wedding gown

Owner Blog | When to Shop For Your Gown

We’re seeing this trend in the store right now, of brides putting off coming in to shop for their gown.  And while sometimes we can make magic happen and find a gown that fits them or rush a gown in fast enough, it definitely limits your options as a bride.

At the bridal show this weekend we met some brides who did not want to shop for their gown until much closer to their wedding.  And I get it, it can feel overwhelming or you might feel like if you shop too early you’ll have dress regret.  However, wedding gowns take between five and six months to order in.  In order to have the most number of options of gowns to choose from, you should begin shopping for your gown about seven to nine months before your wedding.  Earlier is even better because that will give you time to enjoy the process and help everything else fall into place.

Because the worse thing that can happen is that you have to settle for a gown that fits you and you can buy off the rack instead of saying yes to the gown you absolutely adore.

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Here’s three reasons we see brides delaying shopping for their gowns and how to overcome them.

1.     Fear of Dress regret

Some brides are putting off shopping for their gown because they are afraid they may have dress regret.  They may even have a friend who ended up purchasing two gowns for their wedding day.  Here’s the thing about dress regret, if I can speak openly for a minute.  We live in an instant world.  We instantly have our emails on our phone, we instantly can connect with someone half way around the world on facetime, we can get something delivered the next with amazon prime.  So we’ve become accustomed to not waiting.  So when we purchase a wedding gown, and my goodness, we now have to wait five months for it to arrive, it’s hard!  I get it.  I do.  So if you start to second guess yourself or worry about your gown, do this:  First, think about all the reasons you loved that gown and said yes.  Remember how you felt in it.  Remember how it will look with all your alterations done, with your hair and makeup done, walking down that aisle to the love of your life.  Second, if that doesn’t work and you’re still worried, do not go shopping.  I repeat, do not go shopping.  Wedding gowns are beautiful.  They are made to be pretty.  You will find another one you love.  Instead head back to the store you purchased your gown, slip that gown back on and remember why you fell in love with it. 

2.     Losing weight

This one can be a bit tricky.  Because it’s obviously a sensitive subject.  Brides want to look their best on their wedding day.  And while we’re all for feeling beautiful, we want to make sure you can still have the dress of your dreams.  We can talk through sizing and alterations with you in the appointment.  But the thing here to remember is that your fiancé fell in love with you and proposed at the exact size you are right now.  Don’t put too much pressure on yourself in an already stressful season of life.  Embrace the shape you are and find a gown you love right now, not 20 pounds lighter.  If you are determined to lose a bit of weight, then give yourself some time.  Set a goal and track your progress.  That will help us choose the best size for you when you do shop.

3.     Orchestrating entourage

We get it.  You want your people there when you have your magical experience.  So sometimes brides will put off shopping until their mom is home or sister is back from school.  We totally understand.  Just make sure that it still leaves you with the suggested time frame of 7-9 months before your big day.

If it doesn’t then plan an appointment at a time that they are available and we’ll facetime them into the appointment.  This way they can to still be part of the experience and you still get all the gown options.  Then we can also do a bridal reveal the next time they are home or in this area.  You can slip that gown back on and show them and have them help with accessories.

 

We want you to say yes to the dress in absolute confidence.  We want you to love your gown and continue loving it until long after your wedding day.  At Once Upon A Time Weddings our goal is to walk with you through the whole experience.  That’s what makes our store different.  We know from past brides that once your gown decision has been made, so many other decisions are able to fall into place. 

If you’re ready to start trying gowns on, book your exclusive gown finding experience here.

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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!

How To Enjoy Being Engaged.

So you’re engaged?!

A lot of brides find themselves wishing their big day was just here already. Or they spend so much time fielding questions about their wedding and listening to other opinions on what they should do at their wedding, that they lose some of their excitement.

So we came up with some ways for you to spend time enjoying being engaged. After all, it’s such a short time in comparison to the rest of your life. You really want to capitalize on the excitement and soak up every moment as a fiancé.

1) Throw an engagement party! Celebrate this huge step in your relationship with all your friends and family! It's not a hassle for anyone, people love a reason to celebrate and get together. Find some cute decorations and get to celebrating! 

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2) Take engagement photos! This is a super fun way to celebrate with just the two of you. You get to dress up and be all lovey dovey for the pictures! You can even make a date night out of it! If you choose to do them with your wedding photographer it gives you an extra chance to get to know them and their style before your wedding day.

Photography by  Red Button Photography

Photography by Red Button Photography

3) Get some fiancé swag!  The best part of being engaged? Showing off that new status. It’s the perfect excuse to buy a wifey in training t-shirt, bride water bottle, or new wifey-to-be mugs. Cause why not?!

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Both items are available from OUTW!

Both items are available from OUTW!

4) And remember! When it comes to wedding planning, the day is about your love for one another. Don't let the nitty, gritty details of planning take the joy of being engaged away from you!

Are you recently engaged and starting to look for your dream dress? Look no further!

We'd love for you to book your wedding gown experience today!

Here’s what recent bride Stephanie said about her experience at OUTW.

I had been to 5 other stores before finally making the trip out to Once Upon A Time, and I was blown away by the difference here! The care, attention, and effort that they put into making sure each bride has a great experience was completely unique and refreshing. Definitely worth the visit - even if they don't have the dress for you, it's a wonderful, personalized experience that will remind you of how wedding dress shopping is supposed to be :)

A Look Back at 2018.

As 2018 comes to a close, we look back on some of the best moments of the year. We wish we could showcase each and every bride to you, but here’s a snapshot of some of the brides who have entrusted to us their most important gown they will ever wear.

