all things bridal

20 Things You Might Not Know About Erin Bouchard

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  • I love weddings.  I know that’s kind of cliché to say, but it’s the truth.  I’m so thankful to be passionate about what I do.

  • I’m a tad bit controlling.  But it’s okay, because I am one of those control freaks who owns that they are a control freak, rather than the ones that are in denial {that makes it ok, right}

  • I used to hate numbers and accounting, but I’m now kind of fascinated by them and want to learn more about them.

  • I’m working on a certificate in management through Western University {you know, in my spare time}.

  • I’m addicted to coffee.  Like serious problem addicted.  I drink way too much.

  • I have a degree in counseling which I use a lot in this line of work.

  • I get a bit anxious in anticipation when I get to the point during a bridal appointment where I ask if this is the bride’s dress.

  • I care deeply about my customers.  I make mistakes and learn from them, but I do my absolute best to exceed my bride’s expectations.

  • My eating habits are the WORST.  I have my dad’s metabolism which I am grateful for.  It’s something I really know I need to work on.

  • I’m really an introvert.  I enjoy being home more than being out.

  • I love shopping.  My two favourite online companies are Grace & Lace and Evy’s Tree. 

  • I skipped kindergarten and went right into grade one.

  • My kids mean the world to me.  Adoption was and is one of the hardest things I’ve done, but I’ll never forget the day they became officially ours.  I’m so grateful to God that he’s entrusted them into my care.

  • I hate winter.  But this past one I tried to embrace it for my kid’s sake.  I was determined to enjoy the snow more with them.  I went tobogganing exactly one time.  You win some, you lose some.

  • I love my husband dearly.  Marriage isn’t always easy, and it takes a lot of work, but I’m so thankful to have him by my side.  He is a huge support to me.

  • I carry a lot of stress in my body and I don’t really know how to completely relax, it’s something I’m working on.

  • I enjoy being busy.  I like the fast pace of a busy Saturday and I thrive on having lots on the go at once.

  • I love books.  I love learning and perfecting what I do.

  • One of my greatest blessings is living in the same town as my parents and my three sisters.

  • My daughter is exactly like me, which is a bit fascinating since she’s adopted and all.  But she couldn’t be more like me if she tried.  One day that might be a good thing.

I would love it if you shared one thing, I might not know about you.  Enjoy your weekend.

Be Beautiful!

Erin Bouchard

All Things Wedding Photography (featuring Rebecca Nash)

Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings, Erin Bouchard chatted with Rebecca Nash of Rebecca Nash Photography to discuss all things bridal photography.  Rebecca and Erin met through mutual colleagues and their shared interests of weddings and helping brides plan their big days have helped them develop a friendship over the past few years.  Rebecca Nash Photography is a London based photography company that helps you celebrate life and love through captured memories.  Whether you’re hoping to capture your wedding day, a birth, belly shots, your growing family or engagement pictures, Rebecca is your go to girl.  I chatted with Rebecca about photography, planning a wedding and what brides can expect when they meet up with her.  She also shared some exciting new plans (think even cooler services) she has for her business over the next few months.  Once Upon A Time Weddings is so proud of the business that Rebecca is building as she has a great eye for detail and a really easygoing personality. So, grab a mug of tea or a glass of wine and read on!

1. How did you get into photography?

It's been a hobby since childhood, it took on an even more important role to me when my daughter was born, but my business didn't really become an aspiration until I saw the looks on parent’s faces when they saw images on the walls of my classroom as an early childhood educator.

2. Why did you want to be a photographer?

I’ve always enjoyed creating. Art (both visual and performing) has always been a focus in my life, however, I never had the talent to create my vision for others to see through painting, drawing or sculpting. With a camera in hand, I finally found the joy of creation and sharing my vision with others. This started my love for photography.

