bridal gowns

All The Wedding Dress Lingo You Need to Know!

A-Line, Sheath, Ball Gown, Lace, Organza.

Dress Shopping is like learning a whole other language.  What's a bride to do?

Whether you are one of those girl's whose been playing dress up in their pretend wedding gown since they were 4 or you're the type of bride who hasn't spent a lot of time thinking about their wedding gown, this blog is for you.  We've got a wedding dress dictionary for you to learn all the in's and out's of wedding dress lingo! We hope you find this helpful as you prepare for your say yes day!

A-Line Silhouette: An A-line wedding dress features a skirt that gradually begins to flare out from a fitted bodice, starting below the natural waist, and lightly skimming the hips, as it and extends to the hem, forming an "A" shape. This silhouette is thought to be universally figure-flattering.


Bustle: A fancy word for a sewing method used to transition a gown with a long train into a length that makes it easier to walk and dance in.

Bodice: The top part of your dress, above the waist. 

Boning: This gives a dress' bodice structure and prevents drooping, especially in a strapless dress and we seriously cannot stress how important this is in a strapless dress!! Which is why we carry the exclusive designers that we do here at OUTW. 

Chiffon: A very soft, delicate fabric that is extremely sheer and layered for modesty. This fabric is best known for being popular for bridesmaids dresses but is also becoming a lot more popular for wedding gowns.

Corset: A lace up back of the bodice, whether for ascetics or wiggle room with your size. Give yourself some extra time on your wedding day to lace it up!

Fit and Flare Silhouette: A dress with a fitted bodice through the hips and a flared skirt.

M&S_Mississauga_Wedding_02-8540 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy.jpg

Illusion Back: A more recent trend in wedding gowns - this design gives you the look of an open  back with the comfort and beauty of a full coverage gown.

Organza: A type fabric/material that is made from silk, but is much stiffer than chiffon. It has a similar sheen to it, like satin but without all the weight while still creating volume in a dress. Often used for full skirts to give it more flow than tulle.

Sheath Silhouette: A long, narrow, slim-fitting silhouette with straight, lines usually made from lighter fabrics, such as satin or chiffon, which is more suitable for the body-skimming shape.


Sweetheart Neckline: A strapless bodice with rounded fabric over each breast, meeting in a V-neck point in the middle - makes a heart-like shape.

Train: The long back portion of a the dress that trails behind the bride. Trains can be different lengths. Brides adore this feature for walking down the isle and formal pictures. 

Let us know what you'd like to see on the blog by commenting on any of our Facebook blog posts or direct messaging us!

Ready to start the search for your dream gown? Book your experience with us today!


All I Want For Christmas Is...

We love Christmas time here at Once Upon A Time Weddings! We have some exciting things planned in the store that I wanted to share with you!

First of all, from the bottoms of our hearts we want to say thank you.

Thank you to all the customers who believed in us and shopped with us.

Thank you to all those who shared our store with their friends, family, co-workers.

Thank you to all the other wedding vendors who told their brides about us.

We love you all and appreciate you.

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Next week, we’ll launch our 5 days of Christmas special! Each day a different item will be on sale. You can purchase in store or online. Online orders can be held for pick up at the store. Items will be limited quality so shop early for best selection!!

Day 1 - Monday

Day 2 - Tuesday

Day 3 - Thursday

Day 4 - Friday

Day 5 - Saturday

Watch our FB page each day for these sales!!


The other thing we’re excited to share with you is that we are hosting a trunk show from now until January 8th.

What is a trunk show?

It’s where a designer, in this case, two designers, send us their sample gowns for us to showcase and use in the store for a limited time. This allows us to see what gowns will work in our location, and allows our brides to have first access to these gowns before they have even shipped to stores.


