21 Wedding Nail Ideas for the Perfect Bridal Manicure

Bride with polka dot manicure

Photo by Katie Ruther

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.

01 of 21

Soft Dove Gray

Bride with soft gray manicure holding her hand to her groom's cheek

Photo by Tressa Wixom 

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.

02 of 21

Petite Hearts

Bride with black hearts on her thumbs

Photo by Glen Allsop for Christian Oth Studio 

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.

03 of 21

A Metallic Mani

Bride with metallic manicure

Photo by Orange Photographie

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.

04 of 21

Trendy Taupe

Newlyweds happily showing off rings

Photo by Tony Wodarck; Event Planning by Courtney Tibbets of After The Engagement  

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.

05 of 21

Autumnal Orange

Bride in a strapless gown with red-orange nail polish

Photo by Rach Loves Troy; Bridal Gown by Jaclyn Jordan

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.

06 of 21

Romantic and Creamy White

Bride with milky white manicure and pear shaped ring

Photo by Addison Jones

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.

07 of 21

Classic Wedding White

Bride with white nail polish

Photo by Joseph Rogero

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.

08 of 21

Bridal Blush

Bride with henna on her hands and a pastel pink manicure

Photo by Tamara Gruner

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.

09 of 21

Bold Black

Bride and groom smiling and embracing, bride wearing black nail polish

Photo by Kami Olavarria

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.

10 of 21

Patterned Neutrals

Bride with a neutral manicure with white polka dots

Photo by Katie Ruther; Event Planning by Destination Weddings Tulum

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.

11 of 21

Dainty Designs

Bride holding a booklet, sparkly gold design on her thumbnails

Photo by Kate Headley

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!

12 of 21

Edgy Embellishments

Bride with henna tattooed hands with white nail polish with rhinestone embellishments

Photo by Flora & Flauna; Event Planning by Tall & Small Events

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.

13 of 21

Naked Nails

Bride wiping away a tear with naked nails

Photo by David Salim; Event Planning by Design Anarchy Studio; Hair & Makeup by Lala Barbie & Marcela Bantea

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!

14 of 21

Clean and Creamy Nude

Bride wearing bangles and ornate gown with nude colored nail polish

Photo by Andrew Bayda & Misha Moon

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.

15 of 21

A Chevron Design

Bride with chevron design nail olish

Photo by Hartman Outdoor Photography

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.

16 of 21

Gold-Foil Detailing

Smiling bride with a gold foil manicure

Photo by Sidney Bensimon

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.

17 of 21

Dainty Dots

Bride with a nude manicure with tiny black dots

Photo by Laurken Kendall; Event Planning by Mae&Co Creative; Hair by Sarah Wittaker from Sarah W Hair Design; Headpiece by Andy Guerra from Tocados Isabela

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.

18 of 21

A Fresh French

Indian bride with a French manicure

Photo by Silvia Galora

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.

19 of 21

Stunning Silver

Bride with sparkly silver manicure

Photo by Jeff Brummett Visuals

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.

20 of 21

Romantic Red

Bride in a sleeveless white gown with her hands together wearing burgundy nail polish

Photo by Kate Headley; Bridal Gown by Oscar de la Renta

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.

21 of 21

Neutral Ombré

Bride with henna tattoos and an ombre manicure

Photo by To The Moon

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.

Related Stories