Whether you've been dreaming about it your entire life, or whether you've not got a clue where to start, you know that your dress is going to be the centre of attention on your wedding day. It's going to be the one thing people are looking at and what they'll remember from it. In years to come, another bride might wear it on her big day. Suffice to say, your wedding dress may well be the most important outfit you ever buy, so you'll want to get it right.
First tip: Even if you've got your heart set on a particular style, try on a range of different dresses. You may find something that suits you even better and or something you like more. It would be a shame if you missed out on something truly amazing just because it doesn't fit with a longheld ideal.
Think about the clothes you normally wear; think about your favourite clothes. Why do you love them? Which bits of your body do they show to advantage? What shape are they? All these answers should give you pointers as to the shape of dress you should be going for.
Think also about where you are getting married. Is it a church? A register office? Castle? Stately home? Hotel? This will affect your choice of dress. You should fill the venue accordingly. A large princess line dress will look overwhelming in an intimate register office. Likewise, a Bianca Jagger style suit will be almost invisible in the city cathedral.
When you've found a dress you like, you must practice moving in it. Take you iPod or MP3 player to the shop, put on a favourite party song and try dancing around in it. Try to dance like you normally would. Also, soooo many brides forget to try sitting down in their gowns. It's very important to test how comfortable the gown is for sitting in, as you will be doing a lot of this at the wedding too.
Take one or two people along with you for trying-on sessions. Don't take any more people than that because too many opinions will leave you clueless. Whoever you take should be people you can trust to be honest about what suits you and what looks good.
Ask them to take photos of you from a variety of angles; front, back, side etc. Even on your phone is good enough. You'll need to them to compare and contrast if you've got a decision to make.
Make sure you try on your dress with all your accessories. It may be that that church-length veil with the pearl drops and the diamantes doesn't sit well with your intricating embroidered skirt.
Above all, picking your dream dress should be fun! This is the time when you get to have everything as you want it. Remember: marriage is a tricky business and the wedding is just the beginning!