Bridal Crawl | Vendor List Sneak Peak

Hey Brides!! We cannot believe our 1st Bridal Crawl is happening NEXT WEEKEND! Say what?! We are SO excited, it is going to be such a fun day! From the actual crawl to Sydenham Ridge to the Fashion Show, we can't wait to see all of your beautiful faces on the 28th! We wanted to give another quick run-down of how the day would look, followed by a list of all the vendors!

At 1pm, you can begin to pick up your 'passport' at 20 Caradoc St North, Once Upon A Time Weddings store front, this will have a list of all the vendors and their downtown store locations. From 1pm-3pm you will walk/drive around town to visit the vendor’s stores to meet them, ask questions and receive a signature on your 'passport.' These vendor signatures will secure your entry into the raffle drawings later that night at Sydenham Ridge Estates. Once you have finished your checklist we will all meet (brides and vendors) at Sydenham Ridge from pm for a fashion show, munchies, cocktails, music, and door prizes. We cannot wait to see you there!

Here is the list of all the vendors you will get to meet the day of the crawl, so if you're just curious or if you want to do some research ahead of time, see what you still need for your wedding or map out your walking route the day of the crawl, here they are!

Hair & Makeup Artists:

Food:

Music:

Photography:

Florist:

Alterations/Embroidery:

Officiant:

Bridal Gowns/Bridesmaids Dress:

Venues:

Brides, if you don't have a ticket yet, you can buy them here!

We can't wait to see you Sunday, May 28th!

The Power of Our Words.

I love social media. My iPhone is never far from me. The ability to create and maintain a business page on Facebook has greatly increased the number of new/potential clients I am able to reach, and I love that I can feel connected to my existing brides through photos and messages posted on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. I am a firm believer that social media can have a positive impact on our lives.

This week I wanted to quit Facebook. I wanted to walk away from all the drama that it can create. Here’s why. In the pre-social media days, if you had an issue with an individual or a business, you confronted them face-to-face and worked collaboratively on finding a solution. Sure you might complain about the business to a few friends. You might even boycott the business temporarily. Maybe you would feel justified because you felt ripped off. Maybe you’re right. Maybe you’re wrong.

Today, however, social media has become the go-to outlet for personal expression, offering disgruntled customers an opportunity to rant and rave about an individual or business without having to experience the discomfort or awkwardness of a face-to-face confrontation. The result is that people end up saying things online that they would never, ever dream of saying to a business owner’s or employee’s face. These individuals need to be reminded that words, regardless of whether they‘re written or spoken, have the ability to cut, and to cut deep. Talking from personal experience, written and spoken words can and do have a direct and lasting impact on the livelihood of small business owners. People tend to forget that small businesses are run by actual people; people who have their time, money, and family all tied up in that business; people with feelings who cannot help but take insults against their business personally.

A while back I received a bad review from a customer I had personally worked with for over two hours. I felt we made a connection. I enjoyed working with this bride. I helped her find what I thought was a beautiful, flattering gown for her big day. After the appointment she went home and had second thoughts about her purchase. Maybe it made it real for her, maybe she didn’t think it should be or would be so easy, I don’t know. She picked up her gown a couple weeks later, tried it on again and realized she loved it and had made a good choice. But in between her first and return visits, this bride wrote a negative review about our store online, saying we were pushy. Perhaps this bride’s insecurities regarding her purchase made her feel justified in bad-mouthing us on the web.

I’ve been in business long enough to know that bad reviews happen. But this one hurt. I took it personally. Why hadn’t she called me or emailed me? Why hadn’t she come back into the store immediately and tried the gown on again? Why didn’t she let me know that she was having second thoughts? Was I supposed to call her the next day and ask if she still liked her gown she bought the day before? I wrote her a note following the appearance of her review and she graciously removed it, which I am so grateful for. But the sting was still there. Who else read that review and now doubts my ability to do my job well? Are other brides having second thoughts and not communicating them with me? Pick up the phone. Text me. Email me. Get in touch and I’m happy to help.

Am I saying that we should never, ever use social media to vent or rant about our feelings or experiences? Absolutely not. What really upsets me is when I see people discussing personal matters between a small business and themselves online before they’ve actually talked to the business first. Be courteous and give the business an opportunity to resolve the issue before venting online. Give them a chance to make things right or help you. When you purchase from a small business or have an interaction with them you are forming and developing a relationship with them. If you had a fight with your spouse or significant other, would you head over to the rant page or to your spouse’s Facebook page to discuss the fight or cause drama with them? I certainly hope not. All I’m asking is that you show the same respect for the small business owner.

Am I saying that the small business owner is always right or justified by her decisions? Absolutely not. We’re human. We make mistakes. We get up every day and we work hard, just like you do. Running a small business is hard. It’s extremely time consuming. Everyday you have to make decisions that effect your business. You have to wear so many hats - accountant, sales person, head of human resources, chief marketer, etc. And now we have to spend a great deal of time ensuring that no one is saying untrue or nasty things about us online.

