Sarnia Wedding Planning

Why Now Is The Perfect Time to Shop for Maids...

Shopping for your bridesmaids gowns at Once Upon A Time Weddings will also be an experience unlike any other.  When you book your bridesmaids shopping experience, you'll have a consultant that will work ONLY with you & your girls.  We'll chat with you on the phone or by text before the appointment to figure out exactly what you're looking for as well as price point you're hoping to stay within.  Your consultant will also pull gowns only that are available in the color you're looking for.  We'll make the entire process flawless & simple.  

Now here is why it is the perfect time for you and your Bride Tribe to set up an appointment and start shopping!

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It takes some time to start and finish the bridesmaid shopping process. There are several factors to consider when choosing your girls gowns. Here are our top 5!

1. Budget

2. Body shape

3. Comfort

4. Personalities

5. Colours/Cohesion

 

After the bride to be has found her gown, she will begin her hunt for bridesmaid dresses. Determining the bridesmaids gowns will finalize your wedding day colours and allow so many other planning details to fall into place.

When the bride has chosen "the one" her girls will be wearing, it is important to order the dresses as soon as possible. It can take up to 5 months for a bridesmaid dress to arrive, you don't want to be pressed for time and still want room for any alterations that need to be attended to.

 

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Choosing your colours and styles early on will allow you to finalize the other details for looking put together on the big day. Like finding your shoes or accessories, especially if the bride has specific colours and styles she would like her girls to wear. 

Despite getting your measurements done and size charts checked, bridesmaid dresses aren't made to measure. So it's always best to schedule an appointment with a seamstress, alterations should be done around the 3 month mark before the wedding. Schedule your final fitting about 3 to 5 weeks before the wedding day, this gives you enough time just in case you have to make any other small alterations.

 

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The summer is a great time to finalize this detail for your wedding as your maids often have a similar tan to what they will have for your summer wedding.  This helps them truly see the colour on their skin tone.

We'd LOVE to have you & your girls into the store and walk with you through their gown shopping experience!  Call 519-245-7997 now or book online at www.onceuponatimeweddings.ca/appointment.  

 

Why Now Is The Perfect Time to Shop for Maids...

Shopping for your bridesmaids gowns at Once Upon A Time Weddings will also be an experience unlike any other.  When you book your bridesmaids shopping experience, you'll have a consultant that will work ONLY with you & your girls.  We'll chat with you on the phone or by text before the appointment to figure out exactly what you're looking for as well as price point you're hoping to stay within.  Your consultant will also pull gowns on that are available in the color you're looking for.  We'll make the entire process flawless & simple.  

Now here is why it is the perfect time for you and your Bride Tribe to set up an appointment and start shopping!

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After the bride to be has found her gown, she will begin her hunt for bridesmaid dresses. Which usually means you and a few other girls will be asked to go out and try on some gowns to help narrow down options.

When the bride has chosen "the one" her girls will be wearing, it is important to order the dresses as soon as possible. It can take up to 5 months for a bridesmaid dress to arrive, you don't want to be pressed for time and still want room for any alterations that need to be attended to.

 

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Choosing your colours and styles early on will allow you to finalize the other details for looking put together on the big day. Like finding your shoes or accessories, especially if the bride has specific colours and styles she would like her girls to wear. 

Despite getting your measurements done and size charts checked, bridesmaid dresses aren't always made to measure. So it's always best to schedule an appointment with a seamstress, alterations should be done around the 3 month mark before the wedding. Schedule your final fitting about 3 to 5 weeks before the wedding day, this gives you enough time just in case you have to make any other small alterations.

 

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We'd LOVE to have you & your girls into the store and walk with you through their gown shopping experience!  Call 519-245-7997 now or book online at www.onceuponatimeweddings.ca/appointment.  

 

Spotlight On A Wedding Vendor {Soul Photography}

One of the greatest things about owning a bridal store is the opportunity to meet other local wedding vendors. Over the next few months Once Upon A Time Weddings will be highlighting some of these professionals in our Spotlight On A Wedding Vendor blog posts.

