I work at a bridal boutique maybe I can help.
If you plan on shopping on the weekends especially Saturday call the boutique and inquire about an appointment, if its a small store you will want the security of knowing you are guaranteed a fitting room.
The store I work at is a little more low-key, with mid range prices, so we do not require appointments during the week. However many stores, especially higher-end shops do, so do your homework and either call yourself or have one of your bridesmaids call local stores around you.
Also do research and bring in photos of what you think you might like, you won’t really know until you start trying but at least it gives your consultant a starting point. A word of warning do not get sucked into the problem of pinterest and bring photos of $10,000 couture dresses expecting to find something similar. Not saying you would but you would be surprised how many girls come into my shop and do this.
Most importantly be confident and bring supportive people. If you have someone close to you that maybe be too opinionated or negative but still want them involved you can always bring them around for fittings after your have chosen your dress. Rookie mistake is to ring too many people I usually reommend no more than 2-3 close guests, especially if you are confused easily.
I know my shop has samples in the size 10-16 range, we don’t like having anything too small so a variety of girls can try things on. However some higher-end/couture boutiques are notorious for carrying small samples, not all but another question you can ask when you call around to stores is what samples they carry.
Also make sure you discuss a budget before shopping, whether your or someone else is paying. Make sure to tell your consultant so they don’t pull anything above the budget and don’t try on anything above the budget, once you fall in love with a dress that is too expensive it is hard to back track.
Also since you are petite I would warn against perhaps a natural waist, with girls a little shorter in stature it tends to look a little cup-cakey. Also dresses with big sleeves or alot of fabric around the neckline might be overwhelming. I would recommend a drop-waist ball gown, a-line, fit and flare, or trumpet. They will help slim you out and make you look taller because it will elongate your torso.
Good luck and congrats!
Listed below are some nice and affordable bridal brands I recommend (the websites have store locators to find in your area)