Start a conversation with any woman about shoes and you will quickly see a sparkle in her eye. Shoes can singlehandedly change the look of your outfit from quirky to classy, seductive to sassy, casual to elegant. Hard to believe but, it’s true – diamond’s may be a girls’ best friend but, shoes are a close second and they are most definitely the window to her soul. For many years bridesmaids were asked to take a swatch from the bridesmaid gown to the store where they would buy a pair of (probably not very cute or comfortable) dye-able shoes, the shoes were supposed to match the gown exactly and believe me… when they were a bit off, the bride would have a fit. Seriously… a fit! No matter how great the dress was, the bridesmaids would inevitable roll their eyes when the discussion turned to the bridesmaid shoe. Times have changed and now the shoe takes center stage as the single most important accessory for bridesmaids.
How to find the perfect bridesmaid shoe:
Just as you would take the ladies to a salon to try on bridesmaid gowns and find the one dress they all feel or look good wearing, you should do the same with shoes. This is easier than you think since so many salons carry shoes, plus if you are already together, it would make sense to stop by a shoe store, wedding accessory store or your favorite department store as a group and see who can walk in the shoes you all agree look best. There will be some compromising and just as with the bridesmaid dress, you have to have a good idea of what you want before you walk into the store.
Do not get distracted by questions like “Can I wear these again”. That is not the point. The point is if they will be wearable for this one day, this one event, this one moment in time where they will be photographed endlessly and talked about for eternity.
Be creative with your shoe choices. The current theme is eclectic when it comes to bridesmaid shoes. Think about the brides who choose to have the bridesmaid shoes match their bouquet, the shoes that match another color in the wedding the shoes that are a bright contrasting color but all match one another. Do not have each girl pick a different color shoe of the same style. It might sound adorable but, the photos do not lie and it winds up looking like everyone got a sidetracked at a rainbow shoe sale.
No cork heels. Even of the shoe is sparkly and sassy and expensive. There may be some exceptions like a garden wedding with flirty floral bridesmaid gowns or a beach affair with a strappy sundress. However, if you have any doubts that a cork heel is too casual – don’t do it. Instead, try a wedge heel which can transition from casual to dressy depending upon the material of the shoe and the style.
Consider making the shoes their wedding gift. This will ease the pain of having to buy a pair of shoes they may not wear ever again. Instead of begrudgingly having to spring for a pair of pink stilettos, they will be happy to have an extra pair of ‘friends’ in their closet, even ones that they might only wear once a year.
Stay away from strappy shoes. Shoes with thin straps, even if they are made of good quality leather, will definitely hurt by the end of the ceremony and most likely cause blisters by the end of the night. The best solution is to find a less ‘strappy’ version of a similar shoe…. or remember to bring a ton of band-aids, you will need them.
Don’t let the price fool you. More expensive shoes are made of higher quality materials, they have designer labels and are packaged, handled, marketed and sold more exclusively. However, a $800 pair of bridesmaid shoes can still hurt your feet. If you ask your bridesmaids to buy expensive shoes, be extra careful to ensure they are comfortable for everyone.
Study your shoe designers and the way they fit before you set your heart on something to avoid being disappointed. Stuart Weitzman shoes are much narrower, Manolo Blahnik have shorter vamp, and the list goes on. FYI – toe overhang is the eighth deadly sin.
If you spend a little time doing research, listen to the bridesmaids concerns and stay within your budget, the shoes you help select will be a fashion statement, a great photo op, a conversation point and the perfect accessory for your entire bridal party.
-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago