wedding day

How to Plan An Epic Destination Wedding

What’s not to love about a destination wedding?

A week’s vacation, an escape from freezing temperatures, unlimited drinks all week long, it’s a brides dream come true! Often times we find that brides choose a destination wedding because it seems easier, more fun and more relaxing! And while it can be all those things, there is still some planning involved to orchestrate a beautiful destination wedding that runs smoothly.

Today on the blog, we’re sharing some of our best tips to help those planning an epic destination wedding!

Kerri in a beautiful Once Upon A Time Weddings gown in Collingwood.

Kerri in a beautiful Once Upon A Time Weddings gown in Collingwood.

1. Research the chosen location for a venue, vendors, hotels, and things to do. 

-Block off rooms for guests at hotel once you've received a head count.

-Determine if you need transportation to and from the hotel to venue. 

-Find a local florist, rental companies, DJ, suit rental, officiant, and other wedding vendors.

2. Send save the dates a little earlier than usual to give guests time to mark off their calendars, plan the vacation, and get passports if needed. 


3. Research legalities of the region: 

-Are there different marriage requirements in that country, will you require insurance, etc. Make sure that you research this early. You don’t want to be a few weeks out from the wedding and realize that your wedding won’t be legal or that there’s extra hoops you have to jump through.

- Also research any day excursions or activities that you + your guests may want to participate in during the week of fun.

4. Stay in touch with confirmed guests: 

- Email them the weather predictions, send them a generic packing list, let them know name of hotel that you've blocked off rooms for, send them some flight options, include a welcome package at resort with a list of local things to do and itinerary for the week, etc.


5. The 'things you really don't wanna forget' packing list:

-Proper paperwork to obtain marriage license, passport, drivers license, birth certificate...

-Copies of vendor contracts

-Cash/credit cards (only take the cards you need)

-Wedding day attire: Undergarments, make-up, hair products, jewelry, wedding rings, etc.

6. Selecting an on-site wedding planner can make your lives a lot easier when planning because the planner will know vendors and can do almost all the leg work for you leading up to your arrival.

7. Confirm all travel arrangements + vendor dates a month before leaving.


8. Give your guests a gift upon arrival as a thank you for traveling + attending.

-A package in their hotel room with mini sunscreen, a customized shirt or hat to wear that week, chapstick...things that would be fitting for your location; along with a schedule for the week + list of things to do in that area!

-Maybe throw them a welcome dinner party or a brunch the morning after your wedding as a thank you or schedule an outing the next day with those guests who are still around!

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And no matter what type of wedding you’re having, if you’re still on the hunt for the perfect gown, we’d love to have you in the store. You can book an appointment below or text us at 519.319.6623.

Happy Planning!

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.


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.

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!

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.

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

All pictures the work of amazing Michelle A Photography.

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.

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.

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.


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)

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

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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3 Ways To Make Sure Your Wedding Is Unique.

1.     Start with an unique gown.

Choose a wedding gown that reflects you and your personality first and foremost.  Choose a gown that you haven’t seen walk down the aisle fifteen times already.  Don’t be afraid to try something on that might be outside of what you thought you would wear.  It’s true, that you just never know until you try gowns on.  The worst that can happen is that you don’t like it and you move on to the next gown!



2.     Choose elements that reflect you & your fiancé

It’s your wedding day after all.  Think about things that reflect your personality.  Do you both love hockey?  Are you all about books? Travel? Cooking?  Whatever it is, find ways to incorporate touches of the two of you.  An ode to where you met, the timeline of your love story, there are so many ways to corporate small details into your wedding day.  Don’t feel like you have to do certain elements because it’s “tradition”.  There used to be a lot of rules when it came to wedding days, but now, there’s not as many.  Find what makes your heart get excited and follow that.

Skip the traditional.  Having a more laid-back affair? Skip the traditional wording.  Have a favourite song?  Incorporate the lyrics into your vows.  There are tons of ways to make sure that the wedding reflects you + fiancé.

