Lace A-line gown, from Digio Bridal. Photo: Her World Brides March 2015.

1. Shop early
Unless you’re buying off-the-rack designs, your wedding gown will take a few months to complete – whether it’s a custom design, made-to-measure, or from an international label. That said, don’t shop too early, especially when you’ve not decided on your venue or budget yet, or when you’re not ready to make a purchase.

2. Skip the entourage
Or even better, shop alone. Don’t be fooled by the “joy and excitement” of having a large group go with you (as seen on TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress). That same show has also witnessed many a confused bride (who ends up in tears at times) after listening to one opinion too many. All you need (if you really need a second pair of eyes), is one or two friends with you.

3. Bring the right underwear
Seamless underwear as well as a nude strapless bra is best, as they won’t really show, no matter the gown design.

4. Buy for your current body size
You’ll be better able to envision how you look in it. Also, unless you’re really confident you can lose a size or two, purchasing a dress in your current size is your best bet. It’s also easier to take in a dress than letting it out, if you fail to lose weight.

5. Look out for hidden costs
When meeting your bridal consultant, make sure he or she is clear on the amount you’re willing to spend in total. Too often, brides don’t take into account the bridal accessories (like the veil, an additional sash, or even others like your bracelets, earrings, shoes…), and alteration fees.

6. Don’t follow the trends
Not too closely at least. You’ll want something that’s classic and timeless, so you don’t end up looking dated 10 years down the road.

7. You may have to try on many dresses before finding “The One”
Also, not every bride will have happy tears the minute they find the perfect dress. That said, don’t write it off if your peepers remain dry. What matters is that you look great, and feel comfortable in it.