By Bir Ganguly
Groomsmen and bridesmaids are just as much a part of a wedding as the bride and the groom or, if it so happens to be, the bride-squared or the groom-squared. All right, maybe not as important, but still, pretty important. These are people you have been really close to over the years – people who have put up with your whims and idiocies and what-not, listened to your heartbreak stories when, in fact, they were being bored to bits – just to make you feel better. Your happiness on your special day is, in part, owing to the fact that you can share it with them. So when it comes to saying thanks, plastic yo-yos – “Made in China” sticker in place – simply do not make the cut.
Like any other gift, finding the right groomsmen gifts takes a bit of work. You might want to do some research as to preferences and likings of the individual recipients. Buying the same present for everyone can be very democratic, but certainly less than cool, and the item will, very likely, end up in some bottom drawer. Try to explore different categories of gift-able items. Also, remember that if you put in some extra effort and assemble a little set of fabulous, useful things, it will not go unappreciated. So, here are some ideas to get you started.
Mouawad, located at 45 W. 45th St. in Midtown Manhattan, has gorgeous cufflinks and shirt studs for your chosen crew. The Geneva-based jeweler offers ten styles in cufflinks, ranging from $1,400 to $7,000 plus. The styles vary from simple sapphire-studded ones to beauties in rose-cut diamonds surrounded by smaller brilliant-cut ones including a clover-shaped pair from Heidi Klum’s debut collection. Whether understated or festive – crafted out of 18-karat white gold, they all make a decisively fashion-forward statement. You might end up buying a set for your-groom-self! (866-MOUAWAD and http://www.mouawad.com)
A good skincare line is always a welcome find for your own use or for making a gift. Recently released G. M. Collin Homme is a dermo-corrective skincare line that uses an innovative moisturizing technology. Called “nanoemulsion,” it allows for better and deeper penetration of the active ingredients. Seriously, the moisturizer is a total winner! It sprays on as a fine film and disappears without a trace, leaving the skin so fresh and soft one cannot help keeping on touching himself! The entire line is enriched with powerful chrono-energizers along with other soothing, detoxifying, and purifying ingredients. All the products are alcohol-free and the scent incorporates such intriguing and invigorating notes as orange bitter, tarragon, mint, and coriander. Your groomsmen might not be able to stop smelling themselves either!
Besides the Soothing Moisturizing Lotion, the line also includes the Purifying Cleansing Gel, Shaving Gel, Hydrating Cream (for normal or dry skin) and Hydrating Gel (for normal, combination, oily or sensitive skin). Individual product prices vary between $15 and $30. The set is also available as a travel kit ($80.50). You can find G.M. Collin Homme at Oasis Day Spas in New York (all four locations) and in various other high-end spas, salons, and skin clinics all over the U.S. and Canada. For more information, please phone 1.800.341.1531 or visit http://www.gmcollin.com.
Nothing can beat the stylishness and silver-screen glamour of a fine fountain pen. I had a serious attack of nostalgia when I came upon A. T. Cross writing instruments. These exquisite pens, crafted out of sterling silver, bold platinum, and 18-karat gold are more than delights to behold. The writing flows as smoothly as the looks. Consider the Limited Edition – Tennis Hall of Fame Pen ($700) for your best man, a perfect gift to make him feel special as the captain of your team. The pen was released on the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Hall of Fame as a commemorative collectible. Awarded to every member of the hall including 2004 inductees Steffi Graf, Stefan Edberg, and Dorothy Cheney, this unique fountain pen is crafted from hallmarked solid sterling silver and features exquisite engravings of historic tennis rackets. A solid 18-karat gold nib is overplated with brilliant rhodium, and the pocket clip has been masterfully set with a Swarovski crystal.
The Verve line from A. T. Cross ($175-$450) is my personal favorite. These pens have a seamless flowing profile and come in four styles: Platinum-Plated, Merlot, Selenium Blue, and Radical Chrome. Each one is fitted with a sleek 360-degree, 18 karat gold nib to enhance the minimalist look as well as the writing comfort. Also, the pens can be engraved with names or initials at no extra charge.
