gown shopping

The 12 Rules Every Bride Should Live By to Avoid Stress

12 Rules For Being A Stress-Free Bride.

By: Erin Bouchard

1.    Sizes suck.  

Remember that dress sizes are so different than real life sizes.  I’ve seen so many brides stress out over the size that is on the tag on the inside of their gown.  They do whatever they can to order a smaller size.  While I get that it’s frustrating to see a bigger number than you’re used to on the tag, it’s just a number.  Order the size that fits you and embrace the shape you have.

2.    Be realistic

If you want to lose weight be realistic about how much you can lose before the wedding.  We’ve had a few brides who have wanted us to order them smaller sizes and then didn’t lose the weight.  Making it extremely difficult to alter their gown and even have to choose another gown mere months before their wedding day.  We know brides have the best intentions, but wedding planning can be stressful.  Be realistic about how much weight you can lose with so much else going on.

Photography by  Michelle A Photography

3.    Embrace the chaos

There are going to be times of chaos.  There are going to be times of overwhelm.  Try to remember that those moments are short lived.  That you will make it through this period of chaos.  

4.    Ask for help

Sometimes as women we’re a bit stubborn and think we can do everything ourselves.  But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help throughout your wedding process.  Most of the time your mom and your friends will be so happy to jump in and help.  So don’t hesitate to ask.

5.    Be kind

I remember wedding planning.  I remember at times feeling like a totally different person. I remember the periods of extreme happiness and the periods of extreme stress.  A good rule of thumb to remember is that kindness goes a long way. Frustrated with a vendor? Overwhelmed with your fiancé?  Try to still treat them with kindness and remember they are just people too.

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6.    Plan early

Brides right now seem to have this feel of changing their mind, especially when it comes to their wedding gown.  So we see them leaving it later and later to try gowns on. This extremely limits their choices in gowns to what fits them off the rack.  Sometimes it works out beautifully and sometimes it’s way too much stress.  A rule of thumb is to shop for your gown about a year in advance.  If you start to doubt your choice, come back in and try your gown on again or think about all the reasons you fell in love with it.

7.    Include your fiancé

This is your wedding day.  But it’s also your fiancé’s.  Try to include him in your wedding planning.  Ask for his opinions and delegate some aspects to him.  Think about what they would like throughout your planning process.

8.    Keep the end goal in mind

It’s easy to get so wrapped in all the little details of their wedding day that sometimes you forget the end goal.  The wedding is a day, but the marriage is forever.  Keep that end goal in mind and let some of the little things slide.

9.    Communicate well

A lot of the problems you will face while wedding planning will be from a lack of communication.  Make sure that you are communicating regularly with your fiancé, your wedding party and your wedding vendors.  Create a closed facebook group for your wedding party members and post all the important details in there.  Invite your parents and your fiancé parents to the group too.  That way you’ll have an information hub and no one will feel like they are missing important information.

Photography by Amanda Kopcic Photography

Photography by Amanda Kopcic Photography

10.  Take time off

Spend some time not wedding planning.  Go on a date night.  Get your nails done with MOH.  Go to a movie.  Take some time to be a couple without focusing just on wedding planning.

11.  Be organized

The more you can get done early the better.  The better organized you are with the details the less stressed out you will be.  Get an app or a binder and keep all your information in one place.  Create a note on your phone and update it with all your RSVP’s.  Whatever little things you can do to stay organized will greatly help especially as you approach the big day.

12.  Enjoy the process

You’ll only be a bride for a short time.  One day you’ll look back on this time and miss it.  So live in the moment and enjoy the process. The things that are stressing you out now will make you laugh in 5, 10, 15 years.  So try to enjoy the wedding planning process.

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What I Wish Every Bride Knew, Part 2

What I Wish Every Bride Knew About… Shopping for Her Gown

By: Erin Bouchard

Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings

Happy Friday!  Have you ever wondered where to begin shopping for your gown?  Have you searched Pinterest and have no clue what style of gown to choose or where to begin?  Are you so excited about being able to Say Yes to YOUR Dress?  Then you’re in the right place! Today, Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings will dive into four things you need to know before shopping for your gown, three things to keep in mind while shopping for your gown and two things you have to know after you say yes to the dress!  READY?!

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Four Things You Need to Know Before You Try Your First Dress On.

One of the most important things you need to know before you start trying gowns on is how much you want to spend on your gown.  Before you can do that you have to know how much wedding gowns cost.  At Once Upon A Time Weddings, our gowns range in price from $799 up to $2299.  The average bride spends about 1200-1500 on her gown at our store.  We chose our gowns based on the quality of them and they have corsets & crinoline built into them.  So before you come to our store discuss with your fiancé and your parents how much you want to spend & who will cover what.

