Wedding nails 101: Exactly how to get your nails ready for your wedding day.

For everything you need to know about planning your wedding, head on over to Mamamia’s wedding planning hub.

If wedding nails are the last thing on your bridal to-do list, lean in.

Sure, the dress is very important, as are the flowers, cake, vows and THE FOOD, but don’t leave sorting out your wedding nails until the last minute.

A good manicure has the power to finish off any outfit and make you feel like your very best self. So how do you choose what you want for your bridal manicure?

We asked two manicurists who’ve helped countless brides through this conundrum to tell us exactly how to get your nails ready for your wedding day.

From the best nail polish colour for your wedding and when to get your wedding nails done, to what kind of manicure to get and which nail shape to try, here’s everything you need to know.

Wedding nails – a summary:

  • Blush pink and nude tones will always look bridal. If in doubt stick to the classics.
  • This goes for nail shape too. A natural shape will always look timeless.
  • A gel, SNS or acrylic manicure will give you extra peace of mind on the day. Which you choose will depend on preference and the condition of your nail.
  • Start prepping from roughly two months from your wedding and invest in a cuticle oil.
  • Get your nails done the day before your wedding.

Best nail polish colour for wedding nails.

A post shared by Kady F (@pinotandpolish) on




A post shared by The Nail Lab (@thenaillab) on


There are a couple of nail colours that will always feel bridal.

Blush pink. Nude. Champagne. A good french manicure. But how do you choose the right one for you?

According to Sabrina Masi from The Nail Lab, picking your wedding nail colour comes down going through all the other elements of your bridal look and going with a shade that will compliment them, rather than take away from them.

“I always sit with a bride and figure out about her personality, what colour the dress is – there are so many different shades of white from off-white and ivory, and blush pink, champagne – what colour the accessories are, and if they’re doing a heavy makeup or hair look,” she told Mamamia.

“Silver jewellery works well with a soft pink or nude, and gold looks great with a warmer light peachy or nude. Matching your nails to the colour of a flower in your bouquet is always great because your hands will be right next to them in many of your photos. For example, a bride with red in her bouquet could do red nails if she wanted.”

Pretty Little Things Beauty’s Vanessa Schirripa suggested cooler tones work well with porcelain-skinned brides, while warmer, darker skin tones suit orange-based hues.

“Whilst nudes and blushes are the Rolls Royces of wedding nails, I am all for a vamp bride with dark, edgy nails,” she told Mamamia.

Best nail shapes and lengths for wedding nails.

Both Masi and Schirripa agreed ‘coffin nails’ a la the Kardashians are out, especially for wedding nails.

“I’m really happy normal natural nail look is coming back, short, well-manicured nails are in fashion again,” Masi said.


“If a bride has long fingers with long fingernails, you can go with a square shape. If you have shorter fingers, I would go oval because the square shape cuts off the finger rather than elongating it.”

Schirripa added, “Short, sharp and shiny nails are in, the ‘squoval’, a mix between square and oval, is the trending shape for brides this wedding season. Simple is best!”

Should you get a shellac or SNS manicure for you wedding nails?

Purely for practicality, opting for a shellac gel manicure, SNS manicure or acrylic nails is best for your wedding day.

“A small percentage of people still get regular polish, but you wouldn’t want to risk having a chipped nail on the day of your wedding,” Masi said.

Schirripa said her clients tend to choose shellac because it gives brides peace of mind while doing last minute finicky errands, but whether you choose shellac or SNS comes down to the condition of your nails.

“It depends on how good a condition your nails are in… SNS is a great alternative for weaker nails which need that extra length and strength.”

For more on the difference between gel, shellac and SNS manicures, listen to Mamamia’s beauty expert Leigh Campbell explain it simply on the You Beauty podcast (post continues after audio).

What about wedding nail art?

In Masi’s opinion, a fresh, simple manicure is preferable over wedding nail art, but if you’re set on having nail art designs for your wedding day, less is more.

“If you really want to do nail art, try doing some subtle nail art on your ring fingers rather than for your whole manicure. You want the nails to compliment the overall sophisticated, bridal look.”

When to start prepping for your wedding nails.

Both nail experts said your wedding nails prep should start at least two months before the big day, or one month out if your nails are already in great condition.

“Regular manicures in the lead up to tying the knot help to promote healthy strong nails and growth. I’d recommend to book in a manicure three months prior to the wedding, and a fortnightly visit to the salon after that will keep the overgrown cuticles at bay and help to maintain the perfect shape,” Schirripa said.

When to get wedding nails done.

For Schirripa, the day before the big day is the best time to get your wedding nails done. Masi suggested coming in two days before the wedding to get your wedding nails ticked off your long list of things to do.


Regardless, just don’t book your wedding nails appointment on the day of your wedding.

No one needs that kind of stress in their lives, least of all a bride.

What if you bite your nails?

Nail biters know stressful times set them off, and weddings might be one of the most stressful (and enjoyable, but really stressful) times in your life.

Schirripa recommended brides who bite their nails try a nail hardener like the Sally Hansen Nail Rehab Treatment ($13.99), or the Qtica Natural Nail Growth Stimulator ($24).

“They’re my go-to nail hardeners when things get a little crazy!” she said.

Side note – here are the beauty buys Leigh Campbell always has in her bag, many of which are great for wedding makeup touch ups! Post continues after video.

Video by MMC

How to care for your nails.

The number one tip Misa gives to her clients is to slather on cuticle oil obsessively leading up to the wedding.

“I always say for my clients to use a nail oil because that’s the only way you’ll get a strong and nourished matrix, which means stronger, longer nails. Put lots of oil on your cuticles and massage them, and push the cuticles back.”

Above all else, the main thing both nail experts want brides to know is, don’t worry too much about having the most extra wedding nails.

“A set of meticulously manicured natural fingertips never go out of style,” Schirripa said.

You can read more about nails here:

Want more beauty stories? Visit our newsletter page and sign up to “You Beauty”  to get our beauty guru Leigh Campbell’s best tips and products every week in your inbox (see one of her newsletters here).