London brides

The Question That I Really, Really Dislike.

This is a blog that I originally wrote a couple of years ago.  However, I feel like it's time to share again.  As a business owner, I sometimes get asked a question that I dislike.  That question is, "is that the lowest price you'll go". Or some version of this question.  There's a few reasons that I don't like that question and here's why.

Sometimes you get what you pay for.

First of all, Once Upon A Time Weddings is not competing in the lowest price gown category. We carefully select our gowns {from literally thousands & thousands available for us to buy} based on the quality and workmanship of the gown itself. I am of the belief that you get what you pay for and sometimes spending a bit more to get a better quality is necessary. Sure, you can find gowns that are cheaper than ours at other bridal stores, but we want you to purchase a gown that’s well made so it alters easier and is comfortable to wear for an entire day. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you want to take your gown off before dessert has even been served.

IMG_0926.JPG

I spend a great deal of time and money developing my skills & honing my profession.

The second reason that this question bothers me is that I have spent thousands of dollars on my training. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to sell wedding gowns. I attend conferences twice a year and stay on top of industry standards and trends. I belong to a group of talented bridal stores from all across the world that I spend time networking with and learning from. We strive to be the best in our industry - an industry that’s highly competitive and constantly changing. It’s not a job we take lightly or do because it’s so much fun {although it is fun, well most days}. It’s not a hobby or an after school activity. We don't dare ask our dentists, lawyers, physiotherapists, “is this the best price you can give me?”. We wouldn’t dream of it, because we respect those professions, the schooling they have done and the work they do. But then, why do wedding professionals get asked that question all the time? Why is it okay in one industry, but no one would dream of asking it in another?

alt-logo.png

I take it personally.

If I’m being completely honest, the third reason I dislike the question is because I take it personally. My entire life is wrapped into this bridal store. I spend insane amounts of time working, developing, planning, strategizing and so much more for our brides. Often when I get asked this question it’s after I have spent a good amount of time working with my bride. I feel like I have taken the time to get to know her and that I’ve connected with her. When the dreaded question comes up, I feel as though the amount of work I’ve spent both before she’s ever arrived to my store and during the appointment have in some way not been good enough. Or that maybe they don’t value my expertise.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m female, which means I’m all for getting a deal. The rush of getting something on sale. I’ve been known to purchase something simply because it was on sale. I tell my husband all the time, that I’m determined to be successful because I love pretty things. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get a good deal or save some money. It’s why if you have come to a bridal appointment at Once Upon A Time Weddings, you know we don’t like to put you in a gown above your budget without your expressed permission. It’s just that the question of, “what’s the best price you can give me on this gown” tends to be a bit insulting.

Photograph by Amanda Kopcic Photography: www.amandakopcic.com

Photograph by Amanda Kopcic Photography: www.amandakopcic.com

If you still dare to ask it, you’ll most likely be greeted with a warm smile and the response, the best price I can give you is the one that’s on the price tag. Because to be honest, I don’t run this business to be a millionaire. We take time to strategically price our goods to offer both good value to our customers and to make a living to us. This is our livelihood. It’s what we do to feed our family and make sure they have what they need. And it's not just my livelihood, I have a team that rely on me to make good business decisions and continue to be able to pay them.  

Think of it this way: if you would be offended by your boss strolling into your office and asking what’s the lowest you’ll accept on your next paycheque, then please think twice before asking that dreaded question.

We simply adore our brides & working with them.  The goal of this blog isn't to insult, but to educate you.  We love what we do each and every day.  We love the role we get to have in our bride's wedding days.   

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 7.03.45 PM.png

The Myth of The $99 Wedding Gown

The Myth of the $99 Gown

Being engaged is such an exciting time!  However, if you are like many brides, you may have discovered that things are much more expensive than you imagined they would be, particularly when it comes to a wedding dress.  Many brides today come into bridal salons saying they have budgeted two or three hundred dollars for a wedding gown on the low end and maybe up to five or six hundred on the high end.  They are shocked to find the nearly impossible task of finding a well-made dress in this price range.

Many brides who have insisted on finding a gown within the $99 to $500 price range have found quickly that not all gowns are created equal.  These brides who are set on a low end price often end up spending more money on alterations than they did on the price of their dress because it’s so inexpensively made. 