Fast forward a few years and I was blessed with a beautiful daughter. I was passionate about being a mom and about capturing every moment of her young life. I knew at this point that photography would always be a part of my life but never could have expected the reactions I received to my work. As I returned to work as an ECE in a childcare classroom, I brought this love of photography with me. It was there that I found the answer to my dilemma. How do I balance my love of photography, helping people, weddings, and working with children? Become my own photography company!

3. Describe your style of photography?

It has been a journey to find the style of photography that I love to shoot, I’m excited to share with friends, family, and most importantly clients, and that my clients love.

Every session has the classic shots that parents, vendors, and planners want to see but I also have my own style that comes out in every image. A style can be hard to describe but at the end of the day my style is best described as Soft, Artistic, Emotional, Romantic, and Whimsical.  Not every image will match every word but the style represents what the overall story of the day will be. At the end of the day photography is about celebrating love and life in art while telling a unique story.

4. What is your favourite part of being a photographer?

Oh My! How can I choose?

Let me see...it’s definitely not paperwork and bookkeeping!

I love meeting new people, building relationships, learning people’s stories, and watching them react to the images we have created together. When people hire me as their photographic artist they are asking me to document and become involved in an important part of their life whether it’s the wedding day, the birth of a child, the growing of a family, or the celebration of their own fabulousness! It’s an honour, a privilege, and a passion in my life.  It’s amazing and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to be part of so many people’s lives and help them celebrate!

5. What services do you offer brides?

Okay I just have to confess...I’m a bit of a wedding junkie!

Rebecca Nash Photography is a full service wedding photography service. Our services include everything from engagement portraits of the couple and bridal portraits of the bride in her wedding day beauty (in advance of the day), to the wedding day coverage, day after creative couples shoots, and product creation.

Whatever you need captured during the wedding process, I’m here to document it all for you! Want me there for the shower, stag and doe, or bachelor/bachelorette party? I’m in!

Another new service Rebecca Nash Photography now offers...Wedding Registry! You know you’re going to want albums, prints, or future sessions so why not ask your guests to help you out? You can create a wish list of items or just leave it open. Let your guests know about your registry and on the day of your image viewing session you will receive gift certificates for the products or dollar amount your guests have gifted you as part of your wedding day.

6. What other services do you offer?

I’m thrilled to offer a range of services including (but not limited to) Maternity Portraits, Newborn Portraits, Child & Family Portraits.

This year we are thrilled to be launching some new services to meet the needs of our clients (and have even more fun!)

1.) Bridal Portraits

Launched in January of this year, this is a great way to capture all the beauty and details of your wedding day ensemble. Spend a half day having your hair & makeup done just like your wedding day, slip in to your gorgeous gown, and become the inner model you’ve always wanted to be.

This is the day to get those beautiful images of yourself in all your bridal splendor that you and your family will cherish for years to come without the craziness of the wedding day!

2.) Portrait Parties

Coming this spring....

Get together your friends and your kid’s friends for a great day of fun and mini-portrait sessions in your own home! With special mini-session pricing and unique print packages this is a great way to get updated images of each of your children. Interested in hosting? You can earn sessions and print packages for your own child(ren).

3.) Modern Elegance Portraits

Coming this spring...

It’s a pampering day out! Come on your own or bring a small group and spend the day being pampered. This luxury experience includes a hair stylist and makeup artist on site to pamper and prep you, a custom made gown created on you, and a day of celebrity treatment!

Celebrate yourself! Celebrate your Beauty! Celebrate your life!

7. When should brides book your services?

This is always the toughest question I get by far! I have had clients book me 2 years in advance, but I’ve had calls 3 months ahead. I usually recommend booking 12 to 18 months in advance to be sure you secure your date.

Know you’re getting married in 2013 or 2014? Let’s start a conversation now. The more I get to know you and your wedding day (and you get to know me) the better experience and images we’ll have together! I don’t want to just be your photographer; I want to make this an experience you won’t quickly forget!

8. What can brides expect after they book your services?

Once we have gotten to know each other, fawned over all the details of your unique wedding day, and signed the contract here’s what you can expect...

