The Pros and Cons of Different Manicures for Your Wedding Day

You can go gel, dip, regular or acrylic—but which should you get?
by Sophie Ross

No one wants chipped nails during an important event—and on the one day that your hands will be photographed at every turn (wrapped around a bouquet, placing a ring on your partner’s finger and so on), you probably just want your nails to look really, really nice.

Clearly, we know how important it is to do research before choosing what kind of manicure you want—whether you want Ballet Slippers, Bikini So Teeny or just plain old blush—so we’re breaking down the pros and cons of the most popular types of manicures below, to help you make the right decision. (But if you want something more adventurous—like the recent jelly manicure trend—we say go for it.)

  1. Basic Polish Manicure


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    Pros: Basic polish was probably your first foray into the world of manicures. You can DIY or get it professionally done—either way, it’s likely to cost you the least and has zero negative or unhealthy affect on your nails, which is great. It’s also easier to bring your favorite shade from home so you can have it on hand during your wedding day for touch-ups if necessary.

    Cons: Speaking of touch-ups, you’re most likely to have to do it with regular polish since it chips fairly easily, especially after the first five days of wear. (You’ll probably need to get another mani before your honeymoon.) Additionally, you need to absolutely make sure your nails are dry at the end of your manicure—unless you want accidental imprints and other unsightly dings in your nail polish on your wedding day.

  2. Gel Manicure

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    Pros: Otherwise known as “shellac,” a gel manicure is a nail polish hybrid that uses UV light to harden onto your nail—making it last two to three weeks with no chips. Thus, you know it’ll last the entire wedding weekend, and it’s a great choice if you’re jetting off for your honeymoon straight after your wedding (since you won’t have to worry about getting your nails touched up for a few more weeks).

    Cons: It’s pricier than regular manicures and difficult to remove on your own (you need things like acetone and aluminum foil). If you attempt removing it yourself, you risk seriously damaging your nails in the process. If you leave it to the pros instead, you’ll be just fine.

  3. Dip Manicure

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    Pros: This is the one where a nail technician dips your nails into a pigmented powder after applying a sealant or adhesive polish to your nails first. Since the powder only sticks to the sealant, you can pretty much guarantee a clean manicure (with no unsightly, messy cuticles). Also, it lasts around three to four weeks with no chips—meaning it’s another good option if you know you won’t want to worry about your nails before your honeymoon.

    Cons: It’ll cost you slightly more than both gel manicures and regular polish. Like shellac, you risk damaging your nails (aka breakage and peeling) if you attempt to remove them on your own.

  4. Acrylic Manicure


    Pros: Ah, acrylics are “ol’ faithful” for anyone looking for longer nails. The extensions consist of a combination of liquid and powder that hardens to create a layer over both your natural nail and false tips, creating a little canvas for regular nail polish. It lasts for two to three weeks.

    Cons: The process might weaken your nails a little bit, and if you’re not used to them, you might need an adjustment period. Besides that, acrylics are a good choice for girls with short nails (or chronic nail-biters) who want to give their nails a little extra boost on their wedding day.

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