Come your wedding day, all eyes are going to be on your hands. Between the signing of the marriage certificate, the detailed shots your photographer will be snapping, and everyone demanding to see your new wedding ring, your hands are about to get serious time in the spotlight. So what’s a bride to do? Well, make sure she’s rocking a showstopping mani, of course!
You'd think that after choosing a wedding dress, 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, browse our favorite wedding nail ideas below.
Soft Dove Grey
Neutral nail polishes aren’t limited to shades of nude. Grey 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 grey like the one above for a sweet and minimalist vibe, or a darker hue for a slightly edgier feel.
Negative Space Manicure
With a shimmery strip of gold beneath a creamy nude polish, this mani utilizes the negative space on the nail and is understatedly glamorous.
Something Blue Blooms
Didn’t think your “something blue” could be your nails, did ya? A manicure that incorporates the shade can be a fun spin on the tradition.
We ‘heart’ this adorable mani! The pair of tiny hearts adorning this bride’s otherwise lowkey 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.
Why not play up the lace on your wedding dress by mimicking the design on an accent nail or two? Take along a close up shot of your frock’s lace when you visit your manicurist so they can exactly match the intricacies.
Contrasting Nail Art
Whoever said that brides can’t wear black? A dramatic black polish is oh-so-chic, especially when paired with contrasting nude nail art.
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.
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.
Romantic and Creamy White
Not to overcomplicate things, but there are definitely two types of white manis you should be aware of. Where one, like 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.
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 the color of the tip or try curving and elongating the shape of it into a design.
If your wedding dress or jewelry features pearl accents, why not play up those darling details on your nails? You can go all out with a plethora of pearls like on the mani seen here, or just apply one or two to an accent nail.
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.
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 just so.
Don’t be a square! Dare to have fun with your wedding nail art. Try clean geometric lines for a modern, minimalist look.
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 on every other day of the week and love the look, know that nail polish isn’t a requirement for being a bride. Treat yourself to having your nails shaped and buffed by a professional manicurist, brush on a clear coat just for a bit of extra shine, and then hit that aisle!
An Opulent Outline
Afraid that an opaque coat of glittery nail polish will take away from the rest of your bridal ensemble? Then try a linear glitter design like this that’ll allow you to play up the elegant shape of your nails with some subtle shine.
Clean and Creamy Nude
For nails that go with everything and anything—from multi-colored wedding ensembles to layers of jewelry—choose a nude nail 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, and we recommend a cream formula for optimum shine and smoothness.
Gold Foil Detailing
Want to add some oomph to a bridal mani? Painting on bits of gold foil can instantly add some magic. You can keep it on the subtle side by limiting the glitz to just your ring fingers or go all out with an abstract design.
A Chevron Design
For some subtle yet striking nail art, look to a modern chevron design. To achieve the look yourself, first, 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 upwards and resting in the middle of the nail. Paint nails with the darker shade and then carefully remove the tape before drying.
Gold French Manicure
Give the old French manicure the Midas touch by replacing the standard white polish with a swipe of glittering gold. We love this party-ready look for a ballroom reception or even a New Year Eve’s wedding.
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.
An Inky Inverted French Manicure
A dark and daring spin on the inverted French manicure, this iteration uses jet-black and gold polishes, resulting in all the edgy-glamorous vibes. It’s perfect for an unconventional bride who doesn’t play the traditional wedding style rules.
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.
Having a springtime soirée? Feminine florals, when painted on a nude base, are a delicate way to play with nail art and are perfect for the season. Try incorporating the types of flowers in your bouquet in your manicure to make it extra special.
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.