Typical of today’s fearless new trends in wedding fashions, this season’s bridal shoes are anything but boring.
Modern brides are trading veils for beaded headbands, buttoned-up receptions for lawn games and spiked lemonade, and tiered cakes for mini dessert buffets.
So it’s perfectly natural that they’re rejecting the traditional — and often dull — ivory satin heels of past generations for candy-colored patent leather pumps, lace booties and glittery peep-toes.
“I believe Christian Louboutin started this trend in 2006 with his blue-soled wedding shoe,” said Constance Curtis, owner of Constance Curtis Events in L.A. “It allowed brides to have something blue, as well as go outside of the box with a nontraditional wedding shoe. But when it was discontinued the following year, brides continued the trend and took it a step further with an entirely blue shoe.”
Stilettos in all shades of azure, from pale aqua to navy, began to appear on the aisle, planting the seeds for this creative footwear trend. And the palette has expanded considerably since then, said Orange County’s Simply Modern Weddings owner Christina Wright.
“Choosing more untraditional and colored shoes has definitely increased since then, as wedding trends are beginning to focus more on personal style,” she said.
In fact, top Southern California wedding planners and stylists said that 70% to 80% of their brides are choosing nonwhite, fun and fashion-forward footwear.
“We would almost be surprised to see someone wearing a traditional shoe at this point,” said Tori Hendrix and Myka Haddad, the wedding styling duo behind L.A.’s Sitting in a Tree.
“I think brides are becoming a lot more savvy and in tune with design and décor, and really putting their own personal touch on weddings,” said Brooke Keegan of Brooke Keegan Weddings & Events. Many of her brides want to splurge, and she always recommends they buy shoes that they love and will wear again.
“You’re spending $500 to $800 on shoes and you’re likely not going to wear white again, so buy something fun,” Keegan said.
Hendrix and Haddad are seeing brides gravitating toward “crazy runway shoes — lots of Louboutins with staggering heels,” they said. “We’re also seeing a lot of embellishment: fabric flowers, sparkly things being added, ribbons and bows, and even hand-painting on the shoes.”
While some find it difficult to break with the past, footwear “is a place that is pretty safe to go with color or play with tradition,” said Hendrix and Haddad. “Girls seem comfortable pushing the limits a bit here because [the shoes] are hidden underneath a long dress, and they offer a surprise element.”
Some brides match their footwear with the wedding’s theme colors, groom’s tie or even venue (such as cowboy boots for a rustic barn ceremony or sequined pumps for a more glamorous affair), while others opt for sandals or heels in a range of metallics, blush and neutral glitter fabric.
Curtis calls these the “timeless shoe” because they pair well with the ivory-, cocoa- and honey-hued gowns that designers such as Monique Lhuillier are creating. Jimmy Choo’s Opulence style is a pink shoe that “is definitely not traditional, but it’s timeless,” Curtis said.
For recent Calabasas bride Ashley Bachmann, the search for an alternative shoe was a no-brainer. “I knew I didn’t want the classic white/ivory shoe, so I started to look for something fun and playful but not in an overly bold color,” she said.
Bachmann chose a friend’s pair of bow-adorned neutral and metallic gold peep-toes as her “something borrowed.” “They added a little pop of color under my dress, they were a classic shape and they were comfortable,” she said.
As soon as a bride selects her wedding gown, she can start looking for shoes that speak to her style aesthetic. And a wedding is the perfect excuse to purchase the Jimmy Choos or Manolo Blahniks she’s been eyeing, Curtis said.
All the planners agree that comfort is key. And though “a rhinestone-jeweled strappy shoe will always be in style, some brides don’t even care if it’s classic and timeless, they just go with what looks right with their gown and feels comfortable,” said Mary Zerkie, store manager of Les Habitudes in L.A.
Always go with your gut — don’t pick shoes simply based on trends, said Keegan. After all, they’ll be worn on special occasions year after year.
“The most important thing when selecting your wedding attire is to ask yourself, ‘Does this make me feel special, empowered, sexy?’ Also, there are no rules! Your day, your way,” said Curtis.
– Emerson Patrick, Custom Publishing Writer