What do real brides have to say about the wedding planning experience? Well, it's not all happy tears at the bridal boutique and indulgent cake tastings. Guest blogger Jennifer Castoro shares the pros and cons of "the first look," the perks of letting your bridesmaids take over, and more.
I am not a big shoe girl. Sad, I know. I'll buy a pair or two for summer and another one for winter, but aside from that, I don't really have more than a handful of them in rotation at any given time. I probably own more pairs of sneakers than heels, so you'd think that given those pretty lax standards, choosing wedding shoes should be simple. A little sparkle, a decent heel, something cute and chic and comfortable to dance in and I'm set, right? If only, my friends. If only.
From the start, my mind was a little boggled by the possibilities. (I wonder if the shoe-choosing process was this complicated before Pinterest?) Should I pick something classic, like a peep-toe pump or a patent stiletto, or go for comfort, like I normally would? Lots of brides are doing their something blue in their shoes like the pair below—cute, but is it me? Is it acceptable to wear sandals and a red pedi in December? So many questions, such a small purchase.
Photo: Kay English Photography
Also on my mind was the height issue. I've always had a love-hate relationship with my height. Around my littler friends, I feel like the jolly brunette giant, especially when squatting down in group photos. But surrounded by the other members of the volleyball team I play on, I'm basically a shrimp. At 5-foot-7ish, there's no mistaking me for Heidi Klum, but I'm a bit taller than the average bear. My fiancé, Greg, is nice and tall, about 6'1", so when not wearing heels, I come up to just above his shoulder. (Perfect!) But in our engagement photos, in which I'm wearing about a 4-inch heel and he's in flat shoes, we're essentially eye-to-eye. I know it's a bit silly, but I just don't feel quite as feminine at that heel-enhanced height. Normally I'm totally fine with that, but the whole wedding thing has me feeling a little girlier than usual.
The last consideration is the most important: the one thing I am looking forward to most (beyond marrying Greg, obvs) about the wedding is dancing. I am a dancin' fool. I did many shimmies, wiggles, and booty shakes in the bridal salon to be sure my dress would take the abuse—and it does. So if my shoes in any way hinder my moonwalk, they will be tossed. Immediately.
I managed to find a pair that fit all my criteria—not too high, with a good-size platform and some sparkle—and took them to my first dress fitting. Almost immediately, the doubts crept in. First, I got a little tired of standing in them during the fitting. (But what heels are comfortable after an hour-plus of standing in the same spot?) Then I felt a little too tall. (But I was standing next to my mom, who's a bit of a shorty.) Then I thought maybe they didn't match the dress. (But what do I want, shoes made of chiffon?) Then the tailor asked if I was keeping these shoes and if she should hem the dress to match their height. And then I panicked.
Photo: Courtesy of J.Crew
In the moment, I decided to commit to the shoes. But I also formulated a backup plan, which seems pretty obvious in retrospect: post-ceremony flats (like the adorable ones above). Once I've walked down the aisle and taken the pictures and done our first dance, I won't really care if I suddenly shrink three inches and my dress sweeps the floor a bit. I figure it's a good compromise, a way to have my heels and still be able to feel my feet when I'm dancing at midnight. And anyway, if some brides can change into a new dress for act two, why can't I do a little shoe swap? I haven't bought the flats yet, though. Gold Chucks covered in glitter paint? Perhaps.
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