So you've watched every episode of Say Yes to the Dress and you've asked your girlfriends to block out the Saturday after next to come dress shopping with you. But before you step into the salon, you should know what to expect. Here are some things to consider before your first bridal salon appointment.1. You may or may not be offered champagne. If you've watched any reality wedding shows, you've probably seen brides and their entourages tipping back bubbly at the bridal salon. While this may happen at some of your appointments, don't think any less of a dress shop if they don't serve you champagne. If you feel like you might need a glass of something to get through the day, enjoy a mimosa brunch before you head to your first appointment!
2. You'll definitely be getting nearly-naked in front of a stranger. Yes, you'll probably be braless at some point during your appointment, but don't panic! Bridal stylists are the definition of professional, and they'll never make you feel awkward about stripping down to try on wedding gowns. After all, they help brides in and out of dresses every day.
3. Be prepared to try on lots of different dresses -- even styles you never thought you'd wear. If we can offer one key piece of advice it's this: go into your appointment with an open mind. Even if you're sure you can't pull off a mermaid silhouette, for example, try one on. Wedding gowns aren't like other dresses; they're structured and tailored differently and you might be surprised by what works for your figure.
4. You're not going to try on dresses in your size. Wedding gowns are expensive, so bridal salons usually only stock each dress in one or two sizes. For most women, that means you're going to be bigger or smaller than the gown you're trying on. In order to give you a sense of what the dress will look like in your size, your stylist will clamp the gown in place on your body. It's not a perfect system, but you'll have to imagine what the dress will look and feel like in your size.
5. You might not cry -- and that's OK. You've probably heard from a friend or family member that you'll know you've found the right dress when it brings tears to your eyes. But trust us -- that's not the case for every bride. Given that you're trying on dresses that aren't quite the right fit (see above), you can't expect yourself to get misty-eyed in the fitting room. If you do cry, great! But if you don't, it doesn't mean you haven't found "the one." Don't put that pressure on yourself!
6. Your entourage may drive you crazy. We're going to go ahead and say it: bringing all of your bridesmaids, your sisters, your mom, your friends, your college roommates, and every other important woman in your life to the bridal salon is not the best idea. It may seem like fun at first, but the chorus of opinions is often so loud it drowns out your own thoughts -- and that's the last thing you need. Bring one person whose taste you really trust, and who knows you well and wants you to look your best. If you really want the big crowd at the salon, consider bringing your girlfriends to your final appointment when you can reveal your chosen gown, tailored perfectly to your body.