wedding industry

Pink & Gold Enchanted Forest Shoot.

Sometimes, right in the middle of ordinary life, love gives you a fairy tale.

We had the amazing opportunity to participate in a magical photoshoot at the end of May.  The location was Fernwood Hills which is hidden away in the woods outside of Komoka, Ontario.  This venue is absolutely enchanted.  From wooden benches for your guests to sit on during a rustic ceremony to dancing under the stars all night, this venue has it all!

For this shoot, we used our new exclusive, romantic skirt from our private collection.  We paired it with our blush, sparkly top.  This is part of our separates collection, so we can mix and match top and skirts together!

Rosemary from Time 4 Flowers created the perfect bouquet for this enchanted forest photoshoot.  The colours were a perfect match for the blush & gold theme and it smelled delicious. 

Rosemary from Time 4 Flowers created the perfect bouquet for this enchanted forest photoshoot.  The colours were a perfect match for the blush & gold theme and it smelled delicious. 

Invited by Dani made beautiful stationery that were perfect for this show stopping photo shoot!  

Invited by Dani made beautiful stationery that were perfect for this show stopping photo shoot!  

It was a pleasure to meet Anna from Devorah Beauty for the first time at this shoot.  She created a flawless look in our model, Sarah's makeup.  Liz from Hairstream Beauty swept up her hair in a romantic up-do.

It was a pleasure to meet Anna from Devorah Beauty for the first time at this shoot.  She created a flawless look in our model, Sarah's makeup.  Liz from Hairstream Beauty swept up her hair in a romantic up-do.

Stephanie from Bright Eyes Bakery created the most stunning naked cake and macaroons.  To be honest, this was the first time I had ever tasted a macaroon and they were DELICIOUS!!

Stephanie from Bright Eyes Bakery created the most stunning naked cake and macaroons.  To be honest, this was the first time I had ever tasted a macaroon and they were DELICIOUS!!

Jess from Bonafide Events pulled all the magic together with decor pieces and kept us all on schedule throughout the shoot!  Wedding planners have such  attention  to detail & it really paid  off  in this shoot!!

Jess from Bonafide Events pulled all the magic together with decor pieces and kept us all on schedule throughout the shoot!  Wedding planners have such attention to detail & it really paid off in this shoot!!

Michelle A. Photography captured all the moments from the day perfectly!  She was a gem to work with and pulled the whole shoot together flawlessly!

Michelle A. Photography captured all the moments from the day perfectly!  She was a gem to work with and pulled the whole shoot together flawlessly!

Venue:   Fernwood Hills   Photographer:    Michelle A Photography   Dress and Accessories:   Once Upon a Time Weddings   Model:   Sarah Cur   Hair:   Liz from Hairstream   Makeup:   Devorah Beauty   Florals:   Time 4 Flowers   Cake and Macaroons:   Bright Eyes Bakery   Invitations and Stationary:   Invited by Dani   Decor:   Bonafide Events Studio   Linens (Napkin):   A & B Party and Tent Rentals

Venue: Fernwood Hills
Photographer:  Michelle A Photography
Dress and Accessories: Once Upon a Time Weddings
Model: Sarah Cur
Hair: Liz from Hairstream
Makeup: Devorah Beauty
Florals: Time 4 Flowers
Cake and Macaroons: Bright Eyes Bakery
Invitations and Stationary: Invited by Dani
Decor: Bonafide Events Studio
Linens (Napkin): A & B Party and Tent Rentals

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions...

Decisions suck.  The overbearing weight you carry around with you when you know you have to make a decision sucks.  Can I be real with you for a few minutes?  As you know, I love helping women find their GOWN & I love the butterflies I get in my stomach leading up to the moment when I ask, “Is this your dress”.  Whether I do it 10 times a week or 2 it’s the same anticipation/ excitement/ nerves/ extreme joy each time.  It's the fun part of my job.  But it ain't all sunshine & roses.  The part I don’t like is when I am faced with a decision, one that I know has the potential to greatly impact Once Upon A Time Weddings & therefore every aspect of my life.

Do we drop bridesmaids?

Should we keep carrying tuxedos?

Should we bring in a new line of bridal gowns?

How much stock should we carry?

Should I sell this gown off the rack or order a new one in?

Some decisions I can just make & move on with the decision.  I don’t second guess myself, just keep on plowing through.  Other decisions I roll around different scenarios in my head or talk it out constantly with my wonderful husband.  Some decisions take time to contemplate & implement.

Photograph by  Soul Photography .

Photograph by Soul Photography.

We are faced with a big one right now.  It is WHERE ON EARTH WILL OUR STORE END UP?  You see, without going into too much detail, we’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Our lease is up August 2016 with no option to renew.  File this one under the category of mistakes I made that I have now learned the hard way & will never make again.  {ALWAYS have a lawyer review any LEASE before signing it – that’s my free legal tip of the night, no charge!}  I love our store location.  I love the feel of the store, the windows, the exposed brick wall, the layout, the size.  All of it has been meticulously planned out to comfort, inspire & make you feel at home.  Wherever we end up, I know this- the same planning will go into the atmosphere of the new location so we keep our brand, our homey feel.

So right now, I’m all consumed, {just ask my poor husband & mother} with where on earth should we move the store to.  Part of me wants to jump into a new place, get my hands on it, and have the decision done.  Finished!  But the other part says, hold up, I love our current place & don’t need to rush out of here.  It seems to have swallowed me RIGHT up.

That got me thinking about what it must be like for all of my brides.  How do you make a decision?  How do you know you are making the right decision?  Do you find it’s easier to put off a decision & contemplate it over a few days or just follow your heart & not look back?

Photograph by  Soul Photography .

Photograph by Soul Photography.

Sometimes brides ask me how many gowns other brides try on or how other people know it’s the DRESS.  But here’s the thing, just like no two decisions are the same, no two brides are the same.  What one bride might do may not be right for the next bride.  Sometimes I have brides who I know exactly which gown they are going to purchase right from the get go and others take me by surprise!  Some brides know sooner than others.  Some try 2 gowns on and some try 100. {for the record I do not recommend the 100 gown thing – it’s too stressful for everyone!}

Wherever you are in the gown decision making process, we at Once Upon A Time Weddings would love to walk with you through the process.  We know how hard making a decision can be, but we also know the sweet relief that comes with knowing the decision has been made.  We’d love to take the journey with you.  To see what appointments we have available & schedule your gown shopping experience click here.

A Visit with Wendy of Soul Photography.

Last week I had the pleasure of hanging out with Wendy Hord of Soul Photography.  She stopped by the shop and of course brought her camera along!  Wendy has a creative eye and is really easygoing.  She's based out of Lucan, ON but will travel across most of Southwestern Ontario.  She photographs weddings, families, engagement, couples & babies.

She has a boudoir shoot coming up soon.  Check it out on her website.

It was nice to chat with Wendy about weddings, families, owning a business & how to find balance in the midst of all the craziness of life.    Wendy has  a very real, down to earth  personality.  She's great to work with and has an eye for detail.  Enjoy some pictures that she snapped while at the store!

Thanks Wendy for capturing some great shots!  To contact Wendy of Soul Photography you can visit her  website here , follow her work on  facebook here , or email her at  contactsoulphotography@gmail.com .

Thanks Wendy for capturing some great shots!  To contact Wendy of Soul Photography you can visit her website here, follow her work on facebook here, or email her at contactsoulphotography@gmail.com.


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  info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca  with the subject line Four Factors.

Learn the four factors that influence the cost of your gown at your appointment or by emailing info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca 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