Our first Spotlight On A Wedding Vendor will feature Wendy Hord of Soul Photography. Soul Photography is based out of Lucan, ON and offers Boudoir, Engagement and Wedding Day photography to brides all over Southwestern Ontario. I have had the privilege of working with Wendy on a couple of photo shoots and adore her eye for detail, her artistic and fun loving personality and the beautiful moments she captures. Wendy is very passionate about weddings and that is definitely portrayed when you work with her and view her images.

According to Wendy of Soul Photography, the best part of being a wedding photographer is the opportunity to constantly create and capture images, people and their special events, in new ways and in different locations on a continual basis. “It’s like being an author and an illustrator of my couples love stories“, says Wendy. I asked her if she could give our brides a couple of mistakes to avoid when looking at & booking wedding photography for your big day. Here’s what she had to say…

1/ FAILING TO MEET UP WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER (consult):

This is certainly not a step to skip. Along with availability, a great package and talent your photographer needs to be a good fit for you both as a couple. Personality, professionalism and enthusiasm are a must, as your photographer is the one professional that will be working closely with you for the entire Wedding Day.

2/ FAILING TO PAY DEPOSIT TO SECURE DATE: This sounds bizarre but I see this happening on a weekly basis on social media where brides are frantically searching for a new photographer 2 weeks before the big day. I cant even image how much stress this would bring on!! I have a hunch this happens to brides once the photographer says that they are available and that they would love to work together etc…in the brides minds its like “Phew!” that’s done, marks it in her calendar,…but then fails to connect and firm things up with the photographer (ie deposit and signed contract which makes the date booked).

3/ NOT STICKING TO A TIMELINE: Like I said, my clients are amazing with timelines…likely because at our first initial consult I talk about this and impress how important a timeline is and how it really dictates how smooth, efficient, and fun it can make your Wedding Day…(and we even add in little buffer times) so if the groom splits his pants or your bridesmaid forgets the brides purse…its all good we will have a few minutes to run back) Bottom line is create one with your photographer right off the start…even Wedding Planners recommend, and strongly encourage this as their talent and services ride strongly on a good timeline and details as well.

4/ FAILING TO DELEGATE TASKS: This can happen to any couple even an assertive bride or groom, because planning a Wedding can at times be such information/task overload it gets over looked when the bride and groom are running out of steam for planning. Thanks to my first ever Wedding, my Bride Jacqui gave me the pleasure of working with and shooting “the perfect” Wedding in every way and it all came down to organization and delegating and a positive attitude. I talk about this with my couples at initial consult and also add a reminder in our meeting a couple of weeks before the big day. So brides…Do ask and kindly delegate tasks/errands/responsibilities to your Wedding Party, friends or family that you know you can rely on. Even simple things can make all the difference (bringing balloons to the photo location, moving the cooler to the limo, making sure your luggage gets into the vehicle you will be taking to the hotel that night etc). This works to free up the couples minds on the big day and lets them just enjoy their celebration, and even take a moment to relax, laugh and converse with each other without having a mind cluttered with virtual sticky notes!

One of the best parts of Soul Photography’s services is that Wendy provides a primary (all inclusive type) Wedding Photo package which includes your engagement session...and UNLIMITED hours of coverage, and UNLIMITED images on your big day, plus all images on USB & on-line digital album for viewing, sharing and downloading (both web and print sized files included). This ensures that she will capture all the great moments and candid shots as well.

For more information or to book Soul Photography, you can reach Wendy in the following ways..

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Phone: 519-318-8010

E-mail: contactsoulphotography@gmail.com

Website: http://soulphotography.ca/

Facebook: Soul Photography (look for the lime green circle)

The Question I Really, Really Dislike.

I was at the dentist a few weeks ago doing a routine cleaning. If you know me at all, you know I am not really a sit still kind of girl. As I was sitting up in that big old chair, I got to thinking about how customers sometimes ask if that’s the best price that I can do on a wedding gown or accessory. This little blog, like blogs often do, has been rolling around in my mind ever since. I seriously dislike the question, “is that the lowest price you can do“. And here is why…

                                        An inside look at one of our beautiful wedding gown.

                                        An inside look at one of our beautiful wedding gown.

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.

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I spend a great deal of time 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 spent 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. As I sat in my chair I thought of what would happen if I got to the counter at the dentist office and asked, “is this the best price you can give me?”. I wouldn’t dream of it, because I respect the dentist, the schooling he has and the work he does. 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?

