wedding planning

Everything You Always Wanted to Know {About A Gown Shopping Experience at OUTW}

Have you ever wondered what the hype is about finding a gown at Once Upon A Time Weddings?  Today on the blog, owner Erin Bouchard will walk you through a typical appointment at OUTW + answer some of your questions we know you’re dying to ask!  Erin, along with her team of consultants are proud to have helped thousands of brides create their own gown finding story.  She truly believes that magic happens at OUTW and sometimes you just have to embrace the magic.

A typical bridal gown shopping experience.

Most brides book their appointment online. But you can also text us or call us.  We love our online system because it shows you exactly what we have left available each day and you can choose the time that’s best for you.  Once you’re booked into an appointment, you’ll receive a confirmation email that has a link to our form for you to fill out before your appointment. Within this email you’ll find a link to begin our find-your-style process. We’ll ask you questions about your venue, previous shopping experiences and style choices.  This helps your consultant prepare for your appointment and many times our consultants have picked out your gown before they’ve even met you!

On the day of your appointment, you’ll be greeted and welcomed warmly into the shop.  We’ll ask you a few quick questions and then get to the fun!  Your consultant will pull four to five gowns to begin with.  Many, many times your gown will be in those first four to five gowns {yes, we’re that good!}.  Sometimes it’s the first gown you put on and sometimes it’s the last.  We’ll walk you through the gowns and ask questions about what you like and what you don’t.  Even if you hate the gown, we’re going to ask some questions to help narrow down what it is that you don’t like so we can make better gown pulls.  We always say, “gowns don’t have feelings” so feel free to tell us the truth about what you like and don’t like!

Once we’ve found a gown you love, we’ll put the finishing touches on with accessories.  Sometimes the magic is honestly in the complete look and we want to help you picture it all together for that walk down the aisle.

After you’ve said yes, we’ll take a group picture with our She Said Yes signs.  This will be posted on social media and captures the excitement of the moment.


There is no right or wrong time to say yes to the dress.

There are no magical number of gowns you HAVE to try on before you can say yes.  There aren’t a magical number of stores you HAVE TO visit before you can pull the trigger.  In life there are a lot of analytical decisions we have to make.  Have you ever made a pro/con list or listed out all your options before you made a decision?  That’s an analytical decision and they are absolutely necessary for certain decisions in life.  But the gown you’ll get married in and look back on for the rest of your life – that’s an emotional decision.  You’re going to feel a whole bunch of emotions as you try gowns on.  You should however not feel:

1.     Like you’re being rushed or pressured.

2.     Like you’re settling for the best of what you’ve tried on.

If you truly love the gown and can picture walking down the aisle in the dress then it could be your gown.  Follow your heart.  You won’t know immediately that it’s your gown.  Most brides know it’s their gown by standing in it for a bit and just imagining it come to life.  That when the magic truly happens.

Strathroy Bridal Crawl 2018-2.jpg

Who or how many people should I bring to my appointment.

I get asked this question a lot and it’s honestly one of the hardest questions to answer.  I’ve had appointments with three people go horribly wrong and I’ve had appointments with twelve people go incredibly awesome.  Therefore, I always say bring with you who you absolutely would want to be there if magic happened and you had your gown finding moment.  Jealous bridesmaid?  Struggling sister in law?  Leave them at home or let them be part of your bridal reveal after the decision has been made.  The thing is that every person who you bring with you will be thinking of their opinions.  It’s not that they mean to, but they have an idea of what they would like or what they think you should get and they project that opinion on you.  Again, it’s often not intentional at all.  The important thing is that no matter how many people you bring with you, your opinion needs to be heard loudest and most.  Our consultants are excellent at insuring that.

What to bring.

If you own a strapless bra, bring that along with you.  If you don’t that’s okay, no need to rush out and get one.  Just wear a nude or light coloured bra and we’ll tuck the straps down.  If you plan to wear heels on your day and have a pair that is of similar height, bring those along to try on with the gown. 

Why do we pull the gowns for you?

It’s your day.  And we want you to just sit back and enjoy the moment with your family and friends and let magic do it’s thing!  We also know our inventory well and we may think of gowns to pull that you never even imagined or would have walked right past if you saw it hanging on a rack.  Often we’ll ask during an appointment, “was there another style you had in mind that you really wanted to try on that we haven’t yet”.  If at any point in your appointment your consultant hasn’t asked and you or one of your entourages is wanting to see another style on you, just let us know! 

We do love our jobs at OUTW!  We love working with brides because honestly no two brides are the same, no two weddings are the same and no two gown finding experiences are the same.  Our biggest advice to you is to embrace what makes you unique.  Your story could be you tried on a hundred gowns before you found the one OR your story could be it was the very first gown I slipped into.  Neither of those stories would be right or wrong!  We’d love to work with you and help you say yes to the dress.  Schedule an appointment today and let’s get started!