Hurry and book your appointment now! Our Holiday Hours are as follows:

December 24th, 25th + 26th - CLOSED

December 27th + 28th Open 11-6

December 29th Open 10-4

December 30th + 31st CLOSED

January 1st + 2nd CLOSED

January 3rd + 4th Open 11-6

January 5th Open 10-4

All The Dress Shopping Secrets Revealed

Have you ever wondered what the hype is about finding a gown at Once Upon A Time Weddings?  Today on the blog, owner Erin Bouchard will walk you through a typical appointment at OUTW + answer some of your questions we know you’re dying to ask!  Erin, along with her team of consultants are proud to have helped thousands of brides create their own gown finding story.  She truly believes that magic happens at OUTW and sometimes you just have to embrace the magic.

A typical bridal gown shopping experience.

Most brides book their appointment online or by phoning the store.  We love our online system because it shows you exactly what we have left available each day and you can choose the time that’s best for you.  Once you’re booked into an appointment, you’ll receive a confirmation email that has a link to our form for you to fill out before your appointment.  We’ll ask you questions about your venue, previous shopping experiences and style choices.  This helps your consultant prepare for your appointment and many times our consultants have picked out your gown before they’ve even met you!

On the day of your appointment, you’ll be greeted and welcomed warmly into the shop.  We’ll ask you a few quick questions and then get to the fun!  Your consultant will pull four to five gowns to begin with.  Many, many times you’re gown will be in those first four to five gowns {yes, we’re that good!}.  Sometimes it’s the first gown you put on and sometimes it’s the last.  We’ll walk you through the gowns and ask questions about what you like and what you don’t.  Even if you hate the gown, we’re going to ask some questions to help narrow down what it is that you don’t like so we can make better gown pulls.  We always say, “gowns don’t have feelings” so feel free to tell us the truth about what you like and don’t like!

Once we’ve found a gown you love, we’ll put the finishing touches on with accessories.  Sometimes the magic is honestly in the complete look and we want to help you picture it all together for that walk down the aisle.

After you’ve said yes, we’ll take a group picture with our She Said Yes signs.  This will be posted on social media and captures the excitement of the moment.

Photography by  Amanda Kopcic Photography   Hair + Make Up:  Selah Vie

Photography by Amanda Kopcic Photography

Hair + Make Up: Selah Vie

There is no right or wrong time to say yes to the dress.

There are no magical number of gowns you HAVE to try on before you can say yes.  There aren’t a magical number of stores you HAVE TO visit before you can pull the trigger.  In life there are a lot of analytical decisions we have to make.  Have you ever made a pro/con list or listed out all your options before you could decide?  That’s an analytical decision and they are absolutely necessary for certain decisions in life.  But the gown you’ll get married in and look book on for the rest of your life – that’s an emotional decision.  You’re going to feel a whole bunch of emotions as you try gowns on.  You should however not feel:

1.     Like you’re being rushed or pressured.

2.     Like you’re settling for the best of what you’ve tried on.

If you truly love the gown and can picture walking down the aisle in the dress then it could be your gown.  Follow your heart.  You likely won’t know immediately that it’s your gown.  Most brides know it’s their gown by standing in it for a bit and just imagining it come to life.  That when the magic truly happens.


Who should I bring to my appointment.

Or how many can I bring to my appointment.  I get asked this question a lot and it’s honestly one of the hardest questions to answer.  I’ve had appointments with three people go horribly wrong and I’ve had appointments with twelve people go incredibly awesome.  Therefore, I always say bring with you who you absolutely would want to be there if magic happened and you had your gown finding moment.  Jealous bridesmaid?  Struggling sister in law?  Leave them at home or let them be part of your bridal reveal after the decision has been made.  The thing is that every person who you bring with you will be thinking of their opinions.  It’s not that they mean to, but they have an idea of what they would like or what they think you should get and they project that opinion on you.  Again, it’s often not intentional at all.  The important thing is that no matter how many people you bring with you, your opinion needs to be heard loudest and most.  Our consultants are excellent at insuring that.

What to bring.

If you own a strapless bra, bring that along with you.  If you don’t that’s okay, no need to rush out and get one.  Just wear a nude or light coloured bra and we’ll tuck the straps down.  If you plan to wear heels on your day and have a pair that is of similar height, bring those along to try on with the gown. 

