So, your big day is planned but now you’re faced with the task of trying to find a wedding dress. Since this is the most important day of your life, you obviously don’t want to settle for a “mediocre” dress — it has to be perfect to signify this special day. But with thousands of wedding dresses out there, varying in size, shape, color, and design… How do you know which one to choose?

Tip #1: Shop at Nine Months

Ideally, you should wait until nine months before your wedding to purchase a dress. Some soon-to-be brides may purchase their dress sooner, but doing so is risky. No matter how hard you try to prevent it, your shape and weight around bound to change during this time. And while your weight may change during the nine months leading up to your wedding, you can typically have your dress altered.

Tip #2: Bring Friends

One important tip I recommend for dress shopping is to bring some friends and/or family members along for the ride. Not only will this make the experience more enjoyable, but it will also provide some comments on which dresses work and which ones don’t. Just remember to take criticism with a grain of salt. Your friends are there to support you and help you find the perfect dress.

Tip #3: Consider Bridesmaids

Think about what your bridesmaids are going to wear at the wedding, as this will play a key role in your dress decision. You obviously don’t want to choose a dress that’s going to clash with your bridesmaids’ outfits. If possible, wait and choose their outfits after you choose your dress. This will give you more freedom over choosing the dress that YOU want to wear.

Tip #4: Stay Positive

It’s easy to feel discouraged after spending an entire day (or more) shopping for a wedding dress. You’ll naturally feel like there’s no hope in sight for finding the perfect wedding dress; however, it’s important to remain positive throughout the process. With time, patience, and dedication, you WILL find the perfect dress.

Tip #5: Shop Around

Lastly, do some shopping around before making the final decision to purchase a dress. Even if you see a dress you like at one store, a different store may feature a better dress. The only way you’ll know is by shopping around. Enjoy the dress shopping process and make some memories along the way.