Let’s talk about shoes. Specifically, your wedding shoes. An Indian wedding involves several events, some of which may be combined or omitted entirely, but here’s the basic gist:

  • Mehndi
  • Sangeet
  • Haldi
  • Ceremony
  • Reception

The footwear requirements of each event is different, so let’s talk about what you should expect and consider some ideas for footwear that is both practical and special enough to be designated “wedding shoes.”

(1) Mehndi

If you’re the bride, you will be seated for most of this event. In fact, you will be stationery, in one place, imitating a statue for probably 5-6 hours while artistic experts in the world of henna decoration adorn your hands, feet, arms, ankles, and maybe even your legs with intricate mehndi designs. This is an event during which you should probably not plan to wear shoes.

Think about it this way: if you wear shoes to the event, and you start by having your hands decorated with henna, what happens when it’s time to switch to your feet? You have wet henna on your hands, and you need to take off your shoes, which means you’ll have to enlist a family member to do the work for you. Why not skip the awkward auntie-by-foot encounter altogether and leave the joote at home? Don’t worry, you can still make the rest of yourself fancy.

(2) Sangeet

The soon-to-be-married couple is going to sit for a bit and then dance the night away at this pre-wedding meeting of the families. Wear something comfortable but spectacular. Your mehndi designs will be nice and dark, your nails will (presumably) be manicured, you will be dressed to the nines — you want your feet to look good.

But remember that Indian weddings are marathons, and you should be prepared to dance the night away several nights in a row, which means that your cute sangeet shoes should also be comfortable!


(3) Haldi

Do. Not. Wear. Shoes. You are about to be covered from head to toe in a creamy yellow paste that will discolor anything and everything it touches. Unless you want your favorite Rainbows to suddenly be bright yellow, don’t wear them.

(4) Ceremony

You’ll want to wear shoes to your ceremony that are easy to put on and take off without looking, and without assistance of your hands (or anyone else’s). If it isn’t obvious to you yet, we’ll go ahead and say it: A Hindu Wedding Ceremony Is A Pooja And You Should Not Wear Shoes During It. In other words, you’ll enter the ceremony wearing shoes, take them off to get married, and then put them back on before you exit the venue.

You might also want to consider wearing flat shoes for the ceremony (and having your outfit fitted to you as though you are wearing flat shoes), because otherwise your sari or lehenga will be pooling on the floor during your ceremony. That’s not great for pictures–it’s hard to capture the magnificence of your lehenga when it’s rumpled and crinkled, and you won’t be able to easily see the mehendi on your feet while you take your seven steps or do your pheras around the fire–and it’s downright dangerous. Hindu ceremonies include fire, which means that you want to keep extra fabric away from agni as much as possible


(5) Reception

Go big, or go home, baby. You are going to be dancing and standing most of the night, so train your feet for the pain of 4″ stilettos all night, or wear your favorite comfy flats. We love the idea of wearing showstopping heels for the beginning of the night and changing into flip flops, Chucks, or Toms for the dancing part of the evening.


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