Chris Sit Photography

Chris Sit Photography

Van Daele and Russell Photography

Van Daele and Russell Photography

B. Reilly Photography

B. Reilly Photography

Amanda Kopcic Photography

Amanda Kopcic Photography

Jennifer McQuade Photography

Jennifer McQuade Photography

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Nicole DeJoseph Photography

Nicole DeJoseph Photography

Bee VanRuymbeke Photos

Bee VanRuymbeke Photos

Mikaela Shannon Photography

Mikaela Shannon Photography

Life is Beautiful Photography

Life is Beautiful Photography

Nina Polidoro Photography

Nina Polidoro Photography

Photography by Heather Yvonne

Photography by Heather Yvonne

As we come to a close of another year, I want to say a big thank you. Thank you to our brides, entourages + mothers that we have gotten the privilege of meeting and working with. We appreciate you. We love that you shop at our store, share the word about the store and engage with us on social media.

To other wedding vendors who tell their brides about us, thank you! We sure do appreciate all the love.

This year has not been without difficulties.. It’s been a year of growth and refinement, of challenges and new opportunities. Of learning to do things better and more efficient.

I cannot wait to see what 2019 will bring to our Once Upon A Time Weddings family!

XO

Erin Bouchard

Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings

Wedding Theme | Romantic

According to Brides.com, the Romantic theme is “Soft hues, delicate lighting, and plenty of florals typically make up a romantic wedding. For this theme, envision pastels, hanging lights (even chandeliers), calligraphy, and a flower wall.”

We think that this theme is perfect for brides who don’t love an over-the-top wedding theme. And because what wedding isn’t full of romance?

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This beautiful gown from our store would be perfect for a romantic themed wedding. It has the perfect soft sparkle throughout the lace with beautiful, flowy tulle skirt. We also love the soft blush colour under the gown. It’s perfect for that romantic look.

This beautiful gown from our store would be perfect for a romantic themed wedding. It has the perfect soft sparkle throughout the lace with beautiful, flowy tulle skirt. We also love the soft blush colour under the gown. It’s perfect for that romantic look.

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!

The 12 Rules Every Bride Should Live By to Avoid Stress

12 Rules For Being A Stress-Free Bride.

By: Erin Bouchard

1.    Sizes suck.  

Remember that dress sizes are so different than real life sizes.  I’ve seen so many brides stress out over the size that is on the tag on the inside of their gown.  They do whatever they can to order a smaller size.  While I get that it’s frustrating to see a bigger number than you’re used to on the tag, it’s just a number.  Order the size that fits you and embrace the shape you have.

2.    Be realistic

If you want to lose weight be realistic about how much you can lose before the wedding.  We’ve had a few brides who have wanted us to order them smaller sizes and then didn’t lose the weight.  Making it extremely difficult to alter their gown and even have to choose another gown mere months before their wedding day.  We know brides have the best intentions, but wedding planning can be stressful.  Be realistic about how much weight you can lose with so much else going on.

Photography by  Michelle A Photography

3.    Embrace the chaos

There are going to be times of chaos.  There are going to be times of overwhelm.  Try to remember that those moments are short lived.  That you will make it through this period of chaos.  

4.    Ask for help

Sometimes as women we’re a bit stubborn and think we can do everything ourselves.  But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help throughout your wedding process.  Most of the time your mom and your friends will be so happy to jump in and help.  So don’t hesitate to ask.

5.    Be kind

I remember wedding planning.  I remember at times feeling like a totally different person. I remember the periods of extreme happiness and the periods of extreme stress.  A good rule of thumb to remember is that kindness goes a long way. Frustrated with a vendor? Overwhelmed with your fiancé?  Try to still treat them with kindness and remember they are just people too.

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6.    Plan early

Brides right now seem to have this feel of changing their mind, especially when it comes to their wedding gown.  So we see them leaving it later and later to try gowns on. This extremely limits their choices in gowns to what fits them off the rack.  Sometimes it works out beautifully and sometimes it’s way too much stress.  A rule of thumb is to shop for your gown about a year in advance.  If you start to doubt your choice, come back in and try your gown on again or think about all the reasons you fell in love with it.

7.    Include your fiancé

This is your wedding day.  But it’s also your fiancé’s.  Try to include him in your wedding planning.  Ask for his opinions and delegate some aspects to him.  Think about what they would like throughout your planning process.

8.    Keep the end goal in mind

It’s easy to get so wrapped in all the little details of their wedding day that sometimes you forget the end goal.  The wedding is a day, but the marriage is forever.  Keep that end goal in mind and let some of the little things slide.

9.    Communicate well

A lot of the problems you will face while wedding planning will be from a lack of communication.  Make sure that you are communicating regularly with your fiancé, your wedding party and your wedding vendors.  Create a closed facebook group for your wedding party members and post all the important details in there.  Invite your parents and your fiancé parents to the group too.  That way you’ll have an information hub and no one will feel like they are missing important information.

Photography by Amanda Kopcic Photography

Photography by Amanda Kopcic Photography

10.  Take time off

Spend some time not wedding planning.  Go on a date night.  Get your nails done with MOH.  Go to a movie.  Take some time to be a couple without focusing just on wedding planning.

11.  Be organized

The more you can get done early the better.  The better organized you are with the details the less stressed out you will be.  Get an app or a binder and keep all your information in one place.  Create a note on your phone and update it with all your RSVP’s.  Whatever little things you can do to stay organized will greatly help especially as you approach the big day.

12.  Enjoy the process

You’ll only be a bride for a short time.  One day you’ll look back on this time and miss it.  So live in the moment and enjoy the process. The things that are stressing you out now will make you laugh in 5, 10, 15 years.  So try to enjoy the wedding planning process.

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