Come your wedding day, all eyes will be on your hands. Between the signing of your marriage certificate, the detailed shots your photographer snaps, and the demands to see your new wedding ring, your hands are going to get serious time in the spotlight. So what’s a bride like you to do? Make sure you're rocking a showstopping mani, of course!
You'd think that after choosing a wedding outfit, shoes, and a hairstyle, selecting a shade of nail polish for the big day would be easy, but it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. That’s why we’ve brought you the best of the best.
From classic bridal neutrals to bolder hues and nail art, the wedding manicure ideas below are a few of our favorites.
Romantic and Creamy White
Not to overcomplicate things, but there are definitely two types of white manis to be aware of. Where the one previously mentioned is stark and modern and strong in its opaqueness, the other is much softer with a milky aesthetic and creamy texture.
Can’t choose just one neutral hue? There’s no need to limit yourself! Use a couple of favorites in a nail art design similar to these polka dots that feature creams and nudes peeking out.
Looking to liven up a neutral nail? Try an ombré design with a selection of soft shades. The technique is easy enough to accomplish on your own with a bit of pre-wedding-day practice: First, apply your lightest shade of polish to each nail and let dry. Then paint parallel stripes of each of your other colors on a wedged makeup sponge, allowing them to slightly overlap. Lightly tap the sponge onto your nails, reapplying the colors to the sponge as needed. Finally, clean up the edges with a Q-tip dipped in polish remover.
Soft Dove Gray
Neutral nail polishes aren’t limited to shades of nude. Gray is often an overlooked neutral that feels wholly modern (and just a bit moody)—but without ever daring to overpower your look. Choose a gentle dove gray like the one above for a sweet and minimalist vibe or a darker hue for a slightly edgier feel.
We "heart" this adorable mani! The pair of tiny hearts adorning this bride’s otherwise low-key manicure is such a sweet surprise. You can purchase a sheet of nail decals to accomplish the look yourself or visit a nail artist who can free-hand the design and bring your vision to life.
A Metallic Mani
Go for glam with a metallic manicure in gorgeous gold. We recommend matching the metal of your engagement and wedding ring to prevent the colors from clashing.
If you're feeling a dose of drama but don't want to go full brooding, try a soft taupe instead. The smoky shade gives a nice edginess without coming on too strong. Plus, it looks amazing with warm gold metals.
Take a cue from your wedding season when deciding on your nail color like this bride who chose orange nails for her fall wedding. An unconventional hue will add a pop of color to your white wedding frock, and you're sure to stand out from the crowd. You can even match your nails to other aspects of your decor.
Looking to seal the deal? For a long-lasting manicure, be sure to ask for a top coat to combat any chipping and add a high-shine finish.
Classic Wedding White
Nothing says "bridal" quite like that classic wedding white hue. To keep white nail polish from looking streaky, start with a ridge-filling base coat and then be sure to allow each color coat to dry completely before you spread on the next.
Not into nude? A feminine, light pink polish offers a delicate pop of color. Opt for pastel shades that lean toward a milky white for a bridal look or deeper shades that verge on nude for a barely there approach.
Are you an alternative bride who wants to add some edginess to your big-day look? Then black nails are for you! You can go matte or shiny, with square, round, or pointed tips. Trust us, an all-black manicure will look awesome against a boho-inspired ivory gown.
For an elegant, barely there manicure, consider a dainty floral design, like this bride's silver and gold leaf designs over clear-coated nails. They won't draw too much attention away from your ensemble but will make a perfect statement when seen up close. Plus, floral anything is perfect for a spring or summer wedding!
Wedding dresses aren’t the only things you can embellish. Add studs and gemstones to nails for an extra bit of sparkle and texture. We especially love the sweet embellishments seen on this bride’s accent nails.
If you rock naked nails every other day of the week, know that nail polish isn’t a requirement for brides. Treat yourself to having your nails shaped and buffed by a professional manicurist, and brush on a clear coat just for a bit of extra shine. Then hit that aisle!
Clean and Creamy Nude
Go for a simple nail look on your wedding day to highlight the showier parts of your outfit. For nails that go with everything and anything—from multicolored wedding ensembles to layers of jewelry—choose a nude polish that closely matches your own skin tone.
Don’t be afraid to test out a few different shades in the weeks ahead of your wedding. We recommend a cream formula for optimum shine and smoothness.
A Chevron Design
For some subtle yet striking nail art, look to a modern chevron design. To achieve the look yourself, paint your nails with whatever lighter shade you’ve selected and allow to dry completely. Then place the pointed edge of a piece of tape at the base of the nail with the point facing upward and resting in the middle of the nail. Finally, paint nails with the darker shade and then carefully remove the tape before drying.
Want to add oomph to a bridal mani? Painted gold foil can instantly add magic. You can keep it on the subtle side by limiting the glitz to your ring fingers or go all out with an abstract design.
Look closely and you’ll spot the daintiest dots adorning this bride’s nails. It’s the perfect way to instantly elevate a neutral manicure and subtly call attention to those sparkling rings you'll be putting on.
A Fresh French
Nothing says classic quite like a French mani, but don't think you're obligated to stick with the customary style if it doesn't speak to you. For a fresh take on the traditional French manicure, play with the color of the tip or try curving and elongating the shape of it into a design.
Showcase a silver engagement ring with a similarly stunning silver manicure. This bride included a wash of glitter on hers to really catch the light.
Bold brides, this one is for you. Look to saturated red hues, from fiery scarlet to deep burgundy, for a romantic feel. Just find the shade that suits the look of your bridal ensemble, wedding theme, and season.
A Touch of Sparkle
For a bit of princess appeal, beautify your nails with 3D embellishments that catch the light just right. Using a blush-toned base, this bride added some glittery accents to create an eye-catching look.
Pretty in Pink
A bit feminine, a lot girly, this pretty-in-pink bridal manicure has us swooning. The almond shape is both flattering and chic, aka the perfect touch for your wedding day look. Bonus: The classic pink hue will never go out of style.
When should I get my nails done before the wedding?
Whether you have an appointment booked at a nail salon or you do them yourself, we recommend getting your nails done a day or two before your wedding. If you do them too far in advance, you risk chipping them beforehand.
What color should my nails be for the wedding?