All About Changing Ownership of OUTW!

Today we made the following announcement! I wanted to share it on our blog as well as give you some details about the changing ownership.

It is with great excitement and some sadness that I announce that I have sold Once Upon A Time Weddings to Kaitlyn Lee.

Last year when I first met Kaitlyn, I knew instantly that she was going to be someone that would greatly impact Once Upon A Time Weddings. Her vibrant personality, constant smile and determination to create beautiful bridal experiences drew me to her.

She joined our team and the rest, as they say is history!

I, together with my husband Joel, have had an increasing desire to relocate our family to be closer to Joel’s family. We’ve envisioned slowing our lives down. Giving me more time to build my coaching and education business and for our growing family.

With this pregnancy, the time seemed right for us to seriously consider the move. But I knew I needed to find the exact right person to take over this business.

Someone who had the same passion and drive and love for brides as I do. I was so elated when Kaitlyn said she was interested. Because I know that she would take this business to the next level while still caring for Once Upon A Time Weddings brides in the same way as I have for the last nine years. Watch over the next few months for some exciting developments that she’s already been working on! I cannot wait to see her growth!

Kaitlyn will officially take the reins on Monday, August 19th.  You’ll still see me around up until that time.

Let’s dive a little more into who Kaitlyn is and what you can expect with her as the owner!

Who Kaitlyn is:

I am originally from Pickering and moved to London 2 years ago to see what the future had in store for my career & to finally stop living a long distance relationship with my boyfriend Marek. We bought our first house together last year and started planning out our future just as I started my new chapter at Once Upon a Time Weddings. I am a very outgoing, caring, bubbly & organized person and if you asked anyone who knows me they would say I like everything precisely planned and detail oriented! I love making people smile and feel good about themselves and that’s why I’ve always had a career in sales.  I have an Event Management background and have ran several events and have always had a passion for working in the wedding world. I strive on customer service and making every single person I interact with happy! 

What made her want to purchase Once Upon A Time Weddings:

Just over a year ago I started applying to jobs that were more in my field of study and came across Once Upon a Time Weddings, I remember thinking to myself how amazing that would be, so I applied and a week later I made my first trip out to the store to meet Erin and have my first interview. The moment I stepped into the store I knew I found my calling, and every day since then I have loved being apart of the OUTW team. I believe in everything Erin has built and stands for and the way she treats every single bride that walks into the store like we are one big happy family. Every day is a new adventure at Once Upon a Time Weddings, as we never know what say yes story we will be helping write that day but we do know that every single bride deserves a magical experience and that’s exactly what OUTW will always deliver!

When Erin brought up the idea of selling the business to me I was in shock, it was everything I’ve ever dreamed of right in front of me. I kept thinking this can’t be real! How can just over a year ago when I first walked into OUTW dreaming one day I would own something like it and now actually have the opportunity to call it mine! I remember calling my mom right after to tell her what just happened and us both just crying from pure joy that this is real. Till this day it still feels so surreal, and I am so grateful Erin saw my passion and drive and trusted me with her business she has built from the ground up. I will do everything to continue to grow Once Upon a Time Weddings as I have some very exciting things planned for the future!

What is Kaitlyn most excited for about owning Once Upon A Time Weddings:

Ever since I can remember I’ve always had a dream of owning something of my own, I remember walking into Once Upon a Time Weddings and thinking wow this would be amazing if one day this could all be mine. Obviously back then that was just a dream, but now it’s becoming reality and I am so excited to see what the future holds! I am a strong believer in everything happens for a reason and this is the exact reason I was led to OUTW.

I am excited to continue to always put our brides first and help create that magical experience every single person deserves on their wedding day!

I know this change of ownership may come as a shock to some of our customers. So I wanted to share a little bit about why now:

Joel and I are incredibly excited {and a bit nervous} to welcome our new baby girl in September. This will be our third child but our first baby. Over the last few years we’ve dreamed about moving to where Joel’s family is from. It’s a quaint little town that has a real family feel to it. We want to simplify our lives a bit and spend more time with our kids before they are grown.

So what’s next for Erin:

I’ve dabbled in some coaching and teaching over the last couple of years. Using what I’ve learned as I’ve grown my business to help other retail store owners and to teach at bridal conferences. I’m excited to have some time to continue to do that. To teach and grow my coaching business.

