Everything You Always Wanted to Know {About A Gown Shopping Experience at OUTW}



Have you ever wondered what the hype is about finding a gown at Once Upon A Time Weddings?  Today on the blog, owner Erin Bouchard will walk you through a typical appointment at OUTW + answer some of your questions we know you’re dying to ask!  Erin, along with her team of consultants are proud to have helped thousands of brides create their own gown finding story.  She truly believes that magic happens at OUTW and sometimes you just have to embrace the magic.

A typical bridal gown shopping experience.

Most brides book their appointment online. But you can also text us or call us.  We love our online system because it shows you exactly what we have left available each day and you can choose the time that’s best for you.  Once you’re booked into an appointment, you’ll receive a confirmation email that has a link to our form for you to fill out before your appointment. Within this email you’ll find a link to begin our find-your-style process. We’ll ask you questions about your venue, previous shopping experiences and style choices.  This helps your consultant prepare for your appointment and many times our consultants have picked out your gown before they’ve even met you!

On the day of your appointment, you’ll be greeted and welcomed warmly into the shop.  We’ll ask you a few quick questions and then get to the fun!  Your consultant will pull four to five gowns to begin with.  Many, many times your gown will be in those first four to five gowns {yes, we’re that good!}.  Sometimes it’s the first gown you put on and sometimes it’s the last.  We’ll walk you through the gowns and ask questions about what you like and what you don’t.  Even if you hate the gown, we’re going to ask some questions to help narrow down what it is that you don’t like so we can make better gown pulls.  We always say, “gowns don’t have feelings” so feel free to tell us the truth about what you like and don’t like!

Once we’ve found a gown you love, we’ll put the finishing touches on with accessories.  Sometimes the magic is honestly in the complete look and we want to help you picture it all together for that walk down the aisle.

After you’ve said yes, we’ll take a group picture with our She Said Yes signs.  This will be posted on social media and captures the excitement of the moment.


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There is no right or wrong time to say yes to the dress.

There are no magical number of gowns you HAVE to try on before you can say yes.  There aren’t a magical number of stores you HAVE TO visit before you can pull the trigger.  In life there are a lot of analytical decisions we have to make.  Have you ever made a pro/con list or listed out all your options before you made a decision?  That’s an analytical decision and they are absolutely necessary for certain decisions in life.  But the gown you’ll get married in and look back on for the rest of your life – that’s an emotional decision.  You’re going to feel a whole bunch of emotions as you try gowns on.  You should however not feel:

1.     Like you’re being rushed or pressured.

2.     Like you’re settling for the best of what you’ve tried on.

If you truly love the gown and can picture walking down the aisle in the dress then it could be your gown.  Follow your heart.  You won’t know immediately that it’s your gown.  Most brides know it’s their gown by standing in it for a bit and just imagining it come to life.  That when the magic truly happens.

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Who or how many people should I bring to my appointment.

I get asked this question a lot and it’s honestly one of the hardest questions to answer.  I’ve had appointments with three people go horribly wrong and I’ve had appointments with twelve people go incredibly awesome.  Therefore, I always say bring with you who you absolutely would want to be there if magic happened and you had your gown finding moment.  Jealous bridesmaid?  Struggling sister in law?  Leave them at home or let them be part of your bridal reveal after the decision has been made.  The thing is that every person who you bring with you will be thinking of their opinions.  It’s not that they mean to, but they have an idea of what they would like or what they think you should get and they project that opinion on you.  Again, it’s often not intentional at all.  The important thing is that no matter how many people you bring with you, your opinion needs to be heard loudest and most.  Our consultants are excellent at insuring that.

What to bring.

If you own a strapless bra, bring that along with you.  If you don’t that’s okay, no need to rush out and get one.  Just wear a nude or light coloured bra and we’ll tuck the straps down.  If you plan to wear heels on your day and have a pair that is of similar height, bring those along to try on with the gown. 

Why do we pull the gowns for you?

It’s your day.  And we want you to just sit back and enjoy the moment with your family and friends and let magic do it’s thing!  We also know our inventory well and we may think of gowns to pull that you never even imagined or would have walked right past if you saw it hanging on a rack.  Often we’ll ask during an appointment, “was there another style you had in mind that you really wanted to try on that we haven’t yet”.  If at any point in your appointment your consultant hasn’t asked and you or one of your entourages is wanting to see another style on you, just let us know! 

We do love our jobs at OUTW!  We love working with brides because honestly no two brides are the same, no two weddings are the same and no two gown finding experiences are the same.  Our biggest advice to you is to embrace what makes you unique.  Your story could be you tried on a hundred gowns before you found the one OR your story could be it was the very first gown I slipped into.  Neither of those stories would be right or wrong!  We’d love to work with you and help you say yes to the dress.  Schedule an appointment today and let’s get started!

