Andy and Em consider it a job well done when a client falls asleep on them. But they hasten to add it’s always from relaxation and never from boredom.
The pair are co-owners of Perth business Mens’ Grooming Experience, which offers a mobile salon for grooms and attendants on their wedding day and their increasingly popular service covers everything from a cut-throat shave and a massage – hence the napping – to keeping the guys on track with their wedding timetable.
This ties in perfectly with a growing movement to curate wedding days that are just as special for the man of the hour as for the bride.
“I think guys these days want something special,” says Em whose man-centric grooming business model is proving a hit worldwide where dozens of similar enterprises have sprung up over the past 12 months, particularly in the United Sates.
“They want to be involved and they want to be a part of it. They want something cool that they can share with their mates. Something which is really memorable.”
So there’s no more brides getting all the glory – and the TLC.
Em – who can spot an undone top button at 50 paces – says it’s all about creating a festival of the groom as he prepares for one of the biggest days of his life.
It’s just as much his moment as hers, and guys these days want to embrace that, from taking their turn to walk down the aisle to keeping their attire a secret from the bride to be.
With this in mind, we looked at some of the new style factors to help modern grooms look and feel their best.
Once upon a time, a groom’s preparation for their moment in the spotlight was pretty much limited to hiring or buying a suit, sorting out shoes and having a shower the morning of the big day. But that era is long past.
These days a majority of grooms want to look their sharpest and are prepared to invest time and effort, underscoring a message to the bride that she was important enough to go all out for.
This starts with a skincare routine to say fresh and hydrated – remembering there are plenty of products, such as Dermalogica, targeted to men – and goes right through to the wedding day, where Em’s team of a barber, masseuse and stylist step into the breach, doing everything from a hot towel treatment to hand detailing plus hair styling and products for groomsmen whose vocabulary, imagination and eye mightn’t stretch beyond short back and sides.
“Most of the grooms I know have wanted that detail and attention just as much as the brides we speak to,” says Em, who started the business after noticing a gap in the market for a wedding day experience for men. They want to be spoiled and they want to feel like a king.
“There will always be a place for a beautiful tuxedo,” says Em, whose keen eye allows her to help with styling, even in the lead-up to the big day. “These days, however, grooms are mixing it up, and really carrying it off with flair.
Navy and gray suits are among the trending options, with colour taking its place as the new black. Bow ties also add a touch of dash, while flat caps and braces can further add character and charm.
“Prints are also really in at the moment,” says Em. ”And tonal matching is something else that works really well. This takes one tone that ties the wedding party together and then mixes up prints, or patterns such as stripes.”
It makes for a really fresh look, as does a nod to the time of year and the season, from bare feet and rolled up cuffs for a summer wedding on the beach to a spring racing garden celebration that almost has a floral palette.
Em says matching cufflinks across the groom’s party are crucial to perfectly finish off ensembles built around a suit. These can be a classic design, or something with a little individual flair, such as Scrabble letters for a known wordsmith.
“But it’s equally important to focus on shoes, which should be matching,” she says. “It’s something the groom really needs to be aware of as you can’t just assume your groomsmen will show up in a nice pair.
You need to make sure everyone is on board with the colour and style.” While this might not be something that every guest will clock, subtle uniformity is certainly far preferable to every guests’ eye being drawn to the one attendant who thought his steel-capped workboats would be OK.
You should never try to go overboard, but these days there are myriad ways for grooms’ parties to add a little touch of fun to their side of the fashion equation. Think socks with the phrase ‘in case of cold feet’ embroidered along the bottom, boutonnieres made from tiny superhero figures or cheerful bow ties sitting at a jaunty angle.
“I also really like pocket ties at the moment,” says Em, whose supply network includes access to plenty of quirky things.
“However, as I always tell grooms, the key thing is not to overdo it. So you don’t have the bow tie, and the pocket tie and the socks. Instead, you edit your look to the right mix, one that features a single ‘quirky’ element to perfectly capture your sense of fun and personality.
Look through most wedding albums and chances are the groom’s pre-wedding experience will travel a reasonably common spectrum, from breakfast at home and a drink with his mates to getting a hand from Mum to do his tie.
But there’s so much more that can be done to make the day special. “Rather than just sitting around waiting to get dressed, I always think a pampering session can be a great bonding experience,” says Andy, who confides grooms often book it as a surprise for their mates.
“If you think about it, men don’t often have the chance to indulge in something like this, so they tend to be quite excited. When we show up there’s always a high-five moment, especially as many of them have never had a cut throat shave before. It’s something really special, because it is so unique; something many of them have never really thought about or considered.
So it’s a really nice gift to give the men who helped you get to the altar. We also always coordinate with the photographer to ensure that we’re there – and shaving the groom – for the photographs.”
A further touch is the confiscation of the groom’s phone, which should be handed to the best man or groomsmen by mid morning with instructions for them to deal with the flurry of messages while he enjoys a massage and then a bottle of fresh mineral water. “As we always say, he’s taken care of things up to this point, now it’s time for someone to take care of him so he can relax and enjoy the day,” says Em, who will also slip a few mints into his pocket to last the day.
“That way you have a cool, calm and collected husband-to-be standing at the altar waiting to say I Do.”
At the end of the day, Em’s appreciation for giving grooms a wonderful wedding experience comes down to a simple sentiment.
“It’s about making them feel worthy of the experience,” she says. “It’s their day as well so they should go all out to bask in the moment, embrace their time in the spotlight and enjoy themselves.”
* Make sure your suit has a good cut to ensure it doesn’t look cheap.
* No white socks. Ever. Under any circumstances. Especially if they’re bridging the gap between a dark suit and shoes.
* Tuck a hanky somewhere for the moment you first lay eyes on her coming down the aisle.
* No sunglasses please – this is not a remake of Top Gun.
* Wear comfortable shoes – no-one wants to see photos of you wincing in pain or barely able to spin her around for the first dance.