Bachelorette Planning

It's almost summer time!! Which means it's the perfect time to plan your bachelorette party!  Today on the blog, we've got some tips for planning the ultimate bash!

Make It Personal:

This event is of course for the bride, so make sure to take your time and ask specific questions to clarify the vibe. Reserve a quiet day at the spa? Or fancy dinner out with your girls? It is important to pay close attention to what the bride’s preferences are, even if they don’t necessarily match with your vision and clash with your personal expectations. Some want an all nighter bar experience, but maybe she sees herself doing a casual wine tasting weekend with her best friends in cute outfits.

Try taking this same approach to other elements of the party, like games, food and drink, presents and so on. It is important to make sure it’s tailored to who she is as an individual and what she prefers. Ultimately the bride will love you for taking the time to actually fulfill your bridal party duties and plan something special for her!.


The Sooner The Better:

Start planning early, there is a lot of organization and communication that needs to take place during bachelorette planning. Your best option is to be on top of your game by researching options, and be flexible to feedback. There is no set rules when to throw a bachelorette party, however approximately a month in advance of the wedding is a good timeframe to follow. It’s not so close to the big day which means the bride will be able to have more fun and not be so stressed and busy, but it’s also not so far away that the occasion starts to take a back seat.


Set The Guest List:

You want to keep most of the details a surprise, but a good rule of thumb is to discuss the invite list with the bride-to-be. If there is one thing to remember.. don’t ask anyone who isn’t also invited to the actual wedding. If the bride also has future sister-in-laws, it’s best to just include them even if they aren’t super close.

After the list is all set, aim to get the word out at least two months before the party, this gives people time to clear their schedules or make travel arrangements. You don’t need all the details finalized, but it’s best to know sooner than later if there are any serious conflicts with anyone on the guest list. This would also be the time to mention how much you expect the occasion to cost, per person, this saves anyone feeling resentful later on when they’re paying $200 for dinner and drinks when they hadn’t even really planned on spending half of that.


Set A Budget:

Everyone’s favourite conversation among friends.. money! It can be an awkward conversation but with other bridesmaids in the mix it needs to be discussed. Talk with the other members of the bridal party about how much each of you can realistically afford to spend on the bash, there are usually some negotiations that take place until everyone is on the same page. Knowing now what you can spend later will help with the options on what a kind of party you want to throw.

While we are on the topic of finances, don’t make it about the gifts. Presents are not a pre requisite to gain admittance to this party. There seems to be a misconception that every wedding-related activity has to involve some form of gifts. It is always fun watching your friends open boxes of every type of intimate wear imaginable, but it definitely isn’t a mandatory party of a bachelorette.


From Point A To Point B:

Depending on where you’re going or what you’re doing transportation can be crucial. You may want to consider hiring a limo driver, car service or a party bus. Whatever you decide to invest in, it is essential to have a way to safely transport a large group of girls who, let’s be real, will most likely be drinking over the duration of the night. Don’t leave this last minute either, call around for rates and book your service at least a month in advance.


All in all it is important to also accept help, if the other girls in your party are volunteering their services to pick up decorations, buying food and drinks, setting everything up, you take it! 

Happy Planning!

Present Over Perfection.

Last fall I read a book by Shauna Niequist called, “Present Over Perfect.”  It was the perfect timing because one month before Christmas we received an emergency, same day placement of two babies – a one year old and a two year old.  The concepts of that book quickly sprang to life as I was forced to let go of perfectionism. 

As we near the holidays again I wanted to share some of what I learned from this book, because it’s not only applicable to the holiday season but also to those in the throes of wedding planning.

I get so caught up in perfectionism.

The perfect tree.

The perfectly wrapped presents in matching paper.
The perfect family day.

The perfectly behaved children.


I want it all.  I want the food to taste amazing.  The kids to not fight.  The family to have no drama.


I set these high expectations. 


But what my family needs is for me to present.

To delight in them.

To spend time with them.

To be present.


Why am I seeking perfection when what they need most from me is presence?

So, what if I use the leftover napkins from last year instead of buying new ones.

