That Polished Look

By Vicky Katz Whitaker

July 18, 2008 4 min read


How to have beautiful nails on your wedding day

By Vicky Katz Whitaker

Copley News Service

Whether you're the bride-to-be, a member of the wedding party or simply a guest, don't overlook the impact your hands and nails will have on what you'll be wearing.

A bad manicure, polish that clashes with the color of your gown, even the length of your nails can detract from your overall look, nail experts say. Give yourself at least a month to get your hands and nails into shape. Cold weather can be particularly harsh on skin and nails, says award-winning nail enhancement educator and industry trendsetter Marti Preuss.

"Winter weather usually dries out the skin and nails and they both need to be rehydrated. Nails would benefit from twice daily applications of a good-quality nail and cuticle oil that contains jojoba oil and vitamin E oil," explains Preuss, whose nail industry magazine columns and her own online site,, is necessary reading for nail professionals.

Stress plays a large role in the condition of nails, she adds, especially when planning a wedding. "I usually recommend that the bride book a series of manicure treatments at least a month in advance to get her nails and cuticles in optimum health."

You'll quickly learn if the nail technician is well-versed on products and techniques, has good communication, preparation and application skills, and practices proper sanitation. Expect to pay anywhere from $12 to $100 per manicure, depending on location and salon exclusivity.

While nails grow at faster rates for some than others and lifestyle determines your comfort level, "active length" (where the free edge is no longer than half the length of the nail bed) is considered ideal.

"Nails shaped in a 'squoval' (slightly square with rounded edges) are the most flattering," says Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, executive vice president and artistic director of OPI, a manufacturer of professional nail care products.

Deidre Lawson, an educator specializing in nails at the Florence, Ky., unit of Empire Beauty Schools, one of the largest providers of cosmetology education in North America, points out that a French manicure (a white tip with pale polish over the rest of the nail), has been popular with brides for years because, she says, "it goes best with a white gown."

If you're wearing an ivory gown, an American manicure -- using more natural, creamier colors -- may be the best choice, she says. "Both are ideal for nail art, but for a wedding, keep the art simple."

Color is a very personal issue where weddings are concerned says Preuss. "If the bride wants everyone to wear nail polish for a more 'finished' look, stick with something that blends with the color theme and is in the same family of color" rather than trying to get a perfect match.

For fall and winter brides preferring a non-traditional look, gold is a rich and elegant choice, says OPI's Weiss-Fischmann. For other adventuresome brides-to-be, burgundy is also popular. "Dark nails look absolutely stunning and so modern, especially if your bouquet features darker flowers."

Other tips from the experts:

-- For the best match, bring a swatch of gown material with you when you visit your manicurist. Expect to pay a fee up front for the consultation if you take time away from the nail technician who might otherwise be working with another client. (Some salons will deduct the fee from those charged for serving the entire wedding party).

-- Soft, sheer tones of pink, beige, or white are perfect year-round.

-- Avoid nail art that takes away from your gown. Even though an "active" length may be most appropriate for work, an ornate nail design may be out of place.

(c) Creators News Service

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