Since brides happily dole out 5 figures for designer or custom wedding gowns, it would seem an odd (and poor) choice to mess up the accessories — primarily, the shoes. Whether that means choosing a color that clashes with your dress, or embellishments (like beading) that pull and cause damage to the dress, mistakes below the ankles can cause for seriously whack wedding photos (and very unhappy brides).
Luckily, “The days of always having a perfect pump dyed to match are over,” Mark Ingram, of NYC’s Mark Ingram Atelier told us. “The rules are not as strict as they used to be.” Still, you want to pick the perfect shoe. That’s why we consulted Mark, whose worked closely with brides for decades, and Lindsey Ackerman, who reps the wildly-popular-among-brides Nina Shoes brand, to tell us what shoes work best with each dress type (down to the material, color and style):
Lace: “Lace gowns are soft and romantic and call for the same in a shoe,” Lindsey advises. “A pale blush color accents a lace gown beautifully. Brides wearing a lace gown may also want to steer clear of too many embellishments or ornaments on their shoes, as lace can easily become stuck in a shoe embellishment while walking.” Embellishments aren’t the only thing brides wearing lace gowns, like Kate Middleton’s iconic Alexander McQueen dress should avoid. “I would recommend staying away from a lace embroidered shoe,” Mark advises, “So the laces wont clash or compete.”
Tulle: Lucky you, tulle brides, you’ve chosen a versatile material! According to Mark, tulle works with satin, leather or fabric shoes. Lindsey suggest having fun with tulle pairings. “Tulle gowns are usually full, fun and playful so get carried away and add a pop of unexpected color under all those layers.” This could be a bright colored shoe, or even a colored sole. The only thing you should avoid with tulle? Beaded shoes, which can catch the tulle and cause it to rip, or, “worse, cause the bride to trip!” warns Mark.
Silk or Satin: It all depends on how much sheen your silk or satin gown has. “If your satin wedding gown is on the shiny side opt for a metallic,” advises Lindsey. “A metallic shoe can really help accentuate gown details and any other jewelry you choose to wear.” Not a fan of metallics? Try an embroidered or lace shoe, Mark suggests.
Jersey: This incredibly comfortable, and slightly casual gown material calls for a bold shoe statement. “The matte look of a jersey gown pairs nicely with a beaded shoe,” Mark suggests.
White vs. Ivory: White is trickier to match than ivory and off-white gowns, so give yourself enough time to pair the shoe. “Order the shoes in advance to make sure the whites match,” Lindsey advices. “A white shoe should really only be worn with a white gown,” Mark confirms, “But ivory can be paired with most shades.”
Outdoor Weddings: Keep your surroundings in mind, in addition to the dress, when choosing your shoe. “A strappy heeled sandal or any type of open toed heel is best for outdoors,” says Mark. “Sometimes soft grass and sand may require a flatter sandal or even a wedge.”
Still have questions? Mark & Lindsey stuck around to give some additional tips:
1. Go For A Universally Chic Shoe. According to Lindsey, there is one style that truly works for everyone. “A metallic shoe is a surefire way to go, because metallics act as a neutral for special occasions, especially for a bride.”
2. Keep Your Personal Style & The Wedding Theme In Mind. According to Mark, a bride should consider: “how tall she would like to be next to her groom, how well she can walk in a heel, and what style will best reflect your gown and overall theme of your wedding. For example, a cowboy boot may not go with a ballgown, but if your wedding is on a Ranch out West, the look can be pulled off.”
3. Choose A Best-Selling Shoe. Go to your favorite online retailer, like Zappos and Nordstrom, and sort the bridal styles by “best-sellers.” This may be a good indicator of what shoes work for modern brides. According to Lindsey, “The Nina Forbes Heel ($79.95), Nina Culver Pump ($78.95) and the Nina Evelixa Peep-toe Pump ($69.95) are Nina’s top sellers.
4. Try DYO: That’s “Design Your Own,” a feature which many sites, including Nina’s website, have these days. “All are completely customizable down to the heel height and sole color.” Try the best-selling Forbes or Evelixa styles from this section.
Which designers are you looking to for your wedding shoe-spiration? We’re partial to Charlotte Olympia’s latest bridal collection ourselves.