Put on your dancing shoes


When Alisha Barnes wed in the fall of 2013 she knew she wanted to hit the dance

floor with her guests. To keep her feet happy, at her reception overlooking the Annapolis waterfront, she traded her white pumps for a pair of custom-embroidered purple Chucks.

Barnes is one of many brides who are ditching their heels in favor of comfortable flats decorated to reflect the bride’s personality or dovetail with the reception theme or color scheme.

“Comfortable reception shoes allows brides to enjoy the day more; they can dance without their feet hurting,” said Barnes.


Sure enough, with her feet tucked comfortably inside custom embroidered purple and teal Converse shoes, which matched their reception décor, Barnes and her husband Phil wowed their guests with their first dance to Dave Matthews Band’s “You and Me.”

Custom reception shoes can make for a special gift, too.

Sarah Fiedelholtz, who graciously stood up as this reporter’s maid of honor more than two years ago, surprised me with special flats as a bridal shower present. She researched Nordstrom’s embroidery options and had a pair of bright red Toms customized with the combined initials of myself and my husband.

She said she wanted the shoes to reflect the location of the event — the University of Maryland — and she “wanted something you wouldn’t just wear for the day, but could have as a keepsake.”

Cara Weiss, owner and president of Save the Date, attributes the trend to comfort.

“People are trying to change it up,” said Weiss, who is also a certified event planner. “Wearing the same shoe for too long is uncomfortable.”

The blinged-out look is very popular, she said, with brides opting for bedazzled flip-flops and high top converse sneakers studded in rhinestones.

But it’s not just brides who are getting in on the reception shoe action. Mothers of the bride are going for stylish FitFlops, which uses smart technology to provide comfort, and come in a variety of styles, colors and accents.

Weiss keeps two pairs of FitFlops in her emergency bag and changes into them at receptions.

“It’s got a bit of a heel, but it’s the most comfortable shoe you’ll wear in your life,” said Weiss, adding that the little bit of height is good for women worried about their long dresses dragging on the ground.

Guests are also being treated to comfortable footwear.

Through her website, savethedatemd.com, Weiss sells the increasingly popular Rescue Flats. These foldable ballet flats come 40 to a box in sizes small, medium and large. This is the adult version of passing out socks at a bar mitzvah party, and women love them. They can kick off their heels and dance without going barefoot.

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