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Wedding Day Nail Inspo: How to Recreate The 20 Most Epic Red Carpet Manicures For Your Big Day

Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

From selecting the perfect dress to picking out your wedding band and deciding on decor, no detail is overlooked when it comes to your wedding day. Just as important as your bridal hair and makeup is your manicure for your big day, as all eyes are going to be on your hands. Not only will you want to capture shots of your new wedding ring, but you’ll also sign your marriage license and raise a glass to toast your new union, all of which are activities that will put your wedding day nails front and center.

If you love to stay ahead of the trends, you should add subtle shimmer and a whole lot of French to your mood board if you’re looking for some inspiration for your bridal nails. “Both ‘90s style wedding dresses and ‘90s style French manicures have been making a comeback,” says Cassandre Banel, a Seattle-based nail artist who works with ManiMe. “A touch of shimmer or glitter accents that are extremely subtle have been a growing trend for brides who normally like nail art.”

Choosing Your Wedding Nail Color:

When it comes to wedding colors, there are a variety of options to choose from that can compliment your dress, with the most popular being “nude nails that match the skin tone of the bride, white/cream, soft blushes, and anything with a subtle shimmer,” says Banel.

Whether you want to show off a classic manicure or prefer intricate trending wedding nail art, you can easily make the look your own to fit your individual style. “Brides are personalizing their look for the big day more than ever,” says Banel. If you love bold, bright colors or prefer naked nails, don’t be afraid to stay true to your personal style.

Once you’ve decided on the look you want to achieve, think about how you want to create the manicure. Is it something you can DIY or will you treat yourself to a day at the nail salon? Do you want to sport nail polish or will you opt for something a bit more durable and chip-resistant, like gel nails, shellac nails, or dip powder?

Even if you enlist a pro to bring your vision to life, you should still prep your hands in the days leading up to your wedding. “Apply an overnight hand cream before bed for a few nights leading up to the wedding,” says Banel. Just make sure not to leave lotion underneath your nail.

Still unsure of what you want to do with your nails for your wedding day? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We rounded up the 20 best red carpet manicures from the celeb set to serve as inspo for your bridal nail style.

About the Expert:

Cassandre Banel is a Seattle-based nail artist who specializes in statement-making nail designs. She designed Sweet Thing and Extra Shot, among other stick-on gels, for ManiMe.

1. Pretty in (Matte) Pink

Close-up of Hailey Bieber's hand with matte pink ombre nails resting on her glittery pink dress
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris / Staff/Getty Images

Hailey Bieber played up the feminine vibes and matched her pastel pink gown to her soft pink nails as she tied her look together with a bow (quite literally, as she rocked a velvet black bow in her hair). The model turned to celebrity nail artist Chaun Legend who painted the model’s nails for the Met Gala in an OPI gel called ‘It’s A Girl.’ Instead of a traditional shiny finish, they opted for a more matte look, which gave the traditional color a more trendy vibe. You can recreate the prima ballerina look with a DIY manicure at home with the SUNDAYS Nail Polish in No. 8. After your nails have dried, use the JulieG Matte Top Coat to give them the same finish as Hailey’s matte manicure.

2. Mini French Manicure

Close-up of Zendaya's hands with French nail mani holding a doll in a white dress
Photo by Kevin Winter / Staff/Getty Images

Back in the day, the French manicure was like a prerequisite before you walked down the aisle. Although it spent some time out of the spotlight, the traditional manicure is back in a big way, especially now that it’s so popular with the celeb set. Everyone from Ariana Grande to Kylie Jenner loves to rock a more modern approach to the staple style. That’s just what Zendaya did with her mini French manicure, which features a thin white tip on a rounded, milky-pink colored manicure. “Delicate French nails, with a thin white line vs a thicker line, are a timeless look that can be very versatile for a bride's style,” says Banel. To add a twist to your French, opt for rounded nails, just like Zendaya did. You can get your nails into shape with the MARGARET DABBS LONDON Crystal Nail File which is made of glass to ensure your nails won’t peel or chip on your big day.

3. White Wedding Nails

Close-up of Ariana Grande's hands with nail mani holding a microphone
Photo by Kevin Winter / Staff/Getty Images

A wedding white manicure is a classic, chic look that never goes out of style. We especially love the length and almond shape of Ariana Grande’s nails, which make her white nails look even more polished. In order to ensure your polish doesn’t get streaky, make sure you use a base coat and paint two coats of your white nail polish, (like the TINCT COSMETICS Nail Polish in Bilbao), on over the base. Allow the polish to completely dry before coats to keep it from streaking. This is a great tip to also keep in mind if you opt for a white shade on your toenails.