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I take it personally.

If I’m being completely honest, the third reason I hate 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 this store. 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.

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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. So, 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.

 

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.

What I Wish Every Bride Knew, Part 2

What I Wish Every Bride Knew About… Shopping for Her Gown

By: Erin Bouchard

Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings

Happy Friday!  Have you ever wondered where to begin shopping for your gown?  Have you searched Pinterest and have no clue what style of gown to choose or where to begin?  Are you so excited about being able to Say Yes to YOUR Dress?  Then you’re in the right place! Today, Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings will dive into four things you need to know before shopping for your gown, three things to keep in mind while shopping for your gown and two things you have to know after you say yes to the dress!  READY?!

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Four Things You Need to Know Before You Try Your First Dress On.

One of the most important things you need to know before you start trying gowns on is how much you want to spend on your gown.  Before you can do that you have to know how much wedding gowns cost.  At Once Upon A Time Weddings, our gowns range in price from $799 up to $2299.  The average bride spends about 1200-1500 on her gown at our store.  We chose our gowns based on the quality of them and they have corsets & crinoline built into them.  So before you come to our store discuss with your fiancé and your parents how much you want to spend & who will cover what.

Another thing you need to keep in mind before you book your bridal appointment is to be realistic about pinterest.  I could seriously write a whole blog on this one point! I love pinterest, I really do.  It’s so fun, addicting and I’ve gotten some great ideas off of it.  But the problem is when we pin all these beautiful wedding ideas, gowns & wedding decor that are way out of our price range.  There’s no shame in having a budget and sticking to it.  The problem is when we imagine all these expensive, elaborate details being part of our wedding day and then when we realize we can afford ¼ of it, we’re disappointed.  Same is true of gowns.  I hear brides say I want all over lace, fully beaded with a cathedral train and a sparkly fully beaded belt and I want to spend $500.  Your budget doesn’t match your expectations.  You can’t have all those details in a well -made, easy to alter gown.  You are going to have to sacrifice something to remain at that price point.  There’s no shame in only wanting to spend $500 on your gown or wanting to keep your budget at a certain place, just be realistic about what your budget will get you. 

Another thing to keep in mind before you book your first appointment is to think about the overall theme or feel that you hope to accomplish for your day.  Your dress should incorporate into that feel.  It helps to have your venue booked or at least narrowed down so you can think about your venue while choosing gowns.

Finally before you attend your first bridal appointment you should decide who to bring with you to your appointment.  I get asked this question all the time and it can be a tricky question!  You should bring those people with you who you would want there when you make a decision – your mom, grandma, mother in law, sisters, maid of honour, etc.  But only bring them if you believe they will be supportive and will allow your opinion to matter most.  Now that you’re ready to book your first appointment, here’s what you need to know while shopping for your gown.

Three Things to Keep in Mind While Shopping For Your Gown

Stick to your budget – if you’ve determined a budget or a price point you want to stay in before coming to your bridal appointment then stick to it.  Sometimes brides ask me if they can try on a gown outside their range “for fun”.  This is so difficult because what happens if you fall in love with that gown & you can’t or don’t want to spend the money on it.  You will compare everything else to that gown and it won’t make it easy on you.  So my advice is and always will be only try something outside of your initial price range if you’re willing to go up to that amount.  If the answer is no, skip the gown and stick to what is in the range you want to spend.  It will be easier on both of us!

How will you know it’s the one – what if you don’t cry?  What if your mom doesn’t cry?  Guess what, it will still be okay and it might even still be YOUR gown.  Wedding gown shopping is just like any other shopping or life experience – everyone is going to react differently.  Some brides know right away.  Some take longer.  Some brides cry.  Some brides don’t want to take it off.  Some brides have to picture walking down the aisle and imagine getting married in the gown before they know.  There’s no right way to react and there’s no wrong way.  You want to love your gown & you want to feel amazing when you say yes to the dress, but remember that each & every bride’s experience is their own.

Simply become who you are.  It’s not a coincidence that this is posted in our fitting rooms.  Your bridal appointment and your bridal gown purchase is about who you are.  Not who your mom or maid of honour, or fiancé or best friend from high school wants you to be.  It’s okay to choose a gown that everyone won’t be expecting.  It’s okay to think outside the box.  It’s about becoming who you are meant to be.  While all your entourage’s opinions matter, at the end of the day the opinion that matters most is YOURS!