By the way, did you know that your handwriting fares much better when you use a fountain pen? It really does. Through my adolescent days of colonial upbringing in India, I was actually banned from using ballpoint pens!
A. T. Cross writing instruments can be purchased at http://www.cross.com and at select retailers whose information is included on the site. The site presents an excellent selection of ballpoint pens and other writing instruments that is worth checking out, handwriting issues aside.
True Gentlemen, a luxury men’s shaving company, has two complete shaving kits for your gifting needs. Both are botanical oil based. The True Gentleman Lavender Essential Oil Shaving Line is good for all skin types. Regarded as the most versatile essence therapeutically, lavender oil’s skincare benefits include the treatments of acne, inflammation, and even skin rejuvenation in the case of burns and wounds, while the aroma helps reduce headaches, migraines, tension, and stress. At two-and-a-half percent, the line has the highest concentration of the essential oil. Lavender is a classic old-worldly scent – a floral-herbaceous scent with a balsamic woody undertone. This makes it particularly suitable for a traditional shaving ritual with a proper badger brush. The brush, by the way, you will find included in the kit. We say, how thoughtful!
For those who are particularly prone to allergenic reactions, or plain stubborn, there is the True Gentlemen Unscented Line. It contains no aroma other than the natural smell of the botanical oils combined. Both lines contain the Pre-Shave Oil – 50 ml, Shaving Cream – 150 g, After Shave Balm – 100 ml, and a Pure Badger Shaving Brush and an Acrylic Shaving Brush Stand. Both sets are priced at $140. True Gentlemen is available at Paul Mole (pronounced Mol-ee) Barbershop, 1031 Lexington Ave (Manhattan UES), and can also be purchased at http://www.truegentlemen.com.
Let your groomsmen be just as euphoric, even though you are the only one who is getting married. Give them the gift of Euphoria. Literally! Miano Viel Salon and Spa on 16 East 52nd Street in Manhattan has a brand new treatment by that name. As part of the process, the therapist uses gentle manipulation of the bones and the connective tissues of the head and the spinal column. This encourages optimal fluid movement to nourish and refresh the entire body. The treatment leads to an unbelievably relaxed state – something akin to karmic bliss, if such a thing exists. Tried and tested. To learn more about Euphoria, visit the Travel and Spa Section in our current issue. Miano Viel is located at 16 East 52nd Street in Midtown and you can reach them by dialing 212.980.3222.
Just because you are the one doing the big honeymoon thing, it does not mean that you are the only one who is traveling. Business and pleasure can take your groomsmen to faraway places too. Franklin Electronic Publishers has just brought out the Euro Interpreter that can make for a great travel companion on European trips. The gizmo translates over 400,000 words and phrases in twelve European languages! Franklin’s famous phonetic spell correction even allows you to enter words by how they sound. Other great travel tools include: local and world clock, currency and metric converter, EURO converter, and a databank that stores and instantly retrieves important names and numbers. The unit includes one CR-2032 battery and the screen-in lid design folds into a compact book-like shape. With dimensions of 4.84 x 6.06 x 0.67 inches and weighing just 6.4 oz, you can slip it in almost anywhere. The Franklin Euro Interpreter is available at http://www.franklin.com for $79.95.
Speaking of travel, you might also want to consider the recently introduced Earth Therapeutics Grooming Kit for Men – a selection of handy grooming tools in a sleek executive style aluminum travel case. Inside the kit: the Porta-Shaver offers a clean and convenient shaving experience for you groomsmen, whether at home or on-the-go; the Nose and Ear Hair Trimmer takes care of unsightly stick-outs and comes with a stand for convenient placement and storage; the Precision Crafted Tweezers are there for attending to the finer details; and the Professional Grade Nail Clipper easily and efficiently cuts away the most stubborn nails. The set even includes a Cleaning Brush to remove cut hairs, dust, and debris from the shaver and the trimmer. At $19.99, the kit is a bargain and can be picked up at http://www.earththerapeutics.com.