Who Says A Bridal Mani Has To Be Pink?

A phrase that you find yourself constantly trotting out when you’re planning a wedding and hunting for a dress/hairdresser/make-up artist is “I want to look like myself, but on a good day”. Obviously you want to look the best you’ve ever looked – you will never be the subject of quite so many photographs again and you’ll have to produce them every time you mention your wedding for the next year. But your wedding day isn’t necessarily the time to suddenly experiment with a bold red lip when you never normally wear colour, or – I don’t know – get a perm.

A few months before my own wedding I casually mentioned during a manicure that I was getting married and had better book in my bridal mani-pedi soon. “Which colour do you think you’ll go for?” my nail tech asked, fanning the pale pink CND Shellac colours in front of me. “Beau is nice. Or Uncovered is very popular with brides, or Romantique.” All three looked very similar to me. Sheer, baby pink hues that would create a soft nude nail look against my pale skin. Pretty, but not very me. “I was thinking a dark red?” I said. The nail tech abruptly stopped buffing my nails and looked at me, aghast. “Dark? Red? It’s not very… bridal.”

If you have the intention of planning a wedding anytime soon, steel yourself against the constant instruction on what is and is not “bridal”. Worse still: “wedding-y”. Pastels, strapless lace, prosecco and salmon are wedding-y. Dark colours, sleeves, beer and deliciously rare beef are, apparently, not. Still, my instinct when I go for a manicure is to opt for deepest burgundy – think Chanel’s Rouge Noir. I like the drama of it, and how the colour pops against my impossible-to-tan skin. It makes me feel sophisticated and is just the right amount of dramatic. And so that’s what I wanted for my wedding day.

For something so minor in the context of a marriage – I’d honestly barely thought about it, and I’m a beauty editor – it was surprising how strong people’s opinions were. Some people absolutely loved the idea, with many married friends telling me they wish they’d stuck to their own personal style more on their own wedding day. Others were visibly unsure, in the same slightly shocked fashion as the nail tech.

Two days before my wedding I arrived at DryBy at the new Hershesons salon on Berners Street for my mani-pedi. There was only the briefest eyebrow raise at my request for a deep red. “It’s not the usual choice, but you should wear the colour you feel most confident in,” the nail tech advised reassuringly. I had thought I’d wear my go-to Shellac shade, Oxblood, but testing out a few hues on the day I ended up going for Rouge Rite, which is still a deep red but slightly less dark (I’m glad I did – in the photos it showed up as glossy, deep burgundy, whereas Oxblood can look almost black in certain lights). It felt like me. Then, the time came for my pedi. I thought of my shoes, which were a deep ochre velvet, and what might offset them best. My dress would cover them, but it would be nice to have something different on my toes to my fingers. “I want a denim blue, maybe Denim Patch?” I suggested. “It can be your ‘something blue’!” the nail tech exclaimed. Turns out there are some traditions you end up conforming to without even meaning to.


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