As the old saying goes, "beauty is pain"; and this couldn't be more true when you've sacrificed comfort for style in order to look like a glamorous goddess on the wedding day. While too-tight, too-heavy bridal gowns and blister-causing high heels might make for a stunning sight throughout the day, plenty of brides might struggle looking naturally poised while trying not to trip over trains, or moving around in beautiful-but-restrictive mermaid-style dresses. To help you stride down the aisle with grace and ease, we've put together a guide to mastering high heels and tight skirts for your wedding day.
Triumph over tight gowns
The fit of the wedding dress
At the bridal boutique, remember to try sitting down in your wedding dress. No matter how stunning that dress is, you need to consider walking away from one that’s tight around the ribs when standing up, as it'll be unbearable sitting down. Sitting down also helps you make sure that those precious buttons don’t pop on the big day or – worse! – that it won't rip at the seam.
Also, consider the fabric of the dress. If you’ve got a dress that leaves little room for breathing – much less walking – check with the salesperson if the fabric will stretch out over time. At your final fitting, check that your dress fits you perfectly well, especially at the core, so you know you're in absolute control of the movement of the dress as you walk.
A hoop can help
Some form-fitting dresses may feel like they're weighing you down, or clinging on to your legs, restricting your movement. If your mermaid or trumpet dress doesn't include a hoop, ask the bridal boutique for one. A dependable, flexible mermaid hoop pulls the dress away from the body, making it easier to walk in. Keep in mind that, when getting a hoop, look for one that hugs the hips and is not visible through the dress.
Strip off what you don’t need
Before the big day, make sure you try on the dress after the final alterations. If you’ve somehow gained a little weight, strip away the undergarments you’re planning to wear underneath – every bit of breathing room is important.
Mastering your moves
Stand with your shoulders back, chin up and back straight. As you walk, glide along with short, small steps (if your dress is really tight) or just keep to small to medium strides. Got a dress with a long train that threatens to bunch around your legs? A small kick will get your trailing fishtail out of the way.
Put your best foot forward
It takes loads of planning to steer clear of twisted ankles, stumbles on the aisle, blisters and irritability after a whole day of standing in what feels like torture devices. Here are our top tips for paying fierce attention to your feet...
Rethink the five-inch heels
While a pair of chic stilettos may look absolutely darling with your gown, it’s best to be realistic and remember that you’ll be walking down the aisle, posing for photos, dancing and walking around in them all day. You don’t want to be holding on to your groom’s arm for dear life, or tripping over a spiky heel caught in your dress.
Getting the right fit
Shop for shoes in the evening when your feet are the biggest. Once you’ve snagged the right pair, make sure to break them in by wearing them around the house weeks before the wedding – put in enough legwork and they’ll be comfortably moulded to the shape of your feet (goodbye blisters!).
The right heel height
Before splashing out on those fab steppers, you need to consider how much you’re willing to hem your dress to accommodate your heel height. Bring your heels to your final fitting so your tailor can adjust your dress accordingly for maximum ease in walking.
Don’t forget key shoe accessories
Need a little help getting those to-die-for heels fitting like a glove? Stock up on all the necessary shoe accessories to keep your tootsies cosy and snug. Protect your feet from blisters with heel cushions, make sure your shoe stays firmly on all night with padded heel grips, and get arch supports if your feet are on the flat side.
Start with good posture
Manolo Blahnik, the emperor of shoes himself, once said: "There’s nothing attractive about a woman who can’t walk in her shoes." Practise walking beforehand to commit a stable, strong posture to muscle memory. Relax your body with arms loose at the sides, as they’ll help you balance while you walk.
And finally, the best way to walk in heels...
When putting on your shoes, point your toes, arch your feet and slide into the heel. Wiggle your toes and spread them out. As you walk, clench your bottom, tip your pelvis slightly up and let your hips take your forward while the waist remains straight and motionless. Never rush in your stride, and imagine you’re walking down an invisible straight line.