If you’re interested in following our journey, you can follow me on instagram @erinchristinebouchard.

This is obviously a very big decision, so how did Erin make it:

It may feel like it’s a quick decision or that it’s happening fast. But in reality we’ve been planning and preparing for a few months now. I first approached Kaitlyn in June. I had thought about asking her for a few weeks. I knew that I wanted someone who had the same passion, drive and love for the store as I do.

This has probably been one of the hardest decisions I’ve made because I truly love the store. I love working with brides and I love seeing visions come to life.

But I’m excited for the next chapter in my life and in my family’s life. And I completely trust to take the reigns and continue to build the business that has been my baby for the last nine years.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading a little bit more about the change of ownership. We invite you to come out to a store open house on Thursday, August 22nd from 6-8pm. Erin would love to thank you for your years of support. And it’s a chance to welcome Kaitlyn into her new role as owner! Tickets are free but we’d love for you to pre-register here so we know how much food + drinks to purchase.


How to Blog | Invitation Process

Did you know that we do invitations at Once Upon A Time Weddings? We are an affiliate of The Paper Bride in Chatham. Which means any of the invitations or stationery from their wedding business can be ordered right from Once Upon A Time Weddings!

Below, Erin outlines the invitation process.

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There are three reasons we picked The Paper Bride.

1. Because Jenn & Laurie are total sweethearts and real professionals.  They love what they do and that shines through from every interaction with them.  

2. Their invitations are also totally customizable and we love that about them.  Your invitations are your guests first glimpse into your vision for your day.  And we feel so honoured to help you create and begin seeing that vision come into execution.

3. Their prices are totally reasonable.  Simple invites start at just $1.50 per invite.  And you can order as many or as little as you'd like.  Need 52 invites? No need to order an extra 20 or 25 invites, we can place the order for 52!

Today, on the blog we'd thought we'd walk you through the invitation process.  Of course, we have a process for it, because our main goal at OUTW is always to make it as easy and painless as it can be!

So let's dive in!

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Step 1: Talk to Your Fiance & Your Parents

Figure out how many guests you'll be inviting.  When determining number of invitations needed, remember that most guests are couples or families and typically you need roughly half of the number of guests are on your guest list.  Determine what your budget is for invitations.  Begin the conversation of what you want the wording to look like for the invitations.  Do you want just your names on the invites, parents names, just brides parents?  There used to be a lot more rules to whose names appeared on the invitation, but now a days most couples either put both parents names or no parents names on the invitations.

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Step 2: Meet with Us

Schedule an invitation consult and come in and speak to one of our stylists.  We'll walk you through creating your custom design invitation suite.  We have some samples to show you but everything is customizable.  We'll help walk you through all the wording and create an order to be submitted to The Paper Bride.

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Step 3: Place Order + Pay Deposit

We'll send in all your order information to The Paper Bride.  They require a 50% deposit to begin layout of invitations.  Once your deposit has been paid, they'll begin to layout all the information that we sent them.

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Step 4: Email Proof

The Paper Bride will create an invitation proof via email.  This will help us catch any errors or spelling mistakes and give you a visual of what your invitation will look like.  Want your names a bit bigger or to change the font?  One design change is included in your pricing so if you want to change anything in your order, this is your time to do it.  If all looks good, we move to the next step.

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Step 5: Invite Proof

Once we get your approval of the email proof, the The Paper Bride will print and create one invitation for you to approve.  Once you sign off this copy, they go to print, so we do suggest you review it carefully and make sure all information is perfect!

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Step 6: Production

Once final approval has been given, your invitations will go to production.  They will be printed and boxed up for shipping to our store.  Production can take anywhere from a few weeks to six weeks.  We can usually accommodate shorter orders, just ask!

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Step 7: Arrival & Assembly

Your invitations will be shipped to OUTW and you'll come in and pick them up.  Most of our invitation orders will come as DIY kits, which means you'll assemble them yourself.  Don't worry, we'll show you exactly how and you can purchase the tape here for that as well.  If you don't want to assemble them, we can price that out for you!  Throw them in the mail and you're good to go!

Still have more questions? Shoot us a text at 519.319.6623 or an email to info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca.

Ready to meet with us? Book an invitation consult online now.

 

My Favourite + Least Favourite Part of Owning A Bridal Store!