So, what if I don’t have enough matching silverware and we use mismatched?

Will Christmas continue? Will anyone notice?


Those things don’t matter in the grand scheme of the holidays.


This year I chose present.

I chose to be organized and prepared so that I wasn’t stressed.



I hosted dinner for my entire extended family on Saturday.  And I raise my voice at my children once.  I chose to include them in the preparations, to pace out the day and to enjoy the season.  To look at Christmas through their eyes, remove some of my expectations and delight in being fully present.  To be organized and to let some things slide.


Why am I telling you this?

Because I truly believe it’s a choice.  One that each one of us can choose.

Are we striving for perfection or are we choosing to be present?


This holiday season, choose to be present.  Choose to not care if the floor is a bit dirty or if the kids are a bit cranky.  Choose to spend time with people, not just money on them.


It’s the same with wedding planning.  There are tons of things you can stress out about.

Are the napkins the same exact shade as the bridesmaids’ gowns? 

Will the ring bearer make it down the aisle?

Will everything come together perfectly?


I'm not saying don't enjoy the small things.  I'm not saying don't care about wedding planning.


Just don't let those small things pull you away from what matters most: the people around you.

Let go of some of the desire for perfection and celebrate the start of your new life together.  Write the beginning of that chapter as present instead of perfection.


All About The Bridal Crawl.

We interrupt our regular scheduled blog programming to bring you all the details about our upcoming bridal crawl!  The idea for a bridal crawl was one that I had floating around for a few years before I decided to just do it!  Think pub crawl meets bridal show.

Each participant and her entourage will start the crawl at Once Upon A Time Weddings.  You'll get a passport of the different vendors that are participating.  You'll head around to each of their locations and get them to sign your passport.  Along the way you'll find officiants, photographers, florists, bakeries, hair & makeup and so MUCH more!  You'll get to tour their digs and most will even have special promotions and discounts just for you!

Once your passport is filled out you'll bring it over to Sydenham Ridge Estates just outside of Strathroy. Here you'll find a cash bar, yummy finger foods provided by Clock Tower Inn & Bistro + a DJ getting us in the dancing mood!

Then we'll have an outdoor fashion show.  If it rains {it won't} there's a gorgeous barn that the fashion show will be in.  During the fashion show we'll give out the door prizes to those who have filled out their passport.  The grand prize will be a $1000 wedding package from Once Upon A Time Weddings.

Check out our Facebook event page here and let us know you're coming!  You can also scope out the vendors that have already registered to participate!!

Tickets are just $7 in advance or $10 at the start of the event.  They can be purchased here or by stopping into Once Upon A Time Weddings during business hours.  If you don't have tickets yet email us at and we'll let you in on a special we have today to celebrate that it's ONE MONTH away!

Also if you're interested in modelling for the event, stay tuned to our Facebook event as we'll be posting a model call as soon as we have hair & makeup details nailed down.

Eeek! We're so excited and we hope you are too!!  It's going to be SO. MUCH. FUN!

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!

On Adoption.

Adoption.  It’s all about adoption and yet it’s not.  That sentence rings true for our life.  Today, on the blog I’m going to share a little bit about our journey to adoption and some of the things we have learned along the way.  In honour of National Adoption Month, I thought I would share with you a little bit about our adoption journey.   People often make assumptions surrounding adoption, and I thought I would take this opportunity to clear up some of those assumptions.


My husband Joel and I adopted Ethan and Arianna on December 12th, 2014.  However, our story starts long before that.  Ethan and Arianna moved into our house on May 4th, 2013.  We started the paperwork and process for them to move into our house in September of 2012.  Lesson #1: Nothing moves fast in the world of social workers, adoptions or child welfare.


Ethan and Arianna are my biological second cousin’s children.  Which I guess makes them my third cousins?!  They were removed from their biological family for very good reasons, which is kind of their story to tell.  Lesson #2: Don’t ask a lot of personal questions in front of them.  They are aware their biological family couldn’t take care of and that they are adopted.


