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How to nail your mani by W-day



Today I’m in a manicure place. I love having painted nails – so much so that I could count the number of days I’ve been polish-free since leaving a very strict school on one hand. But I also know that crossing your fingers and hoping that a regular polish job won’t chip at some point during your wedding is too risky. For me, a gel mani is the only way to go. But first I gotta work on scoring myself a perfect 10 in the nail department. So, following these tips from Ciate’s (whose colours I adore) Rebecca Jade Wilson, I’m going to…

Stop nibbling my cuticles

I know that sounds disgusting, but I hold my hands up (pun intended) as apparently I suffer from Dermatophagia. Lots of people do – its a type of OCD or anxiety disorder which tends to flare up at times of stress – did someone say ‘wedding?’ But my cuticles look sore and I’d really like to sort them out before they completely wreck my ‘with this ring’ moment. I’m a big fan of Hypnotherapy which has definitely helped me nibble less often and to make what’s left of my cuticles look better I’ve taken to dipping my fingertips in nourishing nail oil every night.

Try out different colours

I’ve never been a girl who likes to go out in the nude. Shades of beige or pale pink -yuck! And don’t even suggest a French to me.… I shall be going down the bolder route – and already I’m road testing lush shades of gunmetal grey, deep purple, merlot and even black! How will they look with the white dress? How will they photograph? And looking back, will I wish I’d chosen a different shade? One thing I am certain of is that I won’t pick a pearlescent shade as I don’t like the way they reflect the light to look different in photos than they do in the flesh.

Get a good shape

Talons and me don’t get on well. They’re great for picking the price tags off the bottom of my flower girls’ shoes but sooner (rather than later) they break. Booking in with a pro is the best way to nail (ahem) your perfect shape. For me, squovals win – shortish with softly squared off tips.

Go gel

Apart from the cost, there are so many reasons to go for gels over regular polish. The fact that there’s no frantic post-polish wafting required and that they’ll possibly outlast the honeymoon too for starters. They’re not dangerous either. In-salon gels like OPI GelColor, Essie Gel and Nailsinc boast nail-nourishing goodies and use LED lamps (as opposed to UV.) If you can’t find your perfect shade in gel format, don’t fret – Ciate do a Geltox kit that transforms any polish into a longer lasting mani via a gel top coat. Whilst it won’t last as long as a salon job, your mani will stretch to at least five chip-free days. Genius!

Be lazy

Rebecca says it’s okay to leave any can opening and washing up to someone else – in the name of flaunting a perfect wedding manicure. I’d add zips, buckles and anything else that could scupper a smooth hand or neat nail. Just relax and keep applying hand cream….. I’ve taken to slipping on cotton gloves at night too – but only when i’m alone.

Be prepared

So here are a few quick-fire Do’s and Don’ts when the big day is imminent.

Do book your wedding mani in advance so you’re not rushing around finding an available pro at the last minute

Don’t spray tan after your manicure – just in case it alters the colour of your polish and stains your cuticles

Do pop a bottle of colour in your kitbag if you’ve not done gel in case of emergency touchups

Don’t go matchy-matchy with your toes if you don’t want to (I’m going blue btw)

Do experiment with different ‘ring finger’ effects if that’s your thing – silver, lace wraps for instance

Don’t offer your groom a slimy hand when you meet him at the altar. Use the backs of your hands to apply hand cream, thus leaving your palms dry and nicer ‘to have and to hold.’

My nail kit

Bourjois Nail Rehab Magic Nail Care, £5.99

The Body Shop Thirsty Hands Moisture Gloves, £7

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturising Hand Treatment, £26

Ciate Geltox, £99

Ciate Paint Pot in Dangerous Affair, £9 (pictured)

OPI Nail Lacquer in Black Cherry Chutney, £12.50

Nailsinc The Thames Nail Polish, £14

OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener for Soft & Thin Nails, £19.50


I love DIYing my nails but am definitely leaving my wedding manicure in the hands of a pro. How about you? And feel free to pass on any other tips regarding colours, shapes, to gel or not to gel and how to grow ‘em long n’ strong.

Sarah x

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  • I won a mani in a raffle and decided to hold onto it for my wedding. I’d recommend you check your manicurist has the colours you want because mine didn’t. I was so disappointed – she had nothing I liked x

    6 years ago : Rachel Rrrrright
    • Rrrrachel – that’s a good point. Imagine if you ended up with fingers and woes. (geddit?)

      6 years ago : Sarah Green
  • Nailtiques! My nails are longer and stronger since I’ve been using it. You can still wear colour on top. I’d rec highly

    6 years ago : LizzieB
    • Thanks Lizzie, I’ll get some Nailtiques in my life x

      6 years ago : Sarah Green
  • I hate French manis too. I tried the reverse one where the half moons are painted white or silver. I did quite like it but not for my wedding. Do you think strong colours work in summer too?

    6 years ago : Rebecca33
    • Abso-flippin-lutely Rebecca. Go bold!

      6 years ago : Sarah Green