On your wedding day, all eyes will be on you...and your hands. It's strange to think about, but between the signing of your marriage certificate, the detailed shots your photographer snaps, and the demands to see your new wedding band, your hands will be the center of attention for the majority of the day. So, whether you've thought about your nails or not, it's important to get a beautiful pre-wedding manicure before heading down the aisle.
However, after choosing a wedding outfit, organizing your seating chart, finalizing florals, and deciding on cake flavors (among other things) you may feel overwhelmed by the idea of having to make yet another important decision—especially since there are hundreds of nail colors available to wear. Don't worry, though, we've got you covered. From classic neutrals to bolder hues and nail art, here are the best bridal nail ideas from real brides to inspire your own.
If you’re after a more whimsical design, take a cue from this bride who chose to do an abstract nail design using white polish. The lines in this design vary from thin to thick and are placed differently on each nail, so no finger has the same look.
Spring brides, you’ll want to take note of this mani. For the big day, this bride added subtle daisy nail art to her nude manicure. To recreate this look, you or your nail technician should leave a few of the daisies incomplete, near the edge of your nails, to create the effect of one continuous design.
Why have one accent nail when you can have two? This bride added a white leafy design to her middle and ring finger while keeping the other nails simple with a plain French manicure. The two accent nails also feature dainty pearl embellishments that blend nicely into the design.
Pretty in Peach
If you’re looking to add a dash of color to your wedding day manicure, peach is the way to go. The shade is more daring than a classic light pink, but it won’t take attention away from your overall look.
Can’t choose just one neutral hue? There’s no need to limit yourself! Follow this bride's lead and lean into a few nail art designs that feature nudes, whites, and creams.
Pop of Coral
Go bold with a coral manicure that’s sure to pop on the big day. The bright hue is also the perfect color to take into your honeymoon if you're jetting off to a tropical location.
For an elegant, barely-there manicure, consider a dainty floral design over a clear-coated hue. They won't draw too much attention away from your ensemble but will make a perfect statement when seen up close.
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, then be sure to allow each coat to dry completely before spreading on the next.
Not to overcomplicate things, but there are multiple shades of white to consider for your wedding day mani. One is stark and modern and strong in its opaqueness (as mentioned above), and the other is a softer hue with a milky aesthetic, as seen on this bride's nails.
Looking to liven up a neutral nail? Try an ombré design with a selection of soft shades. The best part? You can accomplish this style on your own with a bit of pre-wedding-day practice. First, apply your lightest shade of polish to each nail and let it dry. Then paint parallel, horizontal stripes 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.
Soften up your white manicure by doing an ombré effect nail design as opposed to a solid color. While we love a neutral ombré (as mentioned above), using white or ivory nail polish will help make your manicure pop.
Soft Dove Gray
You may be surprised, but 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.
A Metallic Mani
Go for glam with a metallic manicure in gorgeous gold or silver hue. Pro tip: We recommend matching the metal of your engagement and wedding ring to prevent the colors from clashing.
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 classic bridal look or deeper shades that verge on nude for a barely there approach.
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.
Lean into your wedding season when considering your nail shade, like this bride who chose orange nails for her fall nuptials. An unconventional hue will add a pop of color to your white wedding frock, and 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.
For alternative brides who want to add some edginess to their big-day look, 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, as seen in the photo above.
Wedding dresses aren’t the only things you can embellish, as all brides have the option to add studs and gemstones to their manicures for an extra bit of glam. For instance, we especially love the sweet embellishments seen on this bride’s accent nails.
Clean and Creamy Nude
If you'd like to keep your nails pared back, follow this bride's lead and go for a simpler nude look. More specifically, choose a nude polish that closely matches your own skin tone for a manicure that will go with everything and anything.
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.
Want to add some drama to a bridal mani? Consider painted gold foil which can instantly add magic to anyone's nails. 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, while subtly calling attention to those sparkling rings you'll be putting on.
A Fresh French
Nothing says classic quite like a French mani, which pairs well with every season, theme, and aesthetic. However, 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 design into a unique shape.
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 be sure to find a shade that suits the look of your bridal ensemble, wedding theme, and season.
Spruce up your French manicure by outlining the classic design with tiny diamond embellishments, just as this bride did. The extra dose of sparkle is the perfect way to complement your glistening ring.
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 and traditional, this pretty-in-pink bridal manicure has us swooning. The almond shape is both flattering and chic, which is the perfect combination for any wedding day look. Bonus: The classic pink hue will never go out of style.
Silver and Gold
We love the subtle detailing on this light pink and clear diagonal nail design. Instead of choosing one color, this bride used both pearlescent silver and gold dot embellishments to finish off the manicure.
We "heart" this adorable mani this real bride sported on her big day! The pair of tiny hearts adorning her otherwise low-key manicure is such a sweet surprise. To achieve this look, you can purchase a sheet of nail decals to do it yourself or visit a nail artist who can free-hand the design and bring your vision to life.
This bride dressed up her French manicure with pearl embellishments. We especially love this look for brides with a simpler dress so that the pearls can make a subtle statement.
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?
Ultimately, the choice is yours when it comes to selecting a nail color. You can be as creative or conservative in color as you want—in fact, you can even express yourself with bridal nail art.