dress shopping

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!

Vendor Interview | Altered Elegance

We chatted with Bea Vasey over at Altered Elegance for an inside look into bridal alterations! One of the most common questions we get from brides in our store is about alterations: how long they take, what they cost, and who we recommend. We have sent lots of our brides over the years to Bea and she always does amazing work at an affordable price! We hope this interview can shed some light into her world and what a bride needs to know about it!

Do you offer alterations for other things (besides wedding gowns)? If so, what? 

"Yes I do...zippers, hemming, and all general alterations."
Bea changing a zipper back into a corset!

Bea changing a zipper back into a corset!

How far in advance do you like a bride to bring her dress in?

"As soon as the bride gets her dress. This will determine how much work needs to be done, price and it will reserve an alteration spot. However, alterations do not need to be started right away, sometimes a bride likes to wait until closer to the wedding."

How long have you been doing wedding alterations?

"About 30 years."

What is your turn around time for wedding dress alterations?

"Each dress is different."

What sets your work apart from other seamstresses?

"Customer service, friendly and relaxed atmosphere, I listen to the brides needs, workmanship and affordable pricing."

If you have your gown and are looking for someone to bring it in, let it out, add crinoline, add straps, or make just make it more unique, Bea is located in Petrolia and loves what she does! Visit her Facebook Page or give her a call at (519) 882-4789.

Are you still on the hunt for your perfect gown, book your appointment with us today!

20 Things You Might Not Know About Erin Bouchard

erin in store 5.jpg
  • 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

Summer Hours!

It's that time of year when we switch to our spring/ summer hours.  We understand that summer is full of BBQ's, showers, family vacations & attending other weddings.  So we change up the hours a bit to accommodate our brides & customers.

Monday 11-6

Tuesday 12-8

Thursday 12-8

Friday 11-6

Saturday 10-4

Sunday & Wednesday by booked appointments only.

These hours will take effect Tuesday, May 19th!

Please note that if we have no booked appointments or tuxedo pick ups on a Tuesday or Thursday, we may close at 6PM.  So please book your appointment before coming at www.onceuponatimeweddings.ca/appointments