real bride

Advice From Past Bride | Mikaela Vandenberk

Mikaela + Luke
Wedding Date: September 2, 2017

What is the biggest piece of advice you would give a newly engaged bride-to-be? Please explain:)

Relax and enjoy the process. The engagement high only lasts for so long, so when it's there enjoy it. Enjoy being engaged, because it's fun to go around showing off that new bling(lets me honest). Don't stress wedding planning, it doesn't need to be stressful, it honestly should be fun and exciting. I truly believe people put way to much pressure on wedding planning. When I got engaged I got the big decisions done ASAP (venue, photographer, etc), then let the little details go until the 3 or so months before. I didn't want the entire year or so to be wedding this wedding that. I didn't want to feel overwhelmed and I wanted to enjoy being engaged not feeling stressed the entire time.

What is the best advice you would give for a bride-to-be who is searching for her dream dress?

First - Go to Once Upon a Time Weddings their amazing to work with and you feel so special. Secondly, have your ideas but don't be limited. I went in with 2 full sheets of paper of my inspiration from Pinterest and ended up getting a dress that was completely out of my comfort zone. I am really happy about it thought because it was unexpected which I wanted.

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What is the best advice you were given as a bride-to-be?

Stop worrying about all the materialistic things. The most important thing is the commitment that you are making with your partner and that should always remain number one.

What is something you regret when wedding planning?

I only had a couple things that I regret not doing or thought people may have thought it was lame. My main advice is do the wedding of YOUR dreams nobody else.

What is one thing you're glad you did when you were planning your wedding/engaged?

Included my husband as much as he may have not been to interested. Remember its your wedding together not just you. I hate when people say its the brides day, no its both of yours. I wanted my husband included in everything even if he just wanted me to be happy with the decision. Some decisions are fairly big and should be a couple decision.

Is there anything else you'd want to tell a future bride?

Have fun, enjoy the journey and don't lose site of the main event and thats the marriage the commitment to be long life partners.

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Thanks Mikaela for sharing your advice for all those who haven’t walked down the aisle just yet. If you’re still looking for the perfect gown, follow Mikaela’s advice and come to Once Upon A Time Weddings. Book your appointment today!

Blog | Advice From A Real Bride.

Happy Friday! It's hard to believe we're in May already.  The weather is finally nice and it's making us dream of summer, campfires, walks on the beach + of course, summer weddings!

Today on the blog, we're sharing some Real Bride advice.  This month we're featuring Alexa Wallace who tied the knot on May 27, 2017.  Happy almost Anniversary!  I still remember doing her bridal appointment.  She came in thinking she'd end up in a fitted gown & left with the most beautiful ball gown.  Let's dive into her bridal advice.

What is the biggest piece of advice you would give a newly engaged bride-to-be? Please explain:)

Enjoy the process! You only get one engagement, one time to call each other fiance/fiancee, one time to plan this whole thing! Have fun with it, and remember above all else you're planning a moment where you're closest friends and family witness you two commit yourselves to each other. The party for us, while immensely important as I LOVE to plan parties, was always secondary. Not that we skimped, we made it as fabulous as we wanted it to, but we made sure that our ceremony, that moment where we become husband and wife in front of our loved ones, was the highlight and the most important aspect of the day and planning since we saw it as Day 1 of the rest of our lives together.

What is the best advice you would give for a bride-to-be who is searching for her dream dress?

I think don't go in to it with expectations, as hard as that is because for a lot of us we've had this idea in our heads of how it'll look or how we'll feel for so so long. So do your best to breathe, wash away those mental images, and just be very present in the moment and true to yourself and how you feel. My dress was no kidding the absolute complete opposite of what I pictured myself in, but as soon as I stepped in to it, I saw in my head myself walking in our venue and seeing my husband waiting for me and it all felt very right. And believe in the words you tell Erin and the girls to help them help you find the right one!
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What is the best advice you were given as a bride-to-be?

I'm not sure if any one thing sticks out to me, but probably similar to what I mentioned earlier, to just relax and enjoy the process, it'll all fall in to place and really, you're just planning a big party! I think focusing on the real meaning of the day, marrying your best friend and committing your lives to each other, and staying true to what feels right and represents the two of you and your relationship, will help you stay calm and at ease in the planning.

What is something you regret when wedding planning?

