THE MUST-READ GUIDE TO WEDDING SHOES
In the long list of bridal accessories to shop for to complete your wedding day ensemble, determining the best type of bridal shoe to go with your gorgeous gown—and finding the perfect pair—is a top priority. For some brides, it's the ultimate fashion quest—almost perhaps even rivaling that of the search for the dress—while for other brides, scoring a solid wedding shoe is as simple as considering comfort (which is key no matter how much you value style).
Whatever your priorities might be, at the end of the day, your wedding-day shoes have a major role to fulfill. You have to like them, yes, but you also have to want to wear them—often for long periods of time over a solid, 15-plus hour day (think about that for a moment). So how do you figure out what type of bridal shoe is best for you? We asked experts Jessica Chen, Devoreaux Walton, and Burju Perez to weigh in
Define your bridal style
Since it’s unlikely that you’re buying your wedding shoes and gown at the same shop, having a firm grasp on your overall bridal style is key to ensuring consistency, notes Chen. “If you’re going for a more vintage or retro look, make sure to match the style of your shoes to the same era,” she says. Pay attention to any detailing or embellishments in your gown that could be echoed in your bridal footwear, as well as specific materials (lace, satin, tulle, etc.) that could be matched.
Find your dress first
Even if you’ve stumbled upon the wedding shoes of your dreams, hold off from purchasing them if you haven't yet found the wedding dress to match. (Although, if you really love them, you could buy them “just in case.”) You want your bridal footwear to complement your dress in every aspect—style, color, down to every last detail and embellishment—and the length of your dress matters, too. If you're going with a shorter dress, your shoes can be a major statement accessory, adding color, glitz, glam, whimsy, romance—or simply a dose of modern elegance—to your ensemble. Whereas, if your dress is a full-length gown, they're not going to be nearly as visible.
Start researching bridal shoe options
While wedding dress shopping is the priority, there's no reason why you can't start researching wedding shoe styles, and the websites of large-scale retailers—such as Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, and Nordstrom—are a great place to start. “Many stores carry far more inventory online compared to in-store, so browsing online gives you access to a wider range of shoes, which helps you to figure out what details you like and dislike,” Walton says. Once you've narrowed your search, it will be a whole lot easier to actually start shopping for your wedding-day shoes after you've found the dress.
Don't commit without first trying them on
While retail websites are a great way to explore styles and get a feel for what you like, some experts warn against purchasing your actual pair of wedding shoes online. “This is a pair of shoes that you’ll be standing in for hours, so it’s imperative to try out the shoes first and feel how comfortable they are to stand and walk around in before you swipe your card,” says Chen. (Although, if an online retailer has a particularly customer-friendly return policy, there's no harm in trying out a few pairs at home and returning the ones that don't make the cut.)
Don't be afraid of color
Like every other style decision you make for your big day, what color of shoes you'll ultimately wear will depend on what kind of bride you are. Classic and traditional brides will likely be drawn to clean white, champagne, ivory, and nude tones, but if a little footwear flair intrigues you, don't be afraid go outside the box in the color department, says Perez. If you want to step it up, she suggests considering metallics, which “add a little more glitter and shine to catch the eye." A playful twist on tradition, "something blue” bridal shoes range in shades from pale blue to deep royal hues.
Consider your venue
Just as you check the weather to make sure you’re wearing the appropriate footwear before venturing outside each day, Chen urges brides not to forget to consider their venue when selecting their day-of shoes—especially if you're having an outdoor ceremony, on a grass lawn or on the beach. “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!”
“We always focus on style, but if your feet are in so much pain that you need to take your shoes off in order to enjoy yourself... well, what's the point of having them?”
says Perez. Your first consideration should be heel height: The higher the heel, the more pressure on the ball of your foot. A low-to-mid-height heel and even a chunkier heel will keep you standing and dancing comfortably that much longer, and there are plenty of gorgeous bridal flats out there, too. Also, consider. (brides.com)