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3.     Don’t let fear stop you.

Don’t be afraid to do something different.  It’s your day.  If you want to have food trucks, then do it! If you want to play lawn games and then have a bonfire, do it! The best weddings I have been to have been where the bride and groom truly enjoyed the day.  That joy will radiate in your pictures and you’ll look back on the day with fondness.  It’s okay to be the first of your friends to try something new!  



Wedding Inspiration - Glamorous Style

One of the hardest things about planning your wedding day is deciding on a wedding theme.  It sets the tone for your whole day.  There are lots of ways to find inspiration on many themes, but today owner Erin Bouchard is sharing some Glamorous inspiration.

Although I simply adore lace and rustic elements mixed in with weddings, I am thrilled that some brides in the store lately have been turning to more of a sparkly, glamorous, upscale wedding gown.  So with that said, I thought that I would do a little wedding inspiration, with more of an upscale feel.

Photographs by Rebecca Nash Photography. Gowns by Once Upon A Time Weddings and tuxedo by Bud Gowan Formal Wear available at Once Upon A Time Weddings. 

Photographs by Rebecca Nash Photography. Gowns by Once Upon A Time Weddings and tuxedo by Bud Gowan Formal Wear available at Once Upon A Time Weddings. 

How stunning would this be for your reception.  Large mirrors show off your lighting and make your space look more open and spacious.

How beautiful with a gown like this be for your bridesmaids?

And of course no wedding would be complete without beautiful bejeweled shoes.

And of course no wedding would be complete without beautiful bejeweled shoes.

This cake is stunning.  Simple, elegance is sometimes can have the most impact.

This cake is stunning.  Simple, elegance is sometimes can have the most impact.

This bouquet is the perfect mix of roses and sparkle.

This bouquet is the perfect mix of roses and sparkle.

Stunning details.

Stunning details.

Hopefully this gives you some inspiration as you plan your big day.  Whatever you chose as a theme, just be sure to incorporate elements that reflect your fiance and your style.  Happy planning.

Returning to Our Roots..

If you’ve been hanging around Once Upon A Time Weddings for a bit now, you’ll know we’ve undergone a few changes.  We’ve made the decision to stop carrying bridesmaids & mother’s gowns.  We’ve changed up our store hours & the way we do bridal appointments.  It’s all part of our strategic plan to become the experts at bridal.  Sometimes you have to prune away healthy layers to get to the best part of the tree. 

When we started this business over four years ago we began with the hope of helping brides and becoming the best in bridal.  We began as wedding planners.  Somewhere along the way we lost sight of that and we added gifts, bridesmaids, mothers, tuxedos, graduation, special occasion gowns & more.  While we have genuinely loved these avenues {well most of them anyways J} we have decided it’s time to get back to our roots.  It’s time to get back to the basics.  Sometimes as a business you can do a whole bunch of stuff, but never really do any of it well.  We don’t want to be the one stop shop, the box store feel.  We believe brides buy from us because not only do they love the gown, but they love the feeling that they get meeting us, entering our store.  It feels like home.

We’re not the store for every bride.  We don’t want to be.  But if you’re looking for a different approach to bridal, then you’ll find it at Once Upon A Time Weddings.  If you’re looking for the experts in all things bridal, then you’ll love our expertise.   If you want an experience, not just a gown, then you need to check us out.

With these changes in mind and looking forward we’ll be offering wedding planning services again.  This is where I started the business.  I helped couples plan their weddings & I loved seeing it to completion.  We’ve created a few different options because we know no two weddings are the same.  Please be aware that due to the nature of coordination wedding planning & operating a bridal store, there were only be a select number of weddings we can take on each season.  Be sure to book early to save your date!

We so appreciate our customer’s feedback as we embrace these changes.  Our goal is to serve you and to make your wedding planning a bit easier & a lot more fun.  If you would like more information please visit  Feel free to call me at 519.319.9441 or 519.245.7997 or shoot me an email at