How to choose wedding shoes as the bride or the bride tribe
Wedding shoes are lusted after in almost every wedding related Pinterest or Instagram account, yet deciding on the right slipper to wear to the ball isn’t as simple as Bippidi boppity boo!
As a bride, or bridesmaid, selecting a wedding shoe is a big decision. Just because the shoe fits, doesn’t always mean you have found your glass slipper!
The making of a wedding shoe is in its ability to meet the brief. You see, a wedding day is much more than an aisle stroll and an I do-and for the most part, your chosen covering of foot, will be your best support.
Fellow marriage celebrant, Prue Takle and I got together to delve into the subject of bridal wedding shoes in more detail to give you the opportunity to put your best foot forward, all day and night, until the clock strikes twelve.
Image: Gallery One
Here are our tips on selecting wedding shoes you will love!
Q: What makes a good wedding shoe?
SALLY: Really, it has to be fit for purpose, and that includes:
When planning kicks in, consider the passage you and your significant other will also make. Look at the layout of your celebrations, the time frame it will occur in and the activities you will need to complete. Your wedding day is a lot longer than the ceremony so factor in how you will feel standing, posing, hosting and dancing in your selected pair.
Location, Location, Location
I know I don’t wear a stiletto to the beach so I’m always stunned when a bride or bride tribe choose to do just that! When you are selecting your ceremony location take note of the terrain, surrounding pathways and accessibility and think about heading back there in your Louboutins… Sometimes it just doesn’t work! Wilderness, however, is not always your biggest foe, sometimes the spacings on the deckings of your venue can still catch a girl out-literally, I’ve learnt the hard way getting stuck in those gaps! Be it beachside or on the rolling hills, it pays to walk it out.
As addressed above, knowing what you will be doing on the day will help select the most appropriate attire. Are you hiking to a remote clifftop to capture your adventurous spirit, heading into the hinterland via a muddy trail or frolicking in the shallows? If your first dance has a lift inspired by Baby herself, perhaps the bedazzled flip flop is not the way to go. Address the needs of your locations and plan accordingly. And throwing in a pair for the periods in between, or to tackle a certain location, is a great option too.
Stiletto, Pump, Chuck, Wedge, Ballet Flat, Sandal or Converse High Top, the wedding industry has not been forgotten when it comes to shoes. With my focus on practicality, you shouldn’t forget that your shoes are still a major style point for your big day. Whether you choose to contrast or complement, making the smarter choice can also mean the fashionable choice. Shoe selection is no longer ruled by tradition and is the perfect way to express your personality whilst working with your dress style.
Bills, bills, bills
Every couple has a different strategy when it comes to splashing the cash so this should remain forefront when making your purchase. Although it might be the perfect time to invest in a timeless classic (I’m thinking the Jimmy Choo Aveline 100 Sandal or the Versace Safety Pin Pumps ) it is ultimately a personal decision. I stumbled across my own pair in an outlet in Richmond. There they were, a mid heel in white satin that were the pigeon pair to my dress. So don’t be fooled-there is a unicorn out there to also match the budget.
Q: What’s the worst situation for wedding heels you’ve experienced?
We all picture a fine day for our wedding but this September Saturday saw an unfortunately wet week ahead of the big day. Stunning at any time of the year, the ceremony space selected at Balnarring’s Barn and Co was carpeted in grass and bordered by pencil pines. With the sun shining, the call was made to proceed on the grass with the long processional walk in, down the stairs, over the bridge and across the garden bed. All my other experiences here have seen this proceed without incident but with the week that was, the rain and a miscommunication, a carpet was not provided to be placed across the planter box. With each open-toed step the bride tribe took across the garden, their perfectly polished nails slipped deeper into the dirt. Despite not being a game changer, it does put a dampener on the day. After the ceremony we were able to tidy the girls up a little with the baby wipes in my emergency kit but the ankle scraped muddy dirt stains remained for the ceremony prior… and its photography!
Note to self: Avoid the garden bed-gritty black garden dirt doesn’t bode well with nude open toe heels and pastel knee length dresses!
It comes down to an unfortunate mix of setting and shoe style. I had a wedding at Port Phillip Estate late 2019. And the venue, although picturesque, is not heel friendly. Before the ceremony, I saw stilettos getting stuck in the decking, where the ceremony was taking place. And after the ceremony we went down this narrow staircase. Even though I was in a chunky heel, I had to use every bit of balance and control to not tumble down. Then the staircase led onto a steep slope of gravel. It was almost a case of strategically sliding down because each step was risky. Once we got down the steep gravel path, we were led onto an even steeper grass hill. Again, stilettos were stuck in the grass, the fear of rolling all the way down the hill into the vines was real. And this whole time, you could see all the men braced to catch whoever was going to topple down and spoil the black tie façade.
