London bridal gowns

Bridal Show Survival Guide.

Blog – Bridal Show Survival Guide.

Hey Brides!

Our staff at Once Upon A Time Weddings have been busy preparing for two big bridal shows this weekend.  On Saturday we’ll be at the Big Brothers, Big Sisters Bridal Show at the John Bradley Convention Centre in Chatham.  We’ll also been at the London Convention Centre Bridal Show both Saturday and Sunday.  If you’re heading to either of these shows or any bridal shows in the future we wanted to share with some of you some of our tricks to help you have a successful bridal show.

  • Print off address labels with your name, fiance’s name, wedding date, email, phone number and address.  This will save you time filling out ballots and entering draws.

  • Bring an extra tote bag or a big purse with you.  Most shows will hand out a bag to you, but bringing along a second one will allow you to stick vendor information that you’re really interested in inside of one bag so that you don’t have to sort this a massive amount of information to find that small business card of the florist you loved.  

  • Bring a couple people with you.  It’s great to have someone there to carry your stuff.  Just kidding.  It’s great to have someone else to bounce ideas around with and help you remember who you talked to and who you want to follow up with after the show.

  • Pick a few areas of your wedding planning that you really want to knock off you’re to do list while at the show.  Focus in on these areas while at the show.

  • Wear comfortable shoes as it’s a long period of time on your feet. 

  • If you’ve already chosen colors bring along your swatches.  There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to match something while trying to remember a color.  If you haven’t already discovered, you’ll soon know that there are about 30 different shades of each color!

  • Bring along your day planner or appointment book.  Some vendors will give you an incentive to book an appointment or consultation with them at the show.

  • Be realistic about your budget as you browse.  Sometimes we see elaborate backdrops or centrepieces but we don’t think about how it will fit into your overall budget or theme of your wedding day.  While there’s nothing wrong with admiring the workmanship of these vendors, be careful not to go overboard this early in the game!

  • Have fun!  Eat some cake, sip some wine and enjoy all the pretty, pretty things.

If you’re in the area we’d love to meet you and discuss how we can walk with you through the gown finding experience.  To book an appointment click here.

When LIFE gives you LEMONS.

Running a bridal business has so many ups and downs, so many decisions to be made.  Just when you think you got a good handle on those decisions, life gives you lemons.  You come to a crossroad and you must choose how to proceed.  Let me just tell you, we have enough lemonade over here for everyone in this town!  

A shot of owner, Erin Bouchard standing in the original Once Upon A Time Weddings location at 6 Front St. W. Photography by Nova Markina.

A shot of owner, Erin Bouchard standing in the original Once Upon A Time Weddings location at 6 Front St. W. Photography by Nova Markina.

When I opened my business I searched and searched for the PERFECT location to open up my bridal store.  I looked at some real special places, some that needed lots of work and some that would have been okay.  When I found 6 Front St. W I was excited to watch the renovations and felt like we had found our home.  When we were approached two years ago to move from 6 Front St. W to 2 Front St. W we were excited for the change.  We felt the space better represented our brand and the feel we were going for with the store.  After we moved we were quite disappointed to find out that we would not have an option to renew our lease.  So we talked to landlord last December and decided we would start the agonizing search of finding a new home for Once Upon A Time Weddings.  We again searched through many properties.  Some might have worked, some we immediately returned home and showered.  Given the unique challenge of running a business while trying to raise a family and balance the rest of our lives, we decided to look for a building we could live in and run the business out.

A shot of Once Upon A Time Weddings when it was located at 2 Front St. W in Strathroy.

A shot of Once Upon A Time Weddings when it was located at 2 Front St. W in Strathroy.

It seemed our prayers and hopes had been answered when we located 20 Caradoc St. N in Strathroy.  It was the perfect combination of store and family home.  It’s recently been beautifully redone and we were excited about the possibility of relocating the store to this location.  

We talked to our current landlord and were given the green light to go ahead and break our lease early in order to secure this new location.  Our lease had no escape clause, but we trusted her word that we were good to go.  We did all the necessary steps that needed to be taken to move down the road.  We were excited, tired, and couldn’t wait to reopen at our new location.

A shot of the front door at the NEW location of 20 Caradoc St. N in Strathroy.

A shot of the front door at the NEW location of 20 Caradoc St. N in Strathroy.

For about a month we lived the dream.  It seemed we had a great set up.  I felt like my life was manageable.  Like I could help brides say yes to the dress, while juggling all of my other responsibilities.  

Then the lemons came.

We were told we were going to be held responsible for the last year of our lease.  That she wasn’t accepting our 90 day written notice as escaping our contractual obligations.

So, here we stand at the crossroads.  Do we admit defeat and pay off the balance of our lease?  Or do we move the store back down the road for the last year of our term?  Do we do something else with the old store - like bridesmaids or an outlet bridal store?  

Unfortunately, while our legal team works this one out, we continue to stand at this crossroads.  Our promise to you, our customers, is that as we know more we’ll let you know.  That we’ll let you journey this road with us.  And we’ll even let you help us move our stuff back too if that’s the route we end up going.

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