I really wish we had hired a videographer or even asked a family friend to video the ceremony at the very least, it was so special to us. I remember how I felt saying the vows, and I'll always know what we said as I have it written down from our rehearsal, but I think to see it all over again and be able to re-live it is something we would have really cherished having. It all happens so fast, a beautiful blur of a day!

What is one thing you're glad you did when you were planning your wedding/engaged?

Since we bought our house halfway through our engagement before our wedding, we had a lot of time, energy and finances that were being dedicated to renovations! So we would spend a couple weeks tackling some wedding items, then put it on the back burner for a couple months. That back and forth helped it from being all consuming, kept us on track to really hammer out details and stay focused to what we wanted for the big day, and it kept us relaxed and enjoying our time together as an engaged couple and not just a couple planning a wedding.
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Is there anything else you'd want to tell a future bride?

Stay true to what you and your partner want out of your big day and what truly represents you as a couple! At the end of it all, you gain a spouse and partner for life, so make sure to focus on that first and foremost and let the party planning be a fun aspect of the whole process! Place subtle details and memorable touches here and there, but don't stress if something gets forgotten or missed, by the time the food and drink get flowing all that matters is you're enjoying this moment surrounded by the ones you both love and who love you! Cheers lovely!

We love, love, love our brides here at OUTW and we have the best brides in the whole world!! We hope you enjoyed reading through Alexa's best wedding advice. She has some wise words as you prepare for your own walk down the aisle.

Book your experience here too say yes to your dream dress.

Photography: Mariangelica Photography

Real Bride | Kelsey's Say Yes Story!

Today, as part of our Real Bride feature, we get to tell the story of how Kelsey said Yes to the Dress at OUTW.  She came to the store on February 21, 2017, just under a year away from her wedding day.  It was the second gown she put on.  She tried on several more at OUTW before saying yes to make sure she felt confident in her decision, but nothing quite compared to the one she loved!  She made a beautiful choice & was such a beautiful bride.  Here's her story.

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Did you try on dresses before coming to OUTW?

No. OUTW was my first and last store!

Were you expecting to purchase your dress when you came in for your appointment?

I was ready to buy, but also prepared not to get down on the experience if I didn't find my perfect dress.
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Who was with you at your appointment?

My mom, one of my maids of honour, Aziza, and best friend/photographer Michelle

Did anyone have extra influence on helping you say yes to the dress?

It wasn't necessarily an extra influence, but it really helped having Michelle there to talk about how the dress would photograph!
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This next question is one of our favourites.  We love asking our brides this because it's a great reminder that no brides are going to have the exact same Say Yes Story.  Every bride's is different and we love embracing that uniqueness at OUTW!

Was the dress you bought similar to what you came in thinking you wanted?

Not even close! I came in with the idea of an ivory long sleeve, fitted lace gown and left with a strapless blush ballgown!

Kelsey's maids purchased their gowns from OUTW as well.  This is what she says about that second experience back in the store.

It was just as great as the first! Sharon was able to have me wear the stock gown of my dress to see how they would all look together which really helped us see the big picture.

Shout out to wedding planner, extraordinaire, Amy of Unmistakably You, pictured here doing her thing with Kelsey!

Shout out to wedding planner, extraordinaire, Amy of Unmistakably You, pictured here doing her thing with Kelsey!

How was your experience at Once Upon A Time Weddings?

It is so hard to put it into words! I have never experienced anything like it before. Sharon was our consultant and she felt like someone we had known forever by the time we left. She put up with my indecisiveness and gave some great suggestions. It was so easy to trust her! When I was unsure about the gown I ended up purchasing, she talked me through how I was feeling and reassured me when I was nervous. It would have been impossible without her help.
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We've loved walking through Kelsey's Say Yes Story today on the blog.  Join us next Wednesday as we walk through Kelsey + Greg's wedding day.

If you need to write your Say Yes Story, click here to book your bridal appointment.

If you're an OUTW bride + you're already married and would like to be featured on our blog, email us today at info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca.

All pictures the work of amazing Michelle A Photography.

Real Bride | Kelsey + Greg Engaged!

It's hard to believe it's April!  But with a new month, comes a new Real Bride.  This month we'll be journeying with Kelsey + Greg who got married in February 2018.  Today on the blog, they're sharing their engagement story.

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How did the two of you meet?

We met working together at Future Shop. Greg was in the department next to mine, right across the aisle.

How'd you know your fiancé was the one?