My favourite thing about owning a bridal store.

 

Guys, I love my job, I really do. I love meeting new brides, listening to their excited moms, and seeing the anticipation on everyone’s faces as they wait for the big reveal. I love seeing the wedding day pictures and feeling the love radiate out of those photographs.

 

I get to work in an industry that celebrates love and relationships. 

 

My favourite thing about owning a bridal store I would say is giving brides confidence. Buying a wedding gown usually involves feeling all the feels.

 

The excitement.

The joy.

The fear.

The overwhelm about making a decision.

Then more excitement.

 

Often when trying wedding gowns, brides feel like they are getting married for real. Sometimes for the first time. And that can be feel equal parts exciting and scary.

 

So I love that I get to walk alongside brides through these mixture of emotions and help them navigate them. And in doing so, I get to watch her feel confident about her decision. 

 

It’s a delicate dance. 

 

And I’m so glad that I get the honour to be a part of the dance.

 

I get so energized from working with brides. From planning events for them. From creating new ideas for the store and seeing them come into life.

 

My least favourite part about owning a bridal store. 

This job is super hard. It can feel a bit overwhelming at times. Not because we don’t love what we do, but because there are so many things outside of our control at times.

We are so dependant on designers. Designers who don’t work face to face with brides. And so many things that we do are so old school. But we’re kind of stuck doing it, because it’s the way it is done.

 

I wish there was more communication between stores, designers and seamstresses so we could create a better process for our customers. It’s something that I am passionate about learning and developing. I want to know how to make each process and transaction as smooth as possible. Knowing what alterations are needed, what things to look for, and how to prepare our brides as best as possible for the entire transaction.

 

I have a million ideas, but only the same 24 hours in a day.

 

I love working with brides.

I love creating moments.

 

I just wish this industry would innovate to keep up with the changes in other industries.

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How to Choose Your Maids Colours

Choosing your maids colours is a lot simpler than it used to be, in some ways. There used to be a lot of etiquette around which colours you did in Spring, in Summer, in Fall, etc. But not anymore. Brides today are choosing colours that they love regardless of the time of year. However, that does make it harder because it means that no colour is off limits for your imagination.

Here are some tips for choosing your girls dress colour

  • keep in mind what colours will look good on the girls you’ve asked to stand up with you

  • consider the style and colour of your wedding gown

  • consider the colours at your venue and the style of your venue

  • think about what colours you and your fiancé like

  • don’t be afraid to pick a colour that hasn’t been done too often

  • look through your pinterest boards and see what colours you have pinned the most

Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to come try gowns on and see what colours you are liking on your girls. But remember, this opens it up to everyone giving you their opinion! Try and at least narrow it down to a few colours before you come to your appointment.

Brides often think that it’s easiest to just pick a colour and have their bridesmaids choose their own style. And sometimes that is a great thing for the maids to be able to do. And sometimes, that makes it harder to try and match everyone together. There are so many options when it comes to your bridesmaids. But at Once Upon A Time Weddings, we pride ourselves in developing a great bridesmaid process so that it's painless and smooth for both you and your girls. Here are some options to get your creative juices flowing!

All The Same Colour

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Different Colours, Different Styles

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Same Colour, Same Style

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With over 65 colours to choose from, we’ll help you choose the perfect shade for your wedding day!

Book your bridesmaid appointment today! And be sure to check out our next Maids + Mocktails event happening on Saturday, June 22nd. To book an appointment for this event, please text us at 519.319.6623 or call us at 519.245.7997.



Owner Blog | When to Shop For Your Gown

We’re seeing this trend in the store right now, of brides putting off coming in to shop for their gown.  And while sometimes we can make magic happen and find a gown that fits them or rush a gown in fast enough, it definitely limits your options as a bride.

At the bridal show this weekend we met some brides who did not want to shop for their gown until much closer to their wedding.  And I get it, it can feel overwhelming or you might feel like if you shop too early you’ll have dress regret.  However, wedding gowns take between five and six months to order in.  In order to have the most number of options of gowns to choose from, you should begin shopping for your gown about seven to nine months before your wedding.  Earlier is even better because that will give you time to enjoy the process and help everything else fall into place.

Because the worse thing that can happen is that you have to settle for a gown that fits you and you can buy off the rack instead of saying yes to the gown you absolutely adore.

