The Best Wedding Nails for Brides, According to Pros

A French manicure is a classic, but you have so many options to choose from.

<p>Getty Images</p>

Getty Images

There are so many details to think about when planning your wedding look — and one that can slip through the cracks is selecting the perfect shade for your bridal manicure. Though it might seem trivial in comparison to hair or makeup, it’s actually essential, especially when you consider what a focal point your hands will be throughout the day (your photographers have to get that ring shot, after all).

“Traditionally, the most popular colors for brides tend to be pale pinks, soft nudes, and sheer whites,” says celebrity manicurist Julie Kandalec. “These colors are popular because they are elegant and understated, and they complement a wide range of bridal styles and color schemes.” Pale pink not necessarily your style? There are still plenty of shades to choose from to ensure you feel like the best version of yourself on your wedding day.

And remember, there’s no wrong choice when it comes to picking your mani shade — anything goes. “Whatever color you choose, the most important thing is to wear it with confidence,” says Kandalec. “ A solid manicure done right — cuticle work, polish, shaped, and glossed with top coat —  needs nothing else.” 

From pops of color to metallics and everything in between, Kandalec and nail expert Sonya Meesh break down some of the best wedding nails for brides. Keep reading for inspo as well as some expert tips on how to make your mani last through the big day and beyond. 

Related:Blush Nails Are the Latest Nail Trend that Everyone Is Obsessed With

Sheer Baby Pink

Always a classic, this ultra-feminine shade is soft, romantic, and complements a wide range of bridal styles and color schemes, as well as a variety of skin tones, says Kandalec. With that in mind, let your skin tone be your guide. “A warm-toned bride might choose a peachy-pink shade, while a cool-toned bride might opt for a blush or baby pink,” she suggests. Try CND Vinylux Nail Polish in Soft Peony or Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Color in Ballerina.


While it may not be a typical pick, blue is a fun way to get in on that classic wedding tradition. “It’s an easy and obvious way to incorporate a take on ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue,’” says Meesh. If your look is more sweet and subtle, go for a pastel; brides that like to bring the drama should consider a bold cobalt or a deep navy. We love Hermès Le Mains Hermès Nail Enamel in Bleu Encre and Gucci Glossy Nail Polish in Lucy Baby Blue.


Lilac and lavender are always pretty choices, especially for a creative bride getting married in the spring or summer, but you should also make sure that digital lavender is on your radar. This hot new shade is cooler in tone and a bit more muted than regular lavender. "Digital lavender was named by trend forecasting website WSGN along with sister company Coloro as 2023’s color of the year, so we've been seeing it everywhere,” says Kandelec. Try Lights Lacquer in Lilac Wine or OPI Nail Lacquer in I Sold My Crypto.


Want to feel ultra-luxe on your wedding day? Go with a metallic. Kandalec loves rose gold in particular: “It’s a warm and romantic hue that complements warm and cool colors alike,” she says. “It’s great for brides who want to achieve a super modern look, or perhaps compliment some of the colors in their overall decor.”

Of course, silver and gold are also classic picks; Kandalec recommends using them as french tip shades, for nail art, or just as a simple accent nail. “Both colors give elegance and opulence to a finished nail look,” she adds. Go with KBShimmer Nail Polish in One Night Sand or Orly Breathable Nail Polish in Elixir.

Versatile Nudes

If you hear “nude” and immediately think of the foundation nail trend of yesteryear (a.k.a. a cream polish color that perfectly matches your skin tone), don’t panic — that’s not what we’re talking about here. “My rule of thumb for nudes and browns is to either go significantly lighter or darker than your skin tone,” says Kandalec. “Contrast is the best way to wear these shades.” If you’re having an outdoor wedding or are going for a rustic vibe with your decor, the earthy hues in this color family may be your perfect manicure match. Consider CND Vinylux Nail Polish in Arrowhead or Lights Lacquer Your Nails But Better Bundle.

Related:The Strawberry Milk Manicure Is the Next Big Thing in Nails

Nude Holographic

This category is perfect for toeing the line between “pizzazz” and “polished.” “These shades are still classically nude, but they add a twinkle in photos,” says Meesh. Holographic nail colors aren’t just sparkly — they practically glow with a rainbow luminosity, so you can guarantee your mani will pop on your wedding day, even under dim lighting. We like KBShimmer Nail Polish in A Hint of Manila or ILNP Ultra Holo Nail Polish in Chai Latte.


You can’t go wrong with white, especially if you’re wearing a white dress — it’s classic, elegant, and timeless, perfect for a glam yet traditional bride, says Kandalec. It also comes in a range of opacities (we love a milky white shade) and suits all skin tones. “For example, brides with fair skin may opt for a stark white shade, while brides with darker skin tones may prefer an ivory or off-white shade” she adds. Try Essie Nail Polish in Allure or OPI Nail Lacquer in Funny Bunny.


If you’ve never been much of a mani person but still don’t want your nails to be totally bare, Meesh suggests the “your nails, but elevated" look. A clean-looking nail with a coat of a treatment-based formula will support your nail health while ensuring your fingertips look finished — all without making you feel like your hands are “overdone.” Try Manucurist Paris Green Treatment Polish in Active Glow or Londontown KUR Illuminating Nail Concealer.

How to make your wedding manicure last

Durability is key to a chip-free manicure, so Kandalec highly recommends opting for gel lacquer or a structured manicure with a gel overlay, both of which are strong and will last. Timing your nail appointment carefully is also key. “For example, if the wedding is on a Saturday, the rehearsal dinner is usually on Friday,” says Kandelec. “I would say get the manicure on Wednesday or Thursday, because it will be close enough to the wedding and can last full into the honeymoon.” If you’d rather stick to regular polish, do it as close to your wedding day as possible — think the day of your rehearsal. 

Another clever idea to make your mani last well into your honeymoon is layering a gel formula with a traditional lacquer. “You can do a gel polish for the honeymoon and go over it with a regular polish you can wear for the wedding, then just take that polish off,” suggests Kandalec. So long as your nail tech has a good understanding of layering polishes and uses a non-wipe topcoat over your gel manicure, this is an easy way to ensure you have a manicure that can last for weeks — all you’ll have to do is take off that coat of normal polish.

If you’re someone that hates a manicure emergency, it’s still worth packing your nail shade and a topcoat in your travel kit, particularly if you opt for regular polish. “CND Vinylux is a great brand because it's a long-wear topcoat and polish, and no base coat is needed,” adds Kandalec.

Related:13 Gorgeous Bridal Nail Ideas to Elevate Any Wedding Look

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