wedding planning london

3 Ways To Get Organized & Avoid Stress

During times of overwhelm or stress, there are three things you can do to help reduce stress. Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings bridal store, Erin Bouchard shares these three things with brides!

May Real Bride | Jordan's Dress

This week's Real Bride post is all about Jordan's journey to saying yes to the dress! She came into Once Upon A Time Weddings on January 30th, found her dream dress, and got married on November 26th of the same year. Here is what she had to say about her bridal gown shopping experience...

Did you try on dresses before coming to OUTW?

"Yes."

About how many dresses did you try on before you found 'The One'?

"Too many to remember!"

Were you expecting to purchase your dress when you came in for your appointment?

"I had lost hope of finding a dress that day, my earlier appointment at another shop failed to give me any hope. Being pregnant was starting to show and I knew it wouldn't be long before trying on dresses became unrealistic."

Who was with you at your appointment?

"My mother, aunt, sister, sister in law and two of my very best friends."

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!"

How was your experience at Once Upon A Time Weddings?

"Amazing! Sharon was so helpful and sat with us prior to pulling some dresses. She really listened to what I wanted and envisioned. It was an amazing experience!"

What did your (now) husband think of your dress?

"He loved that it was backless and expected me to wear something similar to what I picked! He knows me so well!"

All photographs by C & T Photography.

Join us next week, for a post all about Jordan and Daniel's wedding day!

If you are feeling hopeless about finding your dream dress, don't settle! Book your appointment at Once Upon A Time Weddings for a true bridal experience!

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!

How to Plan a Destination Wedding

For some brides a destination wedding has been their dream all along!  Maybe because they've always dreamt of getting married on a beach, but live up north.  Maybe because they have an extensive guest list but don't have the funds to pay for that many people.  Whatever the reason is destination weddings still involve lots of planning! From finding local vendors to packing your wedding day essentials a week in advance, we've put together 10 tips for planning your dream destination wedding!

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

Kerri sporting a 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. 

There are so many fun + unique ideas for destination save the dates!

There are so many fun + unique ideas for destination save the dates!

3. Research legalities of the region: 

-Are there different marriage requirements in that country, will you require insurance, etc.

4. Check the local weather for the wedding week.

There's lost of creative + unique room when planning a destination wedding!

There's lost of creative + unique room when planning a destination wedding!

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

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

9. 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!

10. Be prepared that some loved ones may not be able to afford the trip when making the decision to get married away from home.

We think this new arrival to the store would be a perfect destination gown because it's light and flowy, it's super elegant and the colour would be perfect against a beach or mountain background!

We think this new arrival to the store would be a perfect destination gown because it's light and flowy, it's super elegant and the colour would be perfect against a beach or mountain background!

Still in search of a unique gown for your designation wedding? Book an appointment to check out all our unique + beautiful dresses.

How to: Thank You Notes.

We all know the joy of going to our mail box and receiving a letter! But, after your wedding it can seem like such a daunting task when you finally sit down to write all those thank you notes. So, we've come up with a few simple tips to help make this process a little easier and quicker!

1. Hand written is most genuine! Don't cheap out and print a generic thank you note for everyone, in our world of emails, texts, and the internet it means so much more when receiving a hand written letter in the mail. Especially after a guest has spent their time + money to come to your wedding!

2. Format. 

        A) Make sure you spell their name right when addressing the letter! This might seem like      a given but on your 12th note you might start getting a little too lackadaisical. 

        B) Thank you for the ______ (be descriptive! name the gift!)

                 -If it's money, thank them for their generosity.

        C) State how you're going to use the gift. I cannot wait to hang up the clock in our kitchen!

                 -If it's money, tell them how you plan on spending it! 

         D) Tell them why you're thankful for their friendship or maybe for traveling to your wedding.

         E) Close with some sort of "thanks again for..."

3. Maybe include a printed picture of them from the wedding. This is an extra nice way to show you were thinking about them when you printed your wedding pictures off. 

4. Don't forget about your vendors! We, as vendors, absolutely LOVE seeing pictures of you on your wedding day! Whether it be a picture during the ceremony for the officiant, a picture of you + your groom showcasing the venue, or a close up of you getting ready for your make up artist; we all appreciate getting to see our service showcased uniquely + beautifully on your wedding day!

We can't wait to see our past brides and futures brides on their wedding days!

Still looking for your dream dress? Click here to book an appointment.

Not Budging On Your Budget

Creating a budget for your wedding right after the holiday's can be a daunting thought, but coming up with a realistic budget is an important first step to planning your wedding. We've come up with some tips to help you create and stick to your budget. 

1. Come up with your own percentage system on how much you want to spend for each category of your budget. For example, we've put together a "typical" wedding percentage budget system below:

 

Reception (venue & food/drinks): 47 percent.      Ceremony: 2 percent        

Attire: 10 percent.      Flowers: 7 percent.        Entertainment/Music: 8 percent

Photography/Videography: 10 percent.          Stationery: 2 percent

Wedding Rings: 2 percent.        Transportation/Lodging: 2 percent        Gifts: 2 percent

Miscellaneous: 8 percent

This might seem tedious but breaking your budget down into smaller portions will make sticking to your budget easier and less intimidating rather than always looking the dollar signs as a whole.

 

2. Keep your receipts and have a running list of costs. Make an excel sheet and enter in spent amounts once a week (or as you spend). This is a great way to keep a running total of what you've spent without missing things you might have ordered online that don't come with an in-hand receipt. 

3. Don't forget the small stuff costs too! When planning out your budget it is easy to factor in the big stuff like your dress, your photographer, the venue...but don't forget that the smaller details cost too! Such as, tips for your vendors, thank you cards, stamps, wedding shoes, bachelor/ette parties, marriage license, out of season flowers costing more, meals the morning/day of, taxes, etc.

4. DIY! Okay so this is awesome! DIY is actually trendy right now so this makes it so much easier to cut back on things when its actually 'cool' to do it yourself! Think about baking your own cake and desserts or making your own invitations for free online. There's endless amounts of DIY ideas on Pinterest to walk you through the how to.

5. Get back to the basics! Remember your day is about becoming one with your spouse and celebrating with the people you love. When you can get your thoughts back to those key components all the other details seem a lot less stressful.

Click here to book an appointment with us!

Ramblings of A Bridal Store Owner.

This week has been a busy week at the store. But I feel like that’s true for every week.  We welcomed several brides into the Once Upon A Time Weddings #bridetribe this month already!

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is just over five weeks away.  Amber decorated the store for the holidays this week and it looks so festive and cheery.  It’s been such a mild fall that it’s hard to believe that Christmas is so close.

I love owning a bridal store.  I know I’ve said that before.  But I want to talk to you about having a bridal experience.  We work really hard to give brides an unforgettable experience.  From the atmosphere of our store, to the expertise of the staff, to our exclusive wedding gowns.  It’s all part of your gown finding experience.

But lately we’ve had brides into the store who are big fans of Say Yes to The Dress.  While I think that show is entertaining there are a couple three things to keep in mind when shopping for your gown.

1.     Most brides don’t have an instant knowing that this is THE ONE.  It usually is a gradual feeling.  They like the gown, they can picture getting married in it.  The longer they are in the gown, the more in love they fall with the gown.

2.     Not every mom cries.  I’ve had a few brides get upset when their mom isn’t in tears.  But honestly every one responds differently to emotional situations.  It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love it or that she doesn’t want you to purchase it.

3.     You don’t have to bring a large entourage to make it an experience.  Bring those who you absolutely must have present to make a decision.  You can do a bridal reveal party after the decision has been made and the pressure is off.  We really want your opinion to shine through loudest at the end of the appointment.  Sometimes that’s difficult with a large entourage.

We are gearing up for our Christmas Soiree event on December 1st from 7-9PM.  This event will be an evening of champagne, food, free swag and hanging out.  It’s our way of saying thanks for another great year in business.  We’d love for you to join us, even if you haven’t purchased your gown from our store.   We also have several other wedding vendors who will be participating with us.  You must RSVP to come but it’s completely FREE to attend.  Email us at info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca or calling the store at 519.245.7997.

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We also have our Santa is Coming to Once Upon A Time Weddings promotion.  We are giving one bride a FREE gown!! Purchase your gown between now and the end of December and you’ll be entered the draw.  One lucky bride will receive a FULL refund {minus the sales tax}.  See in store for full details.