Nailing it – nails that won’t over shadow your wedding dress


You’ve been flashing the ring for a while now, showing off selfies of your new bling with perfectly manicured hands, a little nail art here and there perhaps? When it comes to your wedding day nails though, you want to opt for a manicure that will stand the test of time (and we’re not just talking long-wear).

Many brides will play it safe with a classic nude or French manicure to avoid overshadowing their wedding dress or for fear of their look dating (quickly browsing Pinterest for “wedding nails” confirms this)!


[right][/right] Both Fresh Fragrances, Ciate $16

If you want a manicure that is classic and won’t date your wedding photos, yet is still playful and pretty, look no further.

However, there are many nail designs which are simple and classic, while still stunning and a little bit creative. We’ve rounded up and squared off the best wedding day manicures that won’t overshadow your wedding dress. Of course, you can always go a little more elaborate on your pedicure!

Step One: Book your manicure

Your beauty timeline will vary slightly depending on whether you opt for a gel/shellac or traditional mani-pedi. Alternatively, go for game-changing ‘Pop on’ nails by Limecrime!

You can’t deny the benefits of a gel manicure – 10-14 days of high shine glossy nails that can take you right through from the big day through the honeymoon. However, some brides will choose to forgo the gel mani – it’s difficult to remove if it starts to peel, and once you start you cannot stop If you know you’re going to pick at your nails, or wedding stress has you nail-biting, it’s best to stick to classic polish, then if you chip/pick or bite you can do a quick refresh on the day.

If you opt for a traditional manicure, book your manicurist one to two days out and have an bottle of the polish colour with you, just to be safe (my MOH was painting my toenails on the morning of the wedding!)

With a gel manicure, you have more flexibility for your appointment time, and up to 5-6 days before the wedding will ensure you don’t have any grown-out nails.

If you are destined for a tropical honeymoon you might want something brighter than what you chose for your wedding day, in which case you can either polish over your (lighter) gel or traditional mani, or pack some handy nail-remover pads.

Step 2: Pick your base colour

Begin testing different nail polish shades well before your wedding day to get a better idea of what suits your skin colour. Hold your nails against the fabric of your wedding dress to ensure the colour also suits the tone of the wedding dress.


Most brides tend to pick natural nude tones because tis not distracting, harder to spot if it gets chipped. It elongates the fingers and can go with anything.


A little more girly, pale pinks and soft rose tones give more depth than your standard nude but still maintain a clean feminine look.


If you are wanting something a little unexpected, lavender is a great way to change it out rather than doing something drastic and painting your nails royal blue. Great for girls who look best with cooler shades and looks fabulous against white.


You can’t go wring with your classic scarlet red. It’s timeless and looks great any time of year, whether it’s a snowy winter wedding or sandy beach affair. Of course diamonds also will shine against a candy apple red.

Step 3: Add some detail

Once you’ve chosen the base to suit your wedding’s colours, consider whether you’d like to add some detail, whether to one or two nails, or on all your digets.

French Manicure (with a twist)

The classic French manicure will never date – as many a bride’s manicure attests! To make the French manicure your own, consider changing the colour scheme, inverting the colours, adding a metallic!

The French manicure is most flattering to a short-medium nail, if you want to have long nails, this may not be the best choice for you.


There’ll be no roughs and bumps to your manicure, we’re talking lace texture, tiny diamantes, even a matte or confetti effect (did anyone else use to have a Konad set..?!) A classic jewel perfectly placed creates a point of interest and photo-opportunity, while the popular confetti effect nail makes more of a statement. Personally, I love lace texture on nails with a light blush undercoat.


Don’t be afriad of a designed nail or two – perhaps even just your ring finger. For this look, get an expert, I recommend Heather Vette (also a make-up artist).

The patterns don’t have to be extravagant – line and dot designs, flowers, marble-effect and geo patterns are always stunning.


If your wedding has a particular theme, beyond specific colours, consider incorporating that into your manicure. Be aware if your theme colors are particularly bold, bright or dark, which stand out against a white wedding dress. 


Ombre nails are on trend but understated enough not to date! The French manicure’s modern friend, there’s no definitive lines, and an endless array of colors to combine. Perfect for bridal, as it’s subtle enough not to be noticable from a distance, and looks amazing close-up.


If you are all about sparkle, then glitter is the way to go (what girl doesn’t love a bit of glitter?) We’re here to celebrate, and glitter nails add that extra special sparkle to make you feel like even more of a queen on your wedding day. You can always add a little glitter polish to a plain or blush colour – go as sparkly as you want with each layer, its up to you.

With that, I’ll leave you in the capable hands of Pinterest (go follow She Said Yes!) and look forward to seeing you tag your new nails and the little white book!

P.S. Shop these wedding manicure worthy looks (Etsy links)!