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Here’s three reasons we see brides delaying shopping for their gowns and how to overcome them.

1.     Fear of Dress regret

Some brides are putting off shopping for their gown because they are afraid they may have dress regret.  They may even have a friend who ended up purchasing two gowns for their wedding day.  Here’s the thing about dress regret, if I can speak openly for a minute.  We live in an instant world.  We instantly have our emails on our phone, we instantly can connect with someone half way around the world on facetime, we can get something delivered the next with amazon prime.  So we’ve become accustomed to not waiting.  So when we purchase a wedding gown, and my goodness, we now have to wait five months for it to arrive, it’s hard!  I get it.  I do.  So if you start to second guess yourself or worry about your gown, do this:  First, think about all the reasons you loved that gown and said yes.  Remember how you felt in it.  Remember how it will look with all your alterations done, with your hair and makeup done, walking down that aisle to the love of your life.  Second, if that doesn’t work and you’re still worried, do not go shopping.  I repeat, do not go shopping.  Wedding gowns are beautiful.  They are made to be pretty.  You will find another one you love.  Instead head back to the store you purchased your gown, slip that gown back on and remember why you fell in love with it. 

2.     Losing weight

This one can be a bit tricky.  Because it’s obviously a sensitive subject.  Brides want to look their best on their wedding day.  And while we’re all for feeling beautiful, we want to make sure you can still have the dress of your dreams.  We can talk through sizing and alterations with you in the appointment.  But the thing here to remember is that your fiancé fell in love with you and proposed at the exact size you are right now.  Don’t put too much pressure on yourself in an already stressful season of life.  Embrace the shape you are and find a gown you love right now, not 20 pounds lighter.  If you are determined to lose a bit of weight, then give yourself some time.  Set a goal and track your progress.  That will help us choose the best size for you when you do shop.

3.     Orchestrating entourage

We get it.  You want your people there when you have your magical experience.  So sometimes brides will put off shopping until their mom is home or sister is back from school.  We totally understand.  Just make sure that it still leaves you with the suggested time frame of 7-9 months before your big day.

If it doesn’t then plan an appointment at a time that they are available and we’ll facetime them into the appointment.  This way they can to still be part of the experience and you still get all the gown options.  Then we can also do a bridal reveal the next time they are home or in this area.  You can slip that gown back on and show them and have them help with accessories.

 

We want you to say yes to the dress in absolute confidence.  We want you to love your gown and continue loving it until long after your wedding day.  At Once Upon A Time Weddings our goal is to walk with you through the whole experience.  That’s what makes our store different.  We know from past brides that once your gown decision has been made, so many other decisions are able to fall into place. 

If you’re ready to start trying gowns on, book your exclusive gown finding experience here.

Surviving the Guest List.

Most brides are surprised by just how hard creating and sticking to a guest list is. In fact, a large number of newly married couples say that was the hardest part of wedding planning.

How do you decide on the guest list? Do you allow dates for all your single friends? How do you tell your cousin that she can't bring her children? Do you have to invite all your co-workers?

These are just some of the issues that brides face as they plan their I Do's. This blog will look at all these issues so that you can eliminate some of the guest list stress.

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The first and most important aspect to deciding your guest list is how many people your venue can comfortably hold. Speak with your event coordinator at your venue and get a realistic idea of how many people you can invite while leaving enough room to dance and enjoy the party. Make sure to also think about budget here. Each person you invite will cost a certain amount of money, so discuss with your fiance and your parents just how many people you can afford to invite to the wedding.

Make a list of every person that you can think of that you'd want to come to your wedding. Keep in mind you will have to cut some people, but write down anyone that you'd even remotely think of inviting. Then highlight off the people you absolutely must invite. Once you have your list to this stage meet with your fiance's parents and your parents. Review both the highlighted list and the want-to invite list. Discuss with them who they would really like to invite. It is your wedding, but it's also their celebration so try to keep their opinion in mind as you move forward to the final selections.

Keep in mind that just because you were invited to a friend's wedding doesn't mean you absolutely have to invite them to yours. Friendships evolve and you might not be as close as you once were. Or their venue may have accomodated more people than yours does.

