Ask Belle: Special Shoes for an Overwhelmed Bride

Mar 13, 2013

Hi Belle,

I’m getting married in June and I’m having a really hard time choosing wedding shoes.  I truly didn’t even know that a bride’s shoes mattered until I saw the hundreds of photos on Pinterest of women wearing special glitter, sequin and colored satin shoes.  OVERWHELMING.

My bridesmaids are wearing pale gray and my gown is an a-line tulle with a pleated chiffon bodice.  My bouquet is going to be a mix of pale pink and white peonies.  Please help me narrow down my options because if I take my MOH to one more shoe store she may rethink her decision to be in my wedding.

Thank you so much! Barefoot and Clueless

I love Pinterest, but you’re right, the plethora of wedding ideas is really overwhelming.  My friend K, who is getting married in October, says that it makes her want to find a justice of the peace and a white sundress and call it a day.

First, let me say that you don’t have to have fancy shoes, so don’t let Pinterest make you think that you do. There is nothing wrong with finding a pair of simple or jeweled white satin shoes.  Feel free to choose a pair that you can dance the night away in but need to stay hidden under your gown.

Now, if you want pretty shoes, that’s another story.

Since your bouquet is pale pink, what about a pair of pink shoes?  If hot pink is your thing, I love these Kate Spade heels.  Want a deeper magenta?  I like these inexpensive Nine West sandals.  I also found two pair of gorgeous shell pink shoes, one with a very-peony-like flower on the front and one with art deco jewels.  And last, but not least, I like these barely blush ankle strap pumps.

Because you chose grey for your bridesmaid dresses, why not choose a pretty silver for your shoes?  These pricey but luscious Louboutins have a sheer trim and sweet bow on the front.  This rhinestone-embellished pumps have a hint of burst of shine and a supportive t-strap style.  And I love these pewter D’orsay pumps with a little  small ruffle along the front for just a hint of texture.

Those are my suggestions, but I’m sure the former and future brides in the audience can also make some great suggestions.  Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. Kay says:

    I think the most important thing for wedding shoes is comfort. You want to feel pretty, so get something cute, but you’ll also be standing/walking/dancing/posing all day, and your feet will get swollen and tired very quickly. (Plus, if you have a long dress, no one really sees them!) I had a pair of gold flats, put a Dr. Scholls in them, and was good to go all day.

    Some people wear heels and get separate (flat) shoes to change into for the reception, but remember you’ll have your dress hemmed for your heels, and you might spend the rest of the time tripping over the hem of your dress, which can really tear it up.

  2. I wore brightly colored shoes under my dress (in the color of the bridesmaid dresses) and just loved that little peak-out every once in a while. But the coolest wedding shoes by far I’ve ever seen were Taylor Tomasi Hill’s – she wore a pair of cream colored strappy “runway” heels that were a total style break with her 20ies dress. Wicked cool.

  3. A says:

    Former bride here. Ignore pinterest. A bride’s shoes don’t matter except to her feet and height. I advise shopping in your closet or getting shoes you can wear in a non-bridal context and break in beforehand. New shoes you’re not used to are just too risky.

  4. Kate says:

    I would echo the comment from Kay about comfort! I am going with a 2″ heel and wearing them around my apartment with thick wool socks on to make sure they are broken in before the day.

    I am going with brightly colored shoes to add something fun to the outfit. I normally wear a lot of color and really wanted color incorporated into my outfit.

  5. Lynn says:

    I recommend Nina Shoes for both style and comfort. They make many heels appropriate for a bride in 2-3 inch heel heights. I had a pair of D’Orsay ivory heels for the ceremony, and a pair of ankle strap low heeled sandals for dancing. I was very comfortable, and in the off chance someone saw my shoes, they were pretty as well.

  6. Karen says:

    I got my wedding shoes from I haven’t had the wedding yet to know for sure, but they’re supposed to be very comfortable. Mine were Knotty Girl in pink.

    • Cynthia W says:

      There are some seriously stunning shoes on that website – almost makes me want to renew my vows or something just for an excuse to buy a pair.

