where to start with wedding planning

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 :)

Spotlight On A Wedding Vendor {Soul Photography}

One of the greatest things about owning a bridal store is the opportunity to meet other local wedding vendors. Over the next few months Once Upon A Time Weddings will be highlighting some of these professionals in our Spotlight On A Wedding Vendor blog posts.

Our first Spotlight On A Wedding Vendor will feature Wendy Hord of Soul Photography. Soul Photography is based out of Lucan, ON and offers Boudoir, Engagement and Wedding Day photography to brides all over Southwestern Ontario. I have had the privilege of working with Wendy on a couple of photo shoots and adore her eye for detail, her artistic and fun loving personality and the beautiful moments she captures. Wendy is very passionate about weddings and that is definitely portrayed when you work with her and view her images.

According to Wendy of Soul Photography, the best part of being a wedding photographer is the opportunity to constantly create and capture images, people and their special events, in new ways and in different locations on a continual basis. “It’s like being an author and an illustrator of my couples love stories“, says Wendy. I asked her if she could give our brides a couple of mistakes to avoid when looking at & booking wedding photography for your big day. Here’s what she had to say…


This is certainly not a step to skip. Along with availability, a great package and talent your photographer needs to be a good fit for you both as a couple. Personality, professionalism and enthusiasm are a must, as your photographer is the one professional that will be working closely with you for the entire Wedding Day.

2/ FAILING TO PAY DEPOSIT TO SECURE DATE: This sounds bizarre but I see this happening on a weekly basis on social media where brides are frantically searching for a new photographer 2 weeks before the big day. I cant even image how much stress this would bring on!! I have a hunch this happens to brides once the photographer says that they are available and that they would love to work together etc…in the brides minds its like “Phew!” that’s done, marks it in her calendar,…but then fails to connect and firm things up with the photographer (ie deposit and signed contract which makes the date booked).

3/ NOT STICKING TO A TIMELINE: Like I said, my clients are amazing with timelines…likely because at our first initial consult I talk about this and impress how important a timeline is and how it really dictates how smooth, efficient, and fun it can make your Wedding Day…(and we even add in little buffer times) so if the groom splits his pants or your bridesmaid forgets the brides purse…its all good we will have a few minutes to run back) Bottom line is create one with your photographer right off the start…even Wedding Planners recommend, and strongly encourage this as their talent and services ride strongly on a good timeline and details as well.

4/ FAILING TO DELEGATE TASKS: This can happen to any couple even an assertive bride or groom, because planning a Wedding can at times be such information/task overload it gets over looked when the bride and groom are running out of steam for planning. Thanks to my first ever Wedding, my Bride Jacqui gave me the pleasure of working with and shooting “the perfect” Wedding in every way and it all came down to organization and delegating and a positive attitude. I talk about this with my couples at initial consult and also add a reminder in our meeting a couple of weeks before the big day. So brides…Do ask and kindly delegate tasks/errands/responsibilities to your Wedding Party, friends or family that you know you can rely on. Even simple things can make all the difference (bringing balloons to the photo location, moving the cooler to the limo, making sure your luggage gets into the vehicle you will be taking to the hotel that night etc). This works to free up the couples minds on the big day and lets them just enjoy their celebration, and even take a moment to relax, laugh and converse with each other without having a mind cluttered with virtual sticky notes!

One of the best parts of Soul Photography’s services is that Wendy provides a primary (all inclusive type) Wedding Photo package which includes your engagement session...and UNLIMITED hours of coverage, and UNLIMITED images on your big day, plus all images on USB & on-line digital album for viewing, sharing and downloading (both web and print sized files included). This ensures that she will capture all the great moments and candid shots as well.

For more information or to book Soul Photography, you can reach Wendy in the following ways..

wendy logo.png

Phone: 519-318-8010

E-mail: contactsoulphotography@gmail.com

Website: http://soulphotography.ca/

Facebook: Soul Photography (look for the lime green circle)

What to do if you panic...

Not all brides do it. But it’s not completely uncommon. What happens if you get home, your heart starts pounding and you start regretting the decision that you just made? Let’s talk about bridal panic for a minute.  If you didn't panic, don't panic now, that's ok too :)


It’s been a day you’ll remember for a while. You went dress shopping. It was a great day with mom and maybe a friend or two. Maybe you even dragged grams along for the ride. You found the gown. You pictured walking down the aisle. You said yes. Maybe mom cried, maybe she didn’t. {it’s still your gown either way} Then you get home. You are excited but then the finalization of what you just did hits you in a wave of sheer panic. Shut the front door! Did I just really find a gown? WHAT DID I SAY YES TO!? There are a number of reasons why this panic might be hitting you and they’re not bad reasons and it’s not uncommon.

The first reason is you might feel like you didn’t shop enough. How can it be this easy? Shouldn’t I have dragged mom and grams to every store there is before I decided. Many brides, partially thanks to good, old reality tv shows feel like every bride must try on every single dress to be found before making a decision. Or they see their drama tv shows and think that it must really be that hard to find a gown. But it’s not. It doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t have to try on 22 gowns to know FOR SURE. Because the truth is once you find one you love, you’ll just keep searching for something so similar to that one that you may end up getting frustrated or overwhelmed. So remind yourself that it doesn’t have to be difficult and just because it was easy, doesn’t mean that it was wrong.

Another reason is that sometimes that purchase suddenly makes the whole wedding feel real. A lot of times it’s not even about the dress, it’s about the realness of the decision that you are committing to. Remember to breath and remember all those reasons you said yes to the proposal. You are getting married. Don’t let that scare you, let it excite you.

Whatever reason you are panicking, reach out to us. We’ve helped brides who have felt the same way, and we’re HERE for you. Call, text, email, Facebook message, morse code us. It’s part of our job and if you have any questions or concerns then reach out to us. It’s a sad part of our reality, that brides think to hop online and write a negative review or complain publicly before they’ve even chatted with us. We can’t fix a problem we don’t know exists If you are able to, come back into the store and slip that gown back on and you’ll realize all over again why you love it and why you said yes.

If you do think you want to change your mind take the high road. You are signing a contract and you are agreeing to abide by the outlines of the contract. If you change your mind or want us to alter that contract for any reason, remember you are asking us to change. Don’t treat us like we did something wrong by selling you, your gown. Be respectful and remember we are human beings too. Calling us names or being rude won’t get you anywhere. Every single one of us working at Once Upon A Time Weddings cares so much about our brides & our customers that we want the absolute best for you. We want you to love your gown and be so, so happy with your