Another thing you need to keep in mind before you book your bridal appointment is to be realistic about pinterest.  I could seriously write a whole blog on this one point! I love pinterest, I really do.  It’s so fun, addicting and I’ve gotten some great ideas off of it.  But the problem is when we pin all these beautiful wedding ideas, gowns & wedding decor that are way out of our price range.  There’s no shame in having a budget and sticking to it.  The problem is when we imagine all these expensive, elaborate details being part of our wedding day and then when we realize we can afford ¼ of it, we’re disappointed.  Same is true of gowns.  I hear brides say I want all over lace, fully beaded with a cathedral train and a sparkly fully beaded belt and I want to spend $500.  Your budget doesn’t match your expectations.  You can’t have all those details in a well -made, easy to alter gown.  You are going to have to sacrifice something to remain at that price point.  There’s no shame in only wanting to spend $500 on your gown or wanting to keep your budget at a certain place, just be realistic about what your budget will get you. 

Another thing to keep in mind before you book your first appointment is to think about the overall theme or feel that you hope to accomplish for your day.  Your dress should incorporate into that feel.  It helps to have your venue booked or at least narrowed down so you can think about your venue while choosing gowns.

Finally before you attend your first bridal appointment you should decide who to bring with you to your appointment.  I get asked this question all the time and it can be a tricky question!  You should bring those people with you who you would want there when you make a decision – your mom, grandma, mother in law, sisters, maid of honour, etc.  But only bring them if you believe they will be supportive and will allow your opinion to matter most.  Now that you’re ready to book your first appointment, here’s what you need to know while shopping for your gown.

Three Things to Keep in Mind While Shopping For Your Gown

Stick to your budget – if you’ve determined a budget or a price point you want to stay in before coming to your bridal appointment then stick to it.  Sometimes brides ask me if they can try on a gown outside their range “for fun”.  This is so difficult because what happens if you fall in love with that gown & you can’t or don’t want to spend the money on it.  You will compare everything else to that gown and it won’t make it easy on you.  So my advice is and always will be only try something outside of your initial price range if you’re willing to go up to that amount.  If the answer is no, skip the gown and stick to what is in the range you want to spend.  It will be easier on both of us!

How will you know it’s the one – what if you don’t cry?  What if your mom doesn’t cry?  Guess what, it will still be okay and it might even still be YOUR gown.  Wedding gown shopping is just like any other shopping or life experience – everyone is going to react differently.  Some brides know right away.  Some take longer.  Some brides cry.  Some brides don’t want to take it off.  Some brides have to picture walking down the aisle and imagine getting married in the gown before they know.  There’s no right way to react and there’s no wrong way.  You want to love your gown & you want to feel amazing when you say yes to the dress, but remember that each & every bride’s experience is their own.

Simply become who you are.  It’s not a coincidence that this is posted in our fitting rooms.  Your bridal appointment and your bridal gown purchase is about who you are.  Not who your mom or maid of honour, or fiancé or best friend from high school wants you to be.  It’s okay to choose a gown that everyone won’t be expecting.  It’s okay to think outside the box.  It’s about becoming who you are meant to be.  While all your entourage’s opinions matter, at the end of the day the opinion that matters most is YOURS!

Two Things You Need to Know After You Say Yes to the Dress

Now you’ve set your budget, found your gown, what’s next?  Now is a great time to choose bridesmaids gowns, book in your tuxedos and meet with your decorator.  Your gown will set the theme for the rest of your day so happy planning!

What if you second guess your decision when you get home?  Sometimes this happens. Sometimes brides freak out or get overwhelmed with their decision.  That’s okay.  Take a deep breath and think about what it was about your gown that made you fall in love.  It’s okay to feel scared or overwhelmed.  Purchasing your gown makes your marriage real.  It’s really going to happen & that’s okay.  Think about falling in love with your fiancé and all the reasons why you said yes when he proposed.  If you still feel overwhelmed, call us or text us and pop back into the store to try your gown on again & remember why you fell in love with it!

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Thanks for joining us this week through this blog post.  We love walking with our brides through their gown shopping experience and would love for you to join our Once Upon A Time Weddings family.  You can book online here, call us at 519.245.7997 or text us 519.319.9441.  Join us next week as we discuss Everything I Wish Brides Knew About Setting {& Sticking to} A Budget.