You’ve dreamed of and planned out every detail of your dress since the day you attended your first wedding. However, when you’re actually shopping for that dress, it may be a little different than you imagined.

Here’s a list of 11 things you should keep in mind when searching for your wedding dress:

1. Fit. Make sure your dress fits, or will at least be able to be altered to fit you. If you’re planning to shed some pounds, don’t order your dress smaller than the size you can wear right now in case you aren’t able to lose the pounds you’d hoped to lose. It’s always easier to take a dress in than to let it out.

2. Cost. The majority of brides have a budget, so make sure you stay within that price range. Tell your consultant that you only want to see the dresses within the price you’ve distinguished. If you’re able, set a limit of how much extra you can spend to ensure that you don’t go over your maximum price.

3. Sales. Who doesn’t love a good discount? Never pass up the opportunity to consider dresses that have been marked down; it doesn’t cost anything to look! Prices are reduced simply because the product or color are discontinued, a sample was on the sales floor, or the dress wasn’t selling as well as the shop had hoped it would.

4. Embellishment. Dresses that are adorned with rhinestones and beadings are going to cost more than those that have less embellishment. If you can’t skip the bling, go for styles that are less elaborate and enhance your dress by adding jewelry or a detailed sash around the waist to give the same effect.  

5. Be open-minded. Even though you have the picture of the perfect dress in your head, try on other gowns to see if you find something you like better. Several brides will tell you they went in with an idea of their dress and came out with something completely different. Also, don’t judge a dress by the way it looks on the hanger.

6. Consider your venue. You want your dress to be appropriate for the setting in which your wedding is taking place. Contact the officiant or the venue to see if there are any rules concerning body coverage.

7. Alterations. Most wedding gowns have to have alterations. Taking in the bodice of a dress is going to cost more than having the dress hemmed. Remember the costs of alterations when setting your budget.

8. Color. There are many shades of the color white. Use fabric samples to hold up to yourself to see which shades best compliment your skin tone. If you don’t wish to have a white dress, use shades of the color you want.

9. Trends. As with all fashion categories, trends come and go within wedding attire. While we’re going to keep quiet on whether you should go with or stray away from current trends, just keep in mind how you want your pictures to look in 50 years.

10. Take your time. Just because you have a one-hour appointment doesn’t mean you have to pick a dress during the allotted time. Don’t feel rushed or pressured to buy one the first day of your search. If at all possible, allow yourself a day or two to think about it to be sure.

11. Have fun! We’ve all seen the bridezillas on television, and some of us even in person, who take wedding dress shopping way too seriously. While you want to look gorgeous and find the right dress, having fun with it and enjoying the process will make you, along with your bridal consultant, family and friends, at ease.