Wedding guest nail designs – 21 pretty, chic and elegant ideas

Our curated edit of wedding guest nail designs are sure to inspire your special occasion mani

Hand with a nude pink manicure as wedding guest nail designs on pink border
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wedding season is upon us! And, for manicure fans at least, second to selecting an outfit comes browsing wedding guest nail designs. 

Although historically we might have assumed that nail designs for someone else's big day should be on the demure side, it’s really all about personal preference. “I don't think there are any set rules as long as you enjoy your manicure” says celebrity manicurist and Essie ambassador Michelle Humphrey. “It also depends on what the guest is wearing to the wedding, or if there's a theme or color scheme, for example."

To give you some visual inspiration alongside our experts’ insights, we’ve handpicked 21 wedding nail designs for guests to help you settle on your perfect manicure. 

How should I do my nails as a wedding guest?

There are no limits on wedding guest nail designs these days, but with that said, there are some timeless classics, according to Humphrey. “Foolproof nails you can't go wrong with are: nude, (I love Essie’s Not Just A Pretty Face as its semi-sheer and adaptable) a French or American manicure, or a color that contrasts or compliments your look. Simplistic and minimal nail artwork also works well, perhaps colored French tips or a small crystal placement.”

"In my opinion, going for something classic like a French or micro-dots works well," says luxury manicurist and artist in residence at Liberty London, Julia Diogo. "It looks great, it’s super classy, chic, and timeless. It also works well with any outfit, as you can match the nail art shade to the color of your outfit. Bio Sculpture Nails in Evo Anthea is a great base shade that suits most skin tones well.”  

21 wedding guest nail designs to inspire

1. Classic French manicure

French tip nails have really evolved in terms of the colors used on the tip and even line placement, but you can't go wrong with the classic traditional white. 

2. Chrome nails

The glazed donut trend really took over last summer, but chrome powder can work well with absolutely any block color to give it that extra sheeny 'something' that catches the light. 

3. Ombre nails

Ombre nails can be created using any two contrasting colors, but a pink-to-white gradient is great for a wedding and, outside of the big day, goes well with pretty much any outfit. If you're hoping to create them yourself, the key is to use a makeup sponge and take your time – our guide to how to do ombre nails is packed with useful tips from nail experts. 

4. Nude peach

Peach tones are a great warm option for nude nails, and they lend themselves brilliantly to summer weddings, as well as complementing all skin tones nicely. 

5. Metallic tips

"For those looking for something chic but a little bolder, try a French tip with a twist – opt for a bright color or metallic tip to make a statement,” says Juanita Huber-Millet, founder and creative director of TOWNHOUSE nail salons. "This season it’s all about stylish accents and making your nails the ultimate fashion accessory."

6. Crystal details

Bejeweled nails can be understated and chic, and are a nice alternative to glitter when it comes to adding eye-catching sparkles. Here, they really elevate the barely-there pink.

7. Blush pink

Blush pinks are one of the best spring and summer nail colors that are perfect for wedding season, too. 

8. Double French mani

Another twist on a French manicure, this time with an ultra-fine line running parallel to the white tip.

9. Sparkle details

Sparkles go hand in hand with celebrations, and we love the glitzy detailing on this manicure. The even better news? They can be created using nail stickers if you aren't particularly artistic. 

10. Classic red

Red is one of the most classic colors you can choose at the nail salon – there's a shade of red to suit everyone – and a strong choice for those who aren't fans of nude nails. 

11. Reverse French manicure

Along with the micro or baby French trend came the reverse French manicure, which sees a line of white or colored polish painted along the base of the nail, rather than the tip. 

12. Gradient manicure

A really fun effect that involves painting each nail a different color to span the gradient, we love this bright pink manicure. 

13. Floral details

Could a choice of nail art be more wedding appropriate? Adding some floral detailing to a manicure is a great choice for a wedding guest, and very seasonal.

14. Coral

Coral nails are also a popular bright that can compliment a range of outfits and really lends itself well to summer weddings. 

15. Glitter nails

Few things scream 'celebrations' quite like a sprinkle of glitter, which looks particularly chic towards the tips of the nails.

16. Mixed pastels

Another take on having each nail painted a different color, if you can't choose just one pastel hue, go for them all. 

17. Pastel French tips

Pastel tips are one of the many twists on the French manicure that are still popular, and they're a nice pop of color that's very wedding guest appropriate. We love a pastel blue or pink, but you can choose anything that compliments or contrasts your outfit. 

18. Simple swirls

Colored or white swirls look great on a nude base and any length nails and, with a bit of practice, can be an easy one to create yourself using an ultra-fine brush.

19. Burgundy

Dark and vampy nails are a great statement shade that, despite having a bit of a wintery vibe, work well on all skin tones. 

20. Micro dots

One of the key nail trends 2023, micro-dots are a fun way to enjoy nail art in an understated way and look super elegant. 

21. Pastel blue

Pastel periwinkle blue is a gorgeous choice for nails if you want to branch out from your usual red-to-pink palette. 

Lucy Abbersteen

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for titles including Marie Claire, Glamour and OK!, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare advice to beauty trends and reviews of the latest products. During her career she regularly speaks to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists, has covered backstage at London Fashion Week and interviewed many a celeb about their beauty routine.