Begin the process of choosing the right dress six to nine months before the big day. Flip through bride magazines and pull out the pages with dresses that you like. Keep them in a folder for when you begin trying on dresses.
When shopping for wedding dresses consider your wedding theme. Choosing a dress that is in line with your wedding day will make it easier to pick the right one. If you are having a formal traditional wedding, then you would look for a formal floor length wedding dress with a train. If you are getting married outdoors at a resort or on the beach, then you could choose something more casual.
Consider your body type and what shape is flattering to you. Types to consider include A-line, ball gown, and form fitted. Naturally you'll have a preference for the kind of wedding dress that you've always wanted.
The next step in choosing the right dress is going to be your budget. Most brides are on a budget and you should decide how much you are able to spend before going shopping. Bring the folder with the wedding dresses you like from the bridal magazines. This will allow you to reference the styles you like when you are at the store. You will need to enter bridal shops and try on different dresses. Be sure to try many different styles, you may be surprised to discover that the dress you pick is not the one you thought. Try on dresses that are made from a variety of designers.
When trying on the dress make sure that you can sit down, walk and bend comfortably. Be sure that you can accept hugs from your guests and lift up your arms without the dress ripping. Bring a friend or family member that will tell you honestly how the dress looks on you. Once you have picked your dress request an itemized receipt that lists each item that is being billed with the dress. Save some of your budget to cover alterations, these can cost $300 and sometimes more. Review with the store what is included such as storage and ironing services.
If you are on a small budget, then consider shopping at thrift stores. Wedding dresses are an item typically only worn once. Have the dress cleaned by a professional and save yourself the expense of purchasing the dress new. Look the dress over thoroughly, and check for quality such as the bead work. Beads that have been glued in place rather than sewn individually are of lesser quality. French lace is also a value detail to look for.
Of course this is your special day and you should choose the dress that you have always wanted. Pick one that fits comfortably and looks great on you.