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Should You Book a Bridal Nail Trial Before Your Wedding Day?

by Staff

By now, we’re sure that you’ve been planning your wedding day look for months. You’ve got the dress and the shoes, and have already sat for your hair and makeup trial; but in the midst of all the planning and preparation, you may have ignored one of the most important parts of your overall bridal look: your nails.

While brides typically wait until the last minute to get their nails done, as you plan for your big day, you might be wondering whether booking a nail trial in advance is necessary. Maybe you’ve had your nails done before and you already know what you want, or maybe you want to try something new to mark this special occasion. In either case, is a bridal nail trial really worth it?

From trying out a new style or color to experimenting with different types of manicures, like gel or dip, there are many reasons to say yes to a nail trial ahead of saying “I do.” However, a trial isn’t a must-have for everyone, especially if you’re a low-maintenance bride attempting to adhere to a strict budget. Thus, the answer isn’t simply a yes or a no—it depends.

With the help of nail technician Cyndi Van, we’ll take you through both sides of the argument to help you decide if a nail trial is something you should consider as part of your bridal beauty routine. Read on to learn more.

Meet the Expert

Cyndi Van is a veteran nail tech with 28 years of experience, including four years as an educator at Tricoci Salon & Spa.

Should You Book a Nail Trial Before Your Wedding Day?

As mentioned above, this answer depends on your personal lifestyle. Brides who are considering a nail trial likely have a very specific vision of how they want to look when walking down the aisle. If that’s the case, then a nail trial is absolutely a wise decision in order to avoid any unnecessary stress leading up to the big day.

But even if you don’t have a specific vision in mind and a nail trial doesn’t seem worth it to you, Van still advises that you see a nail professional to assess your natural nails, help tame cuticles, and discuss how you want them to look on your special day. She also notes that it’s important for all brides to start the nail process early so that their nails “have a chance to grow and elongate the nail beds.”

What’s more, for those who want longer nails, your nail tech may even suggest coming in on a more regular basis to maintain the length and strength of your nails. And since you’re already making regular visits to the nail salon, you might as well commit to a nail trial to determine which look you love and how well they hold up under regular use.

Pros of Booking a Nail Trial

Simply put, a bridal nail trial allows you to experiment with different nail styles, colors, and techniques, and it has the ability to help an indecisive person hone in on their wedding day nail vision. If you’re looking for more reasons to book a trial, however, read on for our top three pros.

Less Pressure to Be Creative

One of the biggest benefits of booking a nail trial is that it allows you to experiment with different nail styles, designs, and colors that suit your aesthetics. You may even decide to try out a different nail shape or a cool nail art design you saved on Instagram. Thus, with a trial, you have the creative freedom to try out whatever you like without the pressure of testing out a style the week of your wedding.

You Can “Test Out” Your Nails

This is especially important for brides-to-be who don’t get their nails done regularly and want to try out nail extensions like acrylics or Gel-X. A trial acts as a test run for the durability and comfort of certain nail enhancements, allowing you to make sure it’s really something you want. It’s also a great way to ensure that your nails will last throughout your wedding day without chipping, peeling, or falling off.

It Helps Build a Relationship With Your Nail Tech

Like any beauty professional, your nail tech has your best interests in mind and wants you to be happy with your service. Seeing the same nail tech allows you to establish a comfortable rapport with them, which helps you both communicate better. At your trial, you can discuss your preferences and concerns, and address any specific requests you might have. In turn, this will help you feel more at ease and confident during the actual wedding nail process.

Cons of Booking a Nail Trial

As with all things in life, there are sometimes a few downsides to every decision we make. So as it relates to a bridal nail trial, here are two cons to know before making your final decision.

It’s Expensive and Time-Consuming

Manicures are not cheap, so going in for a trial could end up costing you both time and money—plus, there’s no guarantee you’ll leave confident with the final result. If you don’t already have a nail tech you trust and love, it may take a few appointments to find the right person who can get the job done.

You Might Feel Overwhelmed

There are so many options for wedding day nails, from a classic French manicure to embellished nail art, so you might get overwhelmed trying to decide which style you want to consider for a trial. Finding the perfect nail look is just another item on your wedding to-do list, which adds an element of stress to this otherwise fun appointment.

When to Book a Nail Trial

Van suggests booking a trial at least two months in advance. “This allows the tech time to work on your nails and cuticles to transform them into photo-worthy hands, and for techs to get a better understanding of what the bride is looking for,” she shares. And while on the subject of timing, at the appointment, you should anticipate spending at least one hour in the salon chair for natural nails and up to two hours for enhancements with nail art.

Lastly, to prep for the trial, brides should “Find inspiration of what they want their ideal nails to look like and bring photo references to the appointment,” says Van. “Their technician can work with them to plan how to achieve that particular look for their special day.”

What to Tell Your Nail Artist at a Trial 

Your nail tech is there to make your wedding day vision comes to life, so as noted above, bring photos of inspiration and have an understanding of what you want. “Brides should let the tech know when they are getting married and what look/length they want for the big day,” says Van. “From there, the nail tech can assess what is possible and devise a plan to get to the look the bride wants for her nails and toes.”

It’s also important to remember that your nail tech only has you in their chair for a short amount of time. After your appointment, it’s up to you to take care of your nails if you want them to last. “[Brides] need to treat her nails like jewels,” shares Van. “They are not tools and should not be treated that way. Treating them with care will allow the nails to last so much longer.” Specifically, be sure to apply high-quality cuticle oil twice daily around cuticles and underneath nails to keep your skin and nails properly hydrated. This makes this area more flexible, which helps the polish and enhancements look better and stay on for longer.

Finally, don’t forget about the groom! Consider setting up an appointment for him to have a manicure so that his hands will look their best as he’s showing off his new ring in all your wedding photos.

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