When it comes to bridesmaid glam, we often get so caught up in the details of hair and makeup that the nails become an afterthought. But a manicure is the perfect way to add some personality to a look whilst sticking to color themes, or most importantly, the bride’s requests.
In past times, brides would generally prefer to keep their crew’s nails pretty lowkey, often opting for a sheer, natural hue. However, since nail art is having such a moment right now, more brides are leaning into minimalist manicure art. Additionally, some brides have individuality at the top of their lists, letting their bridal party go all-out with creative designs.
Meet the Expert
Julia Diogo (known on Instagram as painted by Jools) is a London-based nail artist known for her mesmerizing minimalism and luxury hand care—with regular clients including Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
Whether you’re a bridesmaid who has been left to choose your own nail design, or you're a bride looking for inspiration for your closets friends, we’ve enlisted the help of minimalist nail artist Julia Diogo to help you keep a few things in mind when it comes to choosing a bridesmaid manicure.
Keep things minimal.
It goes without saying, but by taking on the role of bridesmaid you’re honoring the bride’s wishes, right down to the nails. “Bold and bright colors are definitely a no-no in my opinion,” says Diogo. “If anything, that should be left to the bride if she wants to be a little more adventurous.“
For current brides, be sure to let your bridesmaids know if there’s something you’d love them to wear. If they have free reign to sport what they'd like on their nails, Diogo says “a micro french with a clean nude base is most definitely a safe bet for all.”
She also explains that it’s best to let your nail artist choose the best base hue in the vast nudes family for your skin tone, as “one color really doesn’t fit all,” she adds. Diogo loves Biosculpture French Rose for pale skin tones, Biosculpture French Creme for olive/tanned skin, and Biosculpture Spun Out Of Dreams for deep/dark skin tones.
Choose a manicure that's suitable for multiple events.
If you've received the green light to experiment with some nail art, it’s best to make sure your mani works for all of the wedding events ahead—especially if it’s an entire weekend of celebrations.
When it comes to keeping it fresh all weekend (or week!) long, Diogo recommends getting a gel manicure so there’s no stress when it comes to chipping or losing any shine. But to keep them in the best shape, it's important to stay on top of maintenance. “Keeping the nails hydrated with lots of cuticle oil and hand cream is also an essential part of the pre-bridal manicure prep.”
Diogo recommends that brides, and sometimes even bridesmaids, see their manicurist two to three months in advance to shade match, and to try different nail shapes and styles in order to get the perfect design and color for the day.
Whatever your preferences or theme, we’re here to help you find all of the bridesmaid manicure inspiration you need for the special celebrations ahead.
One of Diogo's favorite designs is the microdot manicure. It's both minimal and impactful, and you can personalize the color palette to match the wedding themes. The best part is that you can easily do it yourself if you don't have time to visit a salon.
The French manicure is a classic, but if you worry it might be too close to the bride's nails, try the micro French. Exactly as the name describes, it has everything we love about the classic French but on a miniature scale. This is an ideal design if you have short nails.
If you want to experiment a bit more, try the reverse French. It's not super fussy but still gives an impact. We recommend trying either a white accent shade or even a metallic hue, depending on what you're wearing.
Warm Gradient Tones
If the bride is up for her crew having a little more fun with their nails, we recommend leaning into the color palette of your dress. Try out a version of Diogo's warm gradient tones, or copy it exactly because it is a masterpiece. Bonus points if you match the shades to the season.
This one is for the minimalists who also can't deny their love for a little sparkle! The micro sparkle combines dazzling silver or gold shimmer with the classic micro French for an elevated design.
Gold foil is a super easy way to add a bit of excitement to an otherwise understated manicure. The best part is you can easily achieve this look on your own. All you need is a visit to your local craft store to pick up some foil, and a high-quality top coat to seal it in.
Sometimes the best inspiration is the one you're wearing. If you're wearing a heavily embellished gown or a lehenga for the big day, why not match your nails (and your henna!)? This design carefully uses glitter, pearls, and crystals for a statement-making design.
If the bride is okay with you showing off your love of jewels, we recommend some accent embellishments paired with a neutral base.
Gold Scalloped French
To elevate the micro french and micro-sparkle, opt for the gold scalloped french. The small detail of a scalloped edge, with added gold foil, turns a simplistic mani into one that's more special.
Should bridesmaids get their nails done?
Any reason for a fresh manicure, right? Typically most people like to have their nails done for their bridesmaid duties, but it ultimately depends on what the bride says and what makes you feel most comfortable.
How far in advance should I get my nails done before the wedding?
Having your nails done the day before the wedding would be the best option, says Diogo. But a few days before is also fine if you’re getting gel nail polish (which lasts much longer than regular polish).
Can you wear white nail polish at a wedding?
Sure! If the bride says it’s OK then why not? White is a super trendy hue that goes with almost every outfit. Plus, it looks great on all skin tones.