4 Nail Art Ideas for the
Modern Bride

Treat yourself to a wedding-worthy manicure.

We’ve already established that your pre-wedding beauty prep should leave your skin glowing and your hair healthy, but it would be fair to assume that you haven’t given your nails quite as much careful consideration. Most brides decide on a polish color a few days prior to the ceremony and don’t give it much thought otherwise. But with the whole wide world of nail art available in more places than ever (especially in London, NYC, L.A., Tokyo, and Seoul), why shouldn’t you pull out all the stops when it comes to your big-day manicure?

In the spirit of livening up your hands on your wedding day (you know, aside from your showstopping engagement ring), we consulted with New York–based nail artist Gracie J. She even agreed to create four bespoke nail styles just for us: Honeymoon in a Bikini, a twist on the classic nude; Diamonds & Pearls, because you can never have too much sparkle; Golden Hour, a textured nail with real gold leaf; and Something Blue, for fashionable good luck. They’re all equally gorgeous, but don’t just take our word for it—learn all about Gracie’s inspiration behind each look below!

Honeymoon in a Bikini

If you’re just dipping a toe into the nail-art pool, don’t worry—Gracie J has got you covered. “I’m a minimalist queen, so don’t be fooled by my social,” she laughs while on the set of our bridal nail shoot. “It’s my first love. I love the art of simplicity—the less-is-more vibe. This is for the minimalist bride who wants something extra, but maybe their personality is a bit more reserved. Classy, minimal, with a matte finish. But still make it chic and stand out.”

The best part of embracing nail art for your wedding? It will last well past your last dance and into the after-party, even up to seven days depending on the application. Says Gracie, “I use sticky tabs or glue. Temporary wear is better for sticky tabs. I use those for my press-ons, and it will last all day. For the red carpet, celebs want press-ons with glue, or I’ll give them both options. It lasts depending on the person.”

Diamonds & Pearls

From the moment we saw these 3-dimensional works of art, we knew this was a particularly special manicure—perfect for your big day. As Gracie explained, these are for the bling queen. “I put myself in the place of the client and think from different perspectives. This is if I wanted something blingy and still make a statement, but it wouldn’t be too crazy. The pearls and the bling, those elements are already very standout, so what’s the best way to take it down a few notches? Something iridescent for the base catches the light and flickers. They play well off of each other.”

Even if you don’t consider yourself an over-the-top dresser, Gracie encourages her clients to think outside the box and to not limit themselves. “You can always pull certain elements into the look that are eye-grabbing even if you are a little more minimalist.” It’s your day—don’t be afraid to make a statement!

Golden Hour

Gold leaf is already one of the most luxe finishes we can imagine, but adding it to your manicure is the very definition of chic. “I used actual gold leaf,” says Gracie. “I put down a base gel coat, which is sticky, and when you put the leaf down, it adheres, and then a top coat encapsulates it. The gold leaf adds a bit of luxury, because it’s not just a transfer foil, which is really shiny. This has a nice sheen to it.” To keep the style from feeling too stuffy, she also incorporated elements of the popular negative-space design. “Negative space has always been a good trend. It’s simple and glam, without trying too hard.”

We consider this to be the perfect in-between design if you want more than a nude style, but aren’t quite ready to commit to a 3-D design. Truthfully, gold tips are always on our must-wear list.

Something Blue

You know the saying—something borrowed… Well, just in case your maid of honor forgot to snag you something before the ceremony for good luck, this eye-catching mani has got you covered. Fans of a wildly colored mani, this one’s for you. “I wanted to incorporate some trending elements, like the iridescent half-moon,” says Gracie. “It really makes the look pop. Normally you see glitter and you’re attracted to that, but that half-moon detail draws your eye elsewhere.”

And rather than demure to a baby-blue shade, Gracie believes this design is for the bride who wants to marry (get it?) traditional values with a modern sensibility. “The blue is a very standout blue, and weddings usually have softer colors, but I still wanted to incorporate the blue aspect of a traditional wedding. I think people shouldn’t strive to stay within the box, even for a wedding.” That means you get to be you, always, even when you’re married. If that’s not the definition of happily-ever-after, we don’t know what is.


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