london bridal shops

The Question I Really, Really Dislike.

I was at the dentist a few weeks ago doing a routine cleaning. If you know me at all, you know I am not really a sit still kind of girl. As I was sitting up in that big old chair, I got to thinking about how customers sometimes ask if that’s the best price that I can do on a wedding gown or accessory. This little blog, like blogs often do, has been rolling around in my mind ever since. I seriously dislike the question, “is that the lowest price you can do“. And here is why…

                                        An inside look at one of our beautiful wedding gown.

                                        An inside look at one of our beautiful wedding gown.

Sometimes you get what you pay for.

First of all, Once Upon A Time Weddings is not competing in the lowest price gown category. We carefully select our gowns {from literally thousands & thousands available for us to buy} based on the quality and workmanship of the gown itself. I am of the belief that you get what you pay for and sometimes spending a bit more to get a better quality is necessary. Sure, you can find gowns that are cheaper than ours at other bridal stores, but we want you to purchase a gown that’s well made so it alters easier and is comfortable to wear for an entire day. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you want to take your gown off before dessert has even been served.

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I spend a great deal of time developing my skills & honing my profession.

The second reason that this question bothers me is that I have spent thousands of dollars on my training. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to sell wedding gowns. I attend conferences twice a year and stay on top of industry standards and trends. I belong to a group of talented bridal stores from all across the world that I spent time networking with and learning from. We strive to be the best in our industry - an industry that’s highly competitive and constantly changing. It’s not a job we take lightly or do because it’s so much fun {although it is fun, well most days}. It’s not a hobby or an after school activity. As I sat in my chair I thought of what would happen if I got to the counter at the dentist office and asked, “is this the best price you can give me?”. I wouldn’t dream of it, because I respect the dentist, the schooling he has and the work he does. But then, why do wedding professionals get asked that question all the time? Why is it okay in one industry, but no one would dream of asking it in another?

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I take it personally.

If I’m being completely honest, the third reason I hate the question is because I take it personally. My entire life is wrapped into this bridal store. I spend insane amounts of time working, developing, planning, strategizing and so much more for this store. Often when I get asked this question it’s after I have spent a good amount of time working with my bride. I feel like I have taken the time to get to know her and that I’ve connected with her. When the dreaded question comes up, I feel as though the amount of work I’ve spent both before she’s ever arrived to my store and during the appointment have in some way not been good enough. Or that maybe they don’t value my expertise.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m female, which means I’m all for getting a deal. The rush of getting something on sale. I’ve been known to purchase something simply because it was on sale. I tell my husband all the time, that I’m determined to be successful because I love pretty things. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get a good deal or save some money. It’s why if you have come to a bridal appointment at Once Upon A Time Weddings, you know we don’t like to put you in a gown above your budget without your expressed permission. It’s just that the question of, “what’s the best price you can give me on this gown” tends to be a bit insulting.

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If you still dare to ask it, you’ll most likely be greeted with a warm smile and the response, the best price I can give you is the one that’s on the price tag. Because to be honest, I don’t run this business to be a millionaire. We take time to strategically price our goods to offer both good value to our customers and to make a living to us. This is our livelihood. It’s what we do to feed our family and make sure they have what they need. So, if you would be offended by your boss strolling into your office and asking what’s the lowest you’ll accept on your next paycheque, then please think twice before asking that dreaded question.

 

The Myth of The $99 Wedding Gown

The Myth of the $99 Gown

Being engaged is such an exciting time!  However, if you are like many brides, you may have discovered that things are much more expensive than you imagined they would be, particularly when it comes to a wedding dress.  Many brides today come into bridal salons saying they have budgeted two or three hundred dollars for a wedding gown on the low end and maybe up to five or six hundred on the high end.  They are shocked to find the nearly impossible task of finding a well-made dress in this price range.

Many brides who have insisted on finding a gown within the $99 to $500 price range have found quickly that not all gowns are created equal.  These brides who are set on a low end price often end up spending more money on alterations than they did on the price of their dress because it’s so inexpensively made. 

