A young girl often travelled to meet her husband only shortly before the wedding. The mother-in-law would be sent a pair of shoes, made by the prospective wife, ahead of the marriage, and this would be how the bride was selected. When the new bride arrived, her shoes and feet were inspected before she even stepped out of the sedan chair.
Before the wedding, the young girl had to have completed at least four pairs of shoes. If the family was wealthy she would have many pairs all displayed with the rest of her wedding trousseau on her wedding day. The ideal was to have sixteen pair of shoes by the time of the marriage – four for each season. The absolute minimum number however was four. The red shoes for the wedding would be the most ornate. A pair with a purple upper and white lower edge was made to indicate a lot of children. An almond pair signified a fortuitous date of the Chinese calendar. The final required pair was the red sleeping slippers.
When a bride produced a pair of the sleeping slippers on the night of her marriage, it was common for a groom to find erotic pictures inside. They were often embroidered by the bride’s mother, or painted inside the shoes by hired artist. The newlyweds were to look at the pictures together in their bridal bed.
The sleeping slippers were less structured than those for day wear. Many were made without actual soles, and were worn because it was unacceptable for a woman to go to bed in only her bindings. The sleeping slippers were the most coveted by romantic males, and if a woman were to reward her lover with a pair of her shoes, it would normally be a pair of her sleeping slippers.