Experts Share 7 Nail Ideas for When You *Think* a Proposal Is Coming


(Image credit: @imarninails)

In case you haven't noticed, we're big on weddings here at Who What Wear. Although folks mainly tend to focus on the big day (including details like the dress, venue, shoes, and makeup), there's one small element that often gets overlooked. I've heard plenty of horror stories from engaged friends that they received a proposal when they least expected it—AKA their nails were far from done and they wanted to wait until they were to post about it.

It may seem like a small, trivial thing, but I'm someone who takes this to heart—I like to be 100% prepared. I know I can't be the only one, so I made it my mission to help out future me and you (you can thank me later). If you even *suspect* that a proposal might be coming your way, I've asked nail artists to share a few ideas on what to get ahead of time. "It’s really about personal preference but, for a traditional look, if don’t want to take away from the diamond, I would always suggest a nude," says celebrity nail artist Elle Gerstein. "You can also add a gold glitter, which is a great complimentary detail. The glitter could be done with a polka dot, simple line, or a tip that wouldn’t be too distracting from the diamond." 

For more inspo, keep on scrolling.

1. Marble White


(Image credit: @itsimaniwilson)

This design is a bit more advanced, but it would be an extra pretty complement to a ring. I love a marble design in general, but this version almost has a effect that makes it so unique. I've seen a few nail artists do tutorials on how to create a marble effect, but adding an iridescent shade to the mix will make it pop that much more.

2. Pearly White


(Image credit: @browngirlhands)

This translucent pearly nail polish is stunning on its own, but adding tiny pearl accents feels like the perfect addition to a proposal mani. The pearls make a statement without being too loud or taking away from the ring.

3. Classic French


(Image credit: @varnishlane)

A French manicure is timeless and really allows your ring to take center stage. A classic white will work here, but a neutral pink shade would also look just as chic. Nail artist and V Beauty Pure ambassador Chelsea Johnson agrees. "For proposals, I usually go for a timeless look that is light or neutral in color," she shares. "You’re going to look at these photos forever, and the last thing you want is a nail look that will overwhelm the ring. I love a classic French, or pearl embellishments that are very bridal. Flowers are always a good idea! As far as shape goes, I love a dainty almond—it’s timeless and chic!"

For polishes, she has a few neutral favorites. "I love V Beauty Pure's Go Nude Collection with neutrals like V Beauty Pure Better Off Alone. They have the most subtle, soft shades that are very bridal. I also love V Beauty Pure Builder Gel in Rose Petal."

Or, if you're lazy or on a budget, French press-ons always do the job, too.

4. "Glazed Donut" Nails


(Image credit: @themaniclub)

Hailey Bieber may have started the craze, but little did she know it would become a future classic. "Glazed donut" nails have a subtle sheen to them, but aren't so loud that they would distract from a gorgeous engagement ring.

If you're going to go for a look like this, nail artist Mazz Hanna also has some advice. "If you suspect a proposal is coming soon, I love using a polish like Dazzle Dry because it's chip resistant. There is nothing worse than seeing a beautiful ring against a chipped manicure (even though I was guilty of this!). Cuticle health is also important. I love Dior Créme Abricot ($30) for the healthiest and most hydrated cuticles. Apply it every night before bed."

5. Heart Tips


(Image credit: @imarninails)

Heart tips are an idea for anyone out there who's feeling extra adventurous. You can either have your nail artist paint them on the tips, similar to the photo above, or you can use heart decals and cut off the bottom. They'll look professionally done without costing a fortune if you decide to go the latter route.

Get the look:

6. Neutral Pink


(Image credit: @themaniclub)

All the experts I polled agreed on this one. Neutral shades are the way to go if you think a proposal is coming your way soon. A nude, light pink, or translucent shade will work well here. Chanel's cult-loved shade Ballerina comes to mind when I think of the perfect neutral light pink shade.

Get the look:

7. Floral Designs


(Image credit: @enamelle)

Gerstein says that floral designs are making the rounds among brides-to-be for their big day, but why not try this one on for size a little early? "Another design I love is adding flower details, like a rose detail or a delicate lace detail, which are always my go to wedding looks and the most popular," she says. "With flower details, they don’t have to be drawn, they can be a pressed flowers like the look like I recently created for Blake Lively (pictured above) and a lot of brides have been asking me to re-create this. For this look, I took tiny pressed flowers (you can find these at a craft store), soaked them first in alcohol to soften them up, and then placed them on the nail."

Get the look:

Shawna Hudson
Associate Beauty Editor

Shawna Hudson has worked in editorial for over six years, with experience covering entertainment, fashion, culture, celebrities, and her favorite topic of all, beauty. She graduated from California State University, Fullerton, with a degree in journalism and has written for other publications such as Bustle, The Zoe Report, Byrdie, Elite Daily, Mane Addicts, and more. She is currently an associate beauty editor at Who What Wear and hopes to continue feeding her (completely out-of-control) beauty obsession as long as she can. Stay up to date on her latest finds on Instagram @shawnasimonee.