In fact most gowns that are sold for less than $600 that you see heavily advertised and promoted by the big box retailers are made from synthetic fabric that have minimal construction details and are made this way by the store’s request to their manufacturer to cut costs.  These dresses usually don’t have underlining, have minimal boning (if any at all) and are missing other structural supports to help the dress fit properly.  These supports are extremely important as both boning and underlining fabrics help to hold the bodice of a dress up and securely in place.  They also help provide a smooth fit over the bodice of the dress.  If a dress doesn’t have boning or good lining, you will see more wrinkles and crinkling of the fabric in a wedding gown.  The last thing a bride wants to see in her wedding dress is bulges in the fabric of her gown due to minimal boning and lack of inner construction.

If you have been feeling stressed by the cost of your wedding and in particular by the dollars you’ve budgeted for your wedding gown, this special report I’ve written is just for you.  I’d hate for you to make a mistake with such an important purchase that will be one of the focal points of your big day (especially since everyone will see you in it and will comment on how you look).

As the owner of a bridal store I have written a special report that explains how myths like the $99 to $399 wedding gown have appeared and why wedding dresses cost what they do.  I’ll also share with you several insights into how wedding gowns are constructed so you can be sure you are getting the best value for your money.  Most importantly I have a coupon that I will share with you as a thank you for reading this article that you’ll be able to save on the purchase price of your wedding gown when you buy it on your first visit to our store.

If you'd like the special report to be emailed to you, simply fill out the form below & click submit. 

Name *
Name

The List & Grad Gowns...

We changed up our store windows.  We wanted our customers to know that all in stock grad gowns are greatly reduced!  Help us clear them out.  Gowns marked down to $99-139!

   We also wanted to create a fun bridal wedding as we know a lot of brides are just recently engaged & I'm sure are busy making lists of things they need to do as they wedding plan!  Check it out.

 

We also wanted to create a fun bridal wedding as we know a lot of brides are just recently engaged & I'm sure are busy making lists of things they need to do as they wedding plan!  Check it out.

   A special thanks to Wendy Hord of Soul Photography for these pictures!  www.soulphotography.ca

 

A special thanks to Wendy Hord of Soul Photography for these pictures! www.soulphotography.ca

Why Hiring Professionals for Your Big Day is Crucial.

I love the wedding industry.  I love connecting with other people who work in the wedding field and chatting about brides and weddings.  Today, I had the opportunity to talk with Amanda Kopcic of Amanda Kopcic Photography, who I believe is one of Strathroy’s hidden gems.  She is knowledgeable, personable, relatable and a heck of a good photographer.

She was discussing with me the frustration she feels when brides & grooms just don’t understand why you need to hire a wedding photographer.  This then, of course led to a discussion on why couples just don’t understand the difference between hiring a professional and having a relative be involved in their big day.

The struggling economy has taught us this – we should be more aware and careful how we spend our good, hard earned dollars.  This is an undoubtedly a great lesson for us.

This begs the question, how can you as a bride & groom be aware of your spending and still have an amazing wedding day?  How can you politely tell great Aunt Sue that as yummy as her cupcakes are, you’ll hire a professional to make your wedding cake?  Or what about that good friend who likes to tinker with photography, how can you politely turn down her offer to shoot your wedding?

Bah, being a grown up sucks some days, don’t it?!

There are tons of ways to cut expenses while still planning a beautiful day.  There are literally thousands of good DIY’s on pinterest.  I love this trend.  I love seeing brides own personal influence on their wedding day.  I get that you have a budget and you really want to stick to it.  I totally do.

But, {you so knew there was a “but” coming, didn’t you}, there are some areas of wedding planning you just shouldn’t cheap out on.  Or try and do yourself.

  1. Wedding photography – ok, this one should be fairly obvious, but it amazes me to hear people say things like; well your aunt is great with her camera.  Or we could just ask a few friends to take some pictures.  YOUR PICTURES ARE THE ONLY THING YOU KEEP FROM YOUR WEDDING DAY!  The décor is gone, the favours go home with guests, the flowers wilt away, but your pictures are the only thing you have to look back on.  A good wedding photographer will give you the shots that will last your lifetime.  She’ll also keep you on schedule and make sure that no shots get forgotten.  Allow your family & your friends to enjoy themselves at your wedding and hire a professional.  Someone who specializes in wedding photography and comes highly recommended by other brides.  Someone who is trained, qualified and knows the pressure of shooting a wedding.  Do your research and don’t skimp out on this one.

