Move over, Ballet Slippers.
Some brides choose to eschew the gel manicure before their wedding for a few reasons. You can’t touch it up if just one itty bitty corner starts peeling up at, say, the rehearsal dinner (you can’t not mess with it), post-wedding there’s no real easy way to remove gel polish, and if you’re going on a two-week honeymoon, you don’t want a tired paint job accompanying you. But the pros of gels are undeniable (especially for a day as big as, well, a wedding): shiny, long-lasting results that even the roughest of hands have a hard time chipping. Whichever route you choose, we’ve rounded up some of the dreamiest shades—from nude and lavender all the way to candy apple red—to make picking a color a lot easier. Just start testing shades well enough in advance so you can see what works best for your skin tone, try to get a manicure one to two days out, and bring a kit of cuticle oil, hand cream, and an extra bottle of polish with you.
The obvious choice for most brides, it’s not distracting, and it elongates the look of hands—like nude shoes elongate legs. We broke down a guide for finding a sheer color that suits your skin tone best here.
A step up from the standard sheer, pale pink adds a bit more substance to nails while still keeping the look very pretty and clean. Creating the perfect canvas for showing off your sparkly new wedding band.
Lavender is a great middle ground for those who kind of want to paint their nails blue—especially whose undertones look best with cooler shades as opposed to pink. A light wash of lilac looks very ethereal when paired against a white gown.
If you just aren’t into the whole pink-and-pretty thing, a really classic shade of candy apple red works nicely, and it’s seasonless, working just as well for winter as summer. Bonus points for the fact that red nails really let diamonds shine.
Glitter FTW. This may be a bit unconventional, but glitter nails will let all those princess vibes come out (it is your day, after all). You can go for a full opaque nail or add some subtle gold accents (like stars!) against a clear base.