In fact most gowns that are sold for less than $600 that you see heavily advertised and promoted by the big box retailers are made from synthetic fabric that have minimal construction details and are made this way by the store’s request to their manufacturer to cut costs.  These dresses usually don’t have underlining, have minimal boning (if any at all) and are missing other structural supports to help the dress fit properly.  These supports are extremely important as both boning and underlining fabrics help to hold the bodice of a dress up and securely in place.  They also help provide a smooth fit over the bodice of the dress.  If a dress doesn’t have boning or good lining, you will see more wrinkles and crinkling of the fabric in a wedding gown.  The last thing a bride wants to see in her wedding dress is bulges in the fabric of her gown due to minimal boning and lack of inner construction.

If you have been feeling stressed by the cost of your wedding and in particular by the dollars you’ve budgeted for your wedding gown, this special report I’ve written is just for you.  I’d hate for you to make a mistake with such an important purchase that will be one of the focal points of your big day (especially since everyone will see you in it and will comment on how you look).

As the owner of a bridal store I have written a special report that explains how myths like the $99 to $399 wedding gown have appeared and why wedding dresses cost what they do.  I’ll also share with you several insights into how wedding gowns are constructed so you can be sure you are getting the best value for your money.  Most importantly I have a coupon that I will share with you as a thank you for reading this article that you’ll be able to save on the purchase price of your wedding gown when you buy it on your first visit to our store.

If you'd like the special report to be emailed to you, simply fill out the form below & click submit. 

Name *
Name

Planning for beyond the wedding day..

In this blog post, Owner, Erin Bouchard helps brides as they plan for their big day remember to plan for beyond their big day.  Wedding planning can be crazy and overwhelming.  But brides should remember why they are doing all the planning.

Once Upon A Time There Was A Girl...

Once Upon A Time there was a girl who got a beautiful, sparkly new ring. Everyone around her congratulated her on this exciting time in her life. Shortly followed were so many questions - where will the festivities take place, what colors will be chosen, how many guests would join the party and the ultimate - do you know what you will wear yet? Everywhere she looked she found beautiful gowns in all silhouettes, shades of colors, and price points. Suddenly some of the excitement waned as she pondered how she would ever make the critical decision of picking just ONE gown for her BIG day.

If you’re that girl today, we want you to know the following - Beautiful gowns can be found in every single bridal store across Southwestern Ontario. So how do you know how to pick which bridal store to go to? How do you decide what you will wear on this important, life changing, momentous day of yours?

  • Once Upon A Time Weddings has highly trained and educated consultants who stay on top of their game so they will be sure to pull gowns that will flatter your figure, accentuate your best assets, and stay within your budget. This will literally save you a lot of time and grief.
  • Once Upon A Time Weddings has bridal, bridesmaids & mothers styles that are beautiful, elegant, timeless and can’t be found at any other bridal store across Southwestern Ontario. This means you get a beautiful gown & you won’t see it in every other bridal magazine & website between now and your wedding day. WIN WIN!
  • Our main goal at Once Upon A Time Weddings is to help our brides make the best, EDUCATED decision while purchasing their wedding gown. Think of our staff like the fun supply teacher who helps you learn even though it doesn’t feel like learning. We want to guide you through the entire process of choosing and purchasing a gown so that at the end of the day you have a gown and know a little bit more about the decision you just made. But we also like to have FUN! So we’ve combined the two to give you the ultimate EXPERIENCE!
  • We’re a small business that is run by family. Although being the boss of your mother has some downsides, it means we’re all committed to helping each one of our brides in every way possible. After all you’re not just saying YES to a dress, you’re saying YES to the store & their staff.

I think recent bride Ange who just purchased her gown from our store said it best:

I just wanted to send a thank you message for all of your help and guidance on Saturday as I chose my dress! Katie, you were so helpful and patient with me.. and did a wonderful job of holding the dress in place while I admired it from different angles! The personal attention and care that we received was fantastic! The questions that you ask are also very insightful..and makes the big decision that much more clear! And like you said..it doesn’ t have to be a hard decision!

Thank you again for everything!
Ange :-)

Ange chose to come to Once Upon A Time Weddings and we were the first and only bridal store she visited. If you’re ready to experience all that Once Upon A Time Weddings has to offer then you need to click here to book your fairy tale experience or call us at 519.245.7997. We can’t wait to meet you & help you navigate through the process of falling in LOVE with your gown!

Be Beautiful!

Erin Bouchard

Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings

I could SO BE RANDY!

