Makeup Advice for Your Big Day

Resident makeup artist at the Four Seasons, Carl Ray knows how to keep brides looking dewy and refreshed.

Photograph by Josh Cogan

The Expert: Carl Ray
Resident Makeup Artist at the George Salon at the Four Seasons

Is there a “look” Washington brides ask for?
Brides here tend to want a fairly conservative, polished and put-together look for their weddings. This isn’t Las Vegas, after all. They seem to worry a lot that their groom won’t recognize them when they walk down the aisle. You want everyone to say, “Are you working out?” or, “You look so rested!”

Can you recommend any special-occasion makeup tricks?
False eyelashes can and should be your new best friends! I like the individual lashes from MAC Cosmetics. The cheap individual lashes by Ardell Cosmetics from the drugstore work great, too. Applying a primer to your skin after your moisturizer and before your makeup is a very good idea. It helps the makeup stay put during the day. Smashbox Cosmetics and MAC sell good-quality primers.

Any professional secrets about skin care?
Stop waxing your face six weeks before the wedding. I’ve seen bad things happen with skin being burned or ripped off, and it’s not a sexy thing to have scabs on your face at your wedding! Be careful with spray tans, applying bleach to your skin or having too many deep facials too close to the wedding. They can also cause bad breakouts.

Many brides opt to do their own wedding makeup to save money. Any tips for them?
Come in for a trial a few weeks before the wedding. We’ll sit for an hour or so, and I’ll give you a lesson on what to do. I make a chart with colors and customize your makeup for the big day. I can even show you which products from your makeup bag will work. It’s not about buying all new stuff.   

What three products should a bride keep with her during the wedding reception?
A lip gloss that has some shimmer, blotting papers to cut down on the shine, and a bronzer to hit the apples of the cheeks.

The hours before the wedding can be very hectic and tense. What can you do to help clients relax?
Some brides, poor things, are so nervous about everything! They’re barely able to sit still in the chair from worrying about what might go wrong. My role is to go with the flow, stay very mellow, and keep the drama to a minimum. The makeup room should be an oasis. And yes, Champagne always helps.

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