Note to self: small chunky heel next time I’m at Port Phillip Estate!
Q: What are your top wedding heel tips?
Get them early
If the shoe fits, don’t hesitate. Making the decision early will assist with the decisions around your styling whilst also giving you the opportunity to wear them to any dress fitting. Your dressmaker will thank you!
Break them in
Breaking in your shoes is not about wearing them out and about, it is about giving the foot and shoe a chance to reach a mutually comfortable fit.
An early purchase gives you this opportunity. Rather than popping on your slippers at the end of the day, it will be Image: Wild Romantic Photography
your wedding shoes taking prime position on
the ottoman. And if you are adding a cushioning insert like Scholl’s Party Feet don’t forget to pop them in and adjust to them also. You don’t need french tipped toes with a blister for the honeymoon!
Back up plan
Perhaps it is a favourite pair from the cupboard or a comfort option for later in the night, like any good wedding plan, a backup is paramount. Pop them in Mum and Dad’s car or with a trusted attendee should you need to call on them. A second shoe could also give you a weather dependent option if you find yourself wanting to save the silk should mother nature take a turn.
Keep in mind that bringing a comparable shoe option to the rehearsal will allow you to assess that your selection is fit for purpose. What’s the terrain like and how so you see yourself handling it on the wedding day? What is the weather forecast to be and will it have an influence on the setting of the ceremony?
Q: What bridal shoe trends are you loving right now?
A combination of timeless style and feminine fashion the nude is a giver of options for your big day and beyond.
Pop of colour
Personality is everything when we are formulating your ceremony so having an extra glimpse of your character on the day only adds to the depth of the story.
Image: Caitlin May Photography
A creative way to pay homage to this time-honoured wedding tradition is to bust out the blue suede shoes. Though seriously, brides are taking innovation to a new level with the blue shoe trend. Ensuring all superstitions are covered, perhaps introducing blue polish is an option if the shoe is not.
There are actually so many wedding sneaker options. From custom Converse, to Keds Bridal Sneakers. Even some of the bridal designers have jumped on board, Grace Loves Lace, with their essential white leather sneaker for instance. If you’re not a heel wearing person in life, there’s no need to step out of your comfort zone on your wedding day.
Heels are another accessory on your wedding day. Make them an extension of your style. There are heels with pearls, bows, gemstones, rhinestones, you name it! There are also shoe accessories, like the range of shoe accessories at Grace Loves Lace to embellish your shoes temporarily, so you can wear them casually later. Have a little fun with making them part of your overall aesthetic.
Using accessories is a unique was to add sentiment on your wedding day. Some ideas include writing your vows on your shoe sole, decorating them with nanna’s clip on earrings or a brooch or wearing shoes that belonged to someone close to you.
Q: Have you come across a really smart solution for solving the wedding shoe dilemma, when it comes to guests?
Twice! Once I was at a wedding in Byron Bay. The ceremony took place within the scrubland of a secluded beach. As we approached the entry, two big signs welcomed us - “shoes here”, “drinks there!” They had set up a shoe and drink station on arrival so we didn’t have to worry about walking over sticks and sand in heels or the embarrassment of taking our shoes off.
The second was including thongs as the bonbonniere gift for guests. Beside the dance floor the bride had set out a crate of silver thongs in various sizes. And it was perfect! She was the kind of girl who, if given a choice she would only wear thongs or uggs in general. And she wanted everyone to dance the night away. No better way to celebrate with her, than to ditch the heels and step into some thongs.
When it comes to choosing your shoes for a wedding as a bride, a bridesmaid or a guest, think about the whole event and what will see you through. Find a fashionable choice with comfort factor. Finding the shoes that tick all the wedding day boxes is magic worth dreaming of!
Above all else, express yourself through your wedding shoes. Be true to you and everyone will love you for it!
Image: Jessica Rose Photography
If you would like any extra tips on wedding shoes, especially if we can lend experience from working at the venue in the past contact myself or Prue. Otherwise, check out the blog we wrote for your Prince Charming - Wedding dress shoes for the groom and his groomsmen.
x Sally & Prue