Harry and Meghan

The Groom

Grooming the groom - ‘Nowadays, we have men coming in to book a course of facials’

Katie Byrne looks at the ‘pre-nup clean-up’

As a self-proclaimed ‘California girl’, it was only a matter of time before Meghan Markle introduced Britain's Prince Harry to the joys of kale smoothies.

Wellness aficionado Meghan is said to have helped her husband lose half a stone ahead of the royal wedding — and, two months after, it looks like her prince has every intention of maintaining his healthier lifestyle.

Meghan is reported to have put Harry in touch with Gabriela Peacock, the in-house nutritional therapist at women’s gym Grace Belgravia, where she is a member. Gabriela, a former model, advocates a plant-based diet, low in sugar, wheat and dairy — which is a far cry from Harry’s former diet of pizza, fried chicken and crispy bacon...

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Before the big day, it was also reported that Harry had started early morning training sessions at KX private members’ gym in Chelsea, and he was also said to have incorporated a little yoga into his weekly routine.

It may sound like an intense weight-loss plan but Harry, like most modern grooms, just wanted to look his best on his big day.

Wedding planner Sharon McMeel agrees that grooms are taking much more pride in their appearance, and she says Harry was far from alone in embarking on some intense pre-wedding grooming.

Pre-wedding grooming tips for the groom

In recent years, Sharon has dealt with a number of grooms who have organised their own ‘glam squad’ for the big day. Just as brides call in a hair and make-up team for the bridal party, grooms are now arranging on-site barbers for everything from “simple styling to facials and massage”. Sharon says she always advises grooms to get a manicure the day of their wedding “because it’s one of the only times in their life when their hands are going to get photographed”.

However, she recommends they get a haircut roughly a week in advance.

“One of the biggest mistakes men make is getting their hair cut too close to the scalp and too near to the wedding,” she says. “It needs a few days to soften or else it can look too severe.

“The other mistake men make is getting a tan before the wedding and then getting their hair cut,” she adds. “Then they’re left with an awful white line around the hairline.”

David Beckham was perhaps one of the first celebrities to take groom grooming to a whole new level. The footballer sported freshly-highlighted hair, a meticulously trimmed goatee and a suspiciously golden tan at his wedding in Luttrellstown Castle in 1999.

Looking back, he regrets his all-white outfit which, he says, made him “look like the guys out of Dumb & Dumber when they went to that party and wore those ridiculous outfits”. He’s still fond of the highlights, though.

Made-to-measure

“Grooms are putting a lot more time and money into their wedding style,” says fashion writer and TV presenter Darren Kennedy.

“Where once they bought off-the-rail suits for the big day, they’re now treating themselves to made-to-measure suits from the likes of Louis Copeland or, if money is no object, Tom Ford. For a less expensive option, you could try Reiss and Massimo Dutti, who both offer personal tailoring options.”

Read more: Well groomed: 22 stylish suits for a summer wedding (and where to buy them)

From 'Guybrows' to 'Man-icures'

From guybrows to man-icures, the modern groom has become much more image-conscious.

Gavan Glynn, owner of GMALE, a barber and men’s spa in Ranelagh, Dublin, says men have become “much more adventurous” with pre-wedding grooming.

“Five or six years ago, a wife would book a facial for her husband and he’d come in and say, ‘I don’t know what I’m in for’. Nowadays, we have men coming in to book a course of facials three or four months before their wedding. They might have been flirting with the idea of getting a treatment so they push the boat out for their big day.

“Guys are more into facials, manicures and pedicures,” he adds. “In fact, we have a package called The Groom which includes a hair cut, hot towel shave, facial, massage, manicure and pedicure.”

Hot towel shaves used to be the preferred grooming ritual among grooms, adds Gavan, but the clean-shaven look isn’t as popular these days. “Men are more likely to have a well-maintained beard or stubble that they want to keep for the wedding,” he says, “and their wives-to-be often feel the exact same way.”

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Fitness

Dublin-based personal trainer Dominic Munnelly says many modern grooms want to slim into their suits in the very same way that brides want to diet into their dresses. The only difference, he adds, is that men tend to start the pre-wedding diet and fitness routine a little later. “A woman is generally thinking much more in advance because she has to have her dress ready a lot earlier than the groom gets his suit,” he says.

Harry and Meghan trained in different gyms ahead of their big day and Dominic says this was a wise choice. “The whole training together thing is a little romanticised,” he says. “You see it on Instagram but, in practice, it rarely works out well. The couple tend to be at very different levels or they can become competitive with each other.”

In Dominic’s experience, men often choose harder and more intense forms of exercise, whereas women “tend to be more measured and listen to their body”.

“Overall, there is more urgency to slim down for both sexes,” he says. “Sometimes it’s driven by social media and sometimes it’s driven by the honeymoon destination. There is a little more social pressure nowadays because couples are going to destinations like the Maldives. They know they’ll be wearing swimwear and they want to look their best. Getting ready for the big day while working full time is stressful enough as it is,” he adds, “so don’t add fuel to the fire by trying to cure a lack of consistency in the gym and nutrition with intensity and severe dieting.”