say yes to the dress

Everything You Always Wanted to Know {About A Gown Shopping Experience at OUTW}



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. But you can also text us or call us.  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. Within this email you’ll find a link to begin our find-your-style process. 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 your 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.


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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 made a decision?  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 back 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 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.

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Who or how many people should 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 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!

Filmed and produced by Amanda Kopcic Photography & Videography http://www.amandakopcic.com http://www.facebook.com/amandakopcicphotography

December Real Bride | Brianne's Dress

Brianne said yes to the dress on October 4th of 2015. Once Upon A Time Weddings was her first dress shopping experience but she didn't buy until her second visit,  We love getting to share that every wedding gown shopping experience is unique but just as perfect. We hope you enjoy reading all about Brianne's experience today!

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Did you try on dresses before coming to OUTW?

"No."

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

"I tried on 5 dresses at OUTW the first time I visited and then tried on 5 at Davids Bridal before returning to OUTW and trying on the one!"

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

"Yes, I was determined to find my dress!"
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Who was with you at your appointment?

"My mom - my sister and my best friend."

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

"Yes! Sharon was absolutely amazing to work with!"

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!"
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How was your experience at Once Upon A Time Weddings?

"The first time I went to OUTW I had absolutely no idea what I wanted - poor Sharon started asking me questions and I had no answers except White/Ivory - I wanted nothing to do with crazy colors - My first visit we focused on trying on different silhouttes and narrowing down the options - My mom fell in love with a Lace A-Line dress and Erin even called the designer to ask if it could come in covered in sparkles and they agreed - but I wasn't sold and despite my moms pestering I left empty handed. A few weeks later we went to Davids Bridal and I tried on a few dresses and really liked a fit and flare ivory dress with beading and bling covering the whole thing (it was very heavy on the hanger) - we called OUTW and said we'd love to come back before I decided on a dress and we went in the same day. I showed Sharon the dress I had liked and she started pulling a Blush Lace Dress off a maniquin (my sister and I were giving each other the 'she has no idea what shes doing' look) and the second I was in the dress I couldnt stop smiling and I didnt want to take it off - my loved ones knew then that it was the one! I also went back in a few other times to discuss accessories (jewellery and veil) with Erin and even fell in love with a belt I added to the dress."

Join us next week to hear all about Brianne and Ambrose's wedding day!

If you're still searching for your dream dress, book your experience with us today! We can't wait to create a magical experience for you.

Photographer: Creative Inspirations Photography

August Real Bride | Alexa's Dress

Alexa said yes to the dress on January 30th, 2016 for her May of 2017 wedding {which just so happens to be Erin's birthday}. We loved having her in our store, not just once, but twice because she brought her girls back to find their bridesmaid dresses here too! We hope you enjoy reading all about her experience and the wonderful advice she gives to future brides at the end is something you don't want to miss!

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

"Only one, my dress was the second one I tried! But I did try on about 4-6 more after my dress."

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?

"My Mom, my Aunt Dana and my Matron of Honour Michele."

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

"Michele, my MOH definitely helped me settle on my decision! My Mom wasn't on board right away because my dress was so different from what she, or myself, pictured me in!"

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

"I had honestly always pictured myself in a trumpet or mermaid, because I'm so petite I didn't think I could ever wear a ball gown for fear it would just swallow my frame. I had literally so many photos of trumpet and mermaid gowns and only one ball gown, with pockets no less, and that's what I ended up getting!"

How was your experience at Once Upon A Time Weddings?

"It was so lovely, Erin was so attentive and never rushed us and it was very personal. She listened to what I was envisioning for my day, and I was really open to trying colour and a lot of options so it was a really fun experience shopping! I got the veil and my belt and the whole look there too, they are just amazing there!"

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

"I would say just be open and try on different styles and colours, but trust in your gut, even if it isn't what you yourself pictured! As soon as I tried on my dress, I looked down at myself in it and knew, I hadn't even seen myself in a mirror yet! And while I had wanted to get my dress that day, I tried not to get my hopes or expectations up in case I didn't like anything. Just trust in the experience and enjoy it, it only happens once!!!"

Join us next week to see the bridesmaids dresses Alexa and her girls picked from Once Upon A Time Weddings to compliment her gown and see how the whole wedding day came together!