* Engagement Portraits – I encourage every couple to do an engagement portrait session with their wedding photographer. This is the best way to get to know their shooting style, their directing style, spend some time getting to know each other more, and get comfortable in front of the camera.

* To hear from me at least once a month – I want to know how the planning’s going, what you guys have been up to, and keep learning more about you as people and as a couple. This lets me give you the best possible service and gives you one less thing to worry about on your wedding day.

* To feel supported – Looking for a vendor and don’t know where to look? Call me! Run into an issue? Call me! Looking for ideas or inspiration? Call me! I may not have the solution to every problem, but I’m here to help you achieve your goals for the wedding day and enjoy every minute leading up to and on the day of! It’s your day, and I want to help make it perfect for you!

* Little (good) surprises along the way.

9. What is your biggest tip for brides as they plan their big day?

From my experience as a photographer, a bridal party member, and a guest at many weddings I cannot stress this enough: Know where photography falls as a priority on your wedding day, find photographers whose images you love, and then make sure that their personality is a good fit for you and your day.

There’s nothing worse than finding out on the wedding day that the person you hired doesn’t see eye to eye with you. The images will show the tension. Your memories of your wedding day will be tainted with this negative experience.

Remember, the day is about celebrating you love, and the beginning of your life together. It’s about the celebration, and the memories you’re creating!

10. How can brides get a hold of you to book your services or ask questions?

I love meeting new people so please, get in touch! You can check out my website at www.rebeccanashphotography.com, give me a call at 519-204-0309, or email me anytime day or night at Rebecca@rebeccanashphotography.com

I can’t wait to hear all about your celebrations of life and love!

Thanks Rebecca for sharing with our Once Upon A Time Weddings family!  It was a pleasure chatting with you!  Rebecca also writes a regular blog which you can get to by visiting her website above.  Check it out for tons of great ideas, fashion advice, wedding planning tips and just plain fun!

 

I Plan Episode #1

I Plan is brought to you by Erin Bouchard, Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings.  I Plan is a short video series that will help brides get from "I Will" to "I Do" flawlessly.  We've got great tips and tricks to help you will all aspects of wedding planning.

 

We'd love to hear what you think of the episode.  Feel free to comment or send us an email to info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca.  New episodes of I Plan will be released every Friday so watch our blog and our facebook fan page for new episodes.  If you have a topic you would like us to cover please let us know.

All things finances with Shannon Cushman

I'll be honest. I feel as though I cannot write a weekly blog sharing the joy of all things weddings and not discuss the whole 'financial planning of a life together' thing as well. Kind of an important topic wouldn't you think? Well most couples get caught up in the excitement of wedding planning, few couples spend time planning for their marriage. What matters right now is you are beginning your new life with your partner and all the joy and life experiences you have ahead. So today I'm not exactly talking all things weddings…I'm talking all things healthy marriage. And one of the biggest stressors of marriages is finances.

Just as promised, I went to the pros for a little more insight on this one. I sat down with financial expert, Shannon Cushman to ask her what steps we can all take to move forward into a healthy, contributing partnership. Shannon has been working over ten years in finance and as a busy working mom of four, she and her husband understand the importance of planning for not only your future but the future of those you love. Being that the average cost of a Canadian wedding is $23,330 (2012 Globe and Mail) we're not exactly planning for a small expense here, either. I wanted to hear Shannon's thoughts on planning ahead and what couple can do (couples in any situation, engaged or not) to be financially healthy and on the right track.

 1) Is there any particular 'Golden Rule' of finances and planning for your future that you always embark on those you work with? 

There is no specific rule, and that is exactly the first thing I teach people! Every situation is unique, every couple is unique and most of all, we all have different goals in life. The most important thing is talking to your partner early on in the relationship about money, finances, goals, etc. and making sure that you are on common ground when it comes to financial matters. If you aren’t, find out what you can start doing as a team to work towards this. Many times that does involve sitting down with a qualified financial professional. This will help you understand your unique situation- not what you heard from a friend or saw on television about money.

