One of the best parts about being engaged is planning the big day. I remember being overwhelmed with ideas and questions for myself, but before my fiancé and I selected a date, decided on a budget and picked a venue, I was sure to book one vendor that ranked much higher on my priority list at the time—my bridal makeup artist. I mean I am a beauty blogger after all!

There are a bevy of great makeup artists, but my go-to bridal makeup professional is Carl Ray (you may have seen his work on the cover of Vogue or Glamour). You see, outside of his outstanding bridal artistry career, Carl Ray is personal makeup artist to First Lady Michelle Obama and I got the opportunity to ask the man behind the beauty to dish on all things bridal and FLOTUS while he primped me for my engagement shoot. Read on for the answers to all your beauty questions!

Why should a bride have professional makeup applied on their wedding day?

CR: Hiring a professional makeup artist is essential just like any other vendor for your wedding because their knowledge and expertise will have you flawless and camera ready. Also, it will help subside your wedding day jitters.

How far in advance should brides book their makeup artist?

CR: Brides should start the search for a good makeup artist when they get engaged and have a wedding date locked in. Personally, I can book up to a year in advance.

What should brides look for when searching for a makeup artist for their big day? What types of questions should they ask?

CR: Brides should look at a makeup artist’s portfolio or website to get a feel for their aesthetic. It’s great if the artist comes highly recommended. Find out how many years of experience the artist has in bridal makeup and look up reviews online!

Why is scheduling a bridal makeup trial so important?

CR: Bridal trials are important for both the artist and the bride. During the trial, the bride should express their thoughts and feelings on the inspiration of the ‘look’ she is going for on her wedding day. Brides can see and feel how they will look on their wedding day while the artist can get to know you and your personality. Together you can both tweak the look to exactly what you envision.

How can SMP brides prep for the big day skincare wise?

CR: To start, lightly exfoliate your skin one or two times a week. Drink plenty of water, exercise and make sure to get your Z’s. To keep your skin in tip top condition, I recommend using a creamy cleanser, SPF, face and eye cream or serum appropriate for your skin type.

What should brides avoid doing/wearing before/on the day of their wedding?

CR: Brides should avoid getting deep cleansing facials so close to their wedding day because you run the risk of breakouts.

What products should a bride keep on-hand for touch-ups after the ceremony?

CR: Carry a pressed powder or blotting papers for touch-ups throughout the day. Also, keep a lip color handy since you will be eating, drinking and kissing!

What’s it like being THE makeup artist to First Lady Michelle Obama? How do you balance a busy schedule between working with FLOTUS and being a go-to bridal makeup guru?

CR: It’s an honor to be FLOTUS’ personal makeup artist. FLOTUS is rarely busy or traveling on weekends and I know my White House schedule at least three months in advance.

Photography: Elizabeth Fogarty | Makeup: Carl Ray Makeup Artist | Hair: Styled By Anna Fazio | Venue: Private Residence | Blogger Bride: Kara Manos | Like A Boss Print: Lucy Darling Shop | Robe: Plum Pretty Sugar

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here