June Real Bride | Eric & Kayla

June is here, the sun is shining, and we can't wait to see all of our summer brides in their low back wedding gowns, their lace wedding gowns, and all their unique alterations in some fun outdoor venues.

With a new month brings a new Once Upon A Time Weddings Real Bride feature! We are so excited to share Kayla and Eric Knieriem's story with you.

Eric & Kayla's engagement pictures from Port Stanley. 

Eric & Kayla's engagement pictures from Port Stanley. 

How did the two of you meet?

"One of my best friends helped me get my first job at the Burger King in strathroy. Eric is a little older than me so when I started he was a team leader and so was in charge of training the newbies - including me :) There's something about a man in uniform making burgers that does did it for me! Haha That was ten years ago!"

How'd you know your fiancé was the one?

"Neither of us can really pick a particular moment, we both agree that we've just always known and couldn't imagine our lives without each other."

How did your fiancé propose? (from the brides point of view)

"Last March my fiancé and I went on a trip to Ottawa to sightsee, explore and find some awesome food. I think it was on our third day we had toured the parliament building and followed it up with the most awesome pizza and beers. Afterwards we walked around downtown Ottawa for what seemed like forever, just meandering about. I could tell something was up but was so cold and my feet hurt I was too distracted to really pay attention. Eventually we made our way out to the canal and walked along the pathway in the park overlooking the canal and the buildings which looked beautiful all lite up and sparkling in the water. Then we stopped to admire the view and things got quiet between us... then like a blur Eric was down on his knee say something super romantic and about how we've experienced so much together and he couldn't imagine enjoying the rest of the journey without me (or something like that I honestly was too excited to listen and started bouncing up and down, crying and shrieking). I of course screamed YES and followed it up with a huge kiss and hugs and more jumping and shrieking! I will never forget how we felt afterwards though, we both felt so dazed, like we walking on clouds and couldn't stop smiling. It was perfect and so us."

How did you propose? (from the grooms point of view)

"I took Kayla out to an incredibly icy, precarious park - something that I thought would be romantic and I proposed! (He is a man of few, hilarious, sweet words - lol)"
Their romantic view when Eric proposed!

Their romantic view when Eric proposed!


Stay tuned for next Wednesday's Real Bride blog post on Kayla's journey to saying yes to her dress!

Still searching for your dream gown, don't wait! Book your wedding dress experience with us today!

Photography: Have Heart Photography 

Wedding Gown: Once Upon A Time Weddings 

Check us out on Facebook and Instagram for more real brides, fun daily wedding inspiration, and bridal store behind the scenes!

May Real Bride | Jordan and Daniel's Wedding

We have loved sharing Jordan and Daniel's story throughout the month, from the proposal to Jordan finding her dream dress here at Once Upon A Time Weddings and today we are talking about their wedding day! These two got married on November 26, 2016 with their little man by their side. 

What's your favourite memory from your wedding day? 

"Most definitely seeing Dan see me for the first time that day, he was so overcome with emotion. Our vows brought us both to tears. Sharing this special day with so many that we've shared in their weddings, was a truly special day!"

Who were your favourite vendors from your wedding day?

"Our photographers, C& T Photography and Corey Leckie of Frameworks Media who captured our ceremony so beautifully."

Any other unique details or stories about your wedding/love story you want to tell us?

"We welcomed our son, John in July 2016, before we got married. Having a family was always the bigger plan, neither of us ever expected to make one day all about our love. After two agonizing years of waiting, we were so happy to share the news of an arrival with our family and friends. His arrival was so anticipated that a wedding just topped an amazing year for us all!"

Photography: C&T Photography

Dress: Once Upon A Time Weddings 

If you are still searching for your dream dress, come book your experience with us today, we can't wait to meet you!

Pinterest Wedding Planning Tips.

So we can't deny how aaaaamazing Pinterest is and how great of a tool it is for wedding planning BUT it can quickly become very overwhelming when you've become a bride! We've put together some tips to remember when using Pinterest for planning your wedding.

1. Create a "mood board." This board will help you keep your overall theme in check when pinning: do the table cloths and centre pieces fit your overall theme? Do these decorations match the feel I'm going for? 

2. Set realistic expectations. If you have a tight budget remember that when looking through Pinterest pictures, those wedding pictures you're finding might have been from a budget 4X yours. So many things these days can be done DIY, so use that to your advantage!

Collect wine bottles from family + friends and spray paint them, super affordable and chic!

Collect wine bottles from family + friends and spray paint them, super affordable and chic!