Why do we pull the gowns for you?

It’s your day.  And we want you to just sit back and enjoy the moment with your family and friends.  Sometimes we need to sit back and let magic do it’s thing!  We also know our inventory well and we may think of gowns to pull that you never even imagined or would have walked right past if you saw it hanging on a rack.  Often we’ll ask during an appointment, “was there another style you had in mind that you really wanted to try on that we haven’t yet”.  If at any point in your appointment your consultant hasn’t asked and you or one of your entourages is wanting to see another style on you, just let us know! 

We do love our jobs at OUTW!  We love working with brides because honestly no two brides are the same, no two weddings are the same and no two gown finding experiences are the same.  Our biggest advice to you is to embrace what makes you unique.  Your story could be you tried on a hundred gowns before you found the one OR your story could be it was the very first gown I slipped into.  Neither of those stories would be right or wrong!  We’d love to work with you and help you say yes to the dress.  Schedule an appointment today and let’s get started!

Lies Brides Believe | By Erin Bouchard

This week I had the opportunity to meet Rachel Hollis, the author of “Girl Wash Your Face”.  I read the book a couple of months ago and it was so good.  The premise of the book is that there are so many lies that we as women believe.  Things such as, “we’re not good enough” and “something else will make me happy”.  It’s a powerful read and I strongly encourage every woman to read it.



This got me thinking about all the lies that brides believe when they are planning their wedding.

1.    You have to have your friend in the wedding, because you were in theirs

Friendships change over the years.  Just because you stood up in a friend’s wedding doesn’t mean they have to stand up in yours.  Choose those friends or family members that you think will be in your life in five, ten, fifteen years from now.  You want to make decisions for your wedding that are best for you + your fiancé and not just out of obligation.  You could always consider another role for them, like doing a reading, singing a song or being the MC for the night!

2.    You can’t wear white or ivory if it’s your second wedding

Girls, I literally hear this all the time.  Or I can’t wear white because we already have children.  The tradition of white wedding gowns was that brides who could afford to keep a white dress clean wore white.  It’s actually a symbol of wealth rather than purity.  Somewhere along the way people started associating purity with the white wedding gown.  Like many wedding traditions, people don’t follow that.  Wear whatever colour looks best on you and don’t worry about what others think.  

3.    I’ll for sure lose weight before the wedding

Friends, this is a hard one.  Wedding planning is so stressful and different brides react differently to that stress.  While we have certainty seen some brides lose a significant amount of weight before their wedding, most brides have way too much else to do.  Losing a lot of weight requires a change in your both your diet + your exercise.  It’s a significant project to take on while in the middle of wedding planning.  So be realistic about how much you think you can lose and remember that your fiancé proposed to you at the exact weight you were then!

Photography -  Jessica Barnett Photography  Hair + MU:  Selah Vie   Venue:  Caradoc Sands

4.    Planning the guest list will be easy

This will likely be one of your hardest tasks while wedding planning.  First you have to figure out whose coming.  You’ll need to decide if you’re inviting kids, cousins, and more!  You’ll have to figure out how to cut people without offending them, your parents or your fiancé parents.  And then you’ll chase people down for RSVP’s even though you made it so easy for them to let you know if they’re coming.  When you think it can’t get any more frustrating then you’ll have to make the decisions of who sits where.  My advice? Elope.  No, just kidding! My advice is to work at it a little at a time.  And remember, it’s you and your fiancé against the problem of the guest list.  Not you against your fiancé.  Work together, communicate lots and keep a good supply of wine on hand!

5.    I can do it all myself

“You can do everything, but you can’t do it all in one season” – Rachel Hollis.  This so applies to your wedding planning.  You might be capable of doing a lot yourself.  You may, in the beginning even love wedding planning.  But we weren’t put on this earth to do everything ourselves.  It’s okay to ask for help.  It’s okay to even delegate some of the tasks to others. While you may wish to have done a lot of wedding planning yourself, you also don’t want to arrive at the day of your wedding, so exhausted and overwhelmed that you can’t enjoy any of it. Accepting help along the way will make it more enjoyable and less stressful.

