Nail Designs for Your Wedding

With all the panicking about the dresses, the venue and the guests, brides sometimes forget about the little things. Even though most women already know whether or not they’ll get a spray-tan and what style to do their hair, you’d be surprised to find out that one of the last things to be arranged is a manicure! Even though little touches like this probably won’t show up on most of your wedding photos, getting your nails done can be a therapeutic pre-wedding ritual to make you feel better for days to come.


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General tips

  • We recommend NOT biting your nails. We understand that planning your wedding can be a stressful time, but this is one bad habit you should truly strive to get out of. Fear not, there are always other solutions such as using false nails, even though these may increase the price.
  • Get your nails done the evening before your wedding. Leave plenty of time for them to dry, and don’t get any makeup on your hands for a few hours after the application – you might not only smudge your nails, but add unwanted colours. If you’re having your wedding in the evening, you could get them painted in the morning, but we wouldn’t recommend it.
  • If you get false nails, please be careful! Pulling them off is not only ugly, but incredibly hard and painful.
  • Unless you or your friends are confident that your nail-painting skills are flawless, try and book an appointment with a professional. It usually costs around £25 for a manicure and a pedicure combined, and is a great stress reliever.
  • Don’t try and replicate professional false nails with those you can buy at a store – the glue is usually useless, and more often than not they end up wonky.
  • Soak your skin before you have a manicure, and make sure you request they either cut or push back your cuticles.
  • Always try to choose colours that match your wedding – even if your favourite colour is blue, if you’ve chosen a pink theme, choose pink or another neutral colour.
  • Luminous or glow-in-the-dark colours usually seem a little tacky, we really don’t recommend them
  • Try and see any utensils either being unwrapped from new packages or properly sterilised, as you don’t want to catch any infections before your lucky day
  • Shave AFTER getting a pedicure – the beauticians don’t care how hairy you are, and shaving can give you more cuts susceptible to infections.
  • Don’t use a ‘whirlpool bath’ for your feet – no matter how lovely they feel, they are incredibly hard to keep clean.
  • Do not allow your callouses to be cut off, as this will make it far more uncomfortable and painful for you to fit in wedding shoes. If you really insist, try soaking them in warm water with bath salts and exfoliate, instead
  • DO not peel off false nails – they can rip off the nail beneath
  • Visit salons based on recommendations, not the one that is the cheapest
  • Do not attempt to repair a broken false nail yourself, visit a professional to prevent infections
  • Do not use acrylic nails for prolonged periods – they can weaken and stain nails
  • Never be afraid to say if you think the nails do not feel or look good. It’s your special day, and you shouldn’t pay if you aren’t happy with the service.
  • If you plan on getting false nails for your weddings, try them out a few months beforehand to make sure you are not allergic to them.
  • Always try and use base and top-coats to prolong the life of painted nails

Choosing between Gel, Acrylic and Silks

Acrylic nails are much like the ‘falsies’ you can buy at the store – they add length, grow with the nail and need to be regularly extended/replaced (about every 3 weeks). They also add strength to nails and allow intricate patterns – however, they are difficult to remove and discolour the nails below. These are best for those of you who have short nails and want complex patterns.

Gel nails are much more like nail varnish than acrylics, but they chip less and are less likely to be ripped off. Unfortunately, gel nails do not extend your nails as much as acrylics do, creating a more natural look, but decreasing the amount of room available for intricate designs. These are best for beach weddings and a more natural look – they do not chip often and have less complicated designs.

Silk nails are far different from Gels and Acrylics – materials such as silk or linen are used to help prevent further cracking of weakened nails, which is often used after prolonged usage of acrylics. These are far more temporary than other false nails, as the adhesives make them fall off in less than a month. These are best for those of you with weak nails, or those of you who have been advised to stop using acrylic nails after prolonged periods of time due to damage.

Plain Nails


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Don’t be afraid of not painting your nails. If you’re having a beach wedding, we recommend NOT getting a pedicure – the stand can stick to the paint, even when it is dry. If you prefer going this route, then we recommend soaking your skin and filing your nails. Pushing your cuticles back is also a good idea. Rather than adding a clear nail varnish to add shine, we recommend using a nail buffer such as the one featured here.

Nail buffer blocks are available pretty much everywhere, and they all do practically the same job!

French Manicure

This classic design is very popular with brides. If you plan on spicing it up a little, we recommend adding a sparkly nail decoration at the corner or some silver/gold glitter.

Complex patterns


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As fun as designs such as the one featured above may seem, we do not recommend anything too dramatic for your wedding. Swirls, butterflies, flowers and hearts also work well. We do not recommend geometric patterns.

Colours we recommend


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Of course, we highly recommend neutral colours such as peaches and pinks. If you want to seem slightly more daring, then go for a passionate bright red. Aim to keep your nails in light colours, as it makes them seem longer. Pale greens, pale blues, yellows and whites also work well if they complement your colour scheme.

Want some specific ideas for how to do your nails? Check out our Pinterest board here.



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