bridal family

Present Over Perfection.

Last fall I read a book by Shauna Niequist called, “Present Over Perfect.”  It was the perfect timing because one month before Christmas we received an emergency, same day placement of two babies – a one year old and a two year old.  The concepts of that book quickly sprang to life as I was forced to let go of perfectionism. 

As we near the holidays again I wanted to share some of what I learned from this book, because it’s not only applicable to the holiday season but also to those in the throes of wedding planning.

I get so caught up in perfectionism.

The perfect tree.

The perfectly wrapped presents in matching paper.
The perfect family day.

The perfectly behaved children.

 

I want it all.  I want the food to taste amazing.  The kids to not fight.  The family to have no drama.

 

I set these high expectations. 

 

But what my family needs is for me to present.

To delight in them.

To spend time with them.

To be present.

 

Why am I seeking perfection when what they need most from me is presence?

So, what if I use the leftover napkins from last year instead of buying new ones.

So, what if I don’t have enough matching silverware and we use mismatched?

Will Christmas continue? Will anyone notice?

 

Those things don’t matter in the grand scheme of the holidays.

 

This year I chose present.

I chose to be organized and prepared so that I wasn’t stressed.

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I hosted dinner for my entire extended family on Saturday.  And I raise my voice at my children once.  I chose to include them in the preparations, to pace out the day and to enjoy the season.  To look at Christmas through their eyes, remove some of my expectations and delight in being fully present.  To be organized and to let some things slide.

 

Why am I telling you this?


Because I truly believe it’s a choice.  One that each one of us can choose.

Are we striving for perfection or are we choosing to be present?

 

This holiday season, choose to be present.  Choose to not care if the floor is a bit dirty or if the kids are a bit cranky.  Choose to spend time with people, not just money on them.

 

It’s the same with wedding planning.  There are tons of things you can stress out about.

Are the napkins the same exact shade as the bridesmaids’ gowns? 

Will the ring bearer make it down the aisle?

Will everything come together perfectly?

 

I'm not saying don't enjoy the small things.  I'm not saying don't care about wedding planning.

 

Just don't let those small things pull you away from what matters most: the people around you.

Let go of some of the desire for perfection and celebrate the start of your new life together.  Write the beginning of that chapter as present instead of perfection.

 

A Real, Honest Blog.

DISCLAIMER: This is a bit of a more personal blog.  It's meant to show you a little glimpse into what running a bridal store is REALLY like.  I ADORE what I do and I LOVE working with brides.  This is just a bit of my real life.  

When I first opened the doors to Once Upon A Time Weddings I was shocked by how many bridal stores didn’t have great customer service.  I was shocked that anyone could be helping a bride during the most important & exciting time of her life and not LOVE their job.  Or at least smile.

Fast forward five years and now I kind of get it.  This business can be a bit ruthless.  Sometimes it feels overwhelming! {much like wedding planning does, but hang in there, the best moments are coming, I promise}  

Don’t get me wrong – I still love it and live and breathe it every single day.  But it can be oh so exhausting.  I’m not talking about working with brides, that part I love.  I’m talking about working with everyone else.

Here’s some examples of what I mean:

·       In my second year of business I attended a bridal show that also had a fashion show.  The other two stores were fighting and yelling about who had more space for the models to change in.  So the producer of the show had to literally put masking tape down to show whose side was whose.

·       In my third year of business I had a designer who I carried deeply in my store, go bankrupt and stop producing gowns suddenly.  I lost about $8,000 and for the first time had to call a bride and tell her that her gown wouldn’t be here before her wedding day and that she had to pick another one.

·       In my fourth year of business I had a designer who got so behind in production that we were unsure whether bridesmaids, mothers or prom gowns would arrive in time for their events.  We had to cover customer’s alterations, source the gowns through other stores and just pray that everyone got what they needed in time.

·       Last year I had to deal with my old landlord situation which destroyed a lot of my trust in people and ultimately cost me over $6000 in unnecessary rent.

·       I have also discovered this year that one of my competitors is transhipping gowns.  This basically means they don’t carry the line of wedding gowns, but they have another store order the gowns in for them and ship to their store.  Which means that although I’ve carried the line and have invested in the stock pieces that I have, they are telling brides to come to my store, try the gowns on and then they’ll order the dress for below what the manufacturer allows us to sell it. This kind of thing happens on all the time with designer gowns.  It’s so unethical and frustrating but unfortunately most designers turn a blind eye because at the end of the day they are still selling gowns.

·       This year I found out that someone who I trusted deeply in this business and whom I have talked openly about bridal gowns, designers and my business plan took that information and behind my back started a competing bridal business.  Then when I found out and called him out about it, he lied directly to my face.

Somehow, I have survived each and every one of these things and so many more that I could write about.  I’ve learned to work through brutal situations and keep on going.  After all I’m an entrepreneur.  It’s what we do.  But by the Grace of God.

So, why am I sharing all this with you?   I guess it’s a reminder that we’re human.  That even though I am the face of Once Upon A Time Weddings, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes.  So many things that I CANNOT control {even though the control freak inside of me wishes I could}.  So many designers, sales reps, UPS drivers, and more that I have to rely on to do my job.  Have I made some mistakes along the way?  Absolutely!!  Will I make more?  Most likely. But never the same ones, as I try my best to learn from them.  Every day I wake up and I’m so thankful for the job that I am entrusted with.  I’m so thankful that I get to spend a small window of time with each and every bride that comes into my store.  Sometimes after a particularly crappy day, I will sit and read through my facebook reviews.  The kind words left from brides means the world to me!  When I sit and reminisce about all the brides who said YES to their DRESS at Once Upon A Time Weddings, it makes me so proud.  They are why I keep pushing through the difficult situations.  I ask of you to remember that store owners are people too and if they have given you great service, let them know.  It can make a world of difference.

Merry Christmas.

As we prepare to head up north to spend time with Joel's family and then back here for mine, I can't help but feel excitement about the Christmas season.  I love getting to spend time with family and watching the joy on my kids face as they soak in all the memories.

This Christmas, I'm feeling more organized than I ever have been.  I'm also feeling more relaxed than I usually am.  This season, I realized that there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas or perfect family memories.  I decided to not stress out over every detail or place these huge expectations on how the day should be.  Instead I'm going to look for the joy in the little memories and let my kids have a simple, love filled holiday. 

So, wherever you are in the process of preparing for the holidays, we want to wish you & your families a very, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  We thank you for supporting our store in 2015 and we look forward to serving you in 2016.

Photography by Amanda Kopcic Photography (www.amandakopcic.ca)

Also, just a reminder about our store hours during the Christmas season.  If you need to get a hold of us while we're away, email info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca