Almost every bride obsesses over wedding dresses from the moment they get engaged. Is it better to go strapless or with sleeves? And should you buck tradition and opt for a coloured dress?
I was just like any other bride ahead of finding my gown and barely thought about anything else. And though it was glorious when I found "The One", here's eight things I wish I'd known before hitting the bridal boutiques...
1. It's not like in the movies. You know how in films, the bride-to-be sweeps out of the changing room (that's bigger and nicer than your entire house) and does a twirl for her friends and family? Well, it's not quite like that in real life. Yes, you do twirl but several other brides' friends and families are watching too. Some even give their opinion. In my case, it was another girl's Nan saying: "Don't go for the short one darlin', people talk about a bride with her legs out." Er, thanks.
2. A veil changes everything. You should be given veils and heels to try on with dresses and don't turn down the offer. Nothing makes you feel more like a bride than that sheath of lace or cloud of tulle. It transports you from being a girl in an over-the-top dress to a woman everyone should look at and go "wow".
3. You need a bridal bra. It might seem a bit premature to buy special lingerie before you've actually got your dress. However, trying on bridal designs without the right underwear is basically not doing yourself justice - it's impossible to tell if a strapless number really works when you've got a black bra strap poking out the top. My top tip would be head to Bravissimo -it does a brilliant and affordable range.
4. You probably won't go for the look you've got in your head. Prior to my wedding, I wanted to wear an ivory slip, super long lace veil and plum lipstick. I ended up going for a tea-length, vintage style, fitted, sweetheart-neckline gown and flowers in my hair. You as a bride in your head is very different to you as a bride in actual real life.
5. You have to ignore your friends' and family's opinions. No matter what, go with your gut. If everyone else loves the fishtail but you've fallen for the column, you've got to get the latter. The last thing you want is a design that suits everyone else - remember whose big day it is (for the sake of clarity, it's yours).
6. Don't wear loads of makeup. You're literally taking your clothes off all day and lipstick/foundation/blusher marks are never stylish. Especially when you're around a shitload of white. I thought I'd need my face caked in slap so I didn't look washed out wearing all that ivory. In the words of Pretty Woman-era Julia Roberts, big mistake.
7. You can barter! If the gown you decide on is slightly outside of your budget, give the sales assistant the chance to lower it. I got 25Slideshow-184646%
10 Things I Wish I'd Known Before My Wedding Day