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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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