Once your date has been set and the venues booked, the next thing to start thinking about is how you want to look on your big day.

There are a huge range of dresses to choose from, whether you want a ready-made High Street gown, or something made specially for you.

The best tip is to start early – many wedding dresses are extremely elaborate with intricate embellishments and embroidery which can take months to complete.

Several fittings will need to be done to ensure the best fit, so you need to allow plenty of time to finalise your dress decision.

Flick through some magazines to get an idea of the kind of dress you like, but it’s well worth trying on some other styles in the shops as well, as you may be surprised at how the gowns look on you.

Talk to the shop assistants or owners as well – many of them have been in business for years and are a mine of helpful information when it comes to choosing the perfect dress for you.

It is essential to take along a trusted – and honest – companion when going wedding dress shopping. Many brides take along their mum, but bridesmaid are also often welcome!

Lace is increasingly popular following the Royal wedding of 2011, but that does mean a lot of brides are wearing it now and you may want to go for something a little more unique.

Generally fabrics and styles of dress change in accordance with the seasons.

In generally, pure white dresses suit brunettes and olive tones, while ivory and cream hues match with fair-skinned blondes.

During the summer months, dresses are usually bright and bold and consist of silk, chiffon, lace and breathable pure cotton, which are all light and airy to match the feel of the season.

With the arrival of winter comes a change in fabrics and colours of wedding outfits – brides tend to choose golds, browns or red tones and pick heavier fabrics like brocade, velvet and duchess satin.

Most brides try on around six dresses before finding “the one”, but there’s nothing to stop you from trying everything in the store!

You’ll probably know the instant you put a dress on whether it’s right for you.

No matter what your figure, you can guarantee a bridal boutique somewhere in Dorset has a creation which will make you feel a million dollars on your big day!

How to choose the perfect dress for your shape

Choosing a dress can be one of the most difficult decisions a bride has to make.

The choice can be overwhelming and what you thought may suit you actually does nothing for your shape.

If you...

Are tall and thin - try a strapless ballgown that is fitted around the body.

Are short with a fuller figure - try an empire line dress

Have a full bust – choose a long bodice to draw the attention away - a basque with a long skirt works well

Have wide hips – go for something that doesn’t fit too tightly, but is fitted on top and flares have wide shoulders – choose wide straps or a v-shaped neckline

Have short legs or feel overweight – try a long dress to give you more height

Have chubby arms – avoid tight sleeves and go for romantic-style, long, floaty sleeves