The day of the appointments, be sure to bring a strapless bra, some formal jewlery, a camera, a notepad/pen and your trusty inspiration folder! The formal jewlery just helps you get a better picture in your mind. The camera is a must as usually you can forget how certain gowns looked on you, or the details in it. Make sure your person takes pictures of all angles and a close up of any details.
When you arrive to the salons, it is not always what you had pictured in your mind. Some of the larger shops have rows and rows of dresses in bags that you can barely see. This is when then bridal attendant becomes really important. You have to describe to these woman what inspires you and your folder can really help in doing so. The bridal attendant at these larger places will just start pulling gowns while you wait in the dressing room and you get to say yes or no. It is OK to say no. Don't feel pressured or rushed to have to try on what they say. It is your time and you need to use it wisely.
Some of the smaller salons will allow you to frolic and look at all the dresses which are usually displayed much more delicately. You can browse and select gowns you like and then the attendants will usually pull out other similiars based on what you had selected or what inspiration you have shown them. I found this experience much less anxiety provoking for me as I was overwhelmed when entering the larger salons. That being said, I found my dress at a larger salon, but then purchased it at a smaller salon that I felt was more personable (not to mention more budget friendly for the same gown!)