Wedding Shoes
Article thanks to Lauren Sargeant Bride Online Columnist

Wedding Shoe FAQs


What fabric should I choose for my shoes?

Consider your wedding. Is it outdoors? Suede high heels might not suit grass and wouldn’t withstand an unexpected downpour. The most common choices are satin and silk but all kinds of fabrics can be used, especially for indoor weddings. Other interesting choices of fabric could include lace, leather, corduroy, or even recycled plastics if you’re an eco-friendly bride. If you can envision yourself looking back on your shoes with pride and contentment, you’ll know you’re making the right choice

The fabric you choose for your shoe can also match your dress more perfectly with a little DIY innovation. If your dress is being handmade you can request a little of the material for your shoes, whether that is feathers, felt or any other fabric. Take this to your shoemaker – or do so yourself if you are confident enough – and attach the fabric to a simply designed shoe, preferably on the toe. This is an easy way to tie your outfit together.

Can I return my shoes if they’re uncomfortable after purchasing them?

This depends on the shoe store. Some will and some will not; all you can do is check with them before you hand over any money. If, however, you’ve worn them out and about and rendered their condition inappropriate for reselling, you can just about guarantee that you won’t be able to return the shoes.

Will my wedding location have any effect on my shoe choice?

If it’s indoor, you’re free to wear any shoes that you can safely and comfortably walk in. If you’re outdoors your terrain will have an effect. Flip flops are popular due to their practicality for beach weddings, which are themselves becoming more popular, whilst stilettos will not be ideal for grassy areas.

Do I buy my shoes or my dress first?

Your shoes are essential for fittings, but you can choose them after you've picked the perfect dress. You need your shoes for fittings so the tailor can ascertain the full length of your dress and veil; the difference between casual flats and tall heels will affect their work. Ideally, buy your shoes after the dress so they match in tone and colour, then have adjustments made to your dress if required.

Do I have to choose white shoes?

Not at all, even though they have been traditional to wear with the white dress for the past century and a half. Nowadays, however, we’re seeing an increase in pops of colour in the bride’s outfit- not only in her accessories, including here shoes, but in bridal dresses as well! It’s probably worth mentioning here that the bridal gown does not, contrary to popular belief, representing virginity, but was an arbitrary colour worn by Queen Victoria on her wedding day, which was then popularised by the masses of her day, as imitating royal fashions has long been seen as trendy. The most important factors in considering your bridal shoes are comfort and style, not colour.

Do I have to wear high heels?

You should wear the type of show you are comfortable. If you've worn high heels four times your whole life, don't try them two days before your wedding. If you're a keen amateur you can practice (carefully!) at home in the months before the wedding. However, if you can't remember the last time you weren't in heels keep on with them. Stick to what you know, and break your new shoes in by wearing them around the house a week or two before the wedding.

What types of wedding shoe are available to me?

There is a much greater variety of bridal shoes than you may suspect. A little research reveals that sandals, stilettos, high heels and flats are all commonly worn. Really, thanks to modern fashion you’re free to choose any form of shoe you like. It will look best if matches the colour theme of the wedding and dress, but any style of shoe can be suitable. As long as you break them in and/or have enough practice in the shoes before the wedding, you can be sure to find a type of shoe you like. Check all your favourite shoe shops as you don’t have to look exclusively in bridal shops for the perfect pair. Buy them months in advance of the wedding to ensure you don’t have buyer’s remorse, and if you require specialist shoes, you can contact a shoemaker or a specialist shoe stores in the phone book and online. Check out our directory to help get you started.

But I really love those heels. Comfort isn’t that important, it is?

I’m afraid that on your big day, comfort is just about everything. Brides are on their feet much of the day, from as soon as they step out of the car to enter the wedding hall until they finally hop into the car for their honeymoon. Most dresses leave most of the shoes hidden, meaning that your really can put comfort above looks on this day. If, however, you’re wearing a dress that shows your shoes, we would absolutely advise that you find comfortable ones- even if this means wearing your favourite beauties for photos and the ceremony, and changing afterwards. Don’t sacrifice your feet or toes for beautiful shoes; it’s not worth spoiling your day as you wince and grimace through the pain. Be comfortable and remember you will look just as beautiful barefoot – and this is a tradition long held by wedding guests on the dance floor!

What if my heel breaks, or my feet become sore?

Unfortunately, prevention is the best cure – by this point it's too late. Test run your shoes, and be sure to buy a pair that aren’t of low quality (generally quality is indicated by price). Taking these steps should save your feet. However, take a spare pair of portable flat shoes just in case, especially if you plan to drink!

Is there a way that my shoes could reflect my cultural heritage?

If you haven't decided yet, your cultural heritage could be the perfect theme for your wedding. The colours of the flag are a good place to start, but each culture will have its own influence. For instance, henna patterns that Indian brides are adorned with have found their designs replicated by shoes, and not only for Indian weddings. They are extremely fashionable right now and easy to find online.

If you are of a Scottish heritage your family's tartan could be perfect for your dress, shoes and/ or decorations. Or you can be more subtle - if you're a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz you may wish to wear Dorothy's red shoes because you share an American heritage with the author of the novel.

Can I customise or create my own shoes?

Shoemakers exist, and this is certainly one option if it works with your budget. You can find them on the high street or you can search online for companies and individuals who will make shoes to your design. However, there are several ways to customise your own bridal shoes to give your day, and your outfit, a personal touch. Ideally you want your shoes to match your dress and overall colour scheme for the wedding. You need a plain type of shoe to begin. They can be of any colour or type – heels, flats, trainers or flip flops, whatever you want in your bridal shoes. This will serve as the base for your design.

Diamantes are a traditional choice for decorating, so why not choose stars or circle shapes instead? Silk chiffron fabric can be tied around the toe of heels to create a beautiful pleated effect, ribbons can be utilised or a favourite brooch could be your something old, new, borrowed or blue if you desired. Glitter and beads are another way to go, whilst rhinestones and dyes can also be added to enhance your look. If you’re not sure of what design you want, you can try sketching it out or finding a walkthrough guide online to assist your creative efforts.

Where should I look for my ideal shoes – should I look online?

Online shopping is always handy, but you want to feel, see and try your shoes on before purchasing. Looking online is a great way to brainstorm styles, colours and fabrics, but you should first browse shoes from a high street store or a small business, so you can try on the shoes, ensure you’ve found the correct size, and get a feel for the shoe’s comfort level.

How do I choose my bridesmaids shoes? Should they be there with me? What kind of input should they have? 

The experience of buying shoes, just like buying a dress, can be great fun. It’s also a good idea to take your bridesmaids, not only for a fun day out but so their shoes can be purchased too, either by you or them. You should discuss this delicate issue with each of them privately before going shopping to avoid any awkward situations. Buying all of your shoes on the same day ensures that they all match the colour scheme, and every bridesmaid is happy and comfortable in their shoes.

What is The Shoe Game?

This is a wedding game that doesn’t just rely on any shoes, but it needs your shoes in particular! The newly married couple sit on the floor with their backs together and swap a shoe with each other. The DJ or a friend then asks questions over the microphone where the answer will either be the bride or the groom, so couple both answer each question by raising the appropriate shoe. It’s a good idea to plan some questions beforehand to really get the best out of this game, for example ‘Who hogs the bed?’, ‘Who loves kissing in public?’ and ‘Who is the best at cooking?’. Fun, light-hearted questions are ideal. This has no influence on your wedding shoe decisions whatsoever, so if you’re in the planning process of your wedding this is just something to look forward to!

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