15 Chic Nail Ideas to Upgrade a Classic French Manicure

Planning a wedding day look from tips to toes isn’t just about how you’ll look in real life, but also how your look will photograph. It goes without saying that your hands will be in the spotlight on your big day, and a French manicure is a great choice for a bridal nail look. Elegant neutral shades mean that when your photographer captures the money shot of your hands, all eyes will be on those rings. So, if you’ve decided on a classic French manicure for your bridal nail look, but want to upgrade it with a cool design, we’ve gathered cute ideas below which work on both long or short nails. It goes without saying that your wedding is definitely a time to visit a nail salon, especially if you want gels or acrylics. Howoever, if you’re a nail whizz, the French manicure ideas below are very doable. Alternatively, just show them to your nail artist – they love when a bride comes with photos!

French Manicure Ideas

Photo by Katy Gorham

1. Slick Stripes

Simple stripes are a great way to make your wedding day manicure unique and an easy way to play with the usual French tip look.

Photo by MariaPro.nails

2. Minimal Glitter

Using glitter to add minimalist detail is the perfect way to add a touch ot light-catching shimmer. Choose gold, silver or rose gold depending on what works best with your bridesmaids’ dresses, flowers or wedding rings.

Photo by Stefany Brits

Photo by Stefany Brits

3. Glazed Nails

Glazed doughnut nails give a classic French manicure a sugary sweet vibe. With a base of sheer pale pink or milky white, choose a top coat of colour with a pearlescent effect. You could also paint the tips a pearlescent white to make them pop.

Photo by m.vk.com

Photo by m.vk.com

4. Ombre French

Blurring the classic French manicure, an ombre pale pink and white looks great on all skin tones. Add glitter polish to just to the ring finger as a fun detail.

Photo by Wedding Forward

Photo by Wedding Forward

5. Short & Matte

An contemporary alternative to a high shine finish, matte nails can look equally chic for a wedding day nail look. We love the heart detail here to the ring finger.

Photo by Nails Design Journal

Photo by Nails Design Journal

6. Jewel-Encrusted Nail Art

This type of detailing requires a very good manicurist, but it is such a delicate manicure ideas for a bridal look. Wafer-thin stripes of glitter encrusted with tiny jewels, over milky pink base shade – exquisite! Plus it’s a nail look that would work equally well on shorter nails.

Photo by Nail Sunny

Photo by Nail Sunny

7. Glitter Tips

This looks shows detailing doesn’t always need length for a pretty manicure. The pink tones here are super fresh, and the rose gold glitter tips will really help those diamonds sparkle.

Photo by Wedding Forward

Photo by Wedding Forward

8. Shimmering Half-Moons

Half-moon detailing is another way to add a touch of glitter without having it on the tips of your nails. Not every nail needs the effect. Maybe your ring and middle finger look nice, or the little finger and ring finger.

Photo by Tyrie using Paintbox Nails

9. Negative Space

A clean, crisp take on the French mani that shows minimal nail art at it’s best. Simply draw the outline of the usual tip shape.

Photo by Townhouse Nails

10. Hand-Drawn Detail

Using hand-drawn detail on one or more nails gives you endless scope for adding a personalised touch to your wedding day nails. Whether it’s a particular flower from your bouquet or someone’s initials.

Photo by Top Knots and Nails

Photo by Top Knots and Nails

11. Deep-V French

A French manicure with a really deep V-shaped tip is very lengthening for the fingers. This manicure idea is beautiful all by itself!

Photo by Alex Collection 2

Photo by Alex Collection 2

12. Coloured Ombre

If white tips don’t rock your world but you still want sometihng soft and elegant, then muted tones like dove grey, mauve, or even an apricot blended into a neutral shade will work really well.

Photo by Disharm Nails

Photo by Disharm Nails

13. Metallic Moons

Metallic nail art can look really chic if you love minimalism and you aren’t a fan of sparkle!

Photo by We Heart It

Photo by We Heart It

14. Festive Manicure

A festive-themed manicure is a lot of fun and doesn’t need to be cheesy. Snowflakes, the North Star work well over a nude or ombre base, and are very easy to do.

Photo by Chic Pursuit

Photo by Chic Pursuit

15. Gold Leaf

Gold leaf or foil tips look extra special for a wedding day look, and is probably best left to a manicurists to work their magic as it can be tricky to manage.

Shutterstock image of nails - bride, manicure

Top Tips

  • Your wedding is the time to splash out on a salon appointment (we have great salon suggestions here!), especially if you want gels or acrylics. Going professional also guarantees that your nails will survive the day, and hopefully your honeymoon, if you’re jetting off for a much-needed rest.
  • If you’ve never worn gels or acrylics before, we recommend a trial before your wedding in case they aren’t your thing.
  • A nail expert can give you a better idea of shades that will suit your skin tone. There are tonnes of different shades of nude, pink and white.
  • Some brands have retail nail polish that exactly matches the colour of their in-salon gel colours. Pick up a bottle in case of any chips or gaps as the nails grow out.
  • Once you have that perfect shade to take home, you can use it as a reference for when you want to buy another nail polish in the future.

On a pampering buzz? Read our other fab wedding beauty posts here including the Best Blow Dry Bars in Dublin, the Best Nail Bars in Ireland, and 35 Incredible Places to Have An Afternoon Tea Hen Party In Ireland