Once you are sure that the dress really is the one for you, and you are comfortable with the price that they have quoted you, you can settle down and get the cheque book out. At all costs, avoid choosing a gown just because the name appeals - an Alfred Angelo, Maggie Sottero or Vera Wang wedding dress may sound impressive to your friends, but if it simply doesn't suit your figure then you should steer well clear.
You will be expected to pay a deposit (this varies hugely, but you can expect it to be anywhere between 10% and 50%) and then you will need to pay the balance nearer the day. There have been some nightmare stories in the past about Brides putting down a deposit for a dress and the shop subsequently going bust, taking their deposit with them. Be sure to do a little research about the shop you are buying from just to be on the safe side.
If your preference is to buy but you have been unable to source a dress you like, then perhaps you may want to consider hiring one or even having one made. Separate articles are available on the site for those of you who are interested in heading down these paths.
Related: There are hundreds of wedding articles on the site, each filled with superb ideas, advice and inspiration. Check out the links in the left hand column to read more. Alternatively, to search for a local wedding venue, product or service provider, try our Wedding Directory. With over 13,000 companies already listed, you're sure to find what you're looking for.