4. Bling It On

Close-up of Lizzo's hands with nails embellished with crystals agains her neon orange dress
Photo by Rich Fury / Staff/Getty Images

If you want to turn up the wow factor with an eye-catching manicure, let Lizzo’s embellished crystal nails from the American Music Awards serve as inspiration for your wedding nails. The songstress is known for debuting intricate nail art designs and her crystal-encrusted look was no exception. Her sparkling tips glimmered when they caught the light and the flash of the cameras. You can try a DIY manicure with the KISS Salon Secrets Nail Art Starter Kit, which makes it so easy to attach rhinestones and sparkling embellishments which mimic Lizzo’s major mani.

5. Hip to Be a Square

Close-up of Kim Kardashian West's nail mani against her cream silk dress
Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer / Stringer/Getty Images

Is it us, or is Kim Kardashian always rocking the perfect wedding manicure? While the younger sisters in the Kardashian-Jenner bunch are known for taking risks with nail art and love to experiment with nail trends, Kim prefers a more classic, traditional nail, which is the perfect compliment for a traditional wedding. Here, she sported a square manicure in a neutral hue. If you want a simple, fool-proof way to DIY your bridal nails, you can apply the MARMALADE NAILS Press-on Manicure Kit in Aria, which features square matte white tips.

6. All That Glitters

Close-up of Kerry Washington's hands with glitter nails holding her purse
Photo by Jesse Grant / Stringer/Getty Images

If you aren’t looking for bold bling, (à la Lizzo), but still want to add some sparkle to your special look on your big day, let Kerry Washington’s glitter nails serve up all the inspo you need for your wedding. You can easily recreate the look with a silver glitter nail polish, like the NICOLE BY OPI Nail Polish in Guys & Galaxies, which is the perfect compliment to your engagement ring and wedding band.

7. Mirror, Mirror

Close-up of Hailee Steinfeld's glass French mani against bejewelled dress
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

We told you the celeb set loves to serve up new variations on the classic French mani, didn’t we? Well, Hailee Steinfeld made the trending look her own on Oscar night, where she rocked a glass French manicure. Her sophisticated twist on the style was subtle and included a nearly transparent nail that was topped off with a high-shine finish. To recreate her nails, after you add the French, allow it to dry and go over the entire nail with a super shiny top coat. We especially love this look because it would compliment any wedding dress and even work for bridesmaids nails, too.

8. Jewel-Tone Details

Close-up of Cardi B's bejewelled acrylic nails against pastel green dress
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris / Staff/Getty Images

Cardi B’s nail designs were like a work of art as she sat in the front row at the Christian Siriano fashion show, where she sported pointy acrylic nails in a creamy white, which featured colorful embellishments, with a different design on each nail. You can recreate the look by using the HOUSE OF MAKEUP Nail Lacquer in Flat White and then adding embellishments from the KISS Salon Secrets Nail Art Starter Kit.

9. Spell It Out

Close-up of Rihanna's nude nails with gold letter decals spelling out FENTY
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris / Staff/Getty Images

Rihanna used her nails to spell out her brand, FENTY, when she rocked nude nail polish with gold letter detailing, as a letter adorned each finger. Whether you opt for the word “LOVE” or you and your partner’s initials, using letter decals or nail art to spell out something relevant to your wedding day is a sentimental way to make a statement. You can also opt for an accent nail and feature one letter on your ring finger. To recreate Rihanna’s nails, start off with a nude polish, like the COLOR CLUB Nail Polish in Nothing But A Smile. If you have fair skin, opt for a lighter nude shade, like the INARA COSMOBEAUTY Nail Polish in Proud Coat. Next, apply letter decals and a top coat. Voila!

10. Pastel Perfection

Close-up of Taylor Swift's glittery lavender nail art against her peach and yellow dress
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris / Staff/Getty Images

Taylor Swift rocked lavender nails that featured silver glitter detailing, which added a pretty twist to her pastel manicure. Pastels are a great way to infuse a hint of color and draw out details around your big day, like the color of your flowers or your bridesmaid’s dresses. You can recreate the look by painting two coats of lavender nail polish, like the NAILS.INC Nail Polish in Lilac Grove, over a base coat. Whether you layer glitter polish or decide to wear it alone, you won’t be disappointed.

11. Negative Space Nails

Close-up of Kaley Cuoco’s hand with negative space heart manicure holding a red-bejewelled purse
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

If you’re looking for a modern take on wedding nail trends, look no further than Kaley Cuoco’s negative space heart manicure. The concept of negative space nail art is all about incorporating your natural nail into the manicure. The combination of bright red and nude with a romantic heart make this perfect for your special day. To create this, use a polish like the COLOR CLUB Nail Polish in Regatta Red.