 2) What would you suggest as the first steps in financial planning for someone who hasn't yet begun this process?

The first steps are to asses all of your assets and liabilities, basically what do you have and what do you owe. This gives you an idea of a term you may hear a lot in the past- “net worth”. As you build a life together, the goal is for your net worth to grow. When we are young it is normal to have a negative NW, however as we get older, own a home, pay down student debts, our NW grows.

3) What can anyone start doing today for a better financial well being in 6 months? 

Saving, Saving, Saving! Starting a regular, automatic savings plan (even just $25 a pay period) into a separate account that you cannot debit out of can grower faster than you think. Also, and very important- go online and view your credit report. Equifax is the most commonly used company and you can get a copy of your report for around $15. Now, really check it out – are there any errors? Has something been reported wrong that could stop you from getting a new car, house, even job in some cases? Finally, make sure you DO have established credit . If you do not, it is time to get a small credit card and start establishing. No credit can be just as hard as bad credit when trying to get approved for something – and you don’t want mom to have to co-sign forever. Just keep in mind, it's okay to still live your life! Treat yourself, reward an accomplishment, celebrate the small victories. It's all about balance.

 4) What consequences should couples be aware if one individual has less than ideal credit? How much does this hurt the stronger ones?

Every situation is different, and there are varying degrees of 'bad'. When there is a large variance in credit scores, the person with the stronger credit is going to have to be prepared to be the primary applicant in most cases. They will perhaps need to co-sign for their spouse for such credit as a car loan or school tuition and will probably be required to have most of the couples credit cards in his/her name. Ideally the person with the weaker credit should work hard at re-establishing better credit in order for both to contribute to carrying an equal amount of the credit. If one person is always doing the borrowing it could actually hurt their score as it may appear they are over-utilizing credit, credit seeking, and using large amounts of revolving credit.

 5) What steps can be taken to merge finances together and when is the most acceptable time for couples to do this? 

Every couple is different and the best time is when both people are ready, comfortable and don’t feel any pressure to do this. Many couples now like to have one joint account for “bills”, “house stuff” etc. then each their own account for some spending money. There are many different ways to merge your finances, and it can be something you do in small steps or all at once – there is no right or wrong way to do it. Just ensure that you and your partner have had important discussions first and feel confident you are on the same page with managing your finances. This is not the conversation you want to have after you have merged everything!

  

Meeting up with Shannon really makes me think about my goals and next steps. Engaged or not, the topic of money seems to light a fire under a lot of us! Most people can use a financial health check from time to time, especially to re-evaluate our goals and the goals of our partner. Just remember, all situations are unique and just as Shannon pointed out, it is important to be completely open when discussing finances with those we love, but it is absolutely essential to have professional guidance as well. If you would like to talk to Shannon, I have included her professional contact information below. Shannon is a hard working mother and wife and I must say this really comes through when discussing money and goals with her. She makes people feel comfortable and so positive when looking towards their future. I don't often shed such opinion on rather personal topics but I highly encourage you to really think about the importance of planning for your future and the resources available through hard working, dedicated professionals.

Let me know what you thought of today's article. I hope this has helped couples (and individuals alike) understand the importance of meeting with a professional to fully discuss and understand your needs. I can give you all the DIY and budget friendly tips in the world, but at the end of the day, we are all different with different needs. But one thing remains the same; we all deserve the wedding of our dreams and while it may be a lot for one day, it is your day.

