Tip #1: Research online before your appointment, and bring photos or magazine pages with you.
Men's Wearhouse. Right from the start my consultant was with us helping me pick out dresses. She asked me what I had in mind and I explained, as well as showed her pictures I had printed out from the David's website. I highly recommend doing this, since it seemed to make it easier for her to see what I was looking for, and she had style numbers right on the printouts to help her find exactly what I wanted. She let me pick out so many dresses to start with that we had to put most of them in a second dressing room! With two people in the room, only about three dresses can comfortably fit in there at once.
Tip #2: Try on dresses and accessories that you think you won't like, just to see.
Tip #3: Don't let the first dress you try on be the one that you think will be your favorite.
Tip #4: Only bring along people whose judgment you completely trust.
For a girl who doesn't like to shop, and really doesn't like to try on clothes, I have to admit that this was a lot of fun. Erin made me try on a bunch of dresses that she had picked out before letting me try on the dress that I loved from the magazine. I'm a good sport, so I just did whatever she told me to - of course, I trust her judgement. This turned out to be a great idea, because it made me appreciate the dresses that I knew I would like more than I maybe would have if I had started out with those. I also tried on a veil just for the heck of it, even though I knew I didn't want one. I even put on a fairy tale dress just for fun, and I actually loved it and didn't want to take it off - even though it was way too long for our venue, and even though it was four times the price of what I could afford. If I could have stolen it to play dress-up at home with, believe me I would have.
Tip #5: If you like a dress, bring it over to a window where you can see it in natural light.
It took me about an hour, I narrowed it down to three, then to two dresses, and my consultant was by my side the entire time. When I was trying to decide between the two (both Galina), she took me out into a naturally lit area, brought me different sashes to try with them, let me try on a bunch of different shoes, and mess with my hair for what felt like forever to me, but was probably not that much time. All of this really helped me, and the deciding factor was when I saw the dresses in the natural light. One sparkled much more in sunlight and that sold me on it.
dress relatively quickly, in a color that she likes, and they were willing to order it in her size for her (she bought it in "light mocha" and I don't know why it says "online only" on the website, because it's not).
In the end, I am totally pleased with my dress (but I will not show it on here until the ceremony, because I want it to be a surprise). I think that, even though many people have bad-mouthed David's Bridal, if you are a bride on a budget it is worth looking at with these tips in mind: browse one day on your own and observe the consultants to try to get a feel for which ones seem attentive and helpful, try to go during a weekday when there are less brides there, and make an appointment. Even if you don't find what you're looking for, it's an experience worth having.
Post-script: When we checked out they gave us a ton of coupons!