Everyone has an opinion about kids at a wedding. Some people think it's great to invite them, while others feel like weddings are not a place for kids. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, you need to make sure you are consistent. It may cause more tension if you decide to invite some kids and not others. At the end of the day, parents of young children will enjoy themselves at the wedding alot more if they aren't chasing after little ones or trying to keep them quiet during the ceremony. Once your decision has been made, then stick to your guns. If you decide against having children at the wedding then don't apologize or allow others to make you feel guilty for having a kid-free wedding. A good idea is to make sure that you have it clearly stated on your invitations that kids will not be allowed at the wedding or who exactly out of the family you are inviting.

Photography by Nova Markina

Photography by Nova Markina

Should you invite all your co-workers? I believe this firmly depends on your work environment. If you only work with a handful of people then I think it's best to invite either all of them or none. If you work with many people, then think about whether or not you socialize with your co-workers outside of the office. Do you consider them friends? Do you know their personal cell number and use it? Then they should probably be on the guest list. If not, you can probably skip them. Again, don't let co-workers bully you into giving them an invitation. Stick to your guest list and don't apologize for it. After all, it's your wedding.

As far as dates for single and unmarried friends is concerned, if a friend is in a serious relationship or engaged to be married then you should invite their significant other. If they are casually dating or single, then don't feel like you have to give them a plus one, especially if numbers are tight. Good rule of thumb, you should never write "and guest" on an invitation, you should know their name. If you don't know and feel like they should be invited then find out. There usually is quite a few singles at a wedding, seat them with friends and people they will be comfortable with and they will have fun without a date.

Guest lists can be quite a headache. But if you work together with your fiance, your parents and your fiance's parents, you will survive! Remember to breathe. Keep the end goal in mind. A beautiful marriage!

Be Beautiful!

Erin Bouchard
Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings located in downtown Strathroy. If you have found this blog to be helpful, please share the love! Also please subscribe to this blog to receive even more great articles and helpful advice as you go from MISS to MRS.

All The Wedding Dress Lingo You Need to Know!

A-Line, Sheath, Ball Gown, Lace, Organza.

Dress Shopping is like learning a whole other language.  What's a bride to do?

Whether you are one of those girl's whose been playing dress up in their pretend wedding gown since they were 4 or you're the type of bride who hasn't spent a lot of time thinking about their wedding gown, this blog is for you.  We've got a wedding dress dictionary for you to learn all the in's and out's of wedding dress lingo! We hope you find this helpful as you prepare for your say yes day!

A-Line Silhouette: An A-line wedding dress features a skirt that gradually begins to flare out from a fitted bodice, starting below the natural waist, and lightly skimming the hips, as it and extends to the hem, forming an "A" shape. This silhouette is thought to be universally figure-flattering.

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Bustle: A fancy word for a sewing method used to transition a gown with a long train into a length that makes it easier to walk and dance in.

Bodice: The top part of your dress, above the waist. 

Boning: This gives a dress' bodice structure and prevents drooping, especially in a strapless dress and we seriously cannot stress how important this is in a strapless dress!! Which is why we carry the exclusive designers that we do here at OUTW. 

Chiffon: A very soft, delicate fabric that is extremely sheer and layered for modesty. This fabric is best known for being popular for bridesmaids dresses but is also becoming a lot more popular for wedding gowns.

Corset: A lace up back of the bodice, whether for ascetics or wiggle room with your size. Give yourself some extra time on your wedding day to lace it up!

Fit and Flare Silhouette: A dress with a fitted bodice through the hips and a flared skirt.

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Illusion Back: A more recent trend in wedding gowns - this design gives you the look of an open  back with the comfort and beauty of a full coverage gown.

Organza: A type fabric/material that is made from silk, but is much stiffer than chiffon. It has a similar sheen to it, like satin but without all the weight while still creating volume in a dress. Often used for full skirts to give it more flow than tulle.

Sheath Silhouette: A long, narrow, slim-fitting silhouette with straight, lines usually made from lighter fabrics, such as satin or chiffon, which is more suitable for the body-skimming shape.

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Sweetheart Neckline: A strapless bodice with rounded fabric over each breast, meeting in a V-neck point in the middle - makes a heart-like shape.

Train: The long back portion of a the dress that trails behind the bride. Trains can be different lengths. Brides adore this feature for walking down the isle and formal pictures. 

Let us know what you'd like to see on the blog by commenting on any of our Facebook blog posts or direct messaging us!

Ready to start the search for your dream gown? Book your experience with us today!

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