There’s no shortage of decisions to be made before your wedding day–the dress, your hairstyle, a final makeup look. And while a nail polish color may be further down on that list, it’s not something to overlook. After all, there are sure to be tons of photos and videos of your hands for the big ring exchange (not to mention, the plethora of champagne toasts). So finding a color that complements your bridal look and personal style is essential. Nothing makes a stunning engagement ring and new wedding band combo pop more than a gorgeous manicure.
When finding your ideal nail polish color, the first thing to consider is the color and finish. Do you want something subtle and glossy or bold and matte? You'll want a polish that lasts throughout your entire wedding weekend, from the rehearsal dinner to the farewell brunch, so it's best to go with a trusted chip-resistant option–check the label for benefits and ingredients, and don't forget your top coat for extra protection! Narrowing down your bridal mani color can be a daunting task, as there are endless hues to choose from. Consider your overall bridal look, as well as your venue and wedding aesthetic. Traditional brides will gravitate toward a classic nude polish, while a soft blue is more suited for modern brides hosting a chic city ceremony. Going for a bohemian vibe? Create a dreamy bridal look with light pink hues or off-white tips.
To help you find the perfect shade for your wedding day mani, we've researched and rounded up the best wedding nail polish options with these features in mind. For a bold pop of color, we love the Butter London Regal Red Nail Polish and the Zoya Kristin Nail Polish. For something subtle and sweet, our favorite picks are the Essie Polish in Ballet Slippers and the Olive & June MM.
Read on for the best nail polishes for every bride-to-be.
Best Neutral: Olive and June MM
Inspired by Mandy Moore (hence the name), this is a universally-flattering nude. Nude shades vary, but somehow this one flatters every skin tone thanks to the perfect balance of toasted beige and pink undertones. Clean and natural, the understated effect can’t be beaten for the minimalist bride.
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Out of this Pearl
There’s no shortage of shades to choose from in this line, which also happens to be the best-selling at-home gel polish brand in the U.S We’re partial to this pearlescent, almost mauve-like pink—a top choice for any bride who wants a manicure that sparkles alongside her rings. Chip-resistant and long-wearing, it works best when swiped directly onto nails (no base coat needed) and finished off with the brand’s Miracle Gel Top Coat.
Essie Nail Polish in Ballet Slippers
This remains one of the most beloved nail polishes of all time. Case in point: According to the brand, over 800 bottles are sold every day in the U.S. Talk about a crowd favorite! The ultra-popular soft pinkish-white-beige hybrid is also a staple for the Royal family–it was one of the few shades approved by Her Royal Highness, and the polish Meghan Markle wore for her 2018 wedding to Prince Harry. While it’s opaque enough to completely cover nails, it’s still sheer enough to flatter a variety of different skin tones.
Best Shine: OPI Nail Polish, Infinite Shine Long-Wear Lacquer, Whites, 0.5 fl oz
There’s no denying that anything white always feels very bridal, though when it comes to nail polish, full-on white can sometimes feel a bit too stark. That’s why we appreciate OPI's multi-dimensional ivory option. It still reads as white, though it has a pearlescent finish that shifts and changes tones as it catches the light for a gorgeous, prismatic effect. It’s the ideal choice for the bride who wants a traditional mani, but with a twist. Plus, the formula delivers up to 11 days of wear and an eye-catching mirror-like shine.
Most Feminine: JINsoon Dolly Pink
Look pretty in pink, indeed! There’s something slightly vintage and retro about this blush hue, which makes it a great choice for the ultra-feminine bride. Still, despite the classically "girly" shade, it’s still sophisticated and mature. And while the hue looks gorgeous swiped on nails, it would also make for a pretty bridal pedicure shade.
Best Formula: Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Polish
An apricot cream color, this nude is particularly pretty on deeper skin tones, though truly does work on everyone. Equally as pleasing as the shade is the formula, infused with an impressive list of 10 different ingredients that improve the health and strength of your nails, while also the upping wear-time and shine factor.
Best "Something Blue": Zoya Kristin Nail Polish
For brides who want to think outside the beauty box, this cool hue is a great choice. A perfect balance of subtle blue and gray tones, it can also pull double duty as your ‘something blue.’The cream finish makes for opaque coverage, and while it’s definitely more of a statement than a traditional nude nail, it still comes across as a neutral that isn’t too out there.
Most Whimsical: Paintbox Nail Lacquer Like Dreams
Founded by longtime beauty editor Eleanor Langston, Paintbox is a staple on the New York City nail salon scene, known for unique and sophisticated nail art. Recently, they launched their own curated collection of polishes, which includes this stunner. This whispery lilac has creamy white undertones that really make it stand out (particularly when set against darker skin), and is a great alternative for brides who want something other than beige or pink. Plus, the formula is 10-free, as well as vegan, and cruelty-free.
Best Bold Color: Butter London Regal Red Patent Shine 10X Nail Lacquer
Take a page out of Hilary Duff’s book and forgo nude nails for a standout crimson hue, as the starlet did for her winter wedding. We especially like this deep, red wine shade for those looking to make more of a statement with their mani. The formula is free of eight questionable chemicals commonly found in nail polish, not to mention also has special polymers that make it ultra-chip resistant and long-wearing. It also boasts UV absorbers to ensure the burgundy color stays shiny and vibrant.
Most Versatile: Essie Nail Polish Allure
Another classic Essie shade approved by the Royal Family, Kate Middleton wore this sheer beige for her nuptials. Her manicurist layered it with a soft pink hue from a British polish brand—to that point, this neutral does mix and match nicely with other shades. Ideal for any bride going for a natural look, this barely-there shade is soft and demure, though it also makes for a great base for a French manicure.
What To Look For in a Wedding Nail Polish
The perfect nail color will complement your skin tone and effortlessly fit into your look on your wedding day. Many brides opt for light nudes and pinks, but it's up to you if you want to be a little bolder. Light blues and lavenders or dark, sultry wine colors can be great, too. Consider your wedding colors, the season your wedding is in, and your personal tastes.
Nail polishes come in a variety of finishes, from matte to creme to sheer. Which one you choose is entirely up to your personal tastes. However, a sheer finish is great if you want to go with a subtle pop of color that would be overpowering if it was opaque.
Of course, you don't want to see a chipped nail on your wedding day. Look for chip-resistant nail polishes and use a topcoat. Check to see if the nail polish has any extra nail-strengthening ingredients so your nails are absolutely flawless on your big day.
What nail polish colors are best for a wedding?
As the bride, you can choose whatever nail polish color suits your personal style. However, it's best to go with colors that will complement your look, not distract from it–especially once you add an extra ring to the mix! In general, understated hues in neutral shades are a foolproof option. You also can't go wrong with light pinks, off-whites, and other light and airy shades.
How soon before my wedding should I get my nails done?
You'll want your mani-pedi to last all weekend long, so getting your nails done just one to two days before your wedding is best. Not only will your nails still be fresh, but it will also save you time getting ready on the big day.
Why Trust Brides
Brides contributor Melanie Rud has nearly 15 years of journalism experience covering the beauty and lifestyle space for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She’s also a recent newlywed!