The big day is finally about to happen, the one you’ve been dreaming about since childhood and you don’t want anything to go wrong. Alas, not all of us are Meghan Markle which means things can go wrong if we’re not aptly prepared for the shopping part.

If you’re getting married soon, which you must be since you’re here, we’re sure there must already be too much on your mind. Which is why we’re here to make things easier for you. At least, in the wedding dress department. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’t when buying your wedding gown. Let’s walk you through it so that you look perfect on the day you walk down the aisle:

1 – Don’t rush

So, your man got down on his knee and now you are too excited to stop yourself from selecting your dream wedding dress design. But wait, hold your horses. Hurrying about this can backfire. Don’t select a dress so far before the actual date that you soon lose interest in it and want something else. What’s more, you should always get your dress made after the theme of the wedding has been decided. After all, you don’t want your dress to go against that.

2 – Don’t be too late either

Most women make the mistake of going to select a design only a few months prior to their wedding day. You know what that means? Late fees! You see, wedding gowns are typically made-to-order and when you’re late, you either don’t get the dress ready in time or have to pay extra to accelerate the making process. This why, it is essential that you order your design at least 6 months beforehand.

3 – Do proper research

Choosing your dress purely on a whim is not a great idea. You want to look different, but you don’t want to regret your decision when you look back at it, years later. Sarah Jessica Parker wore a black wedding dress and later revealed that she’d go back and undo that if she could. In this regard, pay heed to expert opinions, do your research, go for a timeless design, and if you’re too bad it, hire a professional bridal stylist.

4 – Don’t sacrifice your personal style

Selecting a dress for the day when the limelight will be shinning on you can be overwhelming. While you should listen to other people’s opinions and do your homework, don’t get carried away with all the suggestions that you get. Go for a dress that aligns with your personal style as well. At the end of the day, rely on your gut but avoid taking risks.

5 – Don’t compromise on comfort

Going for a tight gown with a corset that is literally taking your breath away is disastrous. You want to look as well as feel your best in the outfit. Therefore, don’t go for a tightly fitted dress and also avoid one that is so loose that it doesn’t suit you at all. If you don’t know how to walk in high heels, don’t go for them just because you want to look taller. Make sure you only show as much cleavage as you’re okay with otherwise you’ll spend the evening trying to adjust the neckline.

6 – Do pick the right size

Most ladies make the mistake of wearing a size smaller than their original on their wedding day. Why? They want to look slimmer. Awful idea, honestly. If you’re buying a dress off the rack, buy at least two sizes bigger than your own so that you can get any adjustments made to the fitting easily. A tight dress wont have enough fabric to be loosened but a loose dress would have enough cloth to be tightened.

7 – Don’t go with a huge crowd

The larger your entourage, the messier the selection process. This is why, we recommend that you stick to only a few friends or family members when going to choose a wedding dress. A maximum of two people should be there with you. Why? Because a large group of friends is sure to comprise of a frenemy, a confused friend, and someone with bad taste. There will be different opinions which may drown out yours.

8 – Don’t shortlist too many dresses

Always make a short list of the final designs that you would like the try before finalizing one. A short list as in not more than four. When you have too many options, you tend to get confused. When you have too few alternatives, you feel bound. Which is why you should have just enough designs shortlisted. This way, finalizing on your dream dress would be easier.

9 – Do finalize what you love

If you fall in loyal love with a dress, make it yours for your big day. Don’t say no to it only because your BFF thinks its tacky. Unless, of course, she’s a stylist and you’re known for your regrettable choices in fashion. In the hassle of wedding preps, don’t finalize a design that you don’t absolutely love. You may end up hoping you’d bought something else in its place.

10 – Don’t forget lingerie

Many women ignore lingerie and only think about it in the eleventh hour. Wrong! You should buy your undergarments with your wedding dress. You don’t want to wear a black lingerie set with your white dress or one that doesn’t quite define your curves beautifully. Make certain your lingerie matches the measurements of your dress. Particularly, consider a bra that goes with your gown. Lingerie can make a huge difference so don’t forget it, focus on it just as much.

11 – Do consider your budget

Have a set budget and adhere to it. Don’t go off to stores that you know you cannot afford. There are several places from where you can purchase a wedding dress that fits your budget. You can also use coupons while shopping or fetch a dress from the sale section. However, keep in mind that the price initially agreed upon may not be the same as the final price after you get alterations made to the design.

12 – Don’t buy a dress online

Okay, so here’s the deal – your big day’s gown is supposed to be perfect. You cannot let anything go wrong. Which is why ordering the wedding dress online is not an option. You should touch the fabric and see the embellishments for yourself before getting a dress made. Furthermore, make sure that you buy your dress from a reliable store, not one that is less known and has not ever been tried by any of your friends.

13 – Do familiarize yourself with wedding dress terminology

You don’t want to sound clueless when you exchange words with the consultant at the wedding dress salon. Which is why you must do your homework with regards to wedding dress terminology. Otherwise, there may be a communication barrier between you and the store managers.  Start by reading about the different parts, fabrics, and types of wedding gowns available.

14 – Do ask questions

Have any questions on your mind? You obviously do, considering most of us are not experts on wedding dresses despite the amount of research we do on the topic. Also, wedding attires are very different from what we normally wear to even parties and special occasions. So, ask as many questions as you have in mind from the store’s stylist to get a good idea of what you’re getting.

15 – Do buy a season-appropriate dress

You’ll probably have to decide on a final design months before your wedding as the salon would probably take a lot of time in getting it made to your requirements. This means that the season when you select the dress is probably going be different when you actually wear it. This is why it is necessary to bear in mind that the fabric and the design must sync with the season in which your wedding is to take place.

To sum up, wedding dress shopping is not easy, so you better be prepared for it. Some things to keep in mind include going for a dress that you love, are comfortable in, and is weather-appropriate. Moreover, go with a small team at the right time, and do your research as well. Ask all the questions on your mind and make sure you don’t tiptoe outside of your budget.