With my dress ordered and me preparing for the first fitting (Must. Lose. Pounds...) and my bridesmaids dresses winging their way from Dessy hopefully as I type, there was only one essential person still to sort (well, apart from Pete, but I've been nagging him for months): my mother.

Kate Eshelby

If you think shopping for your wedding dress is hard, you ain't seen nothing 'til your mother takes to the fitting room floor. My mother seemed to have more dress requirements than I did. Not too pastel, but not too loud. Not on the knee, but not full-length. Not too fitted, but not too shapeless either. And what was she going to accessorise it with? And did it come with a matching cover-up?

About 15 appointments and shopping trips later (I, in comparison, went to five) we seem to have gathered a few tips:

1. Think about what the bridesmaids are wearing and the colours and style of the wedding. You don't want to clash hideously (remember you'll be in some of the same photos as the bridesmaids), but you don't want to blend in as part of the furniture. And importantly think about what colours actually suit you.

2. Find out what the mother of the groom is wearing. While technically the mother of the bride has first dibs on colours, you again don't want to look like a riot in a paint shop when you stand together in the same picture.

3. Don't think everything has to match perfectly. Accent colours and nudes are a great solution to the "I can't find a match pair of shoes/jacket/clutch bag" problem.

4. Don't think you have to wear a hat if you don't want to. It's your daughter's wedding, you are probably paying for much of it so feel free to make the rules. My mother LOATHES hats so decided early on that she wasn't going to put anything near her head.

5. Find something within your comfort zone. Never wear heels? Then find some gorgeous flats. Never get your arms out? Then find a sheer sleeve. Now is not the time for a style overhaul. Stick to what you know and like and you'll feel more confident. That will come across on the day and in those all-important photographs, rather than wrestling with your fascinator every five minutes.

6. Find an honest friend (or daughter) to go shopping with. But in the same breath don't let them talk you into something that doesn't feel 'you'.

7. Don't be afraid to buy things, try them on in the comfort of your own home and take them back if it is not right. Often you'll get a truer idea of how you feel in an outfit in your own surroundings. This is a policy that my mother has been employing with worrying regularity...

8. And if all else fails - adjust it or get it made. If you have an exact idea in your head of what you are looking for, there's a good chance you may not find your dream on the high street. A dressmaker can work with you to tailor every part of your dress down to every last perfectly imagined detail.