the new demand for customized wedding shoes

the new demand for customized wedding shoes

A Few Thoughts on Her Shoes

It’s not only about the dress. For some brides these days, the shoes are commanding as much attention as the gown. Brides are kicking aside the classic white or ivory pumps in favor of bright pops of color, floral patterns, those bedazzled with bling, accentuated with feathers and lace, and even their own customized pair.

“A designer wedding gown may be out of budget, but this is a once-in-lifetime chance to splurge on a pair of high-fashion heels,” said Cathy Schroeckenstein, the editor in chief of Weddingbee, a bridal blog.

Rather than flout custom completely, some women stick with the traditional gown but “go all out with their shoes to add an element of whimsy and reflect their personality,” she said. “If towering neon heels are a little too wild for grandma, it’s not like you’re going to see them all night long or in all the photos.” All brides, she added, “want people to remember specific details of their day, like ‘Did you see her hot-pink shoes?’ ”

Brides are coordinating their shoes to their invitations, flowers or event décor, Ms. Schroeckenstein said. In a survey by Weddingbee last month of 595 women, 41 percent favored “bold/bright colored” shoes for an upcoming wedding; 17 percent chose white or ivory.

An investment in a pair of statement shoes, not the staid white pair, allows them to be worn long after the wedding day, said Andrea Wasserman, the national bridal director of Nordstrom. Some of the store’s brides have paid as much as $500 to $1,000-plus for shoes from designers including Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade and Badgley Mischka. And for that amount of couture cachet, the shoes are hitting the pavement even when the honeymoon is over.

In addition, Monique Lhuillier and the wedding planner David Tutera have both introduced their first bridal shoe collections for this year, which include features like lace overlays, feathers and jewels.

According to Ms. Wasserman, the 2008 “Sex and the City” movie popularized royal blue wedding shoes when Carrie Bradshaw wore a pair of Blahniks to marry Mr. Big. “The trend is stronger than ever,” she said, as designers add various shades of blue, from Tiffany to royal, to their wedding lines for brides who want to turn the something-blue tradition “into a killer pair of heels.”

In March, Ms. Wasserman added, Nordstrom introduced the shoe collection of the fashion designer Betsey Johnson in black, blue, white, ivory and silver. All have a new signature: a baby blue sole.

Another trend: shoes in all shades of green, from mint to emerald, Ms. Schroeckenstein said, including the Lady Dragon plastic jelly pumps by Vivienne Westwood.

And if finding the dream shoe is harder than finding a mate, allows brides to choose the style, color, material, toe shape and heel height and add an array of embellishments. At, a bride can customize each pair with hand-painted designs by Deborah Thomson, a graphic artist, including names, dates and sentimental details of a couple’s love story. Or, a bride can do it herself by decorating her footwear with paint, glitter, shoe clips and “I DO” stickers on the soles, said Jen Campbell of the Green Wedding Shoes blog that offers creative tutorials. “Our site is all about showing women how their weddings don’t have to be cookie-cutter and that it’s O.K. to break tradition.”

Jeni Elizabeth Paolella, 33, can’t decide which shoes to wear for her wedding on June 15. She has three pairs of $1,000-plus red-soled Louboutins in waiting. The royal blue crystal slingbacks, powder blue peep-toe pumps and yellow crystal platforms with a six-inch heel are displayed under spotlights on her living room shelves.

Ms. Paolella, a stylist in Los Angeles who admits to a “serious addiction to amazing shoes,” said, “By the time I get to the wedding day, I am certain I will have six pairs.”

And she doesn’t have a dress yet.