We didn’t choose adoption because it was our only option, we chose adoption because it’s something we’re both super passionate about and something we felt compelled to do.  People choose adoption as a way to start their family for many different reasons.  Lesson #3: Don’t assume that all families who adopt do so because it’s their last resort to start a family.


Adoption is messy.  It impacts a lot of areas of our lives, whether we like it or not.  We have to constantly be thinking and talking about it.  And that’s okay.  Our kids do things slightly different or have different emotions because of their history.  Because we don’t have any biological children sometimes it’s hard to know if they are acting the way they are because they are adopted or because they are children.  Sometimes it feels like it’s all about adoption and sometimes it’s not.  That’s okay.  Lesson #4: No adoption is the same.  Just like no children are the same.  Parents of adopted children don’t always need to hear a story about how your friend who adopted and their child turned out horrible.  Just like we don’t tell you that our friends had a vaginal birth child and they turned out horrible.


Photograph by Amanda Kopcic Photography 

Photograph by Amanda Kopcic Photography 

Adoption is beautiful.  I remember the first time I thought of how I would dance with Ethan at his wedding or how I would help Arianna pick out her wedding gown.  I remember the first time it hit me that I was a mother and they were mine.  Maybe parents who birth a child have a similar experience.  Maybe not.  But I remember feeling like a mom for the first time.  Lesson #5: Not everyone feels the same about situations.  That does make one person right or wrong.  It just means we’re all human and all feel things differently. 


Our adoption process was long, exhausting and extremely frustrating.  We just wanted to be a family and be done with the paperwork, visits, ongoing court chaos.  But at the end of the day we’re so glad we stuck it out and that we are now officially a family.  And yes I would do it all over again.  Our system is very broken but it’s the one we have to work with.  Lesson #6: If you want to adopt, be prepared for frustrations, paperwork until you feel like nothing is private and lots of frustrations.  Hang in there!  Joy and beauty are coming, I promise you.  Adoption through Children’s Aid is free unlike international or private adoption.  It’s just a lot of time and energy.


My kids mean the world to me.  I can’t imagine life without them.  I love them whole heartedly.  I am excited to continue watching them grow and watching their personalities develop more and more.  I truly believe they are the resilient and brave people I know.  They have overcome so much in their little lives and parenting them truly is my greatest blessing.

Photograph by Amanda Kopcic Photography 

Photograph by Amanda Kopcic Photography 

A Love that Survives.

You guys, I just had the most adorable encounter today.  A service technician was here to inspect my fire extinguisher {oh the glamourous parts of owning a business}.  He was telling me that he & his wife are celebrating their 30th anniversary this month & he’s taking her to Ireland on Monday.  #relationshipgoals 

This got me thinking about love & marriage.  You guys it’s a lot easier to fall in love than to stay in love.  To fall madly, deeply in love with someone.  So much so, that you decide to spend the rest of your lives together.  Man, that kind of love is exciting.  It leaves you feeling all tingly inside.  But those feelings kind of fade after a bit.  Real love, the kind that lasts thirty years and has you all excited about a trip to Ireland with your wife, it’s a bit different.  It actually takes work.  It means waking up every day dedicated to your relationship.  It means putting someone else first, when what you really want to do it put yourself first.  It means realizing that your spouse’s needs are different than yours.  And then waking up the next day and learning those lessons all over again {we can be a bit of a slow learner sometimes cant we}.  It means choosing to stay faithful to the one you chose.  It’s not all glamourous and Instagram worthy.  It’s real.  It’s messy.  It’s beautiful.

I adore that we get to be part of so many love stories.  That so many magical experiences happen right here at Once Upon A Time Weddings.  But long after that magic feeling starts to fade, I hope you realize that there is a love so much greater.  A relationship so much deeper.  If you’re stuck in a rut or feeling like this isn’t the fairytale you imagined, hang in there.  Do the work.  Love your spouse deeply.  Make a renewed commitment to your relationship.  A true relationship doesn’t just happen, it takes love, patience and forgiveness.

For those of you not yet married and still in the planning, exciting stages.  Soak it in.  Live every moment. But spend time preparing for the marriage and not just the wedding day.

I’ll get off my soapbox now.

XO Erin.