bridal strathroy

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


When LIFE gives you LEMONS.

Running a bridal business has so many ups and downs, so many decisions to be made.  Just when you think you got a good handle on those decisions, life gives you lemons.  You come to a crossroad and you must choose how to proceed.  Let me just tell you, we have enough lemonade over here for everyone in this town!  

A shot of owner, Erin Bouchard standing in the original Once Upon A Time Weddings location at 6 Front St. W. Photography by Nova Markina.

A shot of owner, Erin Bouchard standing in the original Once Upon A Time Weddings location at 6 Front St. W. Photography by Nova Markina.

When I opened my business I searched and searched for the PERFECT location to open up my bridal store.  I looked at some real special places, some that needed lots of work and some that would have been okay.  When I found 6 Front St. W I was excited to watch the renovations and felt like we had found our home.  When we were approached two years ago to move from 6 Front St. W to 2 Front St. W we were excited for the change.  We felt the space better represented our brand and the feel we were going for with the store.  After we moved we were quite disappointed to find out that we would not have an option to renew our lease.  So we talked to landlord last December and decided we would start the agonizing search of finding a new home for Once Upon A Time Weddings.  We again searched through many properties.  Some might have worked, some we immediately returned home and showered.  Given the unique challenge of running a business while trying to raise a family and balance the rest of our lives, we decided to look for a building we could live in and run the business out.

A shot of Once Upon A Time Weddings when it was located at 2 Front St. W in Strathroy.

A shot of Once Upon A Time Weddings when it was located at 2 Front St. W in Strathroy.

It seemed our prayers and hopes had been answered when we located 20 Caradoc St. N in Strathroy.  It was the perfect combination of store and family home.  It’s recently been beautifully redone and we were excited about the possibility of relocating the store to this location.  

We talked to our current landlord and were given the green light to go ahead and break our lease early in order to secure this new location.  Our lease had no escape clause, but we trusted her word that we were good to go.  We did all the necessary steps that needed to be taken to move down the road.  We were excited, tired, and couldn’t wait to reopen at our new location.

A shot of the front door at the NEW location of 20 Caradoc St. N in Strathroy.

A shot of the front door at the NEW location of 20 Caradoc St. N in Strathroy.

For about a month we lived the dream.  It seemed we had a great set up.  I felt like my life was manageable.  Like I could help brides say yes to the dress, while juggling all of my other responsibilities.  

Then the lemons came.

We were told we were going to be held responsible for the last year of our lease.  That she wasn’t accepting our 90 day written notice as escaping our contractual obligations.

So, here we stand at the crossroads.  Do we admit defeat and pay off the balance of our lease?  Or do we move the store back down the road for the last year of our term?  Do we do something else with the old store - like bridesmaids or an outlet bridal store?  

Unfortunately, while our legal team works this one out, we continue to stand at this crossroads.  Our promise to you, our customers, is that as we know more we’ll let you know.  That we’ll let you journey this road with us.  And we’ll even let you help us move our stuff back too if that’s the route we end up going.

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Happy Thanksgiving.

This year we have so much to be thankful for.  I'm so blessed to have a wonderful husband & two beautiful kids.  I am also blessed to have 3 awesome sisters and four nephews and my parents who all live so close and love our little family so dearly.  

Whatever you are doing this weekend, take a minute to be thankful for all that you have and hold those loved ones close.

From our family to yours, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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When We Fall Short.

When We Fall Short…

Working in this industry is hard. I’m not going to lie or sugar coat things. Before we opened the store, I wondered at bridal shops who had gained such poor reputations for customer service. Seriously, how hard is it to offer good service to your customers, especially during such a joyous time in their life?? Now that we’re almost four years in, I realize why. It’s really hard to operate a business within an industry that relies on international partnerships and production and still maintain control over every aspect of that business. I’m not making excuses. I’m not placing blame. What I am trying to do is keep in touch with the changing nature of the bridal industry so that I can make smart and timely decisions that will lead to an improved customer service experience for our clients.

The last few weeks have been difficult. We’re working with a designer who is behind in production and unreachable by phone. We receive production updates via email, but they are few and far between. As a result, we have customers whose gowns are coming in later than anticipated and it’s beyond frustrating! We’re struggling to keep you, our customers, informed, but are not receiving satisfactory answers ourselves. It’s not a secret that most bridal and special occasion gowns, including those we carry, are made overseas. Unfortunately, this means we don’t have the luxury of phoning the factory directly to get an update. It’s frustrating for you, for us, for the designer, for all involved. So we would like to publicly apologize for the stress, for the anxiety, and for not having all the answers.

