The first thing that I always recommend to brides to do after telling their families, hiring their planner (duh!), and finding a venue, is to start their search for THE dress. Wedding dresses are typically made to order and can take months to come in, not to mention it could take you a while to find the one. Here are some tips to make this process go easier.
1. Set a budget for your dress, and make sure you make this budget clear to your bridal consultation when you go to try them on. No one wants you to fall in love with a dress you simply can't afford. Also be realistic about your budget, typically your wedding outfit (including alternations, undergarments, shoes, veil, jewelry) should be 10-15% of your total budget. If you have a total budget of $10,000, your wedding 'fit should be max $1500. Don't let that number discourage you! There are ways around smaller budgets such as buying a pre-loved dress, shopping for a gown at David's Bridal (they have come a LONG way, and they often have great sales), and there's even options to possibly rent your wedding dress now from places like Borrowing Magnolia. However, I must stress being weary of online dress shops. If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Determine which style works best for your body type. As a general rule, A-line is flattering for all body types. If you're busty, try a sweetheart neckline for a little extra coverage.. Apple shaped? Try avoiding any mermaid or trumpet style dresses, because they will put too much emphasis on the midsection. However if you're hourglass or pear shaped, trumpets and mermaids typically work well for your curves. If you're short, too pouf-y of a ball gown can make you look squat. If you are still clueless, buy a few bridal magazines and familiarize yourself with dress lines.
3. Go dress shopping earlier in the day. You'll be less tired, and your bridal consultant will be less tired, thus more attentive.
4. As I've said before, the very first thing you should do after hiring your planner is to book your venue. Venue can help determine what fabric, color, and even length of dress you choose.
5. Speaking of color-- are you a fun bride who is looking for a blue, pink or even red dress, or are you a traditional bride looking for a traditional white dress (there's also many shades of white, and some look better on certain skin tones than others?) Bridal magazines can also help you envision how the different shades/colors can look.
6. Stay calm and enjoy! This dress just might be the most important outfit you've worn to date, take your mom (or mom figure) and your best friend/maid of honor and enjoy the process.