wedding trends

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.

Your Bridal Experience Awaits.-2.jpg

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.

Surviving the Guest List.

Most brides are surprised by just how hard creating and sticking to a guest list is. In fact, a large number of newly married couples say that was the hardest part of wedding planning.

How do you decide on the guest list? Do you allow dates for all your single friends? How do you tell your cousin that she can't bring her children? Do you have to invite all your co-workers?

These are just some of the issues that brides face as they plan their I Do's. This blog will look at all these issues so that you can eliminate some of the guest list stress.

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The first and most important aspect to deciding your guest list is how many people your venue can comfortably hold. Speak with your event coordinator at your venue and get a realistic idea of how many people you can invite while leaving enough room to dance and enjoy the party. Make sure to also think about budget here. Each person you invite will cost a certain amount of money, so discuss with your fiance and your parents just how many people you can afford to invite to the wedding.

Make a list of every person that you can think of that you'd want to come to your wedding. Keep in mind you will have to cut some people, but write down anyone that you'd even remotely think of inviting. Then highlight off the people you absolutely must invite. Once you have your list to this stage meet with your fiance's parents and your parents. Review both the highlighted list and the want-to invite list. Discuss with them who they would really like to invite. It is your wedding, but it's also their celebration so try to keep their opinion in mind as you move forward to the final selections.

Keep in mind that just because you were invited to a friend's wedding doesn't mean you absolutely have to invite them to yours. Friendships evolve and you might not be as close as you once were. Or their venue may have accomodated more people than yours does.

Everyone has an opinion about kids at a wedding. Some people think it's great to invite them, while others feel like weddings are not a place for kids. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, you need to make sure you are consistent. It may cause more tension if you decide to invite some kids and not others. At the end of the day, parents of young children will enjoy themselves at the wedding alot more if they aren't chasing after little ones or trying to keep them quiet during the ceremony. Once your decision has been made, then stick to your guns. If you decide against having children at the wedding then don't apologize or allow others to make you feel guilty for having a kid-free wedding. A good idea is to make sure that you have it clearly stated on your invitations that kids will not be allowed at the wedding or who exactly out of the family you are inviting.

Photography by Nova Markina

Photography by Nova Markina

Should you invite all your co-workers? I believe this firmly depends on your work environment. If you only work with a handful of people then I think it's best to invite either all of them or none. If you work with many people, then think about whether or not you socialize with your co-workers outside of the office. Do you consider them friends? Do you know their personal cell number and use it? Then they should probably be on the guest list. If not, you can probably skip them. Again, don't let co-workers bully you into giving them an invitation. Stick to your guest list and don't apologize for it. After all, it's your wedding.

As far as dates for single and unmarried friends is concerned, if a friend is in a serious relationship or engaged to be married then you should invite their significant other. If they are casually dating or single, then don't feel like you have to give them a plus one, especially if numbers are tight. Good rule of thumb, you should never write "and guest" on an invitation, you should know their name. If you don't know and feel like they should be invited then find out. There usually is quite a few singles at a wedding, seat them with friends and people they will be comfortable with and they will have fun without a date.

Guest lists can be quite a headache. But if you work together with your fiance, your parents and your fiance's parents, you will survive! Remember to breathe. Keep the end goal in mind. A beautiful marriage!

Be Beautiful!

Erin Bouchard
Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings located in downtown Strathroy. If you have found this blog to be helpful, please share the love! Also please subscribe to this blog to receive even more great articles and helpful advice as you go from MISS to MRS.

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

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!


Erin Bouchard

Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings

A Non-Cheesy Way to Include Thanksgiving into Your Wedding Day

Love Thanksgiving? What a perfect theme to incorporate into your wedding! It’s a season of love and food! There are ways to add that homey holiday flare without constructing some form of a paper turkey. Especially if your wedding day happens to “fall” right on the holiday weekend!.

For your table settings think harvest theme, use thanksgiving inspired ingredients in a fresh way for your menu, while expressing thanks to your loved ones in a number of ways throughout the celebrations.

For your table decor don’t be afraid to add multiple elements such as candles, fresh produce, foliage garlands and any other autumn-ish decor items. To add even more of your traditions or to make your guests feel more at home, add touches such as various household items, rugs and comfy furniture.

For escort cards adding something such as pairs with your guests names on the leaves adds a personal touch for your family and friends (you could do this with any fruit to match your theme/venue)

For venue spaces, nothing says the holidays like a family home or a rustic barn space. You can also use an outdoor space (weather pending). Adding area rugs to your aisle can also add warmth and compliment your colour palette.

Bring your furry friends, having the family dog be part of the wedding couldn’t make it feel anymore like you’re at home on the holidays.

For entertainment, you can always go with a traditional band or DJ. However, if you do have any musical talent in the family add them into the mix and bring that personal touch to your special day while making it really feel like the holidays.

Now for cocktail hour, the fall season brings plenty of options for drinks and desserts! For beverages you can do a seasonal punch or even a mulled cider which is delicious served hot or cold.

For an eclectic flare, use mismatched plates and serve ware to add more rustic charm and family tradition to your place settings. Even using some of your family’s china will bring a personal touch. Rental companies also offer great options for this style.

