Settling on the perfect bridesmaid nails for the big day isn’t always easy — but we’re guessing you already know that, given you’ve landed on this article. Maybe you’re a bridesmaid with no idea what design or polish color to wear. Perhaps, you’re a bride helping your closest friends brainstorm. 

Whatever the case, there are (approximately) a zillion manicure ideas circulating on the internet. We understand it can be overwhelming to sift through them all, which is why we’ve asked the nail pros to narrow down the options to, you know, the best ones. 

If you’re the bride…

According to Mazz Hanna, an editorial nail artist and the CEO of Nailing Hollywood, the bride comes first. If you’re the bride — congratulations! Now, think about what nail colors and designs you want your bridesmaids to wear. “Some brides don’t have a preference, while others have carefully curated every detail and have something specific in mind,” Hanna says.

Some elegant polish colors to recommend to your bridesmaids include Essie Ballet Slippers (a polish that builds from a sheer to an opaque pink), Jin Soon Nail Polish in Piedra (an off-white that resembles marble), and Hermès Les Mains Nail Enamel in Rose Tamisé (a rich, purple pink).

If you’re a bridesmaid…

If you’re a bridesmaid and the bride doesn’t have any preferences, Brooklyn-based nail artist Erica Hipp has a good rule of thumb to follow: “You never want to upstage the bride,” she says. “When choosing a nail polish color, it’s probably safest to go neutral or match your [bridesmaid] dress.” 

Hanna echoes this: “I always think it’s best to keep things simple,” she says. “For example, if you’re a maid of honor and the photographer is taking a shot of you putting earrings on the bride, you don’t want a manicure that will distract from this special moment.”

So what does “simple” mean, exactly? Well, it doesn’t have to mean boring. Jennifer Tieu, a Dallas-based nail artist, says that some of her go-to recommendations for bridesmaids include classic French tips, the reverse French, abstract swirls, and minimal negative-space art. You can also get creative with textured details.  New Orleans-based nail artist Morgan Dixon loves elevating bridesmaids’ nails with “small rhinestones and pearls.”

You’ve settled on your look. Now what?

Once you settle on your bridesmaid manicure, Tieu advises booking your manicure appointment as close as possible to the wedding day. “That way, they’ll look fresh and clean for all festivities and photos,” she says. 

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