Filmed and produced by Amanda Kopcic Photography & Videography http://www.amandakopcic.com http://www.facebook.com/amandakopcicphotography

How to Plan An Epic Destination Wedding

What’s not to love about a destination wedding?

A week’s vacation, an escape from freezing temperatures, unlimited drinks all week long, it’s a brides dream come true! Often times we find that brides choose a destination wedding because it seems easier, more fun and more relaxing! And while it can be all those things, there is still some planning involved to orchestrate a beautiful destination wedding that runs smoothly.

Today on the blog, we’re sharing some of our best tips to help those planning an epic destination wedding!

Kerri in a beautiful Once Upon A Time Weddings gown in Collingwood.

Kerri in a beautiful Once Upon A Time Weddings gown in Collingwood.


1. Research the chosen location for a venue, vendors, hotels, and things to do. 

-Block off rooms for guests at hotel once you've received a head count.

-Determine if you need transportation to and from the hotel to venue. 

-Find a local florist, rental companies, DJ, suit rental, officiant, and other wedding vendors.

2. Send save the dates a little earlier than usual to give guests time to mark off their calendars, plan the vacation, and get passports if needed. 

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3. Research legalities of the region: 

-Are there different marriage requirements in that country, will you require insurance, etc. Make sure that you research this early. You don’t want to be a few weeks out from the wedding and realize that your wedding won’t be legal or that there’s extra hoops you have to jump through.

- Also research any day excursions or activities that you + your guests may want to participate in during the week of fun.

4. Stay in touch with confirmed guests: 

- Email them the weather predictions, send them a generic packing list, let them know name of hotel that you've blocked off rooms for, send them some flight options, include a welcome package at resort with a list of local things to do and itinerary for the week, etc.

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5. The 'things you really don't wanna forget' packing list:

-Proper paperwork to obtain marriage license, passport, drivers license, birth certificate...

-Copies of vendor contracts

-Cash/credit cards (only take the cards you need)

-Wedding day attire: Undergarments, make-up, hair products, jewelry, wedding rings, etc.

6. Selecting an on-site wedding planner can make your lives a lot easier when planning because the planner will know vendors and can do almost all the leg work for you leading up to your arrival.

7. Confirm all travel arrangements + vendor dates a month before leaving.

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8. Give your guests a gift upon arrival as a thank you for traveling + attending.

-A package in their hotel room with mini sunscreen, a customized shirt or hat to wear that week, chapstick...things that would be fitting for your location; along with a schedule for the week + list of things to do in that area!

-Maybe throw them a welcome dinner party or a brunch the morning after your wedding as a thank you or schedule an outing the next day with those guests who are still around!

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And no matter what type of wedding you’re having, if you’re still on the hunt for the perfect gown, we’d love to have you in the store. You can book an appointment below or text us at 519.319.6623.

Happy Planning!

How To Enjoy Being Engaged.

So you’re engaged?!

A lot of brides find themselves wishing their big day was just here already. Or they spend so much time fielding questions about their wedding and listening to other opinions on what they should do at their wedding, that they lose some of their excitement.

So we came up with some ways for you to spend time enjoying being engaged. After all, it’s such a short time in comparison to the rest of your life. You really want to capitalize on the excitement and soak up every moment as a fiancé.

1) Throw an engagement party! Celebrate this huge step in your relationship with all your friends and family! It's not a hassle for anyone, people love a reason to celebrate and get together. Find some cute decorations and get to celebrating! 

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2) Take engagement photos! This is a super fun way to celebrate with just the two of you. You get to dress up and be all lovey dovey for the pictures! You can even make a date night out of it! If you choose to do them with your wedding photographer it gives you an extra chance to get to know them and their style before your wedding day.

Photography by  Red Button Photography

Photography by Red Button Photography

3) Get some fiancé swag!  The best part of being engaged? Showing off that new status. It’s the perfect excuse to buy a wifey in training t-shirt, bride water bottle, or new wifey-to-be mugs. Cause why not?!

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Both items are available from OUTW!

Both items are available from OUTW!

4) And remember! When it comes to wedding planning, the day is about your love for one another. Don't let the nitty, gritty details of planning take the joy of being engaged away from you!

Are you recently engaged and starting to look for your dream dress? Look no further!

We'd love for you to book your wedding gown experience today!

Here’s what recent bride Stephanie said about her experience at OUTW.

