Advice From Past Bride | Mikaela Vandenberk

Mikaela + Luke
Wedding Date: September 2, 2017

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

Relax and enjoy the process. The engagement high only lasts for so long, so when it's there enjoy it. Enjoy being engaged, because it's fun to go around showing off that new bling(lets me honest). Don't stress wedding planning, it doesn't need to be stressful, it honestly should be fun and exciting. I truly believe people put way to much pressure on wedding planning. When I got engaged I got the big decisions done ASAP (venue, photographer, etc), then let the little details go until the 3 or so months before. I didn't want the entire year or so to be wedding this wedding that. I didn't want to feel overwhelmed and I wanted to enjoy being engaged not feeling stressed the entire time.

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

First - Go to Once Upon a Time Weddings their amazing to work with and you feel so special. Secondly, have your ideas but don't be limited. I went in with 2 full sheets of paper of my inspiration from Pinterest and ended up getting a dress that was completely out of my comfort zone. I am really happy about it thought because it was unexpected which I wanted.


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

Stop worrying about all the materialistic things. The most important thing is the commitment that you are making with your partner and that should always remain number one.

What is something you regret when wedding planning?

I only had a couple things that I regret not doing or thought people may have thought it was lame. My main advice is do the wedding of YOUR dreams nobody else.

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

Included my husband as much as he may have not been to interested. Remember its your wedding together not just you. I hate when people say its the brides day, no its both of yours. I wanted my husband included in everything even if he just wanted me to be happy with the decision. Some decisions are fairly big and should be a couple decision.

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

Have fun, enjoy the journey and don't lose site of the main event and thats the marriage the commitment to be long life partners.


Thanks Mikaela for sharing your advice for all those who haven’t walked down the aisle just yet. If you’re still looking for the perfect gown, follow Mikaela’s advice and come to Once Upon A Time Weddings. Book your appointment today!

On Growth | Where OUTW is Headed.

Over a year and a half ago, I wrote a blog with the same title. We were anticipating our new move to the store. We were busting out of our old space and needed to expand.

And here we are a year and a half later and we continue to grow.

And we’re so, so thankful for that. We’re extremely thankful for all of our customers who shop with us, tell their friends about us, and share our posts on social media.

We’ve had several staff meetings over the last few months digging into what’s next for Once Upon A Time Weddings and really looking at what we do well and what we need to work on. Because in the business world, growth can be a double edge sword.

We want to keep growing to serve more and more brides. But we also want to make sure that the brides that we have are served well.

So, first things first. We are looking for another part time bridal stylist for the store. We are not necessarily looking for someone with experience in bridal. We are looking for someone who is hard working, open to learning, passionate about fashion and available Saturdays and weekday evenings.


To apply, please email your resume and why you think you’d be a perfect match to

Secondly, we have some really exciting events happening at the store in the next few months. We did a Facebook live today explaining them. Click here to watch it.

And we have some other big news that we are working on. So be sure to follow along on our instagram + Facebook pages for more information.

A Non-Cheesy Way to Include Thanksgiving into Your Wedding Day

Love Thanksgiving? What a perfect theme to incorporate into your wedding! It’s a season of love and food! There are ways to add that homey holiday flare without constructing some form of a paper turkey. Especially if your wedding day happens to “fall” right on the holiday weekend!.

For your table settings think harvest theme, use thanksgiving inspired ingredients in a fresh way for your menu, while expressing thanks to your loved ones in a number of ways throughout the celebrations.

For your table decor don’t be afraid to add multiple elements such as candles, fresh produce, foliage garlands and any other autumn-ish decor items. To add even more of your traditions or to make your guests feel more at home, add touches such as various household items, rugs and comfy furniture.

For escort cards adding something such as pairs with your guests names on the leaves adds a personal touch for your family and friends (you could do this with any fruit to match your theme/venue)

For venue spaces, nothing says the holidays like a family home or a rustic barn space. You can also use an outdoor space (weather pending). Adding area rugs to your aisle can also add warmth and compliment your colour palette.

Bring your furry friends, having the family dog be part of the wedding couldn’t make it feel anymore like you’re at home on the holidays.

For entertainment, you can always go with a traditional band or DJ. However, if you do have any musical talent in the family add them into the mix and bring that personal touch to your special day while making it really feel like the holidays.

Now for cocktail hour, the fall season brings plenty of options for drinks and desserts! For beverages you can do a seasonal punch or even a mulled cider which is delicious served hot or cold.

For an eclectic flare, use mismatched plates and serve ware to add more rustic charm and family tradition to your place settings. Even using some of your family’s china will bring a personal touch. Rental companies also offer great options for this style.

