It’s wedding season and summer is a beautiful time to tie the knot. The weather is gorgeous, the tree are green, flowers are everywhere, and those blue skies are like nothing else any other time of the year.
You make sure the dresses, the suits, the hair, and the flowers are perfectly matched, but don’t forget about your nails. You’re going to be showing off your new ring to all your friends and family–make sure your nails are on point and tie your whole look together.
If you’re looking for basic tips on how to get your nails wedding ready, check out my guide to the best wedding nail polish colors.
Tips that are true year ’round.
Start growing out your nails early. You don’t want to hit May and realize there’s no way your nails will grow out to where you want them in a month. For summer weddings, make regular nail care a New Year’s resolution. And I don’t mean going at them with a file after one breaks. Nails need preventive care to keep them healthy and beautiful, just like the rest of the body. Get regular manicures or, if that’s too much of an expense which I totally get, pick up a quality home manicure kit and start taking care of your own nails at home. Nails that are properly maintained and filed are more structurally stable and less likely to break. Check out my guide to the best manicure sets and kits for the tools to get you started.
If you have nail problems like breaking or peeling, don’t despair. You don’t necessarily have to spring for artificial nails and all the further nail damage the comes with them. There are diet changes, supplements, and nail treatments that can help you grow stronger, natural nails. Read my article about the best products to grow nails fast for more information and tips.
A good top coat and base coat can mean the difference between a manicure that chips within 12 hours and one that lasts you days. I know it’s easy to skip them when we’re in a hurry, but if you want you polish to last, find the one that works for your nail type. See my guides to the best base coats and best top coats for long lasting nail polish.
The fun stuff.
Wedding shopping is fun, but can end up being way more stressful than you want it to be. Deciding on your wedding nail polish is simply enjoyable for a change. You can buy a few colors, some neutrals and a few brighter options, without maxing out your credit card and try them on at home as many times as you like before making a final decision. I wish we could do that with wedding gowns.
Summer weddings are a wonderful time for corals, bolder pastels, and classic looks with a twist. Don’t be afraid to go a little wild as the fun energy of the season is bubbly and warm. If the dresses or suits have lots of intricate details, stick with a more classic soft tone. If your attire is more understated, a bold nail really pops. Try matching your colors to the dominant or accent flowers in your bouquet for beautifully composed photographs. Ultimately though, this is your wedding. You should wear the colors that make you feel confident and gorgeous. Let me throw some inspiration at you with what I think are the best nail polish shades for summer wedding colors.
1. Peach Side Babe by Essie
Peach Side Babe is an essie summer and so represents summer that the whole collection was named after it. This warm peachy coral goes with lots of different color palettes and works with all skin tones. It’s opaque in two coats and from a brand you can trust to last without chipping. All essie lacquers are three free, meaning they don’t contain formaldehyde, DBP, or tolulene which are chemicals that most of us would rather not put on our skin. The formula is easy to work with, not too thick or too thin, and ensures that you can get a gorgeous end result at home even if your technique isn’t perfect.
- Summer in a bottle
- Goes with lots of color palettes
- Three free
- Formula is easy to work with
- Needs two coats or else it will look streaky
- Can be a little matte without a good top coat
2. Peace by JINsoon Nail Polish
Peace is a soft sky blue that is powdery and light. JINsoon nail lacquers are vegan, cruelty-free, five free, and made in America. It’s the brand of the top celebrity manicurist, Jin Soon Choi, whom you can pretty much always find backstage at New York’s Fashion Week. It’s a high end brand with staying powder and a wet shine. This soft blue is perfect for early summer weddings and pairs well with wildflowers.
- Perfect for a wildflower bouquet
- High end brand
- Long lasing
- Five free and vegan
- Not as versatile as a neutral
3. Let Me Bayou a Drink by OPI
This polish from OPI’s New Orleans Spring/Summer Collection, besides having a fabulously punny name, is a sheer, pinky nude. It goes on a little streaky on the first coat, but that’s to be expected for a sheer. It’s not completely opaque at two coats but definitely wearable and it’s completely opaque and pearlescent at three coats. The milky blush color with a hint of shimmer is a warm twist on the classic neutral that will sparkle in the summer sun.
- Classic blush with a shimmer
- Can wear sheer or opaque
- Goes with basically any color scheme
- Formula is streaky at first coat
- May be too subtle for some
4. Notting the Fancy by LONDONTOWN Lakur
Any worries of subtle are out the window here. This warm sunshine, butter yellow brightens any look. This cream polish is a fun accent color perfect for matching with sunflowers or other pastel yellow elements. The formula is a little thin but not so much that it’s difficult to work with. The Enhanced Colour feature means the lacquer is hyper-pigmented and prevents streaking. Because it is a thin formula, this lacquer looks best as a three-coater. Notting the Fancy is made in America, vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and five free. It contains nourishing botanicals to improve the health of your nails while you wear it including evening primrose oil, cucumber, and chamomile extract.
