Like any girlie girl I am addicted to shoes! I adore a beautiful pair and have a slightly disgraceful amount of shoes that I’m too afraid to wear as I’m terrified of damaging them. I have them stacked up to the ceiling in clear boxes so that I can look at them – I almost treat them like ornaments! However, there is something extra special about an evening or a bridal shoe, maybe it’s something to do with the Cinderella story, but there is definitely a kind of magic associated with a pretty shoe!
So it suits me perfectly to be in the kind of job where I get to admire the gorgeous shoes on display and to help a bride pick out her wedding shoes! Just like your wedding gown, your wedding shoes should be the most important pair you ever buy, so don’t be afraid to really consider what you want them to be.
You need to take several things into consideration such as the location and time of year that your wedding will take place. For example if you are having a beach wedding you need to consider what kind of shoes will be practical for walking through sand, a flat sandal or a wedge are really your only options. If your wedding is in the depths of winter then a pair of sandals isn’t going to be appropriate unless you stay indoors all day long, but a pair of closed toes will be perfect to keep your tootsies toasty.
It’s also important to consider if your venue has any restrictions on heels being worn – for example many National Trust properties will not let you wear heels on their tiled floors.
You need to make sure you chose a heel height that you know you can manage for 12 or more hours of wear. It’s a good idea to go for a height of heel that you normally wear for a day at work or traipsing around the shops. I find that most girls can comfortably manage heels between 5cm and 7cm, but a platform can really help add height without a sharp incline, and also has the bonus of being a little bit more shock-absorbent and easier on your soles.
Specialist bridal shoes are designed to be well balanced, structured and supportive on your feet, but it’s still a good idea to try to wear them in during the weeks before your big day. Slip them on while you’re watching TV in the evenings, and be sure to keep the red wine far away! But just in case it’s a good idea to pack some gel inserts in your wedding day clutch, to put into your shoes in the evening if your feet start to hurt.
It’s also very important that your shoes work well with your dress, as certain types of gowns will restrict your footwear options. For example if your dress has a scalloped lace hem, you should definitely avoid anything round toed or chunky as it can look clumsy against the daintiness of your hem. Opt for a classic pointy toe or a peep toe instead as they will look elegant and be in keeping with the look of your dress. Whereas if your gown has a Grecian look, a flat gladiator style sandal will look amazing, but a pair of closed in pumps will look too prim and possibly even mumsy.
If your gown is made of a delicate fabric such as chiffon you need to be careful that your shoes have appropriate embellishment. Specialist bridal shoes are designed with delicate fabrics in mind, so any beaded details are usually very well encased and won’t snag on the fabric at your hem, but I find high street shoes (especially the cheaper ones) can have beads with really sharp edges that can tear your dress. It’s a good idea to run the inside of your forearm along any embellished detail to feel if it’s smooth enough not to damage your dress.
If your dress is short I encourage you to go for some real statement shoes! I love to see a really glamorous glittery shoe like the Astor shoe by Benjamin Adams with a high glamour shorter dress, or a classic peeptoe, like their Winslet shoe, with a fifties style gown.
One of my favourite bridal shoe looks is the coloured shoe! It’s always been an idea that girls have enjoyed, but since the first Sex and the City movie and Carries blue Manolo’s lots more girls have been opting for a colourful bridal shoe. They can be your ‘Something blue’ or you can have them dyed to be the same colour as your bridesmaid dresses.
This leads me onto one of my other shoe loves – the high end designer shoe! I often feel mega pangs of jealousy when my brides call into the shop to show me their Louboutins! Your wedding day may be your only opportunity to splash out a few hundred pounds on a pair. Don’t be apologetic for spending money on your wedding shoes especially if you chose a pair that are dyeable, as after your wedding you can reinvigorate them and cover any stains or scuffs by having them dyed a dark colour.
But don’t think that traditional pretty satin shoes are the only options! If a girlie shoe just isn’t your thing and you’re much happier in trainers then why not embrace them on your wedding day? I love to see brides wear something more alternative or even punky. We’ve had lots of girls over the years wear Converse trainers or even a Doc Marten boot.
Lots of girls comment to me that it doesn’t really matter what shoes they wear but I couldn’t disagree more! You’ll be surprised by quite how many girls will ask to see your shoes on your wedding day, plus lots of photographers like to take detail shots of them, so the pressure is on not to disappoint!
My best advice is to choose a shoe style that represents you! Whether you are a classic girl, super glamourous, quirky or a comfort seeker you should easily find a gorgeous bridal shoe style that represents your style and makes you feel fantastic!