Indian guys, I’m talking to you!). So I always plan to get plenty of sleep, get my workout in, stay hydrated and eat healthy.
Get a Little Help From Your Friends
One of the things that can really wear guys out is micromanaging everything before and on the wedding day. I can understand the desire for perfection. But being able to delegate effectively will go a long way towards helping you enjoy your special day with your partner. If you are organized, and you’ve planned your day well, you should have confidence in your vendors to do their jobs. Also, lean on your groomsmen and family to take care of the minutiae. Be the handsome groom: Relax, adjust your tie, give yourself an extra glance in the mirror, and enjoy your day.