Claire Adams is just four months away from getting married and her biggest challenge? Finding the perfect shoes for her wedding day. Until she decided to design them herself...
If someone had told me 12 years ago I'd be marrying the 19-year-old South London boy I met on a 2001 girly holiday to Faliraki, I never would have believed them.
However fast forward 12 years and a few chance encounters and here we both are, living together in Fulham and engaged to be wed.
The date is set (December 28th) the venue is booked (Hampton Court House), my dress is ordered (a secret) and I feel like I'm nearly there.
Well sometimes. And then I have a mild panic attack when I remember I haven't created my table plan, picked the flower scheme or - most importantly - picked my wedding shoes.
I've been in two minds about what to do when it comes to my wedding shoes. Is it is something I should allocate substantial budget to? Or as it's likely they'll be covered by my dress, should I opt for a fairly economical option?
My decision was made fairly quickly when a friend recommended Upper Street which gives you the dream scenario - it lets you design your own shoes.
And not just wedding shoes but pumps, courts, pointy heels, sandals... I mean, I could go on. It lets you design something personal and unique - you're basically the only person in the world ever to own your personal design.
So - realising this was the perfect solution to my wedding day dilemma - I visited the Shoe Lounge to make my own shoes with the help of Upper Street shoe gurus (shoe-rus? Hmmm...) Lisa and Lizzie.
They did a size check on my feet to make sure there would be no blisters, just comfort, on my big day and so that my shoes would be created entirely to the measurement of my feet. Joy.
Then we started on heel height. Would I like a 3.5inch, 3.75 or 4.75inch heel? Did I fancy the idea of a platform? Would I like peep toes or pointed stilettos? This was literally my dream.
After style and height, Lizzie went through lots of fabrics and colours so I could whittle them down to some key favourites. I could immediately discount some of them but was actually totally surprised at some of the swatches I loved.
We spent quite a while pairing up various creams, ivories and pale shades with more dramatic designs (they also offer animal print, SJP blue and metallic effects) and a popular choice is to cover the heel or toe of the shoe in a different fabric to the body.
Admittedly my wedding shoes are very different to what I imagined myself creating (or wearing) before I walked into the Shoe Lounge but I think that's one of the nicest part of the experience, you explore your creative side
Once my shoe was designed, Lizzie asked me if I would like to include a personal message inside the base of the shoe which I obviously did. The result? Well, let's put it this way - these are shoes I'll treasure forever.
Upper Street work on an appointment only basis and shoes take up to 4 weeks to be made and delivered to your door. Prices vary.