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

Photography: Mariangelica Photography

July Real Bride | Lori's Dress

Lori's wedding gown shopping experience was nothing short of unique, down to earth, and fun! She came to us 2 months before finding her dress, walked in never trying on dresses and walked out with her wedding gown. We love these stories! She wasn't afraid to say yes, not because she was pressed for time, but because she fell in love.

Did you try on dresses before coming to OUTW?

"No."

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

"Just 1 other."

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

"No, it was my first time trying on dresses!"

Who was with you at your appointment?

"My daughter, Nicole McCullough."

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! Staff were extremely helpful!"

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

"It was such an easy day! I walked in with a t-shirt on and walked out with my dress!"

Are you wanting to have a unique, one of a kind wedding dress shopping experience then book your appointment with us today because we can't wait to help you make your dreams come true!

Like us on Facebook and Instagram for store updates and fun giveaways!

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

May Real Bride | Jordan's Dress

This week's Real Bride post is all about Jordan's journey to saying yes to the dress! She came into Once Upon A Time Weddings on January 30th, found her dream dress, and got married on November 26th of the same year. Here is what she had to say about her bridal gown shopping experience...

Did you try on dresses before coming to OUTW?

"Yes."

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

"Too many to remember!"

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

"I had lost hope of finding a dress that day, my earlier appointment at another shop failed to give me any hope. Being pregnant was starting to show and I knew it wouldn't be long before trying on dresses became unrealistic."

Who was with you at your appointment?

"My mother, aunt, sister, sister in law and two of my very best friends."

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!"

How was your experience at Once Upon A Time Weddings?

"Amazing! Sharon was so helpful and sat with us prior to pulling some dresses. She really listened to what I wanted and envisioned. It was an amazing experience!"

What did your (now) husband think of your dress?

"He loved that it was backless and expected me to wear something similar to what I picked! He knows me so well!"

All photographs by C & T Photography.

Join us next week, for a post all about Jordan and Daniel's wedding day!

If you are feeling hopeless about finding your dream dress, don't settle! Book your appointment at Once Upon A Time Weddings for a true bridal experience!

Ramblings of A Bridal Store Owner.

This week has been a busy week at the store. But I feel like that’s true for every week.  We welcomed several brides into the Once Upon A Time Weddings #bridetribe this month already!

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is just over five weeks away.  Amber decorated the store for the holidays this week and it looks so festive and cheery.  It’s been such a mild fall that it’s hard to believe that Christmas is so close.

I love owning a bridal store.  I know I’ve said that before.  But I want to talk to you about having a bridal experience.  We work really hard to give brides an unforgettable experience.  From the atmosphere of our store, to the expertise of the staff, to our exclusive wedding gowns.  It’s all part of your gown finding experience.

But lately we’ve had brides into the store who are big fans of Say Yes to The Dress.  While I think that show is entertaining there are a couple three things to keep in mind when shopping for your gown.

1.     Most brides don’t have an instant knowing that this is THE ONE.  It usually is a gradual feeling.  They like the gown, they can picture getting married in it.  The longer they are in the gown, the more in love they fall with the gown.

2.     Not every mom cries.  I’ve had a few brides get upset when their mom isn’t in tears.  But honestly every one responds differently to emotional situations.  It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love it or that she doesn’t want you to purchase it.

3.     You don’t have to bring a large entourage to make it an experience.  Bring those who you absolutely must have present to make a decision.  You can do a bridal reveal party after the decision has been made and the pressure is off.  We really want your opinion to shine through loudest at the end of the appointment.  Sometimes that’s difficult with a large entourage.

We are gearing up for our Christmas Soiree event on December 1st from 7-9PM.  This event will be an evening of champagne, food, free swag and hanging out.  It’s our way of saying thanks for another great year in business.  We’d love for you to join us, even if you haven’t purchased your gown from our store.   We also have several other wedding vendors who will be participating with us.  You must RSVP to come but it’s completely FREE to attend.  Email us at info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca or calling the store at 519.245.7997.

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We also have our Santa is Coming to Once Upon A Time Weddings promotion.  We are giving one bride a FREE gown!! Purchase your gown between now and the end of December and you’ll be entered the draw.  One lucky bride will receive a FULL refund {minus the sales tax}.  See in store for full details.