I had been to 5 other stores before finally making the trip out to Once Upon A Time, and I was blown away by the difference here! The care, attention, and effort that they put into making sure each bride has a great experience was completely unique and refreshing. Definitely worth the visit - even if they don't have the dress for you, it's a wonderful, personalized experience that will remind you of how wedding dress shopping is supposed to be :)

A Look Back at 2018.

As 2018 comes to a close, we look back on some of the best moments of the year. We wish we could showcase each and every bride to you, but here’s a snapshot of some of the brides who have entrusted to us their most important gown they will ever wear.

Chris Sit Photography

Chris Sit Photography

Van Daele and Russell Photography

Van Daele and Russell Photography

B. Reilly Photography

B. Reilly Photography

Amanda Kopcic Photography

Amanda Kopcic Photography

Jennifer McQuade Photography

Jennifer McQuade Photography

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Nicole DeJoseph Photography

Nicole DeJoseph Photography

Bee VanRuymbeke Photos

Bee VanRuymbeke Photos

Mikaela Shannon Photography

Mikaela Shannon Photography

Life is Beautiful Photography

Life is Beautiful Photography

Nina Polidoro Photography

Nina Polidoro Photography

Photography by Heather Yvonne

Photography by Heather Yvonne

As we come to a close of another year, I want to say a big thank you. Thank you to our brides, entourages + mothers that we have gotten the privilege of meeting and working with. We appreciate you. We love that you shop at our store, share the word about the store and engage with us on social media.

To other wedding vendors who tell their brides about us, thank you! We sure do appreciate all the love.

This year has not been without difficulties.. It’s been a year of growth and refinement, of challenges and new opportunities. Of learning to do things better and more efficient.

I cannot wait to see what 2019 will bring to our Once Upon A Time Weddings family!

XO

Erin Bouchard

Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings

Present Over Perfect.

It’s so crazy that Christmas is 4 days away. Today I thought I’d share a blog I originally wrote two years ago. And while some things have changed since then {those two sweet boys were returned to their mama and this year we also have an adorable 13 year old joining in on the Bouchard family fun} I thought it was fitting to share again.

Last fall I read a book by Shauna Niequist called, “Present Over Perfect.”  It was the perfect timing because one month before Christmas we received an emergency, same day placement of two babies – a one year old and a two year old.  The concepts of that book quickly sprang to life as I was forced to let go of perfectionism. 

As we near the holidays again I wanted to share some of what I learned from this book, because it’s not only applicable to the holiday season but also to those in the throes of wedding planning.

I get so caught up in perfectionism.

The perfect tree.

The perfectly wrapped presents in matching paper.
The perfect family day.

The perfectly behaved children.

 

I want it all.  I want the food to taste amazing.  The kids to not fight.  The family to have no drama.

 

I set these high expectations.  

 

But what my family needs is for me to present.

To delight in them.

To spend time with them.

To be present.

Why am I seeking perfection when what they need most from me is presence?

So, what if I use the leftover napkins from last year instead of buying new ones.

So, what if I don’t have enough matching silverware and we use mismatched?

Will Christmas continue? Will anyone notice?

 

Those things don’t matter in the grand scheme of the holidays.

 

This year I chose present.

I chose to be organized and prepared so that I wasn’t stressed.

I hosted dinner for my entire extended family on Saturday.  And instead of getting stressed with how much I had to do, I paced myself and I chose to include my kids in the preparations, and to enjoy the season.  To look at Christmas through their eyes, remove some of my expectations and delight in being fully present.  To be organized and to let some things slide. To find delight in their presence. After all they will only be this age at Christmas, this year.

 

Why am I telling you this?


Because I truly believe it’s a choice.  One that each one of us can choose.

Are we striving for perfection or are we choosing to be present?

 

This holiday season, choose to be present.  Choose to not care if the floor is a bit dirty or if the kids are a bit cranky.  Choose to spend time with people, not just money on them.

 

It’s the same with wedding planning.  There are tons of things you can stress out about.

Are the napkins the same exact shade as the bridesmaids’ gowns? 

Will the ring bearer make it down the aisle?

Will everything come together perfectly?

 

I'm not saying don't enjoy the small things.  I'm not saying don't care about wedding planning.

 

Just don't let those small things pull you away from what matters most: the people around you.

Let go of some of the desire for perfection and celebrate the start of your new life together.  Write the beginning of that chapter as present instead of perfection.

So whether you’re in the throes of planning a wedding, finishing your Christmas preparations or both, pause. Soak it all in. Let the little things go. Notice smiles and laughter. Soak it all up.

I wish you the Merriest of Christmases.

May you be present this year.

XO Erin



All I Want For Christmas Is...

We love Christmas time here at Once Upon A Time Weddings! We have some exciting things planned in the store that I wanted to share with you!

First of all, from the bottoms of our hearts we want to say thank you.