  2. The food – your guests will remember the food at your wedding.  You’ve spent all this money on your big day, feed everyone well.  While it might be cheaper to try and do some of the food yourself, it’s going to be a lot more stressful.  So enjoy your wedding day and let your family do the same, by hiring someone who has the right equipment, knows all about timing of food preparation, presentation and who has catered weddings before.  If you’re choosing a venue that has in house catering, make sure you go for a sample meal before booking the venue.

  3. The cake – along the same lines of the food, remember to hire a professional to do your cake.  A good baker knows how to make a cake look pretty but also how to make sure that the tiers are properly supported and will last until you cut it.  Imagine having your cake fall to the ground during your reception {don’t laugh, this has happened to someone we know}.

  4. The dress – of course I couldn’t write a blog like this without talking about the DRESS! Remember how important those pictures are?  What you are wearing in those pictures is equally important.  Not all dresses are created equally.  Make sure you pay attention to the inside of the gown, as well as the outside.  The more boning and inner structure there is, the more secure and comfortable your gown will be.  I had a friend who purchased their gown from a chain store {before they knew me or knew my store existed}.  The gown was made so poorly and with so little boning, one of the few pieces of boning on the inside bust snapped before she walked down the aisle.  She literally had to hold her gown up all day with her arm.  Do you think she looks back and is glad she saved $300-400 on her gown?  Her whole day was spent trying to keep her gown from falling off.  There are ways to get a great gown, at a great price, but sacrificing on quality shouldn’t be one of them.  The inside matters.

Learn the four factors that influence the cost of your gown at your appointment or by emailing  info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca  with the subject line Four Factors.

Learn the four factors that influence the cost of your gown at your appointment or by emailing info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca with the subject line Four Factors.

This is all great information, but what happens when someone who you love volunteers to do one of these for you so you can save some money?  It might be hard to just straight out say no.  After all, they probably mean well and you don’t want to hurt their feelings.  So, try to find some way they can help out or be involved in the wedding planning process without having to just say no.  If an aunt volunteers to make your cake, ask her to make cupcakes for your shower or for your rehearsal dinner instead.  Or ask her if she’s ever made a supported wedding cake before.  It’s different if your relative is a professional in their field and has been doing weddings for many years.  Try to think about whether they run a business or do it as a hobby.  For your wedding day, the most important day of your life, you want to hire people who are in the business of weddings.  Individuals you know the pressure of being involved in a wedding, yet still succeed.

I think this is such an important topic; I would love to spend the next couples of blogs discussing ways to cut back for your wedding.  Stay tuned for more to come.  Follow our blog so you don’t miss anything!  If you have topics you’d like me to discuss or you have an idea of how to budget for your wedding, please email me at info@onceuponatimeweddings.  I’d love to hear from you!

Be Beautiful!


Erin Bouchard

Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings

4 Years Old, Holy Smokies..

It's been an incredible four year journey at Once Upon A Time Weddings.  During the month of September get up to 40% off your wedding dress.  Also receive 10% off any online order for bridal accessories.  Once Upon A Time Weddings is excited to announce we offer wedding planning services as well!

1/2 Off Wedding Gown Facebook Contest!

In Once Upon A Time Weddings tradition, we'll be hosting another Facebook Contest giving one lucky bride any wedding gown of her choice from our store selection for half price.  

Photo by Amanda Kopcic Photography -  www.amandakopcic.com

Photo by Amanda Kopcic Photography - www.amandakopcic.com

If you would like an opportunity to be part of this facebook contest and would like the chance to win 1/2 off your wedding gown then please email info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca with the following information

* name

* fiancé's name

* wedding date and location

* picture of you & your fiance

* a story of how the proposal happened

Full contest rules will be emailed to you once we've received all submissions.  For more information please email us or call at 519.245.7997. 

 

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