  7. Elena says:

    Best thing I did was get fun blue shoes for my wedding. I bought them way before the dress. They were 2 inch heels and super comfy (I broke them in at home) and I wear them again and again and it’s a sweet reminder of the wedding and even my husband notices. If you’re at all into color shoes, go for it. I have friends who did pink, lime green and orange for their shoes. In a long dress you don’t see them only glimpses if you spin on the dance floor.
    Whatever you go with, comfort is key and for me that meant no open toes since I tend to slide out of them, but whatever works for you. Enjoy!!

  8. Nic says:

    One of the best things I did for my wedding was wear two pairs of shoes. I wore sparkling heels for the ceremony and pictures, but then switched to ballet flats for the reception and dancing. You’re on your feet all day and the heels can become way too much.

    Just make sure to let the person doing your alternations knows so the hem and bustle is done appropriately.

  9. Jaime says:

    I wore hot pink shoes with my wedding gown last year, and I thought that it was such a fun touch. They peeked out as I walked down the aisle but were easily hidden for formal pictures. I got mine at Payless, dyed pink in less than a week, for $20 🙂

  10. IMP says:

    Dooood…your shoes do not matter unless they matter to you. Don’t over think it. Please read this for your sanity, in which blogger realizes there is no rule that she needs new shoes for her wedding, and decides to wear a kickass pair she already has (unless she just happens to come across a delicious new pair she needs an excuse to buy, of course!):

    • Jennifer says:

      This. If you generally love shoes, or find a pair you really love, or feel like you want to add a fun element to your ensemble while still looking traditionally bridal, it makes sense to spend energy on a great pair of shoes. Otherwise, don’t spend anymore energy on the shoe hunt than you would if you were a guest at the wedding (or even less, because as Belle noted, they can stay hidden under your gown).
      I was, as you might guess, in the second category. My shoes were comfortable (low heel because my husband’s only an inch taller than me and a little sensitive about his height, a smidge darker than my ivory dress, little embellishment). There is exactly one photo from our wedding where you can see what my shoes look like, and even in that it’s hard to see (I’m climbing the altar steps so my foot is out ahead of my gown more than otherwise, but it’s still just a shoe peeking out, not an OMGSHOE! photo). If you have great shoes, by all means make sure the photographer captures them, but don’t feel like you need to have great shoes for the photos’ sake.

  11. Famouscait says:

    For my wedding I wore butter colored gold strappy heels. They were decently comfortable (I outfitted them with Foot Petals inserts)but my favorite thing about them is that I can (and do!) re-wear them often. Makes me happy, and my hubby always notices, too.

  12. APW says:

    I know a lot of brides that have made their shoes their “something blue.” It’s a fun idea and very cute in photos. Comfort above all though!

  13. Valerie says:

    My favorite recent wedding look was my cousin’s. Like you she had grey bridesmaids’ dresses, and each bridesmaid chose a coordinating color for her shoes/accessories (one was yellow, one pink). She herself had bright blue shoes with a low (2.5 inch) heel. For a spring wedding this was a beautiful detail in the photos.

    • Valerie says:

      Also, go with something you can walk in. I know those 5 inch Louboutins look gorgeous and tempting, but you’ll regret them the next day. Also, depending on how tall you are, you might not need the height (as my fiance puts it, “do you really need to be 6’2 that day?”)

  14. BN says:

    Keep your venue in mind when choosing a shoe. My venue had a set of steep stairs and the rest was marble floors. I knew my feet would be killing me, but I wasn’t willing to give up on heel height (my husband is 10 inches taller than me). So I went with a wedge. There are a LOT of very elegant and classy wedges (read: no cork) out there. Proof:;; and (all of which can be dyed to the color of your choice). I also echo the advice to break them in with thick socks at home a few weeks in advance (do laundry or dishes in them to see how you handle standing for long periods of time).

    Most of all, congratulations!

  15. Anna Louisa says:

    I went with sparkly flats on my wedding day (I’m tall, and I wanted to be able to dance like a fool), but those Badgley Mischkas get me every single time. So good.

  16. Grace says:

    I’m just barely shorter than my fiance, so heels would probably make me tower over him in photos. Also, I value comfort over most things, especially if it’s a day I want to enjoy and (hopefully) remember.