Filmed and produced by Amanda Kopcic Photography & Videography

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! 


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?!

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 :)

All I Want For Christmas Is...

We love Christmas time here at Once Upon A Time Weddings! We have some exciting things planned in the store that I wanted to share with you!

First of all, from the bottoms of our hearts we want to say thank you.

Thank you to all the customers who believed in us and shopped with us.

Thank you to all those who shared our store with their friends, family, co-workers.

Thank you to all the other wedding vendors who told their brides about us.

We love you all and appreciate you.

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Next week, we’ll launch our 5 days of Christmas special! Each day a different item will be on sale. You can purchase in store or online. Online orders can be held for pick up at the store. Items will be limited quality so shop early for best selection!!

Day 1 - Monday

Day 2 - Tuesday

Day 3 - Thursday

Day 4 - Friday

Day 5 - Saturday

Watch our FB page each day for these sales!!


The other thing we’re excited to share with you is that we are hosting a trunk show from now until January 8th.

What is a trunk show?

It’s where a designer, in this case, two designers, send us their sample gowns for us to showcase and use in the store for a limited time. This allows us to see what gowns will work in our location, and allows our brides to have first access to these gowns before they have even shipped to stores.


Hurry and book your appointment now! Our Holiday Hours are as follows:

December 24th, 25th + 26th - CLOSED

December 27th + 28th Open 11-6

December 29th Open 10-4

December 30th + 31st CLOSED

January 1st + 2nd CLOSED

January 3rd + 4th Open 11-6

January 5th Open 10-4

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.


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.


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!

Wedding Theme | Rustic Autumn

Pumpkin spice and everything nice! Fall weddings and its decor selection haven’t appeared to go down in popularity. So if you like a pinch of cinnamon , apples and the colour orange then this is the theme for you!


Autumn weddings give you the ability to use the natural elements as your decor canvas. Being surrounded by beautiful earth tones and bold accents, you definitely have the option of keeping things minimal. Playing with fabrics and textures are a great way to add detail without overwhelming your venue space.


Escort cards really do add a personalized touch to your venue space and overall wedding theme. You can design it to be a “take home” item for your guests or even just a great conversation piece during your wedding reception.


With your table settings… just because the weather has cooled down a tad doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with pops of colour and elegant floral arrangements. Adding things like gold accents and candles can really bring the whole table arrangement together and add a sense of warmth to the decor.


Sparkling champagne cider, s’mores… the choices are endless! Cocktail hour is always a great way to show you and your fiancés personality. This year a big trend is “guest experience” you could even have a small fire pit in the outdoor section of your venue to give guests a cozy feel while celebrating your big day.


For your ceremony space you can go in any direction with your style. Here in this theme we stuck with rustic/modern which is achieved by adding structured metals and earthy toned floral arrangements with candles. Adding different heights in your ceremony space will allow your guests eyes to follow the leading lines of your space with minimal distractions.


For wedding favours if you’re looking for an alternative route, you could try adding a cute play on words with a delicious treat or something homemade with the happy couples personal touch on it that family and friends would love to take home!

This dress from our store would work perfect for a fall themed wedding!

This dress from our store would work perfect for a fall themed wedding!

But regardless of trends, pick what works best for your style and what is the most attractive to you and your fiancé... Happy wedding planning! 

Still looking for your perfect gown?  Book an appointment now to write your Say Yes Story at Once Upon A Time Weddings.

Styling Your Maids.

Here at Once Upon a Time Weddings our main goal is helping you find your dream dress along with offering our unique in-store experience. But, what can we offer after you 'say yes to the dress'? What else is on your wedding to-do list that we can help you check off? How about finding dresses for those most important girls standing next to you on your day! We offer a wide selection of colours and styles for your bridesmaids along with that same in-store experience all over again!

We combined four of our wedding gowns with some of our bridesmaids dresses to show how your maids dresses can help enhance your gown!

This first one we wanted to show case how different necklines and colours can draw your attention to your gorgeous gown. While staying in a fall colour palette, with this plum tone dress you can absolutely have the same neckline as your wedding gown… its simplistic yet elegant style only accentuates your wedding gown and brings out its blush undertones and sparkle.


Now with the halter neckline you cannot lose, its the complete opposite of your gown and still adds a great colour while playing on texture with this chiffon fabric. Both silhouettes bring a great shape to any body type.


Next, we show a way to 'bring out your bling' even more by accenting your dress with maids dresses that have fall inspired colours and lace accents. Here we are keeping more in mind for the cooler season with deep Burgundy and a Navy colour palette. It allows the ivory tone in this horse hair skirt to really pop and be an absolute show stopper.