Two Things You Need to Know After You Say Yes to the Dress

Now you’ve set your budget, found your gown, what’s next?  Now is a great time to choose bridesmaids gowns, book in your tuxedos and meet with your decorator.  Your gown will set the theme for the rest of your day so happy planning!

What if you second guess your decision when you get home?  Sometimes this happens. Sometimes brides freak out or get overwhelmed with their decision.  That’s okay.  Take a deep breath and think about what it was about your gown that made you fall in love.  It’s okay to feel scared or overwhelmed.  Purchasing your gown makes your marriage real.  It’s really going to happen & that’s okay.  Think about falling in love with your fiancé and all the reasons why you said yes when he proposed.  If you still feel overwhelmed, call us or text us and pop back into the store to try your gown on again & remember why you fell in love with it!

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Thanks for joining us this week through this blog post.  We love walking with our brides through their gown shopping experience and would love for you to join our Once Upon A Time Weddings family.  You can book online here, call us at 519.245.7997 or text us 519.319.9441.  Join us next week as we discuss Everything I Wish Brides Knew About Setting {& Sticking to} A Budget.

What I Wish Every Bride Knew, Part 1

What I Wish Every Bride Knew… About Being Engaged.

By: Erin Bouchard
Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings

 You’re engaged!  Whether you’ve been waiting for a long time for that shiny ring of yours or your fiancé completely surprised you, you are about to embark on a new journey together.  This is the first of a 5 part blog series that will help you navigate through some of the big decisions you will need to make now that you’ve gone from girlfriend to fiancé!   In this first part we’ll tackle what to do first, how to announce your engagement in style, as well as cover three important decisions you should make ASAP.  So grab a glass of bubbly and get ready to jump in!

The Essential Thing You Must Do Now That You’re Engaged.

The very first thing that you should do is call your insurance company and add your engagement ring to your policy.  Because if heaven forbid something happens to your ring, I’m betting your fiancé doesn’t want to have to buy you a second one!  Insurance can be purchased as an extension or sometimes called adding a rider, to your renter’s or home insurance.  Call your insurance company today to get it added on.

Announcing Your Engagement

There are so many cute ways to announce that you’re engaged.  Before you post it on social media make sure you have let all close friends & family members know personally.  Send them a quick email, text or give them a quick call.  Then post away on facebook, Instagram, twitter, etc.  Be prepared for lots of questions regarding date, venue, etc!  Throwing an engagement party is a good way to celebrate with family, friends and a great way to introduce members of the wedding party.  Or it might even be a fun way to ask your guys & girls to be part of your wedding party.  An engagement party can be as low key or as formal as you want it to be.

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Three Important Decisions to Make Right Away

The first important decision to make is where the wedding will be held at.  This is crucial because it will determine your wedding date.  Start researching wedding ceremony and venue locations right away.  Draft a rough draft or your guest list so you have an approximate idea of number of guests before narrowing down your list of potential venues.  Schedule a few tours and get some more information on your top choices.  If you’re planning a backyard wedding or a wedding at the family farm, call a couple rental companies and ensure availability of a tent.

The second important decision is to decide on your wedding party.  Talk to your fiancé about how many people they are planning to ask to stand up with them.  Then ask your wedding party to be part of your big day.  Search pinterest for this as there are a ton of cute and fun ways to ask.

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The final decision you should do right away is research local wedding shows.  Bridal shows are a great thing to attend when you’re first engaged as they are a great way to meet local wedding vendors, chat with other local brides and see some fun bridal fashions.  For a list of bridal shows in Southwestern Ontario check out the Wedding Ring’s list http://www.theweddingring.ca/year.listevents/2011/03/23/.  Browse through your local bridal shows and choose a couple to attend.

I hope you enjoyed this article and got some good information on what you should do now that you are engaged.  Next Friday I`ll tackle What I Wish Every Bride Knew About- Setting A Budget for the Wedding.  If you have any questions, concerns or need to reach me you can email me at info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca, call me at 519.245.7997 or text me at 519.319.9441.

Be Beautiful!


Erin Bouchard

Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings.