There are many details that go into finalizing your wedding day look—your hairstyle, your makeup, accessories—but second only to the dress is your wedding shoes. The shoes you opt to wear on your wedding day are a big decision (you will wear them for hours on end) and there’s a lot to consider, such as heel height, style, and comfort level. Whether you’re looking to add a pop of personality to your ensemble or simply avoid aching feet, there are a few key steps when it comes to finding pumped up (or flat) kicks for the big day. Not sure where to start? Here are instructions for how to choose your wedding shoes.

How To Choose Your Wedding Shoes

1. Buy your wedding dress first.

  • Your wedding shoes should complement the style and formality of your dress first and foremost. You can’t guarantee that will happen if you purchase the shoes before finding your wedding dress.
  • The length and cut of your dress will determine how much of your shoes will be visible and what type of shoe (and heel height) you should wear. If you’re wearing a tea-length gown, your shoes will get a lot more attention than if you’re wearing a floor-grazing dress with a long train.

2. Set your shoe goals (and budget).

  • Before you begin browsing, determine how much you’d like to spend on your wedding shoes. Having a budget will help narrow your search.
  • Think about what you want to achieve with your wedding shoes:
    • Do you want your shoes to make a statement or be more conversative?
    • Are you matching shoes with your partner?
    • Does style or comfort matter most to you?
    • Do you want to wear one pair of shoes all day?
    • Do you want to invest in a quality pair?
  • Many brides choose to let their shoes serve as “something blue,” while others would rather match their shoes to the color of their dress or the wedding palette. Think about where you stand on the bold color vs. neutral or white wedding shoe spectrum.
  • Ask yourself if you’re a high-heels kind of person. If you often wear heels comfortably throughout your regular life, then you will probably be fine wearing heels to your wedding. If you can barely walk in heels, however, opt for what makes you most comfortable.

3. Consider your venue.

  • Keep the location of your wedding in mind when choosing your wedding shoes. Heels likely aren’t the best choice for a beach wedding.
  • Be mindful of your venue: Many sets of stairs? Gravel pathways? Slippery dance floor? Consider these key details and how certain types of shoes will hold up in these environments.

4. Watch the weather.

  • In case of inclement weather, have a plan B in mind for your wedding shoes. Wet grass, mud, or puddle-filled sidewalks won’t work well with dainty flats or sky-high stilettos.
  • For soggy weather situations, considering wearing a pair of cute, rubber rain boots under your wedding dress—at least during the outdoor portions of your day, such as while taking portraits. If you face snow on your big day, furry winter boots make for fun photos when paired with your wedding gown.

5. Shop around.

  • It can be tempting to purchase the first pair of shoes that you fall in love with, but we encourage you to shop around and weigh all your options before buying.
  • Online inventory tends to be broader than what you find in store, so it’s a good idea to begin your search on the web and then shop in stores for your favorite styles.

7. Prioritize comfort.

  • Consider whether the shoe will be comfortable enough to wear throughout the day and most of the night, too. Looking back on your wedding day, you’ll want to remember all of the special moments, not how much your feet hurt.
  • Try preventative tactics for avoiding shoe pain, like applying liquid Band-aid in sensitive areas or taping your third and fourth toes together (trust us, it works!).
  • Have flats or even chic sneakers on hand just in case your arches need to take it easy after a few hours on the dance floor.

8. Take them to your dress fittings.

  • If your dress requires alterations, make sure to take your shoes with you to each dress appointment. The seamstress will be able to tailor your dress to match the heel height.
  • Seeing your shoes with your dress will also confirm that you like how they look together before the big day (and while you still have time to keep shopping).

Dos & Don’ts of Wedding Shoes

Do’s

  • Break them in. Regardless of comfort level (but especially if you’re wearing heels), practice wearing them around the house to break them in before your wedding.
  • Have a backup pair. Even if the shoes you’ve chosen are extremely comfy, it’s always a good idea to have a backup pair on hand. That way, if a shoe disaster (such as a snapped heel or bad weather) arises, you have another pair to slip on.

Don’ts

  • Wait until the last minute to buy. The longer you wait to purchase your wedding shoes, the less time you have to determine if you really like them with your dress and to break them in before the wedding.
  • Buy without trying them on. Even if you prioritize style over comfort, it’s critical to know that your wedding shoes fit and feel comfortable before you buy.

Whether you lace, strap, slide, or shuffle into your wedding shoes, make sure they compliment your wedding venue and formality, the length and style of your dress, and your level of comfort. Most of all, make sure your wedding shoes reflect your personality. Then make sure to show them off in proper style, and have a toe-tapping good time getting married in them on your big day.