If I would ever make an acknowledgment speach about the bridal dress I did, Susan Khalje's book would get a very special mention. Without this book I would have failed misrable on so many levels. The sort of construction that this dress requires is not something that is easily found in regular pattern envelopes. As you can guess a book that is almost 150 pages thick about one single subject - construction techniques for wedding dresses - will be very thorough. The chapter on lace is almost 20 pages long for instance, and the info on boning is almost as exstensive. But since there is plenty of drawings and photos, it still makes for an easy read. I had so many aha-moments reading this book. The book is divided into three parts; Fabrication, Construction and Application. The Application part is especially invaluable since it contains step-by-step instructions for four kinds of wedding/gala dresses, which was really helpful since one of these styles was made with a lace body.
While the title might suggest it's only for bridal dresses, the content of this book is really applicable for all kind of formal/gala wear. The book is out of print, and expensive if you can find one ($129 on Amazon!), but you can order a cd with a pdf-version, which I did and then printed the pages and put them in a ring binder for easy reading.
Edit: Bunny informed me that Bridal couture is also availble at some Joanns in the States, not sure about the price but it gotta be less than $129 !