Thirdly, we are breaking out the lace! This maids dress helps bring out your lace texture and your Ivory wedding gown colour without over doing it. These dresses come in a variety of colours and can make a great statement for any season. (P.S. the blue dress has pockets.. who doesn't love those!?)


Lastly, the boho look! We have combined a long flowing gown with a deep v-neck and a short flirty and fun lace v-neck. Different shades, lengths, and styles; who ever said your girls had to be matching in these categories! This neutral colour scheme goes great for a boho theme, and compliments any skin tone.


So whatever look you're going for with your maids, the stylists at Once Upon A Time Weddings can help pull it all together for you!  Click here to book your maids experience! 

Backyard Wedding Planning Do's + Don'ts


“Remember the little things”

Check with your local law enforcement agency about the noise ordinance applicable to your area. By doing so early enough in advanced you will be able to get a head start on your wedding schedule to comply with sound restrictions. In most communities, the party has to quiet down at 11pm. You should also determine if you need to file for a permit to park cars along your street the last thing you need is the cops crashing your party.



“Respect thy neighbour”

If your neighbours didn’t receive an invite, go beyond the basic courtesy of notifying them by dropping off a bottle of wine or a box of chocolate. Depending on the day and what time of year it is, they may be planning to host a party the same night. Be sure to give them a heads up on the ceremony time so nobody is mowing their lawn during your vows, and perhaps ask if they would be willing to offer their driveways for extra parking space. However, make sure there is enough street space or property of your own to arrange guest parking. If you want valet parking you do have the option of hiring a reputable company to avoid spending your whole evening away from the wedding. (remember Father Of The Bride) 



“Realistic Space”

Regardless if your childhood home is on a sprawling estate, you still have to consider how much indoor space is available. If the rain decides to add itself to the guest list, there has to be somewhere for your guests to take shelter. Tent rental is almost a must with a backyard wedding, it’s a great way to create “zones” in your space... like a traditional wedding venue. You can have the tent space for dining/dancing, an outdoor space for guests to hangout, lawn games, photo booth, guestbook table, destination boards... etc. Renting a dance floor is another essential, dancing on uneven lawn could create some cool new dance style, but save your guests and get them a levelled stable space to dance the night away!



“Guest Accommodations”

No matter how many bathrooms are inside, outdoor weddings require extra toilets. You have to take into account that at least one bathroom for every 35 guests, your company will also need a place to freshen up as well. Upscale portable bathrooms are now available that have lighting, sinks, heated water, and even air-conditioning. Adding an amenity basket in the ladies’ room can make your girls feel even more special and possibly help in a personal emergency situation, stock your baskets with hair spray, tampons, band-aids and breath mints 



“Crunching the Numbers”

Don’t be afraid to adjust your guest list, if you want to have all the traditional items at your event (full dinner, ability to pay for at least some drinks, photo booth, etc). Realistically a small budget equals a smaller guest list. Every bride dislikes the idea of trimming loved ones off the wedding guest list. It becomes even more of a difficult situation when both the bride and the groom come from large families and are blessed to have a big group of friends. Most couples start their guest lists off by divining them into 3 tiers ... A, B and C. For a small wedding, stick solely to the “A” group to ensure those     you would really love to see at your celebration receive an invitation.



“Décor Advantage”

Choosing to do an at home wedding means you have a private residence that is unique with beautiful trees or a gorgeous lawn, maybe a spectacular view. You can use those elements to your advantage... by creating a homey feel by using different centrepieces and mix-and-match vases. The idea is to look like you have cleared out grandma’s china cabinet of all of its unique and delicate pieces. Playing with outdoor lighting possibilities with garden lamps, paper lanterns and tiny white lights strung on branches will create a stunning fairy-like atmosphere.




“Landscaping TLC”

Getting that lawn freshly cut and pristinely green is an essential for hosting an event where your yard is on display. Another good rule of thumb is to get your planting done early, any shrubs or flower beds that need to be added to complete your space should be done well in advanced. If you’re planning on a spring wedding, you should start preparing in the fall. You can do research about reseeding, replanting, and sodding or ask any professional landscaper. Most perennials need a winter to take hold, and it takes some time for annuals to fill out. Be sure to find out the appropriate planting times for the flowers you like, so they will be in full bloom on your wedding day. 




“You Can’t DIY Everything”

Although brides and their parents can be superhero’s who complete the impossible in a small window of time... you can’t do everything on your own. When planning an at home wedding sometimes a wedding coordinator will give you a fresh perspective on the property and what you can and cannot do. You will also need services to help cover all the basics such as: setting up, cooking, serving, parking cars, and cleaning up. 

The perfect new arrival at OUTW for your backyard wedding!

The perfect new arrival at OUTW for your backyard wedding!

Still searching for the perfect gown?  Book your appointment right here.