Find the perfect wedding dress for your special day

Caroline Cassidy

It's one of the most important days in a woman's life and wedding day memories should last a lifetime. Topping many a bride's list of things to do before the big day is finding the perfect dress.

Find the perfect wedding dress
Find the perfect wedding dress

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Whether you're opting for a big meringue or a slinky silhouette, there are shapes and styles to suit everyone. We take a look at how to get the style that's right for you and this year's key trends.

Which style?
Every girl wants to look their best on their wedding day and, as such, it is often advisable to pick the most flattering style for your shape.

For instance, a full skirt with figure-hugging bodice looks beautiful on those blessed with slim hips and a full bust as this fairytale shape perfectly balances your body. But it can over emphasise wide hips - if you have a modest chest and wider hips, opt for an equally romantic princess or empire line.

Those who are lucky enough to a have a fabulous figure may prefer a column style dress, a straighter style that shows off your assets to full effect. And if chic is what you're after, a bias-cut dress is gorgeously flattering on a slim figure.

Getting down to business
Once you have an idea of the style you are after (including your feelings on having a train and/or veil), be sure to set a budget so that you don't get carried away. Ideally, your first trip to the bridal shop should be alone - trying on cuts and styles that you like should enable to you to narrow down the options and a companion may confuse the issue initially.

Of course, you'll want a dress-buying buddy once you've chosen the style and colour but often a gut feeling will point you in the right direction.

Accessories should also be considered - shoes, gloves and jewellery can add the finishing touches to your look but should never overpower the dress itself.

In most cases, your dress will need to be altered to fit you so bear in mind the timescale involved.

This year's key trends
The bridal catwalks have been all about romance over the past year, which is good news for those wanting the princess look. A vintage influence means lace remains a key fabric, while ruffles (on both skirts and bodices) have also made an appearance. The catwalks Stateside have seen plenty of trumpet skirts too - a little like the mermaid style, it's perfect for showing off those curves but with a kicked out skirt at the bottom.

But it doesn't have to be a flowing gown - for a chic, city look, there are short, cocktail-style wedding dresses available and, if you're looking for dramatic effect, black accents (via gloves, bows and belts) also look like being big.