Other than a traditional wedding cake/cupcakes , there is one other dessert alternative that we love to indulge during the holidays… PIE. Some brides have even had a specific pie station with multiple classic flavours. But don’t forget about our good autumn friend the apple, there are so many options. The most popular is an apple dipping table for guests to have fun and create their own take home snack!

Leave us a comment on ways you included Thanksgiving into your wedding day, we'd love to hear!

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more wedding inspiration and behind the scenes bridal store moments!

Still searching for that perfect wedding gown? Book your experience with us today!

*All photographs curtesy of Pinterest*

Wedding Theme | Industrial Chic

Industrial themed weddings have been very popular this year and will continue to be for the rest of the season. If you're into bare walls, rusty metals, and interesting light fixtures... this is the theme for you! 


The reason this theme seems to be so popular, is the fact that it allows a lot of room for creativity and blending together a bride + groom's eclectic styles while embracing that classic vintage charm. This venue space works great for autumn and winter wedding season when you need a fabulous indoor space. (Industrial rooftop terrace is also a great option!)


With an industrial themed wedding you can get as creative with your guests spaces as you would like! 

We think that this new gown arriving to our store would be a perfect style for the industrial, chic theme!

We think that this new gown arriving to our store would be a perfect style for the industrial, chic theme!

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! 

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

Wedding Theme | Modern

It's no secret that rustic weddings are all the rage right now.  And while we adore a good barn wedding just as much as the next gal, we're also digging the shift to more modern weddings.  And after this blog, you'll love it too.


Like any wedding theme, the key is to find a theme that suits you + your fiancé.  Don't do something just because something is or isn't popular.  Browse themes on Pinterest or Brides website.  There's no right or wrong wedding theme.

Photograph by  HRM Photography

Photograph by HRM Photography

You can totally have fun with whatever theme you decide on for your wedding day!  Embrace the unique and don't be afraid to do something "out of the box".

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

Bachelorette Planning

It's almost summer time!! Which means it's the perfect time to plan your bachelorette party!  Today on the blog, we've got some tips for planning the ultimate bash!

Make It Personal:

This event is of course for the bride, so make sure to take your time and ask specific questions to clarify the vibe. Reserve a quiet day at the spa? Or fancy dinner out with your girls? It is important to pay close attention to what the bride’s preferences are, even if they don’t necessarily match with your vision and clash with your personal expectations. Some want an all nighter bar experience, but maybe she sees herself doing a casual wine tasting weekend with her best friends in cute outfits.

Try taking this same approach to other elements of the party, like games, food and drink, presents and so on. It is important to make sure it’s tailored to who she is as an individual and what she prefers. Ultimately the bride will love you for taking the time to actually fulfill your bridal party duties and plan something special for her!.


The Sooner The Better:

Start planning early, there is a lot of organization and communication that needs to take place during bachelorette planning. Your best option is to be on top of your game by researching options, and be flexible to feedback. There is no set rules when to throw a bachelorette party, however approximately a month in advance of the wedding is a good timeframe to follow. It’s not so close to the big day which means the bride will be able to have more fun and not be so stressed and busy, but it’s also not so far away that the occasion starts to take a back seat.


Set The Guest List:

You want to keep most of the details a surprise, but a good rule of thumb is to discuss the invite list with the bride-to-be. If there is one thing to remember.. don’t ask anyone who isn’t also invited to the actual wedding. If the bride also has future sister-in-laws, it’s best to just include them even if they aren’t super close.

After the list is all set, aim to get the word out at least two months before the party, this gives people time to clear their schedules or make travel arrangements. You don’t need all the details finalized, but it’s best to know sooner than later if there are any serious conflicts with anyone on the guest list. This would also be the time to mention how much you expect the occasion to cost, per person, this saves anyone feeling resentful later on when they’re paying $200 for dinner and drinks when they hadn’t even really planned on spending half of that.


Set A Budget:

Everyone’s favourite conversation among friends.. money! It can be an awkward conversation but with other bridesmaids in the mix it needs to be discussed. Talk with the other members of the bridal party about how much each of you can realistically afford to spend on the bash, there are usually some negotiations that take place until everyone is on the same page. Knowing now what you can spend later will help with the options on what a kind of party you want to throw.

While we are on the topic of finances, don’t make it about the gifts. Presents are not a pre requisite to gain admittance to this party. There seems to be a misconception that every wedding-related activity has to involve some form of gifts. It is always fun watching your friends open boxes of every type of intimate wear imaginable, but it definitely isn’t a mandatory party of a bachelorette.


From Point A To Point B:

Depending on where you’re going or what you’re doing transportation can be crucial. You may want to consider hiring a limo driver, car service or a party bus. Whatever you decide to invest in, it is essential to have a way to safely transport a large group of girls who, let’s be real, will most likely be drinking over the duration of the night. Don’t leave this last minute either, call around for rates and book your service at least a month in advance.


All in all it is important to also accept help, if the other girls in your party are volunteering their services to pick up decorations, buying food and drinks, setting everything up, you take it! 

Happy Planning!