Wedding planning should be fun and exciting.  If it becomes not fun or exciting, learn to take a break.  Go out with your fiancé and don't discuss the wedding.  Go do something to take care of yourself.  

Still searching for the perfect wedding gown?  We've got you covered, girl!  Book an appointment today to Say Yes to the Dress!

Erin's Journey | Our First Big Crisis.

This month, I'm sharing some of our story of how we built and grew Once Upon A Time Weddings.  If you missed our introduction story last week, you can read it here:

I was in year four.  The first few years had been bumpy, but we were finally finding our groove. And then our first big shipping crisis hit.

It was a designer we knew and trusted.

We had visited his stores.

And bought his sales trainings.
We carried his line for about a year and over half of our in-stock gowns were his line.

And then he stopped shipping gowns.

Wedding gowns were late, really late.

And we weren’t getting any answers from him.

For the first time in the history of my business we were going to miss a wear date.

I had to muster up the courage, dig deep inside of me and make phone calls that I pray I never have to make again.

I’m so sorry to tell you this, but your wedding gown will not arrive in time for your wedding.

We went into autopilot. 

Survival mode.

Full refunds.

Free alterations.

Switch to any in stock gown that you want to regardless of cost.

It was hard.

It was devastating on our business.

It was all so outside of our control.

Once the dust settled and I had personally worked with every bride affected by that designer it was time to learn some big lessons. And remove all those gowns from our racks and sell them off.


I had a big choice to make.

I could become bitter.

Or I could become better.

You see, we had just gone through one of the worst experiences of my life.  A situation that I hadn’t created or could have changed in any way.  I could so easily have become bitter because of it. It was done to me after all.

Or I could find the lesson in the situation and I could learn.

I could use what I learned and grow my business.

And so we picked up the pieces of our business, prayed that we never went through anything like that again and continued on.

One of the biggest lessons that we learned during this crisis was to always take care of our customers.  To go above and beyond for them.  It’s one of our pillars of our business. 

We don’t always get it right, but we always make it right.

We care deeply about each of our customers.  We want them to love their experience and time with us.  So we spent lots of time perfecting the customer experience over the years.  
We’re not perfect.  But we constantly striving to be better.  To do better.  To be consistent.

Things started changing. 

Sales increased.

More and more brides heard about us.

And then we were facing crisis number two dead in the face.

This time however it was much, much worse.

Join me next week as I dive into that lesson.

Blog | Advice From A Real Bride.

Happy Friday! It's hard to believe we're in May already.  The weather is finally nice and it's making us dream of summer, campfires, walks on the beach + of course, summer weddings!

Today on the blog, we're sharing some Real Bride advice.  This month we're featuring Alexa Wallace who tied the knot on May 27, 2017.  Happy almost Anniversary!  I still remember doing her bridal appointment.  She came in thinking she'd end up in a fitted gown & left with the most beautiful ball gown.  Let's dive into her bridal advice.

What is the biggest piece of advice you would give a newly engaged bride-to-be? Please explain:)

Enjoy the process! You only get one engagement, one time to call each other fiance/fiancee, one time to plan this whole thing! Have fun with it, and remember above all else you're planning a moment where you're closest friends and family witness you two commit yourselves to each other. The party for us, while immensely important as I LOVE to plan parties, was always secondary. Not that we skimped, we made it as fabulous as we wanted it to, but we made sure that our ceremony, that moment where we become husband and wife in front of our loved ones, was the highlight and the most important aspect of the day and planning since we saw it as Day 1 of the rest of our lives together.

What is the best advice you would give for a bride-to-be who is searching for her dream dress?

