If you've ever worn a bra, you know there's a big difference between style and function. A no-nonsense cotton bra with wide straps and a secure hook will be comfortable and stay where it belongs all day long. No one will be writing poems about it, or the way you look in it, though. The flip side is that a delicate, lacy bra that makes your skin look creamy soft and emphasizes your curves may also itch like crazy and make you feel like you've been stuffed into a vice. There's a lesson here: You can have both style and function in your undergarments -- and wedding shoes -- but maybe not both in equal measure.
- Choose shoes that fit -- Insist on shoes that fit your feet. Most shoe stores will measure your feet to determine the right size for you. Take advantage of this service before you shop. Your feet keep growing throughout your lifetime, so they may be a half size larger than the last time you checked. Your two tootsies aren't both the same size, either. Knowing the facts will help you land on your feet -- and into the right shoes.
- Timing matters -- When you shop for wedding shoes may have an impact on how well they'll fit on the big day. Over the course of the day, your feet swell at least a little. Always shop for shoes in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest. That way, you'll avoid shoes that pinch.
- Take a walk -- After you try on a pair of shoes, walk around the shoe department in them for a few minutes. Get a feel for the way they respond on carpet as well as hard surfaces. Are they slippery? Do they rub in the heal area? The more comfortable the shoes feel now, the fewer problems you'll have later.
- Wear what works for you -- Consider wearing what you're familiar with. If you typically wear shoes with 2-inch heels, they may be your best bet. Within that description, you'll be able to find hundreds if not thousands of shoes that will fit the bill. Instead of choosing 4-inch stiletto heels you'll have to train yourself to wear (or risk falling off them in the middle of the wedding), choose pumps with the heel support you expect and a height you know you can manage. Weddings are stressful enough without worrying about potential shoe disasters.
- Stick with natural fibers -- Shoes made from synthetic materials like plastic can look great, but synthetics have less flexibility than leather and natural fibers like silk. Synthetics don't breathe well either, which makes them hot -- sometimes very hot. If you don't want your feet on fire on your wedding day, stick with natural, breathable materials.
- Refine and embellish -- There are lots of ways to choose special wedding shoes that aren't flimsy or treacherous to wear. Embellishments like crystals, ribbons and cloth flowers are very popular, as are some unexpected decorative options like metallic finishes and shoes sporting animal prints.
- Keep it comfortable -- You want your wedding shoes to be spectacular, and you may even be willing to sacrifice a little comfort for the sake of fashion. If that's an acceptable trade, you might be able to have the best of both worlds: Go for the perfect if painful shoes for the ceremony, and then change into ballet flats for the reception. Ballet bridal shoes are becoming more and more popular and accepted -- even for the big walk down the aisle -- and you can't beat them for comfort.