Dear VICE VERSA,
My big day is finally coming up in August. Thankfully, planning has been surprisingly smooth. I found my dress immediately. I found my venue right away. I absolutely love my caterer, bridesmaid dresses, DJ, florist, hair and makeup stylist, jewelry and honeymoon destination. (And partner!) I’m very lucky.
However, is anything ever perfect? I’ve been struggling to find a pair of bridal heels to wear with my wedding dress. I’m looking for the best bridal heels for weddings that will keep my feet comfortable, my morale high and my dancing enjoyable. Whenever I think I’ve found a pair, I worry they’ll be too high or too low or too trendy… and I never actually make the purchase. Do you have any advice on what I should look out for? Please send help.
XX, Shoeless in Love
A lot of ink gets spilled over finding the perfect dress, location, food and partner (for good reason, of course), but the question you ask is a good one: What about the shoes?
It’s not a decision you need to rush over, but there are several factors to consider when finding bridal heels for weddings. And as with any sartorial decision, a little bit of effort and planning goes a long way in how you feel while wearing your purchase. If ever there’s a day you want to feel good, it’ll be this one.
To understand how to find the best bridal heels for weddings, I asked a couple of experts in the wedding industry, including Dianis Mercado, a bridal stylist at The Stylish Bride.
Mercado has spent her career styling women as they dress for the red carpet, VIP events and their weddings and spends her time at The Stylish Bride helping brides understand how they want to look and achieve their unique visions on their wedding days.
“It’s a pleasure to really be working with women and families during such a huge time in their lives,” Mercado said. “It’s a day that they get to dress up to the nines and include every possible detail that they’ve been dreaming of for years.”
No detail gets left behind. So, what about the shoes?
There are a lot of options out there for bridal heels.
Are you looking for something trendy and new? Or maybe you want to go the classic, tried-and-true route? Are you willing to sacrifice on comfort for looks — or vice versa?
The first step in finding the right shoes for your wedding day is to get to know your own style.
“We have brides looking for trendy shoes at any cost, willing to sacrifice comfort and anything that that entails, while we have other brides that incorporate their ‘something blue’ with their shoe,” Mercado said. “And then we have others that want just classic… it depends on the bride what role their shoe is going to play in their look.”
Mercado said she first wants to understand a bride’s wedding theme and setting. Is she getting married on a sandy beach, grassy lawn or on concrete? What kind of look is she going for — glam, natural, bohemian chic, for example? Then, she seeks to understand her personal style and anticipated comfort levels. Does she often wear heels or does she spend most of her life in flats, sandals or sneakers?
Depending on those factors, Mercado helps brides understand which shoe shapes, heights and styles make the most sense for them.
There’s some evergreen advice Mercado said The Stylish Bride tells brides every year: “You need to find a shoe that checks the box of being pretty and can actually wear without regret.”
That’s the dream.
Wedding days are many things — joyful, beautiful, emotional — but they’re also long and involve a lot of time spent on your feet walking, standing and dancing.
Mercado suggests everyone involved in the wedding should pack a bag with at least a couple of shoe options for various points in the day, just in case.
Wedding planner and event designer Katharine Phillips said she has seen brides and bridesmaids choose gorgeous high heels that look great in wedding photos… but leave them in pain on the dance floor by the end of the night.
“You have that challenge of: ‘Okay, it’s fashionable and it looks really cool, but how great is it going to last throughout the day?”
Phillips encourages brides to wear in their bridal heels around the house in the weeks leading up to their wedding day to make them more comfortable for the long hours they will be spending in the shoes.
If you pack a bag, be sure to include blister covers and bandages — not just to take care of the heels for the bride, but for her bridesmaids and family too. Mercado packs “everything that supports the wedding party for the day” for her brides.
“There’s a whole side of taking care of women that are not used to a heel for a full day,” Mercado said.
It’s all up to the bride whether (and by how much) she wants to change her look up from day to night. Mercado sees some brides change into an entirely new outfit for their reception, complete with more comfortable dancing shoes, which are often flat shoes or sneakers.
With a bag packed and new shoes on standby, you have more options for your bridal heels because you can change into something more comfortable later. Or you could simplify things more and opt for a pair of convertible heels, which fold down into flats and back into heels. Years have gone into VICE VERSA’s collection of convertible heels for moments exactly like these — when you want to wear heels, but you want to wear flats too.
And remember: “It’s not a sprint of an event. It is a full-on marathon,” Phillips said.
Gone are the days of all brides following similar traditions.
At the end of the day, the best bridal heels are the ones that make you feel like yourself, so wear what suits you the most.
Mercado said she’s been noticing younger brides gravitating towards accessories that are out of the ordinary, such as a low-heel slingback pair of bridal heels, mules, sneakers, platform sandals or embellishments like feathers.
“There’s no trend that really matters because the focus is her and what she wants to wear,” Mercado said.
Your bridal heels can also be a way to cherish the special memories from your wedding forever. Whether they stay pristine in your closet for the rest of your life or you get a lot of cost-per-wear out of them by wearing them all the time, they will always return you back to the day when it was all about you.
If you can count on anything, it’s that many, many brides before you have faced the same dilemma. What about the shoes?
And they must have found their answers, because not a lot of brides walk the aisle barefoot (although some do, but that’s probably on purpose).
To find your best bridal heels — a pair you love and actually want to wear — you’ll need to do your research. It doesn’t have to feel like homework. Instead, treat it like a special mission where your important duties include watching movies, perusing Pinterest and going down Instagram rabbit holes discovering new brands. Invite your bridesmaids to help.
Here’s one rabbit hole to fall into first: immerse yourself in cinema style to find a stroke of inspiration. Watch fashionable old movies, such as Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face (that red gown!), Maggie Cheung in In the Mood for Love and Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief. Whenever a vintage look evokes a reaction in you, write down what you think the cause may be: Hair? Dress? Attitude? Potential bridal heels?
In the old days, many women sacrificed comfort more often than we like to today. While old Hollywood starlets wore heels everywhere (at least on camera), we have the advantage of evolving beauty standards and new technology in our favor.
Peruse VICE VERSA’s debut collection of convertible heels — inspired by old Hollywood glamour meeting modern technology — for the best of both worlds.