In the midst of dealing with production delays, we’ve got other business-related responsibilities to attend to: ordering tuxedos, running bridal appointments, ordering and tracking accessories, serving walk-in customers, and prepping for graduation which is just around the corner. We are a small store with a small staff and some days it feels like we’re carrying a mountain of responsibility. That being said, we want to apologize to those of our customers who have not received the best service experience in recent weeks.

We do take this job seriously. We do care about each of you. I wish I could sit down with you over a cup of coffee or welcome you back into my office and chat. While that may not be possible, writing a public letter to apologize is. I hope you’ll hear my heart and my passion in my apology and consider that my staff and I are only human, that sometimes we make mistakes, and that sometimes things are simply out of our control. But we must learn from our mistakes and our experiences and move forward. So that’s what we’re doing.

Our ultimate goal is that every interaction with a member of the Once Upon A Time Weddings team meets and exceeds your expectations and that your experience at our store is exemplary every step of the way. In order to do that, we will be streamlining our merchandise over the summer so that we can focus primarily on bridal. This means we will no longer be carrying gowns for other occasions (grad, prom, bridesmaids, mothers, etc.) Of course, all customers who have ordered gowns from us will still receive them. We don’t anticipate any delays if we haven’t spoken to you about your order, then your gown should still arrive according to plan. If you have a question about your order, don’t hesitate to call us!

We love working with our brides and want to create a store environment that will offer brides a personalized and exclusive experience where they receive individualized customer service, care, and attention.

If you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email at info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca, text me at 519.319.9441 or call the store at 519.245.7997. We sure do appreciate you, our customers.

The key to success, become an expert at ONE thing: Live it, Breathe it, Become it.

What's a Bride To Do If She Panics?

Not all brides do it. But it’s not completely uncommon. What happens if you get home, your heart starts pounding and you start regretting the decision that you just made? Let’s talk about bridal panic for a minute.

It’s been a day you’ll remember for a while. You went dress shopping. It was a great day with mom and maybe a friend or two. Maybe you even dragged grams along for the ride. You found the gown. You pictured walking down the aisle. You said yes. Maybe mom cried, maybe she didn’t. {it’s still your gown either way} Then you get home. You are excited but then the finalization of what you just did hits you in a wave of sheer panic. Shut the front door! Did I just really find a gown? WHAT DID I SAY YES TO!? There are a number of reasons why this panic might be hitting you and they’re not bad reasons and it’s not uncommon.

The first reason is you might feel like you didn’t shop enough. How can it be this easy? Shouldn’t I have dragged mom and grams to every store there is before I decided. Many brides, partially thanks to good, old reality tv shows feel like every bride must try on every single dress to be found before making a decision. Or they see their drama tv shows and think that it must really be that hard to find a gown. But it’s not. It doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t have to try on 22 gowns to know FOR SURE. Because the truth is once you find one you love, you’ll just keep searching for something so similar to that one that you’ll end up getting frustrated or overwhelmed. So remind yourself that it doesn’t have to be difficult and just because it was easy, doesn’t mean that you made the wrong decision.

Another reason is that sometimes that purchase suddenly makes the whole wedding feel real. A lot of times it’s not even about the dress, it’s about the realness of the decision that you are committing to. Remember to breath and remember all those reasons you said yes to the proposal. You are getting married. Don’t let that scare you, let it excite you.

Whatever reason you are panicking, reach out to us. We’ve helped brides who have felt the same way, and we’re HERE for you. Call, text, email, Facebook message, morse code us. It’s part of our job and if you have any questions or concerns then reach out to us. It’s a sad part of our reality, that brides think to hop online and write a negative review or complain publicly before they’ve even chatted with us. We can’t fix a problem, we don’t know we have. If you are able to, come back into the store and slip that gown back on and you’ll realize all over again why you love it and why you said yes.

 

If you do think you want to change your mind, be a grown up about it. You are signing a contract and you are agreeing to abide by the outlines of the contract. If you change your mind or want us to alter that contract for any reason, remember you are asking us to change. Don’t treat us like we did something wrong by selling you, your gown. Be respectful and remember we are human beings too. Calling us names or being rude won’t get you anywhere. Every single one of us working at Once Upon A Time Weddings cares so much about our brides & our customers that we want the absolute best for you. We want you to love your gown and be so, so happy with your choice long after the I Do’s. But we are a business and we have contracts in place for a reason. All we’re asking is that you be mature about the decision you are making. We agree to take the journey with you and be there every step of the way. So let’s get going on that journey. Click here to book your bridal appointment and start enjoying the benefits of our expertise right away.