Choosing a fingernail finish for the big day has become a lot like choosing a wedding dress.
There are looks that include rhinestones, glitter or pearls, as well as choices that are classic, understated and timeless.
Anita Hug, owner of Domani Day Spa in Schenectady, divides the brides who come to her shop for manicures into two categories: the classics and the divas.
The classic brides gravitate toward French manicures or a polish that’s translucent pink and natural, she said. The divas go for things like glitter, bold colors or one accent nail polished a completely different color than the rest.
“Nine out of ten times, they’re coming in with their pictures of what they want from some show, like, 'I want a look like the Kardashian nails,’ so I have to go research what these girls wear,” she said.
Hug has polished brides’ nails in red, emerald green and with black-and-white designs.
Some brides who have their nails done at Hair and Body Essentials Day Spa in Clifton Park ask for a rhinestone to accent one or more of their nails, said Pam Davis, one of the owners. But most go for a more subtle look, she said.
“They like to draw attention to their hands for the ring, but not designs,” agreed Tracey Sawka, owner of Tips in Toga LLC in Saratoga Springs.
A favorite color choice of brides is Bubble Bath by OPI, a “pinky-peach with a little beige in it,” she noted.
No matter what nail decoration they choose, brides want to know their fingers are going to look fabulous for the wedding. A gel manicure, applied like regular polish and then cured under a ultraviolet lamp, is the way to go, said Sawka. Also called a Shellac manicure, the technique is appealing to brides because it’s dry when they walk out the salon door, so there’s no need to worry about smudging it, and the finish lasts between two and three weeks.
Price-wise, a gel manicure is only about $15 more than a regular French manicure, said Davis. The process takes 30 to 45 minutes, Sawka estimated.
Brides who want their nails to look longer than they really are often opt for acrylic nails, but Davis said most of her soon-to-be-married clients choose the more natural look a gel manicure can give.
“You can have short nails and still get a beautiful-looking Shellac,” she noted.
Sawka said some brides are opting for manicures that include Zoya nail polish, made without some of the chemicals found in mainstream brands. Zoya polish comes in a wide variety of shimmery and solid shades.
Manicure appointments should be booked well in advance of the wedding, especially if wedding party members will be getting their nails done as a group. If the wedding date is in the summer, make the manicure reservation in late winter or early spring, suggested Davis.
Before booking, do some research to ensure you select a reputable establishment, and plan the appointment for a few days before the wedding.
Once the manicure’s done, if a nail breaks or chips before the walk down the aisle, there is no need to panic. Sawka has a 24-hour emergency hotline.
“I’ve just run out the door and helped somebody; I’ve gone on location, too,” she said.
Hug packs emergency kits, complete with a nail file, nail glue and a bottle of top coat, for brides who are regular customers. But if even that doesn’t do the trick, just about any manicurist can be talked into doing a repair job, Hug speculated.
“Anybody’s willing to take a bride,” she said.