-Start off by browsing through bridal magazines and ripping out photos that are inspirational to you. Start a folder. Try to first look at dresses as a whole and once you have gone through the magazines and done that, take another look at the remaining dresses and their parts. Maybe you love the neckline in one gown, but hate the fabric, color, and style of it. Rip it out anyway and circle the part that you adore. Once you go through them, you will start to see similarities in style, color, fabric, beading, etc.
-Go through the ones ripped out and check the designers who made them. Chances are you are likely to pull ones from similiar designers. Once you have noticed some repeat inspiration, check those designers out online and browse their entire collections. You are likely to find others you adore. Print them out and add them to your folder.
-Check out other designers online that have been recommended or that you have heard about to get as much inspiration as you can. Even if the price range is out of what you are looking for, having pictures to show when going to a salon will definately be helpful.
-Check out the blogs (of course!) to get some more inspiration. Be sure to print everything out and put it together in that folder. When you are printing things out, be sure to label where you got them from so if you want to go back to see it, you have an idea of where to look.
(Vera Wang Sophia)
-Once you have some inspiration to go on, start deciding who you want to share this VERY special, exciting, moment with. Because it is so exciting, we are often flooded with so many people who show interest and/or who we want to be there with us. Beware of taking too many people at once. I would suggest going with one or two people for the first time. Their are a lot of opinions out there and the first time can be quite overwhelming. Before you choose who is going to go with you, make sure they have a calming (& helping) personality. Very few people buy their dress on their first excursion so don't worry you have plenty of time to include everyone in the process.
-Give yourself a realistic budget from the get-go. Talk it through with your whomever is dealing with the finances whether it be your fiance, parents, in-laws, etc. Their are plenty of ways to save when it comes to dresses so you may still be able to score that designer dress you are swooning over and still have money for the rest of the wedding.
-Go in with an open mind. What you love on the model, you might hate on yourself. Sticking to only one type of gown will limit so many options that are out there. You only get to do the hunt once, you might as well try on everything! Even if you are going for a sheath, lace gown, I urge you to try on the biggest satin ballgown just because you can. You never know what styles you will love on yourself. And even if you hate it, it makes for a good, calming laugh and a big understanding of what can be x-ed off your list. The dress I had bookmarked before I was even engaged (yes, crazy I know), turned out to be doozey, but I am thankful for that because if I hadn't been open minded, I never would have found my one!
-Enjoy yourself and have a blast. It really is so fun.. No reason to stress -your dress is out there, I promise. And kind of like that amazing fiance' you have at home, once you know, you know.
More to come on how to schedule appointments and what to expect once you get there....