So I encourage you, dear citizen, to challenge yourself to speak first with the individual or business that you feel has wronged you before taking to the web with false or nasty comments. If you’ve truly had a horrible experience with a business and found them unwilling to acknowledge or correct their mistake once confronted with it, then stick to the facts and be professional when writing your review. Think twice before using vulgar language and making personal attacks. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable with your child saying it to you when they disagree with you, then don’t say it. Words are powerful weapons that can do lasting damage, so let’s choose and wield our words wisely. Because at the end of the day, small business owners are people too.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions...

Decisions suck.  The overbearing weight you carry around with you when you know you have to make a decision sucks.  Can I be real with you for a few minutes?  As you know, I love helping women find their GOWN & I love the butterflies I get in my stomach leading up to the moment when I ask, “Is this your dress”.  Whether I do it 10 times a week or 2 it’s the same anticipation/ excitement/ nerves/ extreme joy each time.  It's the fun part of my job.  But it ain't all sunshine & roses.  The part I don’t like is when I am faced with a decision, one that I know has the potential to greatly impact Once Upon A Time Weddings & therefore every aspect of my life.

Do we drop bridesmaids?

Should we keep carrying tuxedos?

Should we bring in a new line of bridal gowns?

How much stock should we carry?

Should I sell this gown off the rack or order a new one in?

Some decisions I can just make & move on with the decision.  I don’t second guess myself, just keep on plowing through.  Other decisions I roll around different scenarios in my head or talk it out constantly with my wonderful husband.  Some decisions take time to contemplate & implement.

 Photograph by  Soul Photography .

Photograph by Soul Photography.

We are faced with a big one right now.  It is WHERE ON EARTH WILL OUR STORE END UP?  You see, without going into too much detail, we’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Our lease is up August 2016 with no option to renew.  File this one under the category of mistakes I made that I have now learned the hard way & will never make again.  {ALWAYS have a lawyer review any LEASE before signing it – that’s my free legal tip of the night, no charge!}  I love our store location.  I love the feel of the store, the windows, the exposed brick wall, the layout, the size.  All of it has been meticulously planned out to comfort, inspire & make you feel at home.  Wherever we end up, I know this- the same planning will go into the atmosphere of the new location so we keep our brand, our homey feel.

So right now, I’m all consumed, {just ask my poor husband & mother} with where on earth should we move the store to.  Part of me wants to jump into a new place, get my hands on it, and have the decision done.  Finished!  But the other part says, hold up, I love our current place & don’t need to rush out of here.  It seems to have swallowed me RIGHT up.

That got me thinking about what it must be like for all of my brides.  How do you make a decision?  How do you know you are making the right decision?  Do you find it’s easier to put off a decision & contemplate it over a few days or just follow your heart & not look back?

 Photograph by  Soul Photography .

Photograph by Soul Photography.

Sometimes brides ask me how many gowns other brides try on or how other people know it’s the DRESS.  But here’s the thing, just like no two decisions are the same, no two brides are the same.  What one bride might do may not be right for the next bride.  Sometimes I have brides who I know exactly which gown they are going to purchase right from the get go and others take me by surprise!  Some brides know sooner than others.  Some try 2 gowns on and some try 100. {for the record I do not recommend the 100 gown thing – it’s too stressful for everyone!}

Wherever you are in the gown decision making process, we at Once Upon A Time Weddings would love to walk with you through the process.  We know how hard making a decision can be, but we also know the sweet relief that comes with knowing the decision has been made.  We’d love to take the journey with you.  To see what appointments we have available & schedule your gown shopping experience click here.

A Visit with Wendy of Soul Photography.

Last week I had the pleasure of hanging out with Wendy Hord of Soul Photography.  She stopped by the shop and of course brought her camera along!  Wendy has a creative eye and is really easygoing.  She's based out of Lucan, ON but will travel across most of Southwestern Ontario.  She photographs weddings, families, engagement, couples & babies.

She has a boudoir shoot coming up soon.  Check it out on her website.

It was nice to chat with Wendy about weddings, families, owning a business & how to find balance in the midst of all the craziness of life.    Wendy has  a very real, down to earth  personality.  She's great to work with and has an eye for detail.  Enjoy some pictures that she snapped while at the store!

 Thanks Wendy for capturing some great shots!  To contact Wendy of Soul Photography you can visit her  website here , follow her work on  facebook here , or email her at  contactsoulphotography@gmail.com .

Thanks Wendy for capturing some great shots!  To contact Wendy of Soul Photography you can visit her website here, follow her work on facebook here, or email her at contactsoulphotography@gmail.com.