Published: Oct 16, 2012 7:25 AM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.-- When it came to tuxedo and bridal shops.. couples complained on the site Angie's List that orders didn't come in on time.. and alterations didn't always turn out as they had planned.
Bridal experts say that deciding what kind of dress you want ahead of time.. and keeping your bridal consultant in the loop.. can help you find the dress of your dreams quicker.
"There are just about five or six silhouettes of gowns whether it be a ball gown or a trumpet style. I like to help her narrow down her silhouette first.. that eliminates the need to continue to try on ball gowns when what she is really looking for is a slim trumpet shape," said bridal shop consultant Tracy Moore.
Since ordering bridesmaids dresses and tuxedos can take months, just like the bridal gown alterations.. allow time for mistakes.
"To ensure you have a positive experience I would allow plenty of time.. plenty of time to order your dress. plenty of times for alterations," Moore continued.
The average wedding costs more than 20 thousand dollars so taking your time and taking detailed notes on all of the vendors you hire will pay off leading up to the big day.
"When planning your wedding, document everything.. get contracts that are very detailed.. explicitly say when things are going to be performed.. what you're going to pay document phone calls and that will be your best line of defense if something happens to go wrong," explained Angie's List founder Angie Hicks.
Paying by credit card can help too.. make the down payment that's required in your contract but don't pay everything up front.. experts say to make payments as services are performed.
If you do hire a wedding planner.. be specific about when you expect things to be completed so you're not disappointed and overwhelmed in the weeks before your wedding.