May 15, 2013 at 1:32 PM ET
Elegant stilettos might be the traditional choice of brides who want some extra height, but a growing number of those walking down the aisle are opting for the ease of a flat shoe.
Actress Keira Knightly recently wed musician James Righton in a strapless pink Chanel dress and jacket, finished off by a pair of ballet flats, also made by the French house. The feminine and unfussy look has been gaining momentum.
“I wore flats (to my wedding) because I wanted to be comfortable and I figured it would be one less thing to worry about,” New York City real estate developer Pamela Horn told TODAY.com. Horn's Cape Cod ceremony in 2012 was held on slightly sandy terrain that called for simple, silver Ralph Lauren sandals to go with her floor-length dress.
“They were a little fancy,” she said, “but not covered in jewels so I could wear them after the wedding.”
Poughkeepsie, New York-based cheese maker Audrey Aponte has purchased a pair of metallic TOMS slip-ons for her July nuptials, for the obvious comfort factor and the bit of shimmer they’ll add to her ivory Nicole Miller gown.
“I’m 5’10”, I don’t need the height,” she said. “And the wedding is on a farm in Portland, Maine, so it’s not super formal.”
Aside from comfort and functionality, many brides hope to add more personality to their wedding day ensemble by eschewing high heels.
Costume designer and stylist Emily Morgan DeAngelis wore ballet flats to her 2006 wedding in Grand Rapids, Mich. and has been dressing brides in a variety of flats over the past year. She recently robed a bride in a Grecian-inspired gown paired with gold strappy sandals.
“I think flats are chic and unpretentious. They are the wildflower bouquet of footwear,” said DeAngelis, “They can be delicate, preppy, or elegant depending upon the style and cut. They feel modern and fresh, rather than the stuffy and traditional bridal heel."
Harmony Walton, owner of Los Angeles bridal concierge The Bridal Bar, says that flats were originally a choice made because the bride didn’t want to be taller than the groom. (She should know — she worked on Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise’s 2006 wedding, in which Holmes wore flats.) They have evolved, however, into a statement piece.
“I’ve seen a lot of cowboy boots, flip-flops and custom Converse sneakers that match the groom," Walton told Today.com. "Tea-length and short dresses are a big trend now and they look good with flats. It’s very Audrey Hepburn and fashion appropriate.”
Tieks has had so much success with brides and bridesmaids wearing their ballet flats that they now have an in-house wedding coordinator to assist women looking for the right shoes to wear on their big day.
“It's easy for brides to coordinate their flats with the bridesmaid dresses,” Tieks' wedding coordinator Amanda Cogswell told TODAY.com. Some popular color choices include metallic gold (which "The Bachelorette" star Ashley Hebert chose for her bridesmaids), ballerina pink, and cream.
Cogswell adds that she recently worked with a bride who chose an assortment of colors for each bridesmaid to match their personalities. “From neon to sparkle, she wanted to make sure the girls had exactly their favorite colors to add a fun pop to the wedding party attire.”
The sole of each pair of Tieks is emblazoned in a robin’s egg blue, immediately giving a bride “something blue” on her wedding day. Plus, of course the assurance of knowing that she won’t be hobbling off the dance floor once the party gets going.
"I absolutely hate wearing high heels," said Caitlin O'Brient Bauer, a Los Angeles-based owner of a social media marketing company who was married in 2011 in blue Tieks. "They're comfy, beautiful, and easy to move in... and they definitely made for some spectacular dancing shoes."