If you’re a groom with a beard, you want to make sure your facial hair (and the face underneath it) looks its best for your big day. When your partner looks on as you say your wedding vows, you don’t want them thinking “wow...he needs a beard trim.” We talked to men’s grooming experts to learn exactly how to make your wedding day beard look and feel its best.

How To Groom Your Wedding Beard

The key to looking your best on your big day? Putting in plenty of time and effort to care for your skin and beard in the weeks leading up to the wedding. “Treating the skin underneath a beard is just as important as treating the beard itself, but honestly, skin prep and beard prep easily go hand in hand when it comes to care,” says Bryan Welfel, CEO of The Beard Club.

Don’t worry—the prep doesn’t need to be too extensive. Here’s exactly what you need to do, starting one month out, to get your skin and beard in their best shape for your wedding.

One Month Out

One month out is when your wedding prep goes into overdrive—and if you want your wedding day beard to look its best, that means starting to work healthy habits (including a regular skincare regimen) into your routine.

“Diet, hydration, and consistent exercise are essential for nourishing your skin, inside and out—especially for your upcoming wedding,” says Vaughn Acord, men’s grooming expert and founder of V76 by VAUGHN. “Make sure you dial that in a month before your big day, and also treat yourself to a cleansing facial with extractions to help skin cells turnover and look refreshed.”

Bring in your barber.

This is also the perfect time to visit your barber to talk about exactly how you want your beard to look on your wedding day—and to do a “trial run.”

“At the 30-day mark, [the groom] should go visit a barber and get his hair and beard to his liking, so he knows exactly what he’s looking for,” Welfel says. “This is particularly important if the beard is too long and unruly. Shaping it well before the wedding day will help guide him to his intended look.”

Your barber can also help guide you in the right direction for your particular beard. “Your stylist can help assess the shape, the best way to clean up the edges and sideburns, and recommend the right product for your skin and beard,” Acord says.

INLINE AudraJonesPhotography 1080x720 Susie&Derrick Photo Credit // Audra Jones Photography

One Week Out

With a week left to go, you want to give your skin and your beard everything they need to look their best on the big day. “One week out, continue to feed your skin with light exfoliation, consistent moisturization and lots of water,” Acord says. “A little sun and vitamin D will help perk up your skin so you look awake and flushed.” Just make sure not to overdo it on the sun. The last thing you want is to walk down the aisle with a bright red sunburn or peeling skin. Make sure to use a daily moisturizer with SPF.

This is also the time to really give your beard all the extra love it deserves. “Every day leading up to [the wedding] should focus on getting the beard to be as strong and healthy as possible,” Welfel says.

“Oils, creams, balms, beard shampoos, whatever products [you] like should be used to make that beard feel fresh by keeping it clean, hydrated, and smelling great.” He also recommends regular brushing or combing to keep things smooth.

You might be tempted to cut your beard, but hold off—at least for now. “The occasional trim or shape-up is fine, but nothing drastic should be done unless absolutely necessary,” Welfel says.

The Day Before

OK, now you can cut your beard. Getting your beard cut and groomed the day before the wedding will ensure that the way you look when you walk out of the barber is the way you’ll look when you walk down the aisle.

“A groom may think that it’s time to go back to the barber at seven days out before the wedding, but we would advise staying the course,” Welfel says. “The day before is actually when the groom should make time to visit the barber for both his hair and his beard.” Cutting too early, he says, could result in the final look not being completely up to par.

Wedding Day

You’ve done a lot of skincare, grooming, and maintenance work in the weeks leading up to the wedding. On your wedding day, though, it’s all about keeping it simple. “The day of your wedding is all about simplicity and low maintenance,” Acord says. “After your shower, moisturize, comb your beard, and then add a beard oil for extra hydration and control.”

If you have a particularly long, thick, or unruly beard (or you want your beard to hold a specific shape throughout the day), then you’ll want to take your wedding day beard grooming a step further.

“There are plenty of shaping products that will keep even the thickest and strongest beards nice and straight,” says Welfel. “If you’re looking for an easy shape and aren’t worried about the exact look, a balm will get the job done. Waxes will achieve a more intense hold—perfect for if the beard is supposed to have a certain ‘look’ other than just sitting on the groom’s face.”

INLINE JuliaKinnunenPhotography 1080x720 Melissa&Nic (1) Photo Credit // Julia Kinnunen Photography

How To Deal With Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hairs can throw a serious wrench into your pre-wedding skin care and beard grooming routine—and make your face look bumpy and red on your big day. That’s why it’s so important to take the proper steps to prevent ingrown hairs before they happen.

“Exfoliation is key to helping the skin turnover and gets rid of dead skin cells before you shave,” Acord says. “Be sure to use beard oil to help the razor glide smoothly across the skin and to mitigate pulling of the skin.” He recommends an electric razor for areas prone to ingrowns.

Do not pick.

If you do find yourself dealing with an ingrown hair, resist the urge to pick at it. “The temptation to hack at an ingrown hair until the blemish is gone needs to be ignored because giving in only makes the trouble spot worse,” Welfel says. “Make sure to carefully pluck or pull ingrown hairs out with tweezers or something similar, without making too much of a mess out of your chin, neck, [or other areas of the face].”

Also, avoid shaving too close to your wedding day. That way, if you do find yourself with a stubborn ingrown hair, you have the time and space to deal with it before the wedding.

Wedding Beard Grooming Tips

Here are a few additional expert tips to make sure your wedding day beard grooming is on point:

Use the right tools and techniques.

Every beard is different—and every beard needs different tools and techniques to look its best. “Depending on the length of your beard, you’ll need the right tools to trim, shape, and clean it up,” Acord says.

“If your beard is on the long side, cut it back a bit with sheers before using a trimmer with attachments to get the shape just right. If your beard is short-to-medium in length, a trimmer with attachments will do the job just right. And if you are rocking the stubble, let this grow in for a week or so, and then clean up the edges so it looks fresh.”

If you’re in that awkward “growing out” phase, make sure to nourish your beard…

If you’re growing out your beard for the wedding, use nourishing products that will help it grow. “When you’re in that middle area, where it’s not stubble anymore but you’re not a mountain man either, that would be a good time to introduce oils or sprays for beard nutrition,” Welfel says.

...And keep itching at bay.

That growing out phase is often an itchy one—so make sure you have the right products on hand to keep all that under-beard itching at bay. “Beard cream is also a great way to combat that itchy phase that most guys face at this time,” Welfel says.

Get that beard your partner loves so much right. Talk to your barber early on to decide the best look and care plan for your wedding day beard.