1. Be practical with money
It might sound fun to try on that Vera Wang masterpiece, but when you love it you're going to feel rubbish knowing you can't afford it. Set a very strict budget and stick to it by only trying on dresses in that price range. Create a scrapbook of wedding dresses you like and ask bridal shops and suppliers if they have anything similar in your price range - if they don't, move on.
2. Think of your figure and find a style
Your wedding dress should make you look stunning, so be practical about the styles and silhouettes that suit your shape. Narrow shouldered ladies can pull off halternecks and strapless designs, while curvy girls should show off their knock-out figures in hourglass shapes. If you're pear shaped try a 1950s inspired full skirt with a fitted bodice. Once you've chosen the shape, decide on classic or contemporary styles by factoring in your venue and the time of year.
3. Be prepared
Bridal shop appointments get booked up weeks in advance, so ring around quickly to secure your place. If you've spotted dresses you like by a particular designer search their stockists and find the shop nearest to you.
4. Don't be too rigid
You might have never pictured yourself wearing a lacy dress in a million years, but that doesn't mean it won't look amazing! Try on various styles and variations, especially if you're lucky enough to have an 'I-suit-everything' figure. What have you got to lose?
5. Have a Friends-style shopping buddy
Chose someone who's opinion you trust to go wedding dress shopping with you and make sure they're the honest type. Sometimes you need someone who's not afraid to say, 'that's too expensive' or 'it doesn't suit your shape'.
6. Don't panic shop
Don't let over-zealous shop assistants (who often work on commission) to sell you a dress you're not 100% happy with. Always step away from the shop and have a walk before deciding on 'the one'.
7. Consider the added extras
Will your dress suit that lace lined veil you've always dreamed off? Will the long sleeves mean you won't be able to wear your grandmother's bracelet? Think of how your hair will be on the day and consider accessories before deciding on your perfect dress.
8. Have faith in yourself
You've chosen the perfect dress for you, so have faith in yourself and trust your choice. Thousands of dresses are available, so don't start looking in bridal magazines once you've paid. Instead be confident and move on to the next stage of your wedding planning, like invitations or cakes.
What are your top tips for buying the perfect wedding gown?
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