The Wedding Dress
Another of the very enjoyable tasks to be done for the wedding. There is a wide range of styles, materials and prices where wedding dresses are concerned. Probably the first thing you should do is visit a number of bridal shops and try on different styles to get a good feeling of what kind of dress suits you. Try on many different types of dresses, rather than many of the same style - for example, rather than trying on three strapless, A-line dresses, try on one spaghetti strap A-line silk dress, then one strapless ball-gown style and then one sleeveless layered chiffon dress and so on. The more styles of dress you fit on, the easier it will be to identify which style is most flattering to your shape and easier to narrow down the ones that you really like ... and take it from there!
You may decide to buy in a specialised bridal shop or in a department store where they do evening wear. On the other hand you may find something you like online - don't worry about alterations, because it is fairly inevitable that whatever you buy and wherever you buy it, alterations will probably be necessary anyway. Another option is to find a good and reputable dressmaker, talk to her about what she can design and make for you, enquire about cost and whether she can supply the materials or she wants you to shop for them yourself and if you like what you are hearing you may end up with your own unique dress - probably for a lot less money too.
If you don't want to invest in a dress that might just hang in your wardrobe after the event, you could be lucky enough to find a good dress hire shop or company, from which you could rent your own dress as well as bridesmaids, child attendants etc. If this is the way you want to go make sure you go there well in advance, get a look at everything they have and see if they are prepared to do all the alterations to have the dress looking like it was tailored for you alone. It is usually a very cost effective way or outfitting your bridal party and you don't have the worry of what to do with the whole lot afterwards.
Shop wisely for the accessories because these items - shoes, headpiece/tiara, underwear, jewellery - can work out very expensively if you don't shop around. Bridal shops are generally more expensive for those commodities than department stores. Indeed you might want to implement the 'something old, something new, something borrowed' rule here, particularly in relation to headpiece or a piece of jewellery.
Lastly, when you are shopping/looking for the dress, while it is advisable to have somebody with you on whose opinion you can rely, it is better not to have TOO many opinions either!