When I was a young girl, I went through a phase where I dreamed of getting married barefoot in a backyard-style wedding. I also went through a phase where I couldn’t imagine getting married wearing any shoe other than a Converse. Both dreams seem strange to me now. Even as a teenager, I was a girl who LOVED her high heels. So why as a fancy shoe-loving girl I wanted to get married wearing Converse, I’ll never know. Maybe it had something to do with the movie Runaway Bride.
Brides.com says that for some brides, finding the perfect wedding shoes is more important than finding the perfect wedding dress. If you’re planning a wedding and haven’t yet been dreaming about your wedding shoes, I’m here to change your mind. I’ve compiled a list of tips to help you in your search for the perfect wedding shoes. Whether you want the Cinderella heel or the Runaway Bride sneaker, I’ve got you covered.
It’s important to know what the overall style of your wedding will be before picking your shoes. A more casual wedding will call for a more casual pair of shoes, whereas a black-tie wedding and sneaks wouldn’t quite go hand-in-hand (or perhaps I should say foot-in-foot?). Brides.com says that when shopping for each of the elements of your wedding day look, keep the style in the back of your head. That way, you’re more likely to create a cohesive outfit.
To help you ensure your shoes match your dress, several experts suggest buying the dress first. That way you can use elements and details from the dress design to inspire the other accessories (like the shoes, veil, etc.).
One suggestion is to not be afraid to add color to your shoe design. Bridal Finery suggests using the shoe as a place to fit in the “something blue” element of your wedding day. Another suggestion is to look at the trendy colors of the year (be sure to check out our 2023 Pantone color of the year blog early next year). Finally, consider working in your wedding colors. Match the groom’s tie or bridesmaid dress with your shoes. They may be a sometimes hidden element of the day, but having a fun shoe will put a little pep in your step as you waltz down the aisle.
Closed toe vs. open toe. Flats vs. heels. Strappy vs. solid. Oh, the options. But how will you choose?
First, consider any venue restrictions. If you’re getting married outside, something flat or with a chunkier heel (perhaps a wedge) may be best. If you’re getting married in the snowy months, an open-toe shoe might not be the perfect choice (after all, you don’t want frostbitten toes to become your something blue). Wedding expert Jessica Chen told Brides.com “Your wedding venue will influence how much heel you should wear. Trying to look graceful walking through sand on a beach is much more difficult in heels than strolling down an aisle in a church!”
For some brides, comfort may win out over style. If you know you’ll be on your feet all day, perhaps opt for a flat. Bridal Finery experts say that heel height isn’t the determiner of comfort as much as the make of the shoe. So, if you want to stand a little taller on your wedding day, be sure to pick a heel that your feet can handle as you dance the night away. Expert Zoe Burke also reminds brides that breaking in a pair of shoes is very important before any big event. That will help even the less uncomfortable styles become more comfortable. Another comfort tip is to buy one size bigger than you normally wear (as you’re on your feet all day they might swell). You can also use a thick pair of socks and a hairdryer to stretch a tight-fitting pair of shoes.
The most popular wedding shoes of my childhood were dip-dyed satin pumps for a reason. This style may not be great in the rain (I vividly remember a wedding where the bridesmaids had dye running off the shoes), but it is a classic. And thankfully, there are now many options available that don’t require actual dye.
Finally, if you have Runaway Bride dreams as I did as a teenager, many sneaker brands do make fashionable wedding day options. Look to brands like Keds, Nike, Dolce Vita, and yes, Converse.
When you buy is almost as important as what you buy. Brides.com reminds brides to not wait until the last minute when shopping for wedding shoes. After all, you do want to have time to break them in.
Zoe Burke of Confetti suggests buying more than one pair. Having a backup pair of shoes means that if anything goes wrong on the big day, you aren’t walking down the aisle barefoot. It also means that if your feet start to hurt, you can swap the shoes out during the reception.
Finally, several experts suggest shopping from wedding shoe-specific brands. Zoe Burke suggests brands Charlotte Mills, Emmy London, Freya Rose, and Rachel Simpson for a splurgier option while Rainbow Club and Paradox London are great budget buys. Bridal Finery suggests Bella Belle, Monique Lhuillier, Galia Lahav, Badgley Mischka, Jimmy Choo, Harriet Wilde, Christian Louboutin, and Stuart Weitzman. Brides.com says no matter what brand you land on; it is extremely important to try the shoes on in person before you buy them. If you need to use an online retailer, make sure there is a great return policy.
I’ve been known to plan an entire outfit around my choice of shoes. While your wedding day finery will likely revolve around the dress, don’t forget those gorgeous accessories that will clad your feet as you make the way down the aisle toward your forever love. No matter what pair you choose, just the fact that they were with you on one of the most important days of your life will make them special.