To start I think most people would advise you to go to a bridal shop and try dresses on. I won't be a hypocrite and claim that is what I did, but it is very sound advice. Once again plan a day with your Mum, your Maid of Honour and maybe your bridesmaids too. Go and try on dresses and keep an open mind. 22 months ago I would never have picked the dress I will be wearing in 6 days time. But what you think will suit or what you think looks good on the hanger doesn't always look good on you. I saw mine when looking through a bridal mag and then went to http://www.jjshouse.com/ then filtered the dresses to my specifications to find the dress I wanted.
I personally opted out of dress shopping which many of you may find strange, but I knew I loved the dress I eventually chose and stubbornly did not allow myself to be tempted by other dresses. I was very lucky that my dress is perfect but I do not recommend you taking the same risk I did. The day my dress was delivered was so stressful, I felt sick waiting to go home and try it on... don't put yourself through that!
I did try on a few dresses (although not wedding ones) in local shops to get an idea of necklines and dress shapes that would suit and to ensure the dress I had picked would suit me. I ordered it via JJS. Please see my previous Blog Post "Dress Shopping - Part 1 - Bridesmaids" for my advice regarding ordering dresses online, customs, shipping & to see how much I saved ordering my dresses online.
My personal advice to all brides is, don't order a neckline or dress shape you wouldn't normally wear. There is a reason you don't wear it! I chose a neckline that I wear a lot (although jazzed up of course!) because the reason I wear that neckline is that it suits my body shape. I would never, for example, wear a strapless bustier because I don't like my upper arms and because I would be pulling it up worrying all the time that I would fall out. So I would never pick that for my wedding dress. Just keep that in mind, you want to look beautiful on your day, but you also want to be comfortable and not worrying all day.
I know the temptation is to spend £1000 pounds or more on this gorgeous dress you tried in a shop, but what would you say if your Mr wanted a £1000 suit?
The dress is only for one day, and the dress is not your marriage so don't throw money you don't have at a dress. If you can afford the more expensive dresses or would prefer to buy from a shop then that is OK too. It just wasn't a choice I would have made as a budget bride. I spent less than £8000 on my wedding and everything I have booked or bought is good quality and beautiful. Cheap isn't always bad quality, sometimes cheap just means it cost you less. Sometimes even a £1000 dress can be a rip off. So my advice is save the money and get something just as good for less money. Use the money you save for a better venue, or a honeymoon, something you will both benefit from.
Lastly my advice is, enjoy! Every bride is a princess in her dress. There is something magical about a bride, how happy she is, the way she glows and it makes her so beautiful. Enjoy wearing your dress and enjoy marrying the man of your dreams... doesn't get much better than that!!