wedding store

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

The Question That I Really, Really Dislike.

This is a blog that I originally wrote a couple of years ago.  However, I feel like it's time to share again.  As a business owner, I sometimes get asked a question that I dislike.  That question is, "is that the lowest price you'll go". Or some version of this question.  There's a few reasons that I don't like that question and here's why.

Sometimes you get what you pay for.

First of all, Once Upon A Time Weddings is not competing in the lowest price gown category. We carefully select our gowns {from literally thousands & thousands available for us to buy} based on the quality and workmanship of the gown itself. I am of the belief that you get what you pay for and sometimes spending a bit more to get a better quality is necessary. Sure, you can find gowns that are cheaper than ours at other bridal stores, but we want you to purchase a gown that’s well made so it alters easier and is comfortable to wear for an entire day. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you want to take your gown off before dessert has even been served.

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I spend a great deal of time and money developing my skills & honing my profession.

The second reason that this question bothers me is that I have spent thousands of dollars on my training. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to sell wedding gowns. I attend conferences twice a year and stay on top of industry standards and trends. I belong to a group of talented bridal stores from all across the world that I spend time networking with and learning from. We strive to be the best in our industry - an industry that’s highly competitive and constantly changing. It’s not a job we take lightly or do because it’s so much fun {although it is fun, well most days}. It’s not a hobby or an after school activity. We don't dare ask our dentists, lawyers, physiotherapists, “is this the best price you can give me?”. We wouldn’t dream of it, because we respect those professions, the schooling they have done and the work they do. But then, why do wedding professionals get asked that question all the time? Why is it okay in one industry, but no one would dream of asking it in another?

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I take it personally.

If I’m being completely honest, the third reason I dislike the question is because I take it personally. My entire life is wrapped into this bridal store. I spend insane amounts of time working, developing, planning, strategizing and so much more for our brides. Often when I get asked this question it’s after I have spent a good amount of time working with my bride. I feel like I have taken the time to get to know her and that I’ve connected with her. When the dreaded question comes up, I feel as though the amount of work I’ve spent both before she’s ever arrived to my store and during the appointment have in some way not been good enough. Or that maybe they don’t value my expertise.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m female, which means I’m all for getting a deal. The rush of getting something on sale. I’ve been known to purchase something simply because it was on sale. I tell my husband all the time, that I’m determined to be successful because I love pretty things. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get a good deal or save some money. It’s why if you have come to a bridal appointment at Once Upon A Time Weddings, you know we don’t like to put you in a gown above your budget without your expressed permission. It’s just that the question of, “what’s the best price you can give me on this gown” tends to be a bit insulting.

Photograph by Amanda Kopcic Photography: www.amandakopcic.com

Photograph by Amanda Kopcic Photography: www.amandakopcic.com

If you still dare to ask it, you’ll most likely be greeted with a warm smile and the response, the best price I can give you is the one that’s on the price tag. Because to be honest, I don’t run this business to be a millionaire. We take time to strategically price our goods to offer both good value to our customers and to make a living to us. This is our livelihood. It’s what we do to feed our family and make sure they have what they need. And it's not just my livelihood, I have a team that rely on me to make good business decisions and continue to be able to pay them.  

Think of it this way: if you would be offended by your boss strolling into your office and asking what’s the lowest you’ll accept on your next paycheque, then please think twice before asking that dreaded question.

We simply adore our brides & working with them.  The goal of this blog isn't to insult, but to educate you.  We love what we do each and every day.  We love the role we get to have in our bride's wedding days.   

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When LIFE gives you LEMONS.

Running a bridal business has so many ups and downs, so many decisions to be made.  Just when you think you got a good handle on those decisions, life gives you lemons.  You come to a crossroad and you must choose how to proceed.  Let me just tell you, we have enough lemonade over here for everyone in this town!  

A shot of owner, Erin Bouchard standing in the original Once Upon A Time Weddings location at 6 Front St. W. Photography by Nova Markina.

A shot of owner, Erin Bouchard standing in the original Once Upon A Time Weddings location at 6 Front St. W. Photography by Nova Markina.

When I opened my business I searched and searched for the PERFECT location to open up my bridal store.  I looked at some real special places, some that needed lots of work and some that would have been okay.  When I found 6 Front St. W I was excited to watch the renovations and felt like we had found our home.  When we were approached two years ago to move from 6 Front St. W to 2 Front St. W we were excited for the change.  We felt the space better represented our brand and the feel we were going for with the store.  After we moved we were quite disappointed to find out that we would not have an option to renew our lease.  So we talked to landlord last December and decided we would start the agonizing search of finding a new home for Once Upon A Time Weddings.  We again searched through many properties.  Some might have worked, some we immediately returned home and showered.  Given the unique challenge of running a business while trying to raise a family and balance the rest of our lives, we decided to look for a building we could live in and run the business out.

A shot of Once Upon A Time Weddings when it was located at 2 Front St. W in Strathroy.

A shot of Once Upon A Time Weddings when it was located at 2 Front St. W in Strathroy.

It seemed our prayers and hopes had been answered when we located 20 Caradoc St. N in Strathroy.  It was the perfect combination of store and family home.  It’s recently been beautifully redone and we were excited about the possibility of relocating the store to this location.  

We talked to our current landlord and were given the green light to go ahead and break our lease early in order to secure this new location.  Our lease had no escape clause, but we trusted her word that we were good to go.  We did all the necessary steps that needed to be taken to move down the road.  We were excited, tired, and couldn’t wait to reopen at our new location.

A shot of the front door at the NEW location of 20 Caradoc St. N in Strathroy.

A shot of the front door at the NEW location of 20 Caradoc St. N in Strathroy.

For about a month we lived the dream.  It seemed we had a great set up.  I felt like my life was manageable.  Like I could help brides say yes to the dress, while juggling all of my other responsibilities.  

Then the lemons came.

We were told we were going to be held responsible for the last year of our lease.  That she wasn’t accepting our 90 day written notice as escaping our contractual obligations.

So, here we stand at the crossroads.  Do we admit defeat and pay off the balance of our lease?  Or do we move the store back down the road for the last year of our term?  Do we do something else with the old store - like bridesmaids or an outlet bridal store?  

Unfortunately, while our legal team works this one out, we continue to stand at this crossroads.  Our promise to you, our customers, is that as we know more we’ll let you know.  That we’ll let you journey this road with us.  And we’ll even let you help us move our stuff back too if that’s the route we end up going.

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