Wedding Nail Fashion for the Bride

Your photographer is sure to shoot a picture of you and your husband's rings, so be prepared with photogenic nails.
Your photographer is sure to shoot a picture of you and your husband's rings, so be prepared with photogenic nails.

The striking new bling on your ring finger is begging to be shown off, so don't let dry, brittle nails steal its spotlight! Like a diamond, your nails need to be polished to reach their full potential. Besides, your photographer will no doubt want to snap a photo of your left hand over your husband's, showing off your new wedding rings, so make sure your nails are ready for their close-up before you tie the knot.

To ensure your nails are picture-perfect, prep them in advance. Find a good salon in your area and schedule weekly appointments for two to three months before the big day. Try to book every appointment with the same manicurist; she will become familiar with you and your preferences, and she'll know the condition of your nails from start to finish.

Next, decide how fashionable you want your nails to be on your wedding day. What kind of statement do you want them to make? First, consider the formality of your wedding. A more formal occasion will dictate the kind of dress you wear, which will help you choose a color and design for your nails. Be true to your individual sense of style, and let your nails be an extension of your personality. Make a splash with bright pinks or reds if it's appropriate for the occasion, or choose a light pink or taupe for a more natural look.

While your nails should accessorize your dress, they shouldn't be what people notice first about your wedding day look. Consider how bold shades and designs will look in photos, and whether or not your nails will upstage your dress. If you're unsure whether a trendy manicure or polish is appropriate for your wedding day, go all out and wear the look to your bachelorette party instead.

While leaving your nails in the hands of a professional is recommended, you can do your own manicures in the months before your wedding to save a little money. Just schedule the final appointment with a manicurist to ensure your wedding day nails are in tip-top shape. To give your nails salon treatment at home, first remove any polish and wash your hands in lukewarm, soapy water. After you thoroughly dry your nails and hands with a soft towel, clip nails evenly and carefully. Once you achieve the desired length, move a file across the tops of nails in a fluid motion – filing back and forth is too harsh and will weaken your nails. Use lotion and push back cuticles when necessary (but be sure to clean lotion from nails before applying polish), then apply a base coat, two coats of polish and a top coat. To ensure polish won't chip or smudge, allow nails to dry for at least 15 minutes -- or to be sure it's perfectly dry, even longer.

Wedding Nail Art and Designs

The sky's the limit with wedding nail art.
The sky's the limit with wedding nail art.

Depending on your style, you may or may not want your nails to make a fashion statement all their own. For the bride who wants show-stopping nails, nail art has become an increasingly popular way for brides to add detail and a bit of pizazz to their wedding day ensemble. A manicurist has many talents; with a few strokes of a nail art brush he or she can transform every nail into a black and white tuxedo or turn white tips into little whiskered cats. Flowers, hearts, stars and polka dots are just a few examples of art that commonly adorns brides' freshly painted nails. Even three dimensional beads, bows and rhinestones are making their way onto brides' fingernails before they slip into their white dresses and walk down the aisle.

Choosing a specific design is another way to transform your nails into tiny works of art. There are countless ways to combine colors and textures to create a neat composition on every nail. All you need is an imagination and the help of a professional manicurist. Swirls of paint, zig-zags of color and geometric patterns are all popular designs with today's brides. Incorporate a blue stripe into a nude polish to qualify as your something blue, or update a traditional French manicure with glitter tips in lieu of white. Mix and match designs to create a signature look that showcases your unique sense of style.

Nail art and designs aren't the only way to turn heads on your wedding day; sometimes all it takes is the right polish to pop against your white dress. Black nails, dark shades of purple and metallic hues are popular with fall and winter brides. Those tying the knot during spring and summer are selecting bright citrus shades, like tangerine, and pairing the polish with a matching shade of lipstick.

Since your ring finger is arguably your most important finger on your wedding day, consider polishing it with a bold color and muting the rest of your nails with a natural shade of pink. This design is a surefire way to highlight the symbol of the exciting life you're embarking on as a newlywed -- and your shiny new wedding band.

Related Articles


  • Smith, Sarah. "Customize Your Own Nail Polish." Martha Stewart Weddings. March 30, 2012. (Aug. 6, 2012)
  • The Knot. "Your Nails: Get Wedding Ready." (Aug. 6, 2012)
  • The Knot. "Your Nails: The At-Home Manicure." (Aug. 6, 2012)