A wedding day is a flurry of preparation. Bridesmaids rush to pedicures, manicures and facials, while the bride and groom may indulge in last minute pampering like massages or acupuncture. And the groomsmen? The groomsmen shine their shoes, splash on cologne, shine their shoes... While it may seem like groomsmen, ironically, do the least grooming rituals of any wedding party member, there is one thing groomsmen can do that makes a big statement on the wedding day, and you can make it easier with fine groomsmen gifts.

It's the ritual that separates the rogue from the gentlemen, the debonair from the derelict, and the man from the boy. It's a way of paying respect to an occasion by taking proper care to look presentable. We're talking, of course, about shaving. But not just any shave will do for an occasion such as this. We're talking about the perfect shave.

As shaving is arguably the most transforming grooming ritual a man can undergo, it is strange what a laissez faire attitude many men take toward shaving. While that disheveled look may get you by in the day to day, for your friend's wedding day, a groomsmen must have nothing less than a perfect clean shave, to be recorded in posterity in wedding pictures and to complement the uniformity of the wedding party. In other words, a bar of soap and a dull razor just won't do!

On the contrary, to achieve a perfect shave, quality shaving products are key. For top-of-the-line quality, try products from The Art of Shaving, whose brochure says their products are "designed specifically for men who are looking for a close and comfortable shave." Also, The Art of Shaving's hypoallergenic tools are made from botanical ingredients, for a shave that's neither irritating to the environment nor your epidermis. Tip: If you're a shaving novice, the non-intimidating The Art of Shaving starter kit is a great beginning, and it's great as groomsmen gifts for your scruffier buddies.

But products are only part of the perfect shaving formula. The process is important too!

To achieve a perfect shave, begin by ordering your steps. Remember to shave after or during a hot shower and never before. Likewise, always use hot water while shaving in order to soften the hair on your face, open your pores, and cleanse your skin. For a truly perfect shaving primer, use The Art of Shaving's Pre-Shave Oil to prepare the skin and soften the hair follicles. This boosting balm is contained in a compact bottle. No wonder this perfect travel mate was featured in Manhattan Brides' Fall/Winter 2005 "Pack your Bags" section!

The next step towards the perfect shave is a rich lather. Products like The Art of Shaving's Shaving Cream or Shaving Soap provide the suds needed for a smooth and clean shave. Unlike foams or gels that contain benzocaine and menthol, these shaving products won't clog pores or cake in your hair follicles. If you're stumped on how to apply our gentlemen's Shaving Soap, just pick up one of our quality Shaving Brushes. This quality brush is made from badger hair and thuja wood, and is guaranteed to boost your lather and soften tough hair follicles. This handy shave stimulator is so popular, it even made Elegant Brides' Fall 2005 "20 Fall Wedding Essentials!"

Once you're all lathered up, you're ready to shave! Now's the time to make sure you have a good razor. Art of Shaving's handcrafted razor is our choice for its ergonomic design, lightweight feel, and manageable grasp. This versatile razor can be used with the MACH3 or sensor blades by Gillette. As you begin shaving, be careful not to apply too much pressure on your razor. Shaving should be a soothing and pleasurable experience, and shouldn't induce pain or razor rash. If you see any rash-like symptoms, you are probably pressing too hard.

Also, remember to always shave with the grain first (in the direction the hair grows). Shaving against the grain first can cause razor burn and ingrown hairs. For an even smoother shave, lather up again and shave lightly against the grain. If you do accidentally nick yourself, Art of Shaving's Alum Block provides a soothing balm to stop the bleeding.

Now that your shave is complete, it is important to moisturize your skin. Both our After Shave Balm and After Shave Gel provide a soothing, restorative sensation to freshly shaved skin. Unlike alcohol-based aftershaves that irritate the skin, our shave gels are alcohol-free and utterly rejuvenating. If ingrown hairs do occur, apply our soothing After Shave Balm before bedtime and post-shaving.

And if your skin feels overworked from daily shaving, don't get discouraged! Just apply our invigorating After-Shave Mask! Providing instant relief from shaving woes like razor rash, ingrown hairs, and irritated skin, our After Shave Mask works overtime to boost your skin with rejuvenating nutrients for a complexion that feels fresh, moisturized, and pure.

Remember, if you're a novice to the razor: just pick up our all-inclusive shaving set, The Art of Shaving Starter Kit, for yourself and as groomsmen gifts. This set makes shaving an easy four-product process and includes several of the products highlighted here (Pre-Shave Oil, Shaving Cream, Genuine Badger Shaving Brush, and After-Shave Balm) all in one package. Grooms, if you're worried about your guys looking grizzly on the Big Day, our groomsmen shaving starter kit also makes excellent groomsmen gifts.

Now that you've got your perfect shave, all you need to do is throw on that groomsmen suit and a splash of your cologne, and you're ready for the big day! With a shave smoother than a Wedding Crasher's pick-up line, there's nothing left to do but honor your buddy and mingle with bridesmaids. Go get 'em groomsmen!

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