Wedding Shoes Biography
Wedding shoes have an enchanting history that continues to influence the look of the footwear that today's brides choose for their stroll down the aisle.
Cinderella, the most famous princess bride, married her prince wearing sparkling glass slippers. Catherine de Medici, one of the first brides in history to walk down the aisle in high heels, inspired a fashion trend that continues today. Anglo-Saxon brides tossed shoes rather than bouquets to bridesmaids who hoped to be the next to marry. Brides in merry old England followed the directive that they wear "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue -- and a sixpence in her shoe" by tucking coins into their wedding slippers.Queen Victoria inspired millions of modern-day brides by choosing a white gown and white shoes for her wedding in 1840. Until then, blue was the color of choice for bridal ensembles. Princess Diana, a statuesque 5 feet 10 inches tall, chose low-heeled, pearl-encrusted, ivory silk flats for her wedding, so as not to tower over Prince Charles.
Contemporary Styles in Wedding Shoes
Today's brides make the journey from once upon a time to happily ever after in all manner of magic slippers -- high heels, low heels, sandals, pumps and even bejeweled flip-flops, says Anna Pezik, senior editor at Brides.com"These days, wedding shoes make a real fashion statement. No one wants a cookie-cutter look," says Pezik. "Brides are choosing their gowns and their accessories to reflect their own individual style. They're taking bridal shoes a step further than the traditional white satin pump."
In response, designers such as Vera Wang, Jimmy Choo, Stuart Weitzman, Kenneth Cole and Manolo Blahnik have filled shelves with wedding pumps, slingbacks, sandals and ballet flats in bronze, silver, gold and pewter metallic shades and soft pastels, as well as ivory and white. Detailing includes bows, beading, embroidery and lace. Heel heights and silhouettes range from flat to stiletto. Toes can be open, closed, pointed, rounded or squared.
"Are you planning a romantic wedding? A glamorous event? Bohemian rhapsody? Beach casual? A destination wedding?" Pezil asks. "Your gown and your shoe choice will help create the atmosphere."
The season's hottest styles, Pezik says, are strappy sandals and slingbacks.
"Wedding shoes are so gorgeous that no one wants to wear them for just one day and then put them in the closet," Pezik says. "Brides are choosing shoes that they can wear again."
Brides planning beach weddings have stylish choices that go beyond the humble rubber flip-flop.
"Stuart Weitzman makes an adorable jelly sandal with crystal accents and kitten heels," Pezik says. "You can also find bridal beach footwear with wedge heels and platform heels."
Even for the trendiest brides, tradition still plays a role. Several designers, including Fifi, line bridal footwear with azure-colored fabric to meet the "something blue" requirement.
Hints for Happy Feet
Before you say "I do" to a pair of shoes for your wedding, experts offer the following advice:
Don't sacrifice comfort for style. Remember that you'll be on your feet from your walk down the aisle to the last dance.
Choose a heel height you're used to wearing. A wider heel offers more support and stability.
To ensure a good fit, shop for shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are at their largest.
Bring your shoes with you to gown fittings so your hemline will be just the right length.
Wear the shoes around the house before the wedding to break them in a bit.
Blisters are the last thing a bride needs on her special day. Just in case, tuck bandages and moleskin into your wedding emergency kit.
Remember, new shoes can be slippery. Gently roughing the soles with a piece of sandpaper will help provide traction.
From walking down the aisle with your shoes untied in order to ease your future childbirth pains to wearing Chinese lotus shoes adorned with instructions on how to consummate the nuptials, wedding shoes have historically played a superstitious role in marriage ceremonies throughout the world.
"Shoes, in particular, have a rich history of being the focus of many auspicious practices," notes online authority All About Shoes. "From customs that encourage good fortune to playful traditions, these first steps of a newlywed couple are seen as setting them in the direction of a happy, fruitful and successful union."
Choosing a Bride
Selecting a bride by her shoe does not only belong to the realm of fairy tales. Just as Prince Charming unearthed his princess, the fair maiden Cinderella, by slipping the perfect glass slipper onto her dainty foot, men in imperial China chose their brides by examining handcrafted shoes. Since the embroidered designs contained important clues about the eligible bride's wealth, education and social class, a matchmaker paraded the shoes among the potential suitors. Once a match was made, the wedding arrangements would commence.
Shoes as Wedding Gifts
In several ancient societies, the groom was responsible for making his betrothed a symbolic pair of shoes for the wedding day to prove his devotion and ability to take care of her. In Marken, a small island in the Netherlands, grooms would carve wooden clogs that included intricate scrollwork designs and Gothic script. Zuni Native American men were responsible for making their brides' leather marriage boots.