Other than a traditional wedding cake/cupcakes , there is one other dessert alternative that we love to indulge during the holidays… PIE. Some brides have even had a specific pie station with multiple classic flavours. But don’t forget about our good autumn friend the apple, there are so many options. The most popular is an apple dipping table for guests to have fun and create their own take home snack!

Leave us a comment on ways you included Thanksgiving into your wedding day, we'd love to hear!

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more wedding inspiration and behind the scenes bridal store moments!

Still searching for that perfect wedding gown? Book your experience with us today!

*All photographs curtesy of Pinterest*

Wedding Theme | Rustic Autumn

Pumpkin spice and everything nice! Fall weddings and its decor selection haven’t appeared to go down in popularity. So if you like a pinch of cinnamon , apples and the colour orange then this is the theme for you!


Autumn weddings give you the ability to use the natural elements as your decor canvas. Being surrounded by beautiful earth tones and bold accents, you definitely have the option of keeping things minimal. Playing with fabrics and textures are a great way to add detail without overwhelming your venue space.


Escort cards really do add a personalized touch to your venue space and overall wedding theme. You can design it to be a “take home” item for your guests or even just a great conversation piece during your wedding reception.


With your table settings… just because the weather has cooled down a tad doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with pops of colour and elegant floral arrangements. Adding things like gold accents and candles can really bring the whole table arrangement together and add a sense of warmth to the decor.


Sparkling champagne cider, s’mores… the choices are endless! Cocktail hour is always a great way to show you and your fiancés personality. This year a big trend is “guest experience” you could even have a small fire pit in the outdoor section of your venue to give guests a cozy feel while celebrating your big day.


For your ceremony space you can go in any direction with your style. Here in this theme we stuck with rustic/modern which is achieved by adding structured metals and earthy toned floral arrangements with candles. Adding different heights in your ceremony space will allow your guests eyes to follow the leading lines of your space with minimal distractions.


For wedding favours if you’re looking for an alternative route, you could try adding a cute play on words with a delicious treat or something homemade with the happy couples personal touch on it that family and friends would love to take home!

 This dress from our store would work perfect for a fall themed wedding!

This dress from our store would work perfect for a fall themed wedding!

But regardless of trends, pick what works best for your style and what is the most attractive to you and your fiancé... Happy wedding planning! 

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

8 Things I Promise to Every OUTW Bride

Guys, today is the day!

It’s our 8th Anniversary. And just like in marriage, this little old business of mine takes work, lots and lots of work. So today, in celebration of our anniversary I want to share 8 things I promise to our brides over the next 8 years of business.

  1. I will fight for you.

We are sometimes at the mercy of designers when it comes to receiving gowns. Sometimes things are outside of our control. But as the owner of OUTW, I will also fight for you. If something isn’t right or something goes wrong, we’re on your team. We want to work with you to come to a solution. And if we make a mistake, we’ll take ownership of that and do our best to make it right. Yes, we’re in business to make money but we’re also in business to make dreams come true. And we care about each of our brides as people and not just sales.

That doesn’t mean you can bully us into getting anything you want. We do ask you to be reasonable and kind. But we’ll always go to bat for you whenever we can!

London Photographer Rebecca Nash - Erin Portraits (10).jpg

2. I will never stop chasing this dream.

8 years ago I started chasing this dream. Well in reality about 9 1/2 years ago. But I took a big step towards this dream when I opened the doors of OUTW 8 years ago. While I’m so, so proud of all that we have accomplished in 8 years, we’re far from finished yet. We’ve stronger, more determined and excited about all the future holds for us at OUTW. We want to continue to serve you in whatever ways we can.

3. I will continue to bring you exclusive and unique gowns.

I’m so proud of the store we’ve built. And I’m so proud that when you say Yes to the Dress at our store, you get our expertise and you get gowns that aren’t found at every bridal store everywhere. We love bringing in gowns that are well made and have amazing structure. We want you to look and feel confident from the moment you slip it on in the morning until the last dance at night.

4. We can handle your crazy MIL, your opinionated bestie and your know-it-all sister.

Bring it on sister. There’s honestly no situation that you can throw at us that we won’t be able to handle. We just want you to be open and honest with us and we’ll work through it with you. We got you girl.


5. I will not be perfect, but I will make it right.

This is similar to the first one, but it’s worth discussing. I have off days. I have days where I say something that I shouldn’t. I have made mistakes. But I promise I will try my absolute best to make it right. So if you feel like we’ve done something wrong or we could have done something better, reach out to us. We live in a world where sometimes our first instinct is to write a bad review. And sometimes that’s justified. But give me a chance to make it right with you and remember we are human. Reviews hurt us as they often tell one side of the story. Especially when the side of the story is told un-factually.