There was one night when I was at work after having a rough week that he sent me a picture of the sunset, something I always watch out our window. He said something along the lines of "I know you would be so excited if you saw this, I didn't want you to miss it." It was after he did that I knew I wanted to spend forever with him.
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How did your fiancé propose? (from the brides point of view)

He was taking me to Toronto after the Christmas holidays, as I had moved away for school. I knew something was up because he said there was something he HAD to do that morning. Turns out he was telling my parents his plan! We pulled off the highway in Milton and went for a hike to a frozen waterfall. He waited till we were alone and asked me to marry him.
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How did you propose? (from the grooms point of view)

We were driving her back to school and we stopped at a conservation area. We hiked to a frozen waterfall and I proposed.
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Join us next week as Kelsey shares her Say Yes Story.  She'll share the details of how she found her gown at Once Upon A Time Weddings. 

Photographs by Michelle A Photography.

Don't have your gown yet?  Book now to have OUTW help you write your Say Yes Story.

Blog | Advice from A Past Bride

Who better to help you plan your big day than someone whose just recently been there?  Today on the blog, we're sharing some of the best advice from real brides who have already walked down the aisle.  We hope it inspires + encourages you as you plan your own walk.

Today, we're featuring Allison Hamacher's {Martin} best advice from her wedding on August 12th, 2017.  Allison holds a dear place in our hearts at OUTW as she has long been a supporter of our store.  She has shared our store with many friends & family.  We absolutely loved every second of working both with her for her gown + her maids for their dresses.

What is the biggest piece of advice you would give a newly engaged bride-to-be? 

Give yourself time! There is no rush this way you can save more & are less stressed. Book the big things first such as venue, caterer, photographer, DJ, hair & makeup as they book up quickly & way in advance! I had a hard time finding hair & makeup because I left it too long. Vista print will be your best friend & delicate! Don’t be afraid to ask that lovely bridal party for help as that’s what they are there for & many may have hidden special talents that end up saving you money. Try to DIY as much as you can, wedding day of coordinator & videographer well worth the money. Lastly don’t cheap out on photography!

What is the best advice you were given as a bride-to-be?

Make it your day, do what you want. Who cares what everyone else thinks, you can’t please everyone.
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What is one thing you're glad you did when you were planning your wedding/engaged?

We did a couple of wedding party get togethers such as a BBQ, night out etc which was a nice, fun & laid back way for everyone to get to know each & become more comfortable around each other before the big day. Takes away some of the awkwardness/tenision day off.

We love this idea.  And we want to know, did anyone else do this?  So genius!

What is something you regret when wedding planning?

To be honest I don’t know if I regret anything? The day was more than I could have imagined. Maybe just all the arguments/disagreements along the way with the fiancé, family members, wedding party, vendors etc.
Not really wedding related but we did a Buck & Doe with Games, I wouldn’t do the games because they weren’t popular & didn’t bring in money.
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What is the best advice you would give for a bride-to-be who is searching for her dream dress?

Go to Once Upon A Time Weddings!😁 haha No they aren’t paying me to say that, that’s just how much I loved my experience & my dress! Once Upon A Time is amazing! Staff are so friendly, knowledgeable & not pushy like the big chain stores. I went to a couple stores before going to Once Upon A Time Weddings as I had my eye on a dress there from their Facebook page but wanted to make sure it was truly the one. I had not so great experiences at the other stores & no dresses stood out to me, they didn’t have that “this is my dress feeling” I then went to OUATW instantly feeling more at ease walking through the door because of the small town, small business atmosphere. I said yes to my dream dress that afternoon!

Allison, you are the sweetest! We appreciate your high compliment.  While we know not everyone instantly has that feeling when they slip their gown on, we're so happy that you did. We feel so honoured to have helped you write your Say Yes Story.

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Is there anything else you'd want to tell a future bride?

Wedding shows & Expos help so much to get information to get started but don’t just book someone, do your research, shop around.
Pinterest is wonderful but it gives you unrealistic expectations.
Make sure to include little bits of you into the wedding, things to make it unique to you & your husband to be. Don’t stress the small stuff, it probably won’t matter in the end or you will be the only one who knows it didn’t go as planned. No point stressing on things you can’t control, everything ends up working out.
Be prepared for things to go wrong because they will (ex. Our timeline got all thrown off because things took longer then expected, I forgot to get corkscrews for the wine as I thought the venue would have & they did not)
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Some great advice in there for those brides still in the planning stages.  At OUTW we love our brides & love seeing their pictures from their wedding day.  If you have recently been married in an OUTW gown, tag us in your pictures or email them to info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca

If you're still planning your wedding + looking for your gown, then it's time to join the OUTW bride tribe.  Book your appointment today and let us help write your Say Yes Story.