Dana xo

 

 

 

 

 

All things Bridal Beauty With Laura Peters

One of the most common things I hear from brides regarding their wedding day is they want to look like themselves, just at their very best and of course, look like a bride! They don't want to become someone new or confuse their friends and family, they simply want to be their most beautiful self. I absolutely love this! I feel when a bride finds her dream wedding dress, perfect veil and accessories, letting her true beauty shine through is the best way to  'glow' on her big day. Whether she opts for a soft, ethereal look or goes bold with a dramatic flair, when a bride embraces her unique beauty, she is always a knockout! As I mentioned in last week's post, this week is all about bridal beauty and there is no one better to talk makeup and glamour with than Laura Peters, a popular makeup artist based out of Strathroy. A truly talented and well-respected professional, Laura has been the 'it-girl' of aestheticians in our area for quite some time now. Her big-city talent in our small town makes her a true gem and a name to remember for all your big events! Lucky for us, Laura shared some of her best beauty tips for brides-to be and skincare suggestions we can all benefit from. Sounds like a beautiful thing to me!

Okay, Laura, you're my first blog interview! Here we go!

Dana: With all the potential stress of planning a wedding, what products are best for brides-to be with sensitive skin?

Laura: I have discovered 'Face of Hope' (a local business here in town) through my girlfriend and partner in beauty Megan Knoop. What’s great about their products, is that they are suitable for all skin types, purely natural and all organic.

Dana: Fantastic! As a gal with sensitive skin, this sounds like a product I'll be trying! Now, back to brides! Leading up to the wedding, would you recommend incorporating professional treatments into an existing beauty routine?

Laura: Great skincare is essential and it is super important to take care of your skin on a daily basis. A facial is important on a regular basis too, however for a bride on a budget, I would recommend a facial about one month before the big day. And if nothing else, no matter how tired you are, or how many glasses of wine you may have had, always remove all your makeup by cleansing and finishing with moisturizer!

D: Ah, so important! Also important- avoiding breakouts! Two weeks before the wedding, what are things brides should stay away from?

L: Late night cocktails and snacks before bed can be a trigger for breakouts. I recommend trying to avoid these a couple of weeks before the wedding.

D: I was scared you would say that. Come the big day, what are the biggest things brides can do to prep their skin for long-lasting bridal makeup?

L: A solution for long lasting makeup is cleansing then using a gentle exfoliant, toner and moisturizer the night before. The next morning, simply tone and moisturize, and with the help of a professional makeup artist and products, you will be set for the day.

D: Having professionals help along the way makes all the difference!  Laura, a lot of readers asked if you could suggest tips to bring out the beauty of mature skin, especially around the eye area. What are some ways to look absolutely glowing?

L: A lot of spas offer excellent non-surgical under eye treatments. To help prep, ask your aesthetician about different services offered for this and explore what options best suit your individual needs. Most treatments take a few weeks before results are noticeable so don’t forget to plan ahead if you are preparing for a special event.

You're right; along with commitment to your skincare and a healthy lifestyle, non-surgical treatments seem highly effective alternative! As for your business as a makeup artist...

D: How far in advance should brides and/or bridal parties contact you for bookings? Do you provide a consultation?

L: Organization is key to any successful event, so I would recommend booking sooner rather than later. It's one more thing to check off your list! I do provide a complimentary consultation for the brides with a booking.

D: And it's never too soon to cross something off your 'to-do' list! Do you and Megan offer your services for more than just weddings and big events?

L: Absolutely! A newer trend is something called “Trash the Dress” which can be a great way to express your “Alter Ego Bride.” Boudoir, engagement or even family photos create a timeline of your life, having  professional makeup application can always help capture the moment beautifully.

D: And I've seen you two girls do it countless times! That being said, what is your favourite part of working with brides on their wedding day?

L: Having been a bride myself, I know how important it is to surround yourself with not only beloved friends and family, but professionals whom you can share such intimate moments with. It’s an honour for me to be able to witness such a beautiful time in another one’s life!

Well, it's easy to see how brides would love working with Laura, too! A true gem. 

A big thanks to Laura for taking the time to provide her expert advice and of course, thank you all for submitting your questions! I'm happy it wasn't only my mom who sent some in! It was so fun to meet with Laura and talk beauty, and if you want to learn more, or contact Laura yourself, go ahead and email her at laurabrander@live.ca today! Also, Laura is hoping to have a site up and running, so I will definitely be providing a link at that time!

Stay beautiful,

Dana xo