Thank you to all the customers who believed in us and shopped with us.

Thank you to all those who shared our store with their friends, family, co-workers.

Thank you to all the other wedding vendors who told their brides about us.

We love you all and appreciate you.

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!


Next week, we’ll launch our 5 days of Christmas special! Each day a different item will be on sale. You can purchase in store or online. Online orders can be held for pick up at the store. Items will be limited quality so shop early for best selection!!

Day 1 - Monday

Day 2 - Tuesday

Day 3 - Thursday

Day 4 - Friday

Day 5 - Saturday

Watch our FB page each day for these sales!!

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The other thing we’re excited to share with you is that we are hosting a trunk show from now until January 8th.

What is a trunk show?

It’s where a designer, in this case, two designers, send us their sample gowns for us to showcase and use in the store for a limited time. This allows us to see what gowns will work in our location, and allows our brides to have first access to these gowns before they have even shipped to stores.

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Hurry and book your appointment now! Our Holiday Hours are as follows:

December 24th, 25th + 26th - CLOSED

December 27th + 28th Open 11-6

December 29th Open 10-4

December 30th + 31st CLOSED

January 1st + 2nd CLOSED

January 3rd + 4th Open 11-6

January 5th Open 10-4

20 Things You Might Not Know About Erin Bouchard.

Happy Friday! It’s hard to believe that it’s December already. As we head into a busy season, surrounded by family, filled with food and love, I wanted to take a minute to share some things about me. I’ve been at the helm of Once Upon A Time Weddings since we opened our doors on September 20th, 2010.

And although I don’t work as much in the store as I once did, hello three kids and another part time business, I absolutely love that I get to own Once Upon A Time Weddings.

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So here’s 20 things you might not know about me. I’d love to share in the comments one things I might not know about you.

  1. I am a huge introvert. I work with people all day and I totally can do it. But it drains me and I need to recharge before more people interaction.

  2. I have endometriosis. I’ve spoken about this a few times on our social media and blogs. But I have stage 2 endometriosis and had laparoscopic surgery last February. I’m waiting to have excision surgery with a specialist.

  3. I love reading. Seriously the queen of reading over here. My favourite way to pass time is to read. I believe there’s always more information out there for us to learn.

  4. I love my family. My husband is amazing and I have the three greatest kids in the world. Our oldest, L is 13 and has been with our family since March. Ethan is 9 and Arianna is 6. Every year I think these are the best ages, the most fun.

  5. I have always wanted to have 5 kids. We’re 3/5 of the way there. And we can’t say too much, but we’re working on filling those last two spots. So keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

  6. I love the beach. I love the sound of the waves. I’d love to live on a lake one day and walk the beach every night.

  7. I can be really blunt. If you’ve been around me for more than like 5 minutes, you likely already know this. I sometimes, okay, most of the time, say it like it is. I work hard to soften the bluntness but sometimes that’s a fail.

  8. my husband is the exact opposite of me, personality wise. I make really quick decisions and am super fast-paced. He’s more analytical and likes to take his time making decisions. We somehow work, now that we understand each other’s personality types better.

  9. I’m addicted to coffee.  Like serious problem addicted.  I drink way too much. It’s a real problem.

  10. I have a degree in counseling which I use a lot in this line of work. I went to Heritage College {where I also graduated with a MRS. because that’s where I met Joel}.

  11. I am organized in some ways, and a total work in progress in others. I’m trying to get better.

  12. I coach other bridal store owners, sharing some of the things I have learned in the last 8 years of running my store with them. I love it.

  13. I am the queen of starting things but not finishing them. Another huge work in progress for me. I am the idea queen. I have shiny new project syndrome.

  14. I am not a morning person, but my days go better when I get up and work an hour before my kids get up, so I make myself. I use this time to work on myself. I listen to podcasts, watch video trainings or read.

  15. My husband’s family lives on St. Joseph Island {near Sault Ste. Marie} and one day I’d love to own a home or cottage up there. It’s just a different way of life up there. If you’ve never been, you should.

  16. I’ve been trying to drink more water. I can’t believe what a difference it makes in energy levels when I do.

  17. I enjoy being busy.  I like the fast pace of a busy Saturday and I thrive on having lots on the go at once. I love a challenge. Tell me I can’t do it and I’ll show you I can.

  18. I love shopping.  My two favourite online companies are Grace & Lace and Evy’s Tree. I have to cut myself off frequently and have no spend months.

  19. I skipped kindergarten and went right into grade one.

  20. My daughter is exactly like me, which is a bit fascinating since she’s adopted and all.  But she couldn’t be more like me if she tried.  She’s stubborn, independent and one day she’ll rule the world.

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