Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Do you like my five-inch heels?

Yes, yes I do love your shoes, as a matter of fact. I love all shoes – they’re my favorite accessory and I sometimes literally drool over a beautiful pair of Jimmy Choos (they’re just so comfortable and pretty!)

When I began shopping for my wedding shoes, I thought “red, high-heeled, and something eye-catching.” Almost as soon as I thought of these characteristics, my mother began emailing me photos of shoes that matched those requirements; some days, I’d wake up to more than 10 shoe-related emails in my in-box.

Yet, when it came time to actually purchase my shoes, I went complete the opposite: off-white, low heel, and pretty but basic. I loved my wedding shoes.

Wedding shoes are a great way to show off a bride’s personality (red!), style (Jimmy Choo!), or taste (glamorous!), but they are, in the end, shoes that she will need to wear for hours and hours. At the end of my wedding – and the day after – I was more than happy that I had chosen a low-heeled shoe: my calves and feet would have been much more sore than they were had I worn something different for nine hours.

Choosing a wedding shoe requires balancing practicality and taste, which is not always easy. During the task, HJ recommends considering:

The length of time you’ll be in the shoes. It’s not only the length of the ceremony and reception that we’re talking about, but also the time during photos, when getting dressed, and other times during the day when you’ll be in full wedding garb. Usually, this time is 2-3 hours longer than most brides believe.

The length of time you’ll be standing and walking. Trust us, it’ll be a lot. Many brides don’t remember sitting down at all except for the time they actually ate dinner, and even that time is shorter than it is for guests because couples visit tables during the meal. You’ll also be walking to photo locations and up and down and aisle.  

Your budget. My closet is full of Manolos, Sandersons, and Choos. However, those were purchased over time and not when I was also buying dinner for 100 people. Fancy shoes are great, but if they don’t fit into your budget, remain realistic and remember that the amount of time that anyone will actually see your shoes is quite short and that, during most of your wedding, they’ll be covered by your dress. Feel free to ignore these considerations if you’re wearing a short dress.

The surfaces upon which you’ll be walking: this is a HUGE consideration, and one that many brides overlook. In fact, it’s such a large, important consideration, that I’m breaking it up:

Rocky terrain. Are you getting married in the mountains? If so, you’ll likely have some rocks to contend with. In this situation we recommend very low heels or flats with non-slip soles. Yes, we recommend shoes with rubber or other similar soles. They may be more difficult to find, and you may have to have special soles added to your shoes if you can’t find them (any shoe repair shop should be able to add those for you for a nominal charge), but they’ll be worth it when they prevent you from falling and breaking an ankle or otherwise hurting yourself.

Grassy terrain. Getting married outside always – and we mean always – means that your heels will sink into the grass. Sinking heels is fine if the grass is dry and dirt packed solid, but if not, you’re assuring yourself a stuck heel and a groom that needs to pull your heel out of the ground before recessing, not to mention the risk of splattering dirt onto your dress or groom. For grassy terrain, we recommend thick heels or flats.

Wet or snowy terrain. If your wedding is in a location that experiences lots of rain or snow (think Seattle), you also have to prepare to walk on slippery, wet surfaces. Here again, we recommend shoes with rubber soles.

I encourage you to purchase the shoes you like, but also the shoes that make sense. I also encourage you to scuff-scuff-scuff! the soles and wear your shoes several times before you walk down the aisle…nobody wants to see you slip!