Choosing a wedding dress that highlights your best body parts is a must. Think of an outfit that earns you lots of compliments – do friends hush when you wear a strapless dress that reveals your shoulders and neck? Or a plunging neckline which shows off your cleavage? Maybe it's an A-line skirt that skims over your thighs and gives you a great silhouette? Take note of what works.

Dress to your theme
You want your dress to complement the feel of your day. So, if you're planning to get married on the beach, a full ball gown with a 20-metre beaded train might look a little out of place.

A formal wedding with a large, ornate church can handle heavily detailed structured gowns of tulle or dupion, with dramatic trains and veils. Whereas beach weddings lend themselves to slinky, softer gowns with floaty fabrics, such as chiffon or silk georgette, in a simple and elegant design.

Likewise, a classic dress with detailing in lace or beading is perfect for a garden ceremony. Shrugs or shawls can be added if the weather turns chilly. For a formal black-tie affair, anything from a ball gown to a glamorous or detailed sheath will look amazing. Cocktail party? The sky's the limit: sexy, short numbers, coloured knee-length dresses, sequin sheaths, you name it!

Try picturing yourself in the dress at the venue. If it makes your heart flutter, it's probably a good fit; if your face screws up, it's probably not…

Which fabric?
Choosing the right fabric is very important, since it gives your dress texture and shape, as well as dictating how it will flow around your body.

Ball gowns are usually structured, so need a heavier, stiffer fabric to give the full shape. Dupion silks, duchess satins or taffeta are perfect for this, and are a great choice for bigger or bustier brides wanting more support. If you're after a softer look, go for organza or tulle.

For slinky dresses, double-sided satin or soft silk satin are perfect, as they flow with your body as you move. If you're self-conscious about your hips, add extra fabric so it drapes in this area, and avoid dresses cut on the bias.

Slinky fabrics, such as satin, are not very forgiving. A slightly stiffer fabric, such as Thai silk, is fabulous for disguising these areas.

Think about detailing, too. Beading not only adds beautiful detail to a dress, but also adds weight, which can pull fabrics down to create a slinky silhouette.

Check your colours
White is not a colour that suits every bride, but that doesn't mean you can't fake it. There are many modern versions of "traditional white", which can be far more flattering. Try lattes, antiques, creams, ivory, blush, icy blues and other shades of white against your skin and see what suits.