In India, one of the most anticipated gifts a bride receives is a pair of ornate silver slippers from her groom's younger brother, which is presented during the marriage ceremony under a Hindu wedding mandap (canopy). But beautiful footwear is not just for the bride in India. The groom dons elaborately embroidered wedding shoes, which he takes off for the marriage ceremony. It is the bridesmaids' job to capture the shoes from the protective groomsmen and good-naturedly demand a costly ransom. Armenian wedding parties play a similar prank.
A Lucky Coin in the Shoe
Perhaps the tradition most brides are familiar with is, "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue -- and a silver sixpence in the shoe." Around the world, brides march down the aisle with coins tucked into their wedding shoes to ensure a prosperous marriage. As part of their dowry gift, Victorian brides carried the sixpence in the left shoe.
Although the coin has not been produced since 1967, renewed interest in the ancient tradition has inspired wedding vendors, such as SixpencePress.com, to create replicas and sweet keepsakes, although many modern brides simply use a penny instead.
The lucky coin is often transformed into keepsake jewelry after the ceremony, whether it becomes a bracelet charm, a dangling pendant or part of a ring setting. In several European cultures, the sixpence is saved and passed down from mother to daughter before the marriage ceremony begins.
There are numerous variations on this tradition, including Nordic brides who wear a silver coin from their fathers in the left shoe and a gold coin from their mothers in the right shoe to ensure she never goes without the things she needs for a happy life.
For a modern twist on this classic marriage rhyme, some wedding shoe designers now line the inside of the shoe in blue or imprint "I Do" on the outside sole.
Traditional American bridal shoes are white satin or silk, which usually complements the wedding dress material, and are embellished with sparkling crystals. Although white symbolizes death in Japanese culture, brides typically wear white shoes with accents of color to represent their hopes for a bright future.
To bless the couple's union with longevity and fertility, in the Longquan region of China's Zhejiang Province, the bride dons vivacious orange or pink slippers that are hand constructed by a grandmother who has living family from at least three generations. A pair of phoenixes picking peony flowers is embroidered on the upper front, and the inside is lined with an embroidered white cloth with the Chinese characters for double happiness.
History and Traditions for Wedding Shoes:
There are many weird yet wonderful customs and traditions when it comes to wedding shoes. Probably the most widely known is to tie shoes to the bumper of the newly weds car.
Older and less well known traditions include throwing shoes at the newly wed couple, the groom tapping his new bride on the forehead with the heel of her shoe to show authority over her, and also the bride throwing her shoes instead of her bouquet.
Traditions for Wedding Shoes
These traditions have possibly died out due to a breach of health and safety regulations!
In the UK there is a tradition of the bride wearing ‘something old, something new,’ originally stems from the wedding rhyme, ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.’ The silver sixpence placed in the bride’s shoe is a tradition and gesture of good luck. The father of the bride places the sixpence as a symbol of him wishing her prosperity, love and happiness in her marriage.
Hochzeit-Schuhe is a old German tradition where the bride has to collect pennies before she is even engaged to be married to then buy her wedding shoes. This tradition is meant to ensure that the marriage will start off on the right foot and have an ability to be frugal. On the wedding day the bride’s mother puts dill into the brides right shoe for luck.
Signing the sole of the wedding shoe, this trend has Turkish roots and traditionally the bride would get all her single bridesmaids and female relatives to sign the soles of her wedding shoes. At the end of the wedding night, whoever’s signature was most faded is said t be then next to marry.
At the wedding reception in Portugal the bride takes off her shoes. They are then used for the guests to put some money inside. The bride and groom use the money to finance their honeymoon.
In some sectors of Nepali and Indian culture there is a wedding tradition called “Joota Chupai” of steeling the groom shoes. The groom must remove his shoes before he gets on the stage where the wedding takes place. At this point, the bride’s family tries to steal his shoes and then ransom the shoes back to him. The groom’s family tries to protect the shoes and this involves some trickery with the groom’s friends or male cousins/brothers guarding the shoes, or even having a “decoy” pair of shoes to throw the brides sisters off. Inevitably scuffles can break out over the shoes and once the shoes are stolen the groom has to pay a bribe to get them back after the wedding ceremony.
An old and adorable Swedish wedding custom is for the bride to have coins in her wedding shoes. The left shoe should have a silver coin from her father, and the right shoe a gold coin given from her mother, the tradition is said to ensure the bride will never go without.