    So I said “screw it.” I’m wearing blue Tieks and putting art deco shoe clips on the fronts to jazz them up. My dress is going to hide them anyway, so they’re mostly for my benefit!

  17. Yellowrose says:

    I own these in black and they are fantastic! Super flattering and comfortable and the heel isnt too high at all. I would suggest a pad cushion for your big day though (just in case).

  18. KB says:

    I got married last April and wore Kate Spade’s Chrisette heel in purple. I have a bit of a purple problem and was willing to sacrifice comfort for such a beautiful shoe, but was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable they were. We started taking photos at noon and by the time we left the reception at 10pm my feet still felt fine. I ended up wearing them well into the evening at the after-party. I’d recommend them to anyone.

  19. I ended up using my wedding as an excuse to buy some nude valentino bow pumps (which seem to be full price now but had gone on sale last summer). I loved that they are so festive but can also be worn again (unlike a white or satin shoe IMO). I decided to suck it up and deal with the almost 5″ heel and I was so glad when I saw how my legs looked in the pictures.

  20. SLG says:

    I got married a year ago, and I’d like to echo Belle and the other commenters: if wedding shoes are making you feel overwhelmed, it’s totally OK to decide not to care about them. Your wedding is a happy day, so it’s fine to spend your energy on details that make you happy and forget about the ones that don’t.

    A few suggestions:

    * If by chance you run across a pair that make you happy and are comfy, buy them. Decide not to care about what anyone else thinks of them. Done. 🙂
    * Buy something you can stand for a long time in, and dance in, and definitely break them in ahead of time.
    * You can wear one pair (fancier?) for the ceremony and a different pair (comfier?) for the reception if you want.

    In my case, after weeks of ordering stuff from Zappos that didn’t work, I bought white ballet flats at Nordstrom Rack two days before my wedding and wore them at the ceremony, and I honestly don’t think anyone noticed my shoes. At the reception, I wore my own super-comfy, broken-in silver kitten heels. (I’m tall and my dress was barely long enough, so I couldn’t do high heels.)

    Most of all, yay for weddings! Congratulations 🙂

  21. barchbo says:

    I wore silver peep-toe wedges by Steve Madden. They were comfortable and gave me some height without sinking into the grass (I got married outside.) Also comfortable for dancing and I got a lot of post-wedding wear out of them. I love shoes, and got lucky that the Steve Maddens were the once that looked best because they were only $80!

  22. H. says:

    I have multiple friends who wore ballroom dancing shoes. They come in fun colors — one girl did blue, as was suggested above — and are apparently more comfortable than your average strappy heels.

  23. Cara says:

    No one notices the bride’s shoes unless she goes all out with a crazy color or can’t walk in them. Get what you like and what you can stand and walk in for hours. Depending on your timeline, you may not be able to sit for several hours once you’re in your dress for fear of wrinkles before the professional photos are done. I remember a woman on The Knot who got married a few months before me and ended up with a stress fracture because of her 4″ heels. She had to wear compression hose on the plane to her honeymoon. Sexy!

    I’ve always loved the idea of blue shoes for the bride. Everything’s going to look dated in 20 years so just have fun with it. Plus it will be easier to find the right shoe if you open up to more colors. I had a hard time finding ivory, closed toe shoes that I liked so I spent a bunch of money on some Kate Spade heels and now they sit in a shelf in my closet.

  24. Ann says:

    Trust me, it is not worth wearing uncomfortable shoes for your wedding. No one notices the shoes. You won’t need high heels to feel gorgeous- you have the gown for that. I wore 4 inch heel swarofsky crusted Stuart Weitzman’s for my wedding. My legs were shaking during the ceremony, I was in pain for days afterward, the crystals snagged on the tulle on the inner layers of my gown, and although I did not pick something ivory satin I still have not had an occasion to wear the expensive (for me) shoes again.

  25. Ria says:

    Ditto on the comfort, my photographer actually recommended I have different pairs of heels to wear throughout the day. That way it would change the stress points on your foot so they’re less sore if I decide to go with higher heels. Worked like a charm =) I had one pair of fuschia heels for photos, a pair of purple heels for the ceremony, and silver heels for dancing! Have a wonderful wedding!