6. I will never stop learning + teaching.

Guys, this is so important to me. I have a serious book problem. I am constantly learning and applying new things all the time. And I’m constantly teaching. Our staff meet at least twice a month to learn together. We hire mature staff members and they endure a vigorous training here at OUTW. But that training doesn’t end with their initial training. It’s ongoing.

7. I will always care about your experience.

I have an obsession with your experience. I’m constantly thinking about ways to improve what we do. We have developed such an amazing reputation. And that reputation is everything to me. I want each and every bride who walks through the doors to experience that.

8. I want to hear your feedback.

We can’t fix a problem we don’t know about it. We can’t change a problem we weren’t aware was a problem. You can always email me at or call me at the store if you’d like to chat. We also do surveys a lot to gather your feedback.

If you haven’t filled out this survey yet, we’d love to hear your thoughts:

 What will your Say Yes Story be?   At Once Upon A Time Weddings, we want you to say yes to not just the dress with absolute confidence.  And it starts with this free webinar.   Grab a cup of coffee or glass of wine and join us as we discuss everything you need to know before you purchase your wedding gown.  We'll cover:  * shapes of gowns  * colours of gowns  * when to shop for your gown  * Say Yes Process  * why shopping at a boutique is best  All participants will receive a special offer towards their gown purchase! So be sure to be on live or catch the replay right away!

What will your Say Yes Story be?

At Once Upon A Time Weddings, we want you to say yes to not just the dress with absolute confidence.

And it starts with this free webinar.

Grab a cup of coffee or glass of wine and join us as we discuss everything you need to know before you purchase your wedding gown.

We'll cover:

* shapes of gowns

* colours of gowns

* when to shop for your gown

* Say Yes Process

* why shopping at a boutique is best

All participants will receive a special offer towards their gown purchase! So be sure to be on live or catch the replay right away!

Styling Your Maids.

Here at Once Upon a Time Weddings our main goal is helping you find your dream dress along with offering our unique in-store experience. But, what can we offer after you 'say yes to the dress'? What else is on your wedding to-do list that we can help you check off? How about finding dresses for those most important girls standing next to you on your day! We offer a wide selection of colours and styles for your bridesmaids along with that same in-store experience all over again!

We combined four of our wedding gowns with some of our bridesmaids dresses to show how your maids dresses can help enhance your gown!

This first one we wanted to show case how different necklines and colours can draw your attention to your gorgeous gown. While staying in a fall colour palette, with this plum tone dress you can absolutely have the same neckline as your wedding gown… its simplistic yet elegant style only accentuates your wedding gown and brings out its blush undertones and sparkle.


Now with the halter neckline you cannot lose, its the complete opposite of your gown and still adds a great colour while playing on texture with this chiffon fabric. Both silhouettes bring a great shape to any body type.


Next, we show a way to 'bring out your bling' even more by accenting your dress with maids dresses that have fall inspired colours and lace accents. Here we are keeping more in mind for the cooler season with deep Burgundy and a Navy colour palette. It allows the ivory tone in this horse hair skirt to really pop and be an absolute show stopper.


Thirdly, we are breaking out the lace! This maids dress helps bring out your lace texture and your Ivory wedding gown colour without over doing it. These dresses come in a variety of colours and can make a great statement for any season. (P.S. the blue dress has pockets.. who doesn't love those!?)


Lastly, the boho look! We have combined a long flowing gown with a deep v-neck and a short flirty and fun lace v-neck. Different shades, lengths, and styles; who ever said your girls had to be matching in these categories! This neutral colour scheme goes great for a boho theme, and compliments any skin tone.


So whatever look you're going for with your maids, the stylists at Once Upon A Time Weddings can help pull it all together for you!  Click here to book your maids experience! 

Introducing.... OUTW Packages!

OUTW Bridal Packages

Hey Bride Friends!

Here we are, once again at the end of the week. And I CANNOT believe it.  I feel like I say that every week though, don't I?!

The air today feels more fall like, and I'm living for it!  I'm all about the cozy sweaters, boot socks, fireplaces and apple picking.

It's also a good month, because it's the month we celebrate OUTW opening their doors. Missed my blog yesterday? You can read all about it here.

Today, our first anniversary special savings is on our packages!!

We have two different packages available to our brides who purchase their gowns through us.


And now, the fun part!

The first 4 brides who have bought from us, who purchase either package from us, will automatically get a trip to Las Vegas.

Anyone who purchases either the Essentials or Insider Club package before September 18th will be entered into a draw to win a Cozumel Honeymoon trip!

There are some conditions that apply to both trips. The trip is only accommodations. Airfare, meals and other expenses are not included. There are some black out dates.  We'll give the full list of instructions to the winners.