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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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.