  26. s-p-c says:

    Great comments above – I wanted something elegant, neutral, and comfortable, and opted for this pair in champagne satin: They were perfect, and work well with attire as a wedding guest these days.

  27. Lar says:

    I may be boring but I did not spend a lot on wedding shoes. They were very low heeled and I got them from for probably $50. But I am so glad that I did not spend a lot of money and that they were super comfortable. I was in my shoes for 12 hours. That’s how long the day was AND I was so comfortable dancing, walking, whatever. Plus, when we did wedding photos, we did a whole bunch outside around the venue and my shoes got mud/dirt all over them. The photos were awesome and I didn’t care about my shoes getting ruined one bit.

  28. Mel says:

    On the topic of wedding shoes, something I wish I had known was that you need to sand the bottom if you’ve never worn the shoes outside. I got white satin heels that I didn’t want to break in outside for fear of getting them dirty. The problem was the bottoms were still slick. As a result, I slipped when I was getting out of the limo. I would have face planted too, except that the limo driver caught me.

  29. va_dc says:

    I ordered and returned 8 (8, you guys, it’s ridiculous) pairs of potential wedding shoes before finding the right pair. I tried glitter, I tried bright pop of color, I tried designer. None of them were “perfect” and finally I had to accept that I was imbuing this decision with way too much importance and I had other things I would rather do with my time 🙂 I finally settled on this pair in “sweet biscotti” from Ann Taylor and they’re great – the color reads as a pale pink with my skin tone and ivory dress, the sole has some padding, and the heel isn’t crazy high. Getting married this summer and can’t wait!

    I’m also going to keep a backup pair of shoes handy in case these get too achy after a few hours.

  30. Kate says:

    As a bridesmaid in a wedding last summer I wore the Nina Forbes pumps. They are 3″, peep toe, and have a cute bow in the front. I added a pair of Foot Petals for the balls of my feet just in case, but i’m sure they’d still be really comfortable without them. The bride wore sparkly pumps, but no one saw her feet under the dress so i’d worry a little bit less about the bride’s shoes and more about the bridesmaids shoes since they will be visible in pictures.

  31. Ashley says:

    I wore the Badgley Mischka “Lacie” in Platinum, which was actually a pale gold, for my wedding and got so many compliments on my shoes. They’re about a 2 1/2″ heel, which I highly recommend, because my feet weren’t throbbing by the end of the night.

  32. Alex Costello says:

    I honestly saw it as an opportunity to buy an expensive pair of shoes that I wouldnt normally! I mean consider the price of the wedding, shoes are pretty minimal. I went with Kate Spade glittery shoes in blue so it was also my “something blue.” Just ask yourself – are you ever doing to wear white satin shoes again???

    • Belle says:

      That’s a good point. If you have the money to invest, it might be fun to choose a pair of Louboutins, Choos or Blahniks that you might wear for years to come.

  33. Rachel says:

    Comfort is above all else the most important factor here. My wedding dress showed my shoes off prominently, so I chose an amazing pair of Kate Spade silver glitter shoes. Yes, they were fairly expensive, but they made me happy. Also, learned a valuable lesson: pricey shoes are worth it because they don’t hurt your feet. I wore those suckers for 12 hours straight, and only took them off in the wee hours of the morning when I was too exhausted to dance anymore. Also, get some footpetals, they help too!

  34. SJ says:

    I wore sparkly silver Adidas shoes under my wedding dress and it was an excellent decision. My seamstress hemmed the dress so the shoes didn’t show, they were super comfy when we were traipsing around taking wedding photos and I danced like a fool in them.

  35. Ellen says:

    I agree that comfort and venue really are important when picking shoes. I was a guest at a wedding that was under a tent on grass and I kept sinking into the ground the whole night. While there are some heels that are comfortable, they are never 100% comfortable all night. I’m big on keeping my shoes on at parties since they are part of my outfit so I went down the flat route. Since I wanted nice shoes I decided to make sure that they were ones that weren’t a one shot deal. Since it was a special occasion it was a good excuse to get my first pair of Jimmy Choos. It was the best decision ever! Here they are featured on Merci NY’s blog

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