3. Use secret boards. If you have ideas that you are actually using do you want your guests to see the original and then your version? Or maybe you've pinned your dress, do you want your guests to see it before you walk down the isle? Maybe just add your bridesmaids as contributors so there's an extra set of eyes + ideas!

4. Search for tips and tricks. Don't just use Pinterest for 'inspo', actually click on the links and use the resources that are available for DIY'ing, tips on how much ice you'll need for the bar, what props to stock your photo booth with, and so on.

5. Grab your baseline ideas and stop searching! We suggest printing off the main + most important ideas that you want, start a binder with those ideas, and then stop searching Pinterest! We say this because, things can get so confusing so quickly! Once you know what you want/love, piece together the rest with your unique + personal touch; it is your wedding after all! :)

Do you follow us on Pinterest?  You should!  Click here!

Still searching for your dream dress? Make an appointment with us today!

The Story Behind Ashlan's Dress - February Real Bride -

Here, at Once Upon A Time Weddings, we truly believe that magic does happen, no two people's love story is the same and that's the same when it comes to finding your gown! Some brides try on multiple dresses then go back to their first one before realizing that's their dress. Other brides know from the moment they step into that gown that it's theirs. We love experiencing all these moments + emotions with our brides and Ashlan had her magical moment on April 25, 2015 when she said yes to the dress!

How many dresses did you try on before coming to Once Upon A Time Weddings?


Who came with you to your appointment?

"My first appointment was myself, my mom, my MIL, and my husband. My second appointment it was just myself, my mom and my sister. 

Were you expecting to buy your dress when you came to our store?

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

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

"My husband :) I loved that he came with me to some of my appointments. Seeing his reaction to some of the dresses are memories I will cherish forever!"
Ashlan + Paul's first look.

Ashlan + Paul's first look.

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! I had visions of an off white, high neck ball gown with pockets. I got married in the most stunning, champagne, fitted, strapless sweetheart neckline dress. I have never felt as beautiful, feminine, or confident as the day I said, "I do" in the dress of my dreams."

"My experience at Once Upon a Time was like nothing I had experienced at other bridal salons. It was so warm, and welcoming. Erin reached out to me ahead of my appointment to understand what I was looking for, and made me feel at ease about all of the options. When we arrived, I was pleasantly surprised at how lovely the shop was. You really feel so special in your time there; private appointments ensure that you have a unique dress buying experience. Erin was so knowledgeable, friendly and patient. She worked with me, offered really great insight, and helped me each step of the way through finding the perfect dress!" -Ashlan Potts

Photographer: One-12 Photography

Venue: Arrowwood Farm

Dress: Once Upon A Time Weddings

We're not really sure how the magic happens, but we do know that it does!  If you're ready for it to be less of a decision and more of an experience, then Click here to book your magical moment!

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  with the subject line Four Factors.

Learn the four factors that influence the cost of your gown at your appointment or by emailing 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

Briday Friday - Garden Wedding Inspiration

This month, we partnered with our lovely friends from LaPiers Flowers in Sarnia to create stunning window displays around the Garden Wedding theme. I think wedding planning is easier when you have a theme - because something either fits with your theme or it doesn’t. A wedding theme can be simple like black & white or elaborate like masquerade. If you aren’t on Pinterest then you need to get on there immediately! So much wedding inspiration can be found, but be prepared to lose a lot of time & quite possibly become addicted to Pinterest!  These are the pictures off on Pinterest that we used for inspiration for our window displays.

So, with this inspiration in hand and a wedding gown & periwinkle bridesmaid gown, we trekked off to Sarnia so they could create a stunning window display for LaPiers Flowers.

LaPiers Bridal is owned by Marianne & Sharon LaPier and has been serving brides in the Sarnia area for many, many years.  They also do décor and rentals through their store front at 208 N. Front St. in downtown Sarnia.  These ladies are so great to work with and they have such an eye for detail.  We have worked with them many times at bridal shows over the years, and we have been so impressed with their easygoing nature, expertise and beautiful work.  If you're in the Sarnia area you need to stop into their store and see how they can help with your wedding plans, or simply just see their beautiful bouquets & many unique gift items.

And here's the result of their window...

LaPiers Flowers Window

Of course, we had to have these lovely ladies come down and do a similar design to our store windows.  For more information about LaPiers Flowers please click here or call them at 519.334.1414.  If you have an idea for a theme for next month's window please comment or email us at

Once Upon A Time Weddings garden themed wedding display

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