The Best Wedding Manicure Methods to Polish Off Any Look: Acrylics vs. Gel vs. Dip

Nailed it!
nail manicure with wedding ring
Photo: Kelsea Holder Photography
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Lauren Whalley
lauren whalley headshot
Lauren Whalley
Fashion Editor, Beauty & Inclusivity
  • Lauren writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a specialty in fashion, beauty and size inclusivity.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Lauren worked in wedding editorial for Brides, Style Me Pretty and Enaura Bridal.
  • Lauren studied public relations and advertising at the University of Central Florida.
Updated Sep 29, 2023

If there's one thing about me, it's that I will have my nails done at all times. A wedding manicure, though, is something extra special. It's a doable way to pamper yourself before the big day, whether you're a member of the bridal party, a wedding guest, parent or the to-be-weds themselves. But with so many types of manicure services, how do you decide which type of manicure is best for your upcoming wedding? Don't worry, I've got you covered, bestie.

In this article:

Wedding Manicure Types and How to Decide

Each has its own unique qualities, so it's crucial to choose the one that suits your style and needs. Let's dive into the three popular options: wedding acrylic nails, gel, and dip.

Wedding Acrylic Nails

  • Provide a sturdy base for long-lasting manicures
  • Allow for a variety of shapes and lengths
  • Can be customized with beautiful nail art

Wedding Gel Nails

  • Offers a glossy and flawless finish
  • Provides a flexible and lightweight feel
  • Lasts for up to two weeks without chipping

Dip Manicure

  • Ensures a strong and chip-resistant manicure
  • Provides a wide range of colors and finishes
  • Offers a natural-looking outcome

When Should You Get a Manicure Before Your Wedding?

Ideally, you should get your wedding manicure done one day before the big day. This timing ensures that your nails are fresh and looking their best, with minimal risk of smudging during all the pre-wedding preparations.

Wedding Acrylic Nails

Picture this: a solid, sturdy, and customized foundation for a fabulous and long-lasting manicure. Wedding acrylic nails are created using a liquid and powder mixture that is carefully shaped and applied to your natural nails or nail extensions. After curing, your nails are buffed, filed, and painted with your color of choice. The result is a durable and customizable manicure that will last for weeks.

How long this manicure lasts: 2-3 weeks

Price range: $30-$120

wedding acrylic nails
Photo: @disseynails

Pros of Acrylic Wedding Nails

Durability: With their strong composition, acrylic nails are built to withstand all the pre-wedding chaos and last through your honeymoon.

Customization: From elegant French tips to intricate nail art, the possibilities for creativity are endless.

Cons of Acrylic Wedding Nails

Maintenance: Regular fills are necessary to keep your acrylic nails looking pristine.

Potential Damage: If not properly cared for, acrylics can cause damage to your natural nails.

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Wedding Gel Nails

Looking for a glossy and chip-resistant finish that will keep your nails looking flawless during your big day? Wedding gel nails might be the perfect match for you! Gel manicures are created using a special gel polish that is cured with a UV or LED lamp. These polishes come in various shades and can be applied directly to your natural nails or nail extensions. After each coat, your nails are cured under the lamp, resulting in a long-lasting and glossy finish that will stay flawless throughout your wedding celebrations.

How long this manicure lasts: 2-3 Weeks

Price range: $25-65

Wedding gel nail manicure
Photo: @nailartistrybykylie

Pros of Gel Nails

Long-lasting and chip-resistant: Gel manicures are known for their ability to stay intact, even after prolonged wear.

Quick Drying: Unlike traditional polish, gel nail polish dries super fast under a UV or LED lamp, saving you time.

Cons of Gel Nails

Removal: Gel nails require soaking in acetone to be removed, which can be a more time-consuming process.

Professional Application: Gel manicures often require the expertise of a qualified nail technician.

Dip Manicure for Wedding

If you're seeking a long-lasting manicure with a natural-looking finish, a dip manicure might be the way to go! This method involves applying a base coat, dipping your nails into a colored powder, and sealing them with a top coat. The powder adheres to the nails, resulting in a captivating and long-lasting finish. Dip manicures offer strength and durability, making them perfect for anyone who wants beautiful nails without the fuss.

How long a dip manicure lasts: 3-4 Weeks

Price range: $20-$50

dip nail manicure
Photo: @dipthatnail

Pros of Dip Manicures

Strength and Durability: Dip manicures provide a chip-resistant and long-lasting result.

Variety of Colors and Finishes: You have a wide array of choices, from subtle and nude shades to bold and vibrant hues.

Cons of Dip Manicures

Professional Application: Like gel nails, dip manicures are best achieved through a professional salon service.

Thicker Nails: Some individuals may find that dip manicures lead to thicker nails, which can feel different initially.

Polish Manicure for Wedding

For lovers of classic elegance, a traditional polish manicure is always a great choice. This method involves applying a base coat, two coats of colored polish and a top coat for shine and protection. Traditional polish manicures come in a wide range of colors and finishes, allowing you to find the perfect shade to match your wedding theme. While these manicures may require more frequent touch-ups, they offer simplicity and affordability.

How long this manicure lasts: 1-2 Weeks

Price range: $20-$40

Polish manicure

Pros of Polish Manicures

Quick and Easy Application: A polish manicure can be easily done at home or with a quick visit to your favorite salon.

Versatility: With endless colors and finishes available, you can match your manicure to your wedding theme or personal style.

Cons of Polish Manicures

Prone to Chipping: Traditional polish manicures can chip more easily, so touch-ups may be required.

Less Durability: If you have an eventful wedding weekend planned, a polish manicure may not withstand the wear and tear as well as other options.

Final Thoughts: Acrylic vs. Gel vs. Dip vs. Polish

Ultimately, the choice between wedding acrylic nails, gel, or dip is entirely up to you! Consider factors like your personal style, the level of maintenance you desire, and the overall look you want to achieve. Consult with your nail technician or do a trial run to help you make the best decision.

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