There are hundreds of online guides giving advice on choosing wedding dresses to flatter your figure, some of them giving conflicting and confusing advice, most of them using pictures of models who will look amazing in anything and lots using pictures which have been airbrushed! Now how is that helpful?!
The choice is overwhelming so I've put together this no-frills guide to help you narrow down the options a bit. However, there is no substitute for getting down to your local boutique (get in touch if you'd like me to recommend a few), trying dresses on and taking on board the advice from the staff - they are geniuses who can take one look at you, assess your size and shape and know exactly which dress you'll look most amazing in. Be prepared for it not to be what you thought though!
Your top and bottom halves are already balanced so you should avoid anything that adds too much to either half like empire lines or huge princess-style skirts.
Keep yourself balanced by considering an A-line or fit and flare/trumpet skirts, with a sweetheart neckline and a corset back.
Your hips are your widest point so avoid anything really fitted around the bum as it could make your beautiful booty look bigger than you'd like. The key to flattering a pear-shaped figure is emphasising your tiny waist. A princess, ball gown, or A-line skirt will do this. Balance out your narrower shoulders with a v-neckline and sleeves or shoulder detail.
As the opposite of a pear your shoulders are you widest point so avoid halter-necks and off the shoulder dresses as they will emphasise this. Balance out your broader shoulders with a trumpet/mermaid, full or shorter skirt teamed with wider straps.
If you're apple shaped your midsection will be your widest area with narrow hips and often a bigger bust. Look for styles where the waist nips in at your narrowest point and the skirt flares out gently. Go for lots of upper body embellishment but avoid high necklines.
Your straighter figure needs a dress that can give you curves. A sheath dress (particularly if cut on the bias) a prom-style or A-line will help with this. A high neckline with lots of detail or ruching on the bodice can create volume if you're smaller busted.
Obviously there is much, much more to consider before you find 'your one' and there are always exceptions - I speak to brides all the time who tell me that the dress they finally chose was one they never thought they would even try on.
So get your bridesmaids together, book a day off work and make an appointment to visit your favourite bridal boutique. And my final piece of advice for you.... get a taxi - they always have bubbly in the fridge!