Ramblings of  A Bridal Store Owner Some people wonder what it would be like to own a bridal store.  They think it must be THE MOST FUN EVER!  Others have called it their dream job.  I`ve even been told by one guy, that he could SO BE RANDY.  I usually smile and nod.  Sometimes I let out a little laugh as I think to myself they have no idea.  No idea of the work, the tears, the all nighters, the sweat that goes into running a bridal store.  Oh there are moments of pure joy and moments of laughter.  But mostly I spend each day thinking how can I do things differently, better.  Have I served each of my customers to my utmost ability?  Will I leave my kids a legacy or will I have just missed so much of their early years, of their memories?  I take this job very seriously.  I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to impact lives - to help transform women.  Their joy and excitement is contagious.  But the weight of the responsibility of this store is not lost on me.

COUCH AREA
COUCH AREA

I made a mistake early on in this business - didn’t track an order properly and found out it wasn’t placed.  I did everything in my power to get that dress here on time for the bridesmaid.  I refunded the mom and gave them the dress on the store.  I’ll never forget that experience.  We have since implemented a double check on confirming orders to make sure that never happens again.  The woman, clearly upset by the error, told me that I was just a spoiled brat opening a store with my parents money. Those words cut deep.  I know they aren’t true.  But I often think of that experience, that learning curve so that I can do everything in my power to never have someone say those words again to me or even think them for that matter.  We are all human.  We all make mistakes.  Our store’s goal is to ensure we learn from each and every mistake and do everything we can to correct any mistakes that are made.

It’s no secret that a major box store opened in our area this past year.  It has made us reflect on the challenges and opportunities that this brings to small businesses like ours.  We spend a lot of time discussing how we can educate brides to make an informed decision when they are choosing between a box store and a boutique for their big day. How can we deliver an experience to brides when they purchase from our store?  Lots of stores sell beautiful wedding gowns, so what exactly sets Once Upon A Time Weddings apart from the other stores?

Our commitment to educating the bride.  When you come to your appointment, you’re going to learn about the silhouettes of gowns, the factors that influence the price of the gowns, and the benefits of shopping at our store.  We want you to purchase the gown of your dreams, but we also want you to make an informed, educated purchase.

Our expertise.  Our staff are highly trained experts who have spent hours learning and educating themselves.  Although a lot of aspects of their jobs are fun, they also take it very seriously.

Our selection.  At Once Upon A Time Weddings you’ll find gowns that are unique.  The majority of our gowns, cannot be found at any other boutique.  So if you’re the type of bride who doesn’t want to wear something everyone else has, then you’re the type of bride we love.  Here, you’ll find fashion forward gowns that aren’t advertised or sold at big box stores or other boutiques.

Katie scouring the latest fashions in Dallas.
Katie scouring the latest fashions in Dallas.

For more information about the benefits of shopping boutique rather than box store, please email us at info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca and we can send you a special report.  Click here if you’re ready to start enjoying the benefits of Once Upon A Time Weddings and want to make an appointment www.onceuponatimeweddings.ca/appointment

Ramblings of a Bridal Store Owner

 

Ramblings of a bridal store owner

 

Oh weddings! How I love thee.  The excitement, the joy, the tears, the anticipation.  People will comment on how much fun our job is or say that it must be the best job ever.  We have a little saying around the boutique, it goes something like this, it ain’t all sunshine and roses.  Don’t get me wrong - it is a lot of fun, but it’s also a LOT of plain, old, getting down to it WORK!   Owning and running a bridal store has it’s moments where it’s stressful, tiring, and too much drama.  Don’t get me wrong I love my occupation and I love working with our brides and our other customers.  But it’s a lot more work than people would anticipate.

Our society has become wedding obsessed.  From the tens of thousands of pins that circulate, to the dozens of wedding reality shows, one begins to wonder how a bride even begins to wade through all the information she has to make decisions for her big day.

Erin Ready to Serve Brides From All Over Southwestern Ontario

 

Erin Bouchard, owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings is here to help.  This weekly blog will give you glimpses of what it’s like on the inside.  From the hilarious moments, to the know it all bridesmaids, to what it’s like for a mother to watch her baby girl get married, we’ve got all of it covered.  Be prepared to laugh, cry, and drink lots of wine.  In the midst of all those emotions, we’re here to help navigate the brides from I will to I do.  So wherever you are in the wedding planning, you’ll find helpful tips and tricks and find answers to those burning questions.

So join us here every Friday, for what is known in the wedding world as Briday.  In the meantime don’t forget to like us on Facebook for up to date events, store happenings and of course pics of gorgeous new arrivals.  If you have any topic suggestions or burning questions, fire them away to info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca.

I look forward to this journey with you!

Be Beautiful!

Erin Bouchard