The perfect bridal gown: I think definitely white for an elegant wedding. Ivory or cream can look great if done right but can often look too 'antique-y'. So I think a traditional white dress is great, but not an overly full pouff-y one, especially if you are a slender woman (it will swamp you). I'm not fond of halter-neck wedding dresses (too informal of a look) unless it's a beach wedding or less formal event.
Overall I think you can't go wrong with a classic traditional look... if it's too 'trendy' the wedding photos will look dated in a few years. I'm not so fond of the strapless trend; I think spaghetti straps (or something more modest) give a classier look. Anyhow that's just my opinion... there's a huge variation in wedding dresses so clearly there is a huge variation in people's ideas and opinions!