I think don't go in to it with expectations, as hard as that is because for a lot of us we've had this idea in our heads of how it'll look or how we'll feel for so so long. So do your best to breathe, wash away those mental images, and just be very present in the moment and true to yourself and how you feel. My dress was no kidding the absolute complete opposite of what I pictured myself in, but as soon as I stepped in to it, I saw in my head myself walking in our venue and seeing my husband waiting for me and it all felt very right. And believe in the words you tell Erin and the girls to help them help you find the right one!

What is the best advice you were given as a bride-to-be?

I'm not sure if any one thing sticks out to me, but probably similar to what I mentioned earlier, to just relax and enjoy the process, it'll all fall in to place and really, you're just planning a big party! I think focusing on the real meaning of the day, marrying your best friend and committing your lives to each other, and staying true to what feels right and represents the two of you and your relationship, will help you stay calm and at ease in the planning.

What is something you regret when wedding planning?

I really wish we had hired a videographer or even asked a family friend to video the ceremony at the very least, it was so special to us. I remember how I felt saying the vows, and I'll always know what we said as I have it written down from our rehearsal, but I think to see it all over again and be able to re-live it is something we would have really cherished having. It all happens so fast, a beautiful blur of a day!

What is one thing you're glad you did when you were planning your wedding/engaged?

Since we bought our house halfway through our engagement before our wedding, we had a lot of time, energy and finances that were being dedicated to renovations! So we would spend a couple weeks tackling some wedding items, then put it on the back burner for a couple months. That back and forth helped it from being all consuming, kept us on track to really hammer out details and stay focused to what we wanted for the big day, and it kept us relaxed and enjoying our time together as an engaged couple and not just a couple planning a wedding.

Is there anything else you'd want to tell a future bride?

Stay true to what you and your partner want out of your big day and what truly represents you as a couple! At the end of it all, you gain a spouse and partner for life, so make sure to focus on that first and foremost and let the party planning be a fun aspect of the whole process! Place subtle details and memorable touches here and there, but don't stress if something gets forgotten or missed, by the time the food and drink get flowing all that matters is you're enjoying this moment surrounded by the ones you both love and who love you! Cheers lovely!

We love, love, love our brides here at OUTW and we have the best brides in the whole world!! We hope you enjoyed reading through Alexa's best wedding advice. She has some wise words as you prepare for your own walk down the aisle.

Book your experience here too say yes to your dream dress.

Photography: Mariangelica Photography

Burgundy + Slate Blue Wedding Theme

Last year, the colour Marsala exploded on the wedding scene and popped up in everything from decor to bridesmaids gowns to florals.  This year, the colour Slate Blue has quickly taken the wedding industry by storm.  Today, on the blog, I thought I would feature the two colours together and the effects are beautiful!

These colours look amazing mixed with a touch of gold in the accents.

These colours look amazing mixed with a touch of gold in the accents.


For this colour combo you could put the men in either grey or navy.  Throwing in some pops of blush and creams make the colours pop that much more.


We loved the dusty blue flowers with pops of other colours.  We are loving the trend of creating a bouquet that has multiple colours within it.  This bouquet would also look amazing with your maids in the wine colour.


Who doesn't love a floral crown?  They are such a fun way to incorporate your colours and achieve that Boho look.


We matched this Slate Blue gown with some blush & burgundy florals that we had in the store.  Such a beautiful look.  This bouquet also has touches of lace in it as well.  


Another option would be to keep your bridal bouquet a bit simpler and do the girls with more accent colours.  We love the pops of the darker burgundy mixed in with the softer shades.  Against a white or ivory gown this bouquet would be stunning! 


We love this decor.  It's a great reminder that less is sometimes more.  I love that the main colour is the dusty blue and then there are some splashes of gold and subtle hints of burgundy in the flowers.  I love the candles and that it's fancy without being too over the top.  


And of course, we couldn't do a theme without showcasing a gown from OUTW that we thought would fit in perfectly with this colour scheme.  This is a new arrival for us and the back and train are equally as stunning.  We adore the classic ivory with this colour to make the burgundy + slate blue be the focal point.

Do you have a theme or colours picked yet for your wedding day?  Tell us about it!