Backyard Wedding Planning Do's + Don'ts


“Remember the little things”

Check with your local law enforcement agency about the noise ordinance applicable to your area. By doing so early enough in advanced you will be able to get a head start on your wedding schedule to comply with sound restrictions. In most communities, the party has to quiet down at 11pm. You should also determine if you need to file for a permit to park cars along your street the last thing you need is the cops crashing your party.



“Respect thy neighbour”

If your neighbours didn’t receive an invite, go beyond the basic courtesy of notifying them by dropping off a bottle of wine or a box of chocolate. Depending on the day and what time of year it is, they may be planning to host a party the same night. Be sure to give them a heads up on the ceremony time so nobody is mowing their lawn during your vows, and perhaps ask if they would be willing to offer their driveways for extra parking space. However, make sure there is enough street space or property of your own to arrange guest parking. If you want valet parking you do have the option of hiring a reputable company to avoid spending your whole evening away from the wedding. (remember Father Of The Bride) 



“Realistic Space”

Regardless if your childhood home is on a sprawling estate, you still have to consider how much indoor space is available. If the rain decides to add itself to the guest list, there has to be somewhere for your guests to take shelter. Tent rental is almost a must with a backyard wedding, it’s a great way to create “zones” in your space... like a traditional wedding venue. You can have the tent space for dining/dancing, an outdoor space for guests to hangout, lawn games, photo booth, guestbook table, destination boards... etc. Renting a dance floor is another essential, dancing on uneven lawn could create some cool new dance style, but save your guests and get them a levelled stable space to dance the night away!



“Guest Accommodations”

No matter how many bathrooms are inside, outdoor weddings require extra toilets. You have to take into account that at least one bathroom for every 35 guests, your company will also need a place to freshen up as well. Upscale portable bathrooms are now available that have lighting, sinks, heated water, and even air-conditioning. Adding an amenity basket in the ladies’ room can make your girls feel even more special and possibly help in a personal emergency situation, stock your baskets with hair spray, tampons, band-aids and breath mints 



“Crunching the Numbers”

Don’t be afraid to adjust your guest list, if you want to have all the traditional items at your event (full dinner, ability to pay for at least some drinks, photo booth, etc). Realistically a small budget equals a smaller guest list. Every bride dislikes the idea of trimming loved ones off the wedding guest list. It becomes even more of a difficult situation when both the bride and the groom come from large families and are blessed to have a big group of friends. Most couples start their guest lists off by divining them into 3 tiers ... A, B and C. For a small wedding, stick solely to the “A” group to ensure those     you would really love to see at your celebration receive an invitation.



“Décor Advantage”

Choosing to do an at home wedding means you have a private residence that is unique with beautiful trees or a gorgeous lawn, maybe a spectacular view. You can use those elements to your advantage... by creating a homey feel by using different centrepieces and mix-and-match vases. The idea is to look like you have cleared out grandma’s china cabinet of all of its unique and delicate pieces. Playing with outdoor lighting possibilities with garden lamps, paper lanterns and tiny white lights strung on branches will create a stunning fairy-like atmosphere.




“Landscaping TLC”

Getting that lawn freshly cut and pristinely green is an essential for hosting an event where your yard is on display. Another good rule of thumb is to get your planting done early, any shrubs or flower beds that need to be added to complete your space should be done well in advanced. If you’re planning on a spring wedding, you should start preparing in the fall. You can do research about reseeding, replanting, and sodding or ask any professional landscaper. Most perennials need a winter to take hold, and it takes some time for annuals to fill out. Be sure to find out the appropriate planting times for the flowers you like, so they will be in full bloom on your wedding day. 




“You Can’t DIY Everything”

Although brides and their parents can be superhero’s who complete the impossible in a small window of time... you can’t do everything on your own. When planning an at home wedding sometimes a wedding coordinator will give you a fresh perspective on the property and what you can and cannot do. You will also need services to help cover all the basics such as: setting up, cooking, serving, parking cars, and cleaning up. 

 The perfect new arrival at OUTW for your backyard wedding!

The perfect new arrival at OUTW for your backyard wedding!

Still searching for the perfect gown?  Book your appointment right here.

Maintaining A Healthy Weight Loss Journey

Here at OUTW we truly believe that you absolutely deserve to look and feel like the most beautiful version of yourself on your special day.  However, losing weight for your wedding is not mandatory at all. But if you do want to lose weight, we've got some tips for you!

If you have made the decision to start a healthier routine, that is amazing. But it is very important to do so in a healthy way. (Avoid those crash diets or crazy exercise plans) Like your wedding details, you can come up with great meal plans to help keep you organized during those insane work weeks. Pinterest is your best friend! The bag of chips you had instead of dinner … is not! (don't laugh, I can't be the only one who has snack-indents)

Here are some simple tips to help you on your health journey!


Water, Water and more water.

I know some people find the flavour of water boring but the benefits of drinking it are not! It helps rid your body of toxins, banish bloating, improve skin, increase energy levels and help keep you from over snacking. Keeping a bottle around will help you drink water regularly over the course of your day. Eight glasses a day is a good rule of thumb... however just taking the effort to make it a habit is a great start!. If you’re in need of some flavour try adding lemon and a bit of ice.


Quality Not Quantity 

I think most people are guilty of this … especially if you don’t prepare yourself with proper meals or snacks, you start to eat with your eyes. It’s like when you cook or bake, it is much easier to add than to subtract so start off small and take more if you feel like you need to. Some experts suggest eating 4 or 5 smaller meals with moderate portions over the course of a day, others suggest to have larger meals earlier in the day and eat something lighter around dinner time. But in all honestly.. like most things in life it completely depends on how it works with you. All in all the most important step to take is to eat the right things when you’re hungry, don’t deprive yourself, but stop when you’re feeling full (well before you get sick). Work with healthy foods that you enjoy, don’t sit at the kitchen table and have to give yourself a pep talk on eating a piece of broccoli. You have to enjoy it in order to be successful.

P.S. if you carry around little bags of healthy snacks with you during the day, it will help with binge eating and keeps you feeling energized.


Like We Were Told As Kids, Always Eat Your Fruits and Veggies.

Getting in the habit of eating lots of fruits and vegetables every day, will give your stomach a lot less room for more fattening, sugary and processed treats. You just have to get a little more creative to keep your snacks interesting. For example instead of having chips or crackers, try having your hummus or guacamole with crunchy produce such as peppers, carrots and celery. Now after any salty snack or meal .. there is always room for something sweet, which is why stashing some fruit in your bag while you’re doing your running around for the day is always a good plan. 


Goodbye Cocktails.

Okay the title may be a bit dramatic.. but a celebratory drink can cost you 150 calories or more which is worth it on some occasions like your engagement party, bachelorette or a big promotion. However there is no need to add extra sugar and calories to your daily diet, even if you’re just having a few drinks a week, cutting down the alcohol intake can save you hundreds of calories. Keep the cocktails for special occasions and have your bestie (water) in hand. You can even try alternating to nonalcoholic beverages so you won’t feel left out of the festivities.


Working On My Fitness.

Don’t stress and feel like you have to look and be like a fitness model on instagram (not that there is anything wrong with that) but even just 20 minutes of physical activity will do wonders to boost your energy and kick start your metabolism. Even simple steps like.. walking to work, take the stairs or even walking around the mall while window shopping!. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to just make sure you’re eating enough before a serious workout and replenishing with plenty of water. Before and after you sweat. For more intense fitness goals, strive to do 30 to 45 minutes of exercise, with the summer heatwave we have right now.. hit up the pool! Your own or your friends, It works out every muscle and feels fabulous to be in. Another important tip is to pick a time where you feel more motivated and energetic, you will be more likely to stick to your routine.

Don’t forget that you all look fabulous no matter what! Your fiancé fell in love with you for who you are. We love you guys!


Advice From A Real Bride | Natasha

It's our favourite feature!

We interview real brides who have already walked down the aisle and we share their best advice for those who haven't yet tied the knot.  Natasha got married on October 14th, 2017.

What is the biggest piece of advice you would give a newly engaged bride-to-be? 

To take her time deciding how she would like her wedding
There are so many decisions to make when it comes to how you want your wedding day to be, it's important to think through and have a clear vision of what you want your day to be so that others don't sway your decisions!

What is the best advice you would give for a bride-to-be who is searching for her dream dress?

To be open to trying various options

What is the best advice you were given as a bride-to-be?

Do what you want and not what family or friends want.

What is something you regret when wedding planning?

Settling on the first venue and not getting video from the day

What is one thing you're glad you did when you were planning your wedding/engaged?

Had a short engagement.

Is there anything else you'd want to tell a future bride?

Have fun and enjoy the process. No one will notice if something isnt "perfect"

Want to share your best advice for our future brides?  Click here to answer some questions + have a chance to be featured on our blog:


Lies Brides Believe | By Erin Bouchard

This week I had the opportunity to meet Rachel Hollis, the author of “Girl Wash Your Face”.  I read the book a couple of months ago and it was so good.  The premise of the book is that there are so many lies that we as women believe.  Things such as, “we’re not good enough” and “something else will make me happy”.  It’s a powerful read and I strongly encourage every woman to read it.



This got me thinking about all the lies that brides believe when they are planning their wedding.

1.    You have to have your friend in the wedding, because you were in theirs

Friendships change over the years.  Just because you stood up in a friend’s wedding doesn’t mean they have to stand up in yours.  Choose those friends or family members that you think will be in your life in five, ten, fifteen years from now.  You want to make decisions for your wedding that are best for you + your fiancé and not just out of obligation.  You could always consider another role for them, like doing a reading, singing a song or being the MC for the night!

2.    You can’t wear white or ivory if it’s your second wedding

Girls, I literally hear this all the time.  Or I can’t wear white because we already have children.  The tradition of white wedding gowns was that brides who could afford to keep a white dress clean wore white.  It’s actually a symbol of wealth rather than purity.  Somewhere along the way people started associating purity with the white wedding gown.  Like many wedding traditions, people don’t follow that.  Wear whatever colour looks best on you and don’t worry about what others think.  

3.    I’ll for sure lose weight before the wedding

Friends, this is a hard one.  Wedding planning is so stressful and different brides react differently to that stress.  While we have certainty seen some brides lose a significant amount of weight before their wedding, most brides have way too much else to do.  Losing a lot of weight requires a change in your both your diet + your exercise.  It’s a significant project to take on while in the middle of wedding planning.  So be realistic about how much you think you can lose and remember that your fiancé proposed to you at the exact weight you were then!

 Photography -  Jessica Barnett Photography  Hair + MU:  Selah Vie   Venue:  Caradoc Sands

4.    Planning the guest list will be easy

This will likely be one of your hardest tasks while wedding planning.  First you have to figure out whose coming.  You’ll need to decide if you’re inviting kids, cousins, and more!  You’ll have to figure out how to cut people without offending them, your parents or your fiancé parents.  And then you’ll chase people down for RSVP’s even though you made it so easy for them to let you know if they’re coming.  When you think it can’t get any more frustrating then you’ll have to make the decisions of who sits where.  My advice? Elope.  No, just kidding! My advice is to work at it a little at a time.  And remember, it’s you and your fiancé against the problem of the guest list.  Not you against your fiancé.  Work together, communicate lots and keep a good supply of wine on hand!

5.    I can do it all myself

“You can do everything, but you can’t do it all in one season” – Rachel Hollis.  This so applies to your wedding planning.  You might be capable of doing a lot yourself.  You may, in the beginning even love wedding planning.  But we weren’t put on this earth to do everything ourselves.  It’s okay to ask for help.  It’s okay to even delegate some of the tasks to others. While you may wish to have done a lot of wedding planning yourself, you also don’t want to arrive at the day of your wedding, so exhausted and overwhelmed that you can’t enjoy any of it. Accepting help along the way will make it more enjoyable and less stressful.

Wedding planning should be fun and exciting.  If it becomes not fun or exciting, learn to take a break.  Go out with your fiancé and don't discuss the wedding.  Go do something to take care of yourself.  

Still searching for the perfect wedding gown?  We've got you covered, girl!  Book an appointment today to Say Yes to the Dress!

Wedding Theme | Modern

It's no secret that rustic weddings are all the rage right now.  And while we adore a good barn wedding just as much as the next gal, we're also digging the shift to more modern weddings.  And after this blog, you'll love it too.


Like any wedding theme, the key is to find a theme that suits you + your fiancé.  Don't do something just because something is or isn't popular.  Browse themes on Pinterest or Brides website.  There's no right or wrong wedding theme.

 Photograph by  HRM Photography

Photograph by HRM Photography

You can totally have fun with whatever theme you decide on for your wedding day!  Embrace the unique and don't be afraid to do something "out of the box".

Stick looking for your perfect gown?  Book an appointment now to write your Say Yes Story at Once Upon A Time Weddings.

Advice From A Real Bride | Heather

It's back! And it's one of our favourite blogs, we ask real brides who have already walked down the aisle for some of their best advice.  So if you haven't taken your walk down the aisle {or if you have and want to reminisce} then this blog is for you!

Full Name

Heather Doerbecker {Moir}

Wedding Date

September 16, 2017

What is the biggest piece of advice you would give a newly engaged bride-to-be? 

Think about what you and your fiancé want and are looking forward to about your wedding. It’s about you two and starting a new life together. You will get opinions from lots of people but at the end of the day it is your decision that matters most.

What is the best advice you would give for a bride-to-be who is searching for her dream dress?

Do some research collect pictures of dresses you like. Don’t be afraid to try on a style you don’t think will suit you or you don’t want. I didn’t want a ball gown, I ended up with a ball gown but modified it to what I wanted and I loved my dress! Don’t have too many people come to the appointment it gets too crowded and too many opinions.

What is the best advice you were given as a bride-to-be?

At the end of the day, you want a marriage not a wedding. Focus on the relationship of you and your soon to be husband. Don’t get caught in all the little details.

What is something you regret when wedding planning?

Taking more time for myself, doing things I love and not always thinking, talking, dreaming about the wedding.

What is one thing you're glad you did when you were planning your wedding/engaged?

Getting my husband involved, he was a huge help when I was stressed. Keeping each other on the same page, talking to him about the flowers (even though he admitted he didn’t care). He wanted to make sure it was our wedding day and about us. He wanted to make sure I was happy.

Is there anything else you'd want to tell a future bride?

Make sure you give yourself time if you are doing things yourself, the projects take longer than planned. If people ask for help use them! When dress shopping make an appointment at Once Upon A Time Weddings, you will not regret your choice they are all amazing! Take your time if you are stressed pamper yourself. Enjoy the planning of the wedding.
Photographs by Latte Productions.

Wow! Such great advice from Heather!  It feels so intense right now and like your whole life is consumed with wedding planning.  So it's important to remember the end goal: marriage!! And to spend some time being a couple and planning for your life after your wedding day!  Thanks for the great reminder and advice from Heather!

Want to be featured on our blog?  Shoot us an email 

Haven't found your perfect gown and want to follow Heather's advice?  Click here to book your appointment at OUTW!

How To Blog | Elopement

This is the time of year where we have some brides in the store who are planning epic elopements.  We know some of our brides dream of eloping about half way through the traditional planning!  But we also know that some brides just choose to elope from the beginning.  Today's blog, we're going to dive into how to plan an elopement.

There are a lot of reasons for couples to choose an elopement:

  • it's generally less expensive as you can do away with a lot of things that traditional weddings have.
  • you can choose a destination and have amazing pictures.  Think BC mountains, Maine oceanfront, Niagara Falls wine country, and so much more!
  • you avoid so much drama.  This is especially key if you have a lot of family members or friends with strong or opposing opinions.
 Kayla eloped with a few friends present in Maine.

Kayla eloped with a few friends present in Maine.

So if you want to elope, here's some things to consider:

  1. Location.  Where will you elope to?  Just head down to city hall or make a trip out of it!  Some place have elopement packages where they take care of everything for you.  So do some googling and figure out where you want to go.
  2. Guests. Who will you take with you?  Just the two of you or bring along a maid of honour + best man?  Ask your parents to attend?  There are no right or wrong answers and this is a personal choice.  Talk to your fiancé and decide together who you want to be there.
  3. Party.  Lots of brides + grooms who choose to elope decide to have a party later on to celebrate the wedding.  This again is a personal decision but this party can be more casual and laid back than a traditional wedding.

If you're going to elope, here's some things you shouldn't skip out on:

  1. Your bouquet.  Order a beautiful bouquet or make your own.  But having a bouquet will make you feel and look like a bride in your wedding pictures.
  2. Your gown.  Your pictures are what's going to last forever.  No matter where you get married or how many people are present, you are still a bride! Your gown will help you feel and look like a bride.  You can find a gown that makes you feel like a bride while not being over the top for the location of your wedding.
  3. Your photographer.  Your pictures are the only thing that will last beyond your day.  So no matter where your wedding is, you choose always invest in a good photographer.  Consider using one who has experience with elopements or photographing a small wedding.

The best thing about doing an elopement is that you can tie some kind of adventure to it.  Go for a hike in the mountains and get some epic photos.  Go on a wine tour and snap some pictures along the way.  Go snowboarding afterwards.  Whatever it is that you and your fiancé are into, find a way to incorporate that into your elopement.

 Tiffany eloped with her kids present!

Tiffany eloped with her kids present!

If you're considering eloping or having a smaller wedding, our staff at Once Upon A Time Weddings can totally help you out with your gown.  Almost all of the gowns in our store can be sold off the rack.  This means that no matter what timeframe you have, we can help! And we have some beautiful gowns that would be perfect for an intimate elopement.