Engagement Nails: What's the Best Manicure to Show Off Your Engagement Ring?

The right color can make your sparkler pop!

With the growing importance of the “ring selfie” in today’s social media age, many women who suspect a proposal is coming are vigilant with their manicures.

Photo: Bob & Dawn Davis Photography

With the growing importance of the “engagement ring selfie” in today’s social media and Instagram age, many women who suspect a proposal is coming are vigilant with their manicures. Some grooms-to-be are even asking their beloved's sister or best friend to get their future wife to get her nails done before the big moment.

While telling your bestie she should paint her nails white right before a proposal may seem suspicious or fishy, there are some other colors that can help an engagement ring pop! Then again, if your bestie doesn't know what type of ring you'll be getting and you did not pick out your ring yourself, you may risk clashing with the color or tone when you share your new ring and engagement nails. Though there's the possibility of having your nails done after the proposal, having the best nails for engagement opportunities is preferred. After all, you don't want to have to get a manicure while you should be calling friends and family to share the news about getting engaged!

What Color Should I Paint My Nails When I Get Engaged?

If your nails weren't done before the engagement, you'll have to choose the nail color strategically. Given that you probably want to call important loved ones to share the news before you post an engagement announcement on Instagram, then it may be better to get your nails done after the fact for a true "engagement mani." Once you have your engagement ring, you can choose the best shade of nail polish to show it off. 

There are typically two ways to go about choosing your engagement nails: matching the tone or complementing your engagement ring. For example, if you have a gemstone engagement ring ­– let’s say a sapphire – you can either pair it with a bright blue nail polish or complementary color instead. Hint: check out a color wheel and consider picking out a shade that’s opposite of your gem’s hue.

Bride with pretty engagement ring and manicure nails

Photo by Samuel Lippke Studios; From Real Wedding: Alfresco Ceremony with Ocean-View & Glamorous Tented Reception

On the other hand, if you have an engagement ring showcasing a diamond or another white stone, it’s the metal of the engagement ring you’ll want to keep in mind instead. With a fashion-forward rose gold engagement ring, a classic red manicure will help the pink tone pop on your ring finger, while a deep cerulean will provide a strong contrast.

For a solitaire stone, nude nail polish shades will help the diamond stand out even more. Neutral hues are also a great choice for white gold or platinum settings, although dark shades in cool colors such as navy blue, forest green, and violet make for a modern look with a subtle edge – perfect for fall or winter engagement nails.

For a traditional yellow gold setting, demure blush or light pink nail polish leans into the mid-century style. For a classic wedding look, you can always go with a french manicure – or choose to opt for that classic style for your wedding nails. For a trendier engagement-nail look, warm pastels are a chic choice for spring and summer months.

As the weather cools, try a rich burgundy for an opulent wedding appearance. Warmer-weather engagements may be better off with a lighter shade or a pastel pink for engagement nails that fit the season. Halo rings are having their moment, and a metallic shade amps up the glam factor of this style; however, trendy matte polish will make the ring shine even brighter in comparison.

Halo Engagement Ring with Pale Pink Manicure

Photo by Duke Photography; Planning & Design by Tessa Lyn Events; From Real Wedding: Jewish Ceremony + Classic Ballroom Reception in Beverly Hills

If you're looking for a more unique style of engagement nails, you'll want to look to current trends to match your ring for nail purposes. Nail art that incorporates a special part of the proposal could make for a great engagement ring selfie, or consider adding nail art in the same tone as the metal. For example, you could choose a white nail lacquer and then add gold, rose gold, or platinum nail art.

Another option is to incorporate the "party nail" or "spirit nail" to paint all of your nails – ring finger excluded – one color and then paint that finger in a different hue. We also love the trend of adding crystal or pearl nail art and embellishments for your wedding nails for an unforgettable and unique look, yet timeless feel.

Gather inspiration from these 13 pretty manicure styles and discover helpful tips to make sure your manicure lasts! Find more wedding beauty inspiration and be sure to check out the hair and makeup styles worn by real brides in our wedding photo galleries!