As if picking out bridesmaid gowns isn’t a project of its own, selecting shoes for your wedding party to don at your wedding is just one more thing to add to the to-do list. Luckily for you, this is something that can easily be handed off to your maids, if you so choose.
Start by asking yourself how involved you want to be. If you’re not all that picky, and you’ve asked your crew to get metallic, strappy heels, that might be where your responsibility ends. However, if you’re hoping to have your maids rock matching cowboy boots on the big day, expect to put in a little more effort.
Nonetheless, there are a few simple steps that you can take and considerations that you can make when finding the best shoes for your bridesmaids.
As with any other aspect of the wedding planning process, you’re going to want to kick off the bridesmaid shoe search with a few photos to serve as inspiration. This will help you get a feel for the styles, colors, and textures that you’re naturally drawn to. As you gather ideas for your wedding party, make sure that you not only pay attention to what shoes are available (or are likely to be available, if you’re planning ahead), but also what bridesmaid dresses they’re worn with. By picking images with dresses similar to those of your maids, you’ll have a clearer idea of what pairs well with that particular style.
Like with the gowns, there comes a point where you need to decide what kind of look you’re going for. Do you prefer a signature high heel for the wedding ceremony, or do you want to go for a comfortable shoe with a block heel? If your bridesmaids have identical gowns, maybe you decide to give them free rein with footwear. Or, if they’re already rocking mismatched gowns, maybe you’re leaning toward matching shoes to make the overall look more cohesive.
Just remember that there are many ways to coordinate outside of simply picking identical styles. This could be as simple as picking a specific color or having your maids create an ombre effect with different shades of the same hue. You can always loop in other accessories, such as matching necklaces, to complete the look, too.
Naturally, they’re the ones wearing the shoes, so they’re likely to have some opinions. For example, maybe you’re picturing extra high heels, but your maids don’t feel comfortable strutting around in stilettos all night. They may encourage you to consider kitten heels instead, or suggest allowing a second, more comfortable option to dance in. A block heel is also known to be a more comfortable shoe style that still looks great with most dresses. Or, maybe they’ve been in multiple weddings before and have some ideas that you never would’ve thought of yourself. After all, they’re your bridesmaids for a reason. Don’t be afraid to run your ideas by them, and make sure that each one has a final say in what they wear.
Unlike dresses, bridesmaid shoes are generally something that your wedding party hopes to wear again. Which means that if you pick a yellow suede heel or pink cowboy boots, you might get some weary looks. This is one of the only instances in the wedding planning process where it’s best to play it safe. Black, taupe, navy, and silver are all great options to consider if you want to give your maids some freedom and encourage them to purchase something that they’ll wear again.
However, if you want your bridesmaids to amp up the color, consider more user-friendly options such as jewel tones or dusty pink. No matter the hue, make sure that you give your maids the flexibility to at least pick the exact shade or style for the special occasion.
This may seem like an obvious one, but no matter how much you (or your maids) love a certain pair of shoes, you have to make sure that the footwear works with the dresses and venue. Pointy heels may work great with a more formal, full-length gown, but will seem out of place with a sundress or flirty romper. The same goes for more informal shoes, such as flats and wedges. While they look great with casual dresses and beachy ensembles, they generally won’t work with a black-tie gown.
Lastly, make sure that you also keep dress length in mind. The higher the heel, the shorter the dress, so if you’re opting for shorter dresses, consider flats or sandals with a low heel. The last thing you want is for your bridesmaids to be uncomfortable due to a fashion faux pas that was entirely preventable.
This particularly applies to beach and barn settings, where heels are generally uncomfortable and out-of-place. With more traditional wedding venues, such as churches, hotels, and banquet halls, you’re likely to have a bit more flexibility. For a semi-formal backyard or country club wedding ceremony, a versatile pair of block heels is a smart choice. However, if you’re eloping at a national park, then don’t even entertain the idea of wearing heels. Cute flats (or even glitzy sneakers) should work just fine.
Make sure that you also consider the season of the wedding. Late spring, summer, and early fall weddings make shoe shopping simple, but that isn’t always the case. If you’re having a winter wedding, the last thing you want is for your wedding party to freeze their toes off as you read your vows. While formal booties are an option, tights (or even stylish socks) can make pumps and strappy heels more comfortable in the colder months.