- Bright and bold
- Has nourishing botanicals
- Five free and vegan
- Too loud of a color for some
- Formula is a little thin
5. Jessica by Julep
This blue from Julep is a soft blue edging over into periwinkle. There is a hint of white to this lacquer while at the same time being dusty. To me, this has a vintage look that looks beautiful over white fabric or paired with white flowers. The formula is very easy to work with and covers quickly. This is part of Julep’s breathable nail polish line that allows oxygen to reach your nails keeping them healthy and fresh. This is also a great feature for Muslim nail polish lovers as it allows them to keep their nail polish on during prayer. (Double check with your religious leaders as some views on this vary.) Jessica is five free, vegan, and contains hexanal and green coffee extract to promote healthy nail growth.
- Dusky, vintage blue
- Five free and vegan
- Breathable nail polish
- Contains green coffee extract
- In the middle ground that could be too subtle or too loud
- Breathable nail polish needs a breathable top and base coat to work
6. Sage You Love Me by Essie
I love the trend of grey-tone wedding nails right now. It’s offbeat and unexpected while still being neutral enough to be still border on a classic look. Plus it’s a surefire way to make a white dress look even whiter. Sage You Love Me from essie’s Bridal 2017 Collection which is a collaboration with essie and bridal designer Monique Lhuillier. It’s a rich green-toned grey which sounds like it might not be the greatest, but when you look at it on, it’s just stunning. This is the perfect grey to pair with a warm summer wedding to pick up the greens in the trees, grass, and bouquets. It’s part of essie’s Gel Couture line so it’s a regular nail polish with a thick finish like a gel manicure and, along with the essie Gel Couture Top Coat, it has a gel-like shine. Together your manicure can last close to a week without chipping.
- Unique color
- Long lasting, gel-like formula
- Designed for brides
- Works best with the essie Gel Couture top coat
- Too unique for some
7. Secret Garden Posh by LONDONTOWN Lakur
If the idea of picking up the greens in the bouquets and plants around you was appealing, but the idea of grey wedding nail polish put you off, Secret Garden Posh is here to save the day. This cream lacquer from LONDONTOWN is a beautiful stem green, light enough for spring and rich enough for summer. This is a really stand out color that can bring all your small green accents together. This is perfect for a garden or other outside wedding for a fresh vibrant look. Like all LONDONTOWN Lakurs, Secret Garden Posh is five free, long lasting, gluten-free, vegan, cruelty-free, and made in America.
- Fresh garden color
- Works for spring or summer
- Long lasting
- Five free and vegan
- Too bold for some
- Won’t work with all skin tones
8. Regret the Moon by Smith & Cult
Regret the Moon is a silky white with a milky pink tint. Summer is a great season for off white bridal nails and this gentle pink hue really warms the color up. Like all Smith & Cult lacquers, this one goes on smooth and creamy. It’s an eight free lacquer, vegan, and cruelty-free. On its own, this polish isn’t the longest lasting, but with a good top and base coat, Smith & Cult manicures will last you around a week. This is a color that can very happy fit in with a classic style wedding theme or anything with soft florals.
- Long lasing with top and base coat
- Eight free and vegan
- Gorgeous bottle
- The color is very flexible
- Really needs that top and base coat
- Too subtle or girly for some
9. Trout Pout by Butter London
Here we have another coral tone because it’s summer and they’re pretty much perfect for this season. Trout Pout by butter LONDON is a highly pigmented polish that delivers rich salmon-pink tones. The formula is smooth and thick. It’s very easy to work with and is very wearable in one coat and fully opaque in two. The Patent Shine line from butter LONDON isn’t as shiny as I really want it to be on its own, but with a glossy top coat you can get that glassy, gel-like shine. This is an eight free polish and, with a good top and base, can last almost a week. Trout Pout is very versatile and can fit into a wide range of summer color palettes.
- Bright, fresh salmon coral
- Long lasting with top coat
- Eight free
- Needs that top coat to be glossy and long lasting
10. Mint Candy Apple by Essie
Confession: I love all things cool mint or sea green colored. It’s a problem. But that’s not the only reason that essie’s Mint Candy Apple is on here. This is a cooler, mermaid pastel that goes beautifully with every skin tone, gives everyone a warm glow, and pops against white fabric. This is the hands down perfect color for beach weddings. The formula is rich enough to not feel out of place in an expensive setting but the color is bright enough not look overly formal when you’re out on your honeymoon. The formula is just a bit streaky on one coat, but completely opaque in two coats. It’s three free, long lasting, and from a brand you can trust.
- Beachy, vibrant minty turquoise
- Works with all skin tones
- Three free
- Long lasing
- First coat is streaky