12. Bare It All

Close-up of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge's hands with polished bare nails holding a light brown purse
Photo by Brendon Thorne / Stringer/Getty Images

Not a fan of nail polish? If you don’t often paint your nails, don’t feel pressured to do so just because your wedding day is coming up. You can still perform routine maintenance to ensure your naked nails look picture-perfect, (like cleaning underneath your nails, filing them in a uniform shape, and cutting your cuticles). Top off your wedding manicure with a clear coat, like the CIATÉ LONDON GELOLOGY Top Coat, for a little extra shine, just like the Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

13. Mega French Manicure

Close-up of Kylie Jenner's hand with long French tip nails against Travis Scott's dark brown suit
Photo by Rich Fury / Staff/Getty Images

When it comes to staying ahead of nail trends, Kylie Jenner practically wrote the book. From bold patterns to cool, ombré colors, we love seeing what new nail art she’s going to pull out. For the red carpet, she kept it classic, edgy, and cool by sporting a long French manicure. Unlike the dainty French versions that made our list, Kylie’s French nails feature a thicker portion of white, which totally works for a more edgy approach to French tips.

14. Cool Chrome

Close-up of Katy Perry's chrome nails against her slime green and dark gray dress
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

A metallic manicure, like Katy Perry’s gold chrome nails, will add a golden touch to your bridal beauty look. There are a few different ways you can DIY a chrome manicure. You can opt for gel nails, powder, or acrylic nails. For best results, enlist a nail artist to bring the look to life with ease.

15. Lady in Red

Close-up of Bella Hadid's red nails against her decolletage
Photo by Neilson Barnard / Staff/Getty Images

Want a romantic, statement making manicure that’s bound to pop on your big day? Look no further than Bella Hadid’s red nails, a look we especially love for a fall or winter wedding. If you typically gravitate towards bright colors there’s no reason to stick to a white manicure for your wedding—make a bold statement instead! File your nails in an almond shape and then paint them with two coats of the FORMULA X Nail Polish in Wingwoman to recreate the look of Bella’s nails.

16. Stay Golden

Close-up of Jennifer Lopez's nude nails with gold flecks against her sequined nude dress
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez / Staff/Getty Images

Looking for understated bling? Look no further than Jennifer Lopez’s sparkly gold glitter flecks, which were painted over a nude manicure on her almond-shaped nails to add a sparkling touch to her sequin dress as she rocked the red carpet. In order to pull off the subtle glitter, select an almost translucent nude that matches your skin tone. Next, swipe on a coat of gold flecked nail polish, like the F.U.N Lacquer in TGIF.

17. Damask Details

Close-up of Rihanna's damask nails against her floral dress
Photo by Neilson Barnard / Staff/Getty Images

Rihanna’s damask nails earned her another spot on our wedding nail inspo list, and for good reason. Riri’s nail art at the Met Gala was just as show-stopping as her ensemble, and the intricate gold damask detailing that adorned the top-half of her nail is the perfect wedding nail art. If you love her damask nails, you can try to dream up your own version with the KISS Salon Secrets Nail Art Starter Kit.

18. In the Nude

Close-up of Chrissy Teigen's hands with nude nail polish holding a mint green bejewelled purse against her sheer mint green dress
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

If you can’t seem to find the right shade of white to match your dress and you want to let your gown and your accessories steal the spotlight, an understated yet incredibly chic nude nail is a foolproof choice—just take a tip from Chrissy Tiegen. The model and cookbook author often rocks a barely there, nude nail on the red carpet, which looks so effortless with a variety of show-stopping gowns. Select a nude that closely resembles your skin tone. We especially love the warm undertone in TRUST FUND BEAUTY’s Nail Polish in No Filter.

19. French Moon Mani

Close up of Awkwafina's hand with black French moon nail art holding a Golden Globes Award statuette
Photo by Kevin Winter / Staff/Getty Images

Awkwafina made history at the Golden Globes, and she selected the perfect, statement-making manicure for the occasion, which caught our attention as she proudly clutched her statuette. She turned to celebrity manicurist Thuy Nguyen who created a French moon manicure for the star. The French moon is similar to a thin French manicure. Instead of painting a white line in a crescent shape at the edge of the nail, Awkwafina opted for a bold, black hue, which further accentuated the black and white colors of her Christian Dior gown-and-blazer combo. You can opt for either black, like CONTEXT SKIN Nail Lacquer in The Morning After, or a metallic hue, like NATURE'S CARTEL Nail Polish in Bro's Gold, (which is a stunning rose gold), on your tips to recreate the look. We especially love this glam, modern look for a New Year’s Eve wedding.

20. Grey Lady

Close-up of Amanda Seyfried's grey nails on her white sequined dress
Photo by Jason Merritt/TERM / Staff/Getty Images

While neutral hues take the cake when it comes to popular wedding nail colors, grey is a shade that’s often passed up for nude or white. Amanda Seyfried, however, showed off how incredibly chic a cool grey manicure can be. Her shade was part taupe, part grey and the final look was fully gorgeous. You can sport a grey manicure with the SUNDAYS Nail Polish in No. 28.

Want more polishes to play with? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your own IPSY Glam Bag. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Katrina Mitzeliotis Lanza
Katrina is a freelance writer and on-air correspondent with over a decade of experience covering beauty, fashion, and entertainment. When she isn't freelancing, you can catch her on QVC or chasing after her two-year-old son.
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Article Last Updated March 12, 2021 12:00 AM