An Exact Match
If possible, take a swatch of your wedding dress fabric on your shoe shopping day so that you can find a perfect color match for your shoes. You can also use the swatch if you plan to dye your shoes (see below). The easiest way to get your swatch is to clip a tiny piece that you won't need from two overlying pieces of fabric on the inside of the dress. Another option is to obtain a piece from the seamstress after she begins your gown alterations. If you need to buy your shoes sooner than that, ask the bridal shop for a swatch from an exact-match demo gown.
Dyeable Wedding Shoes
Most brides prefer to purchase white shoes and then have them dyed to match the gown. Remember that antique white, ivory and cream can mean very different things to different gown and shoe manufacturers. Find a shoe store that dyes shoes on-site; ask before you purchase. If you do have a shoe repair shop that you trust, or if you've received a tip on a great location to have your shoes dyed, make sure you buy your shoes a little early so that you can transport them to the dyer and have them completed in plenty of time for your wedding.
Save time--have your bridesmaids buy their shoes at the same time that you buy yours so that their style is similar to yours, and take along swatches of their gowns, too.
Not only is shopping more fun when there's more than one, but bringing friends along gives you a second opinion on your would-be purchase. Take along friends whose fashion sense is similar to yours and whose opinion you trust.
If your friends' ideas conflict with yours, don't get upset; they're there for a reason, and they care about how you'll look back on your wedding pictures one day. Take their advice into consideration before making your final purchase. Of course, this is your big day, and the final decision is always yours. Your friends are there for moral support and for a second pair of eyes.
Try Before You Buy
Although many components of your big day can be had online or by mail-order for a "steal", shoes are one item that you absolutely must try on before you buy. A pinched toe, and odd inside seam/bump or a too high or low an arch can make your entire wedding day miserable. Try on the shoes and walk the distance of the store in them. At the same time, try other shoes in different styles for a comparison of the feel, even if you're not considering those exact styles. If you feel any discomfort at all, no matter how small or insignificant during the half hour in the store, put the shoes back on the shelf. Your wedding day is one time that beauty should definitely not mean pain!
Once you find the perfect pair of wedding shoes, make a quick trip to check out the same brand and style at other shoe stores. You may find a bargain. Don't feel pressured to pick up the shoes right away. Unless they're extremely exclusive, you can probably find the same shoe at another location.
You'll want to buy your wedding shoes about a month before your wedding. This will take the stress off the shoe shopping "hunt" and will ensure that you have your perfectly dyed shoes in your closet with time to spare for your big day.