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March Real Bride | Heather's Dress

We love all of our brides at OUTW!  Heather heads a special place in our hearts as we have known her for several years & been able to watch her grow up and mature in the beautiful woman she is today.

So we were so excited when she came to OUTW to find her gown.  She came in hoping to find a beautiful experience, unsure if she would purchase that day and she left with a beautiful gown + an equally beautiful grin!  Let's journey together through her appointment where Heather said YES to the Dress!!

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Were you expecting to purchase your dress when you came in for your appointment?

It was the first day trying on dresses, I was not expecting to buy my dress that day
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About how many dresses did you try on before you found 'The One'?

Around 10 dresses. My dress was the last one I tried on

Who was with you at your appointment?

My mom and 2 sisters

Did anyone have extra influence on helping you say yes to the dress?

My mom, sisters and Sharon. Sharon convinced me to try on the dress that became my dress.
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Was the dress you bought similar to what you came in thinking you wanted?

Nothing at all like I had in mind, this dress totally exceeded my vision!

Did you try on dresses before coming to OUTW?

Yes I did.
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How was your experience at Once Upon A Time Weddings?

It was perfect! Sharon made me feel welcome, wanted to know all about Jamie, how long we had been together, how he proposed, when our wedding was, what I was looking for in a dress. She sat down with me and asked to see pictures of what I was thinking, she asked my mom and sisters what they wanted to see me in. I had it in my mind I did not want a ball gown because it was too much dress. Sharon brought me a few options and let me pick what to try on. She convinced me to try on the ball gown which I was avoiding. It was the last dress I tried on, she said that I could custom my dress and take away some of the skirt and change the top. I really wanted lace on the top of my dress, Sharon showed me some options of different options. I picked out the one I wanted and then the skirt. I ended up going with the ball gown. I loved it without all the skirt! I was the last one to realize that it was my dress. My mom was the first one as she got teary, then my sisters, then me. I loved my dress and going to Once Upon a Time Weddings. It was the third store I went too and I was super nervous I had a feeling that my dress would be there and that I would find my dress.

Is there anything else you want to tell us about your story to finding the dress?

I would recommend Once Upon a Time Weddings to anyone looking for a wedding dress, bridesmaid dress or even a mother of the bride/groom dress. It was such a great experience, and made me feel special. I was hoping for the experience I had seen on TV and it was so much better! Thank you for helping me find my dress it was beautiful!
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Heather, it was such a pleasure creating your Say Yes Story here at OUTW and we hope you loved reliving it through our blog.  You wish you & Jamie many, many years of health, happiness & love.  Thank you for choosing OUTW for your wedding gown.

Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings

Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings

All photographs of Heather & Jamie's beautiful day were captured by Latte Productions

June Real Bride | Kayla's Dress

Naturally, as a wedding gown store, this is our favourite segment for our monthly Real Bride series and we are so excited to share Kayla's bridal store experience with you today! Kayla said yes to the dress on April 16,  2016 and tied the knot with Eric on December 31st of the same year. We absolutely adore the lace wedding gown she chose and thought it paired so perfectly for her New Years Eve wedding and venue.

About how many dresses did you try on before you found 'The One'? 

"5."

Were you expecting to purchase your dress when you came in for your appointment?

"I was ready to buy, but also prepared not to get down on the experience if I didn't find my perfect dress."

Who was with you at your appointment?

"Grandma, mom, mother-in-law and sister. :)"

Did anyone have extra influence on helping you say yes to the dress?

"Not in particular no - I knew what I was looking for."

Was the dress you bought similar to what you came in thinking you wanted?

"A few similarities."

How was your experience at Once Upon A Time Weddings?

"It was great, Sharon was awesome and worked with me to find the best dress to fit my vision!"

Is there anything else you want to tell us about your story to finding the dress?

"I actually really loved the ballgown - I didn't think I would but surprisingly loved it! I ended up going with a more fitted figure which I love but the ballgown got me all teary eyed and excited!"

Join us next Wednesday to hear all out Eric and Kayla's wedding!

Are you still searching for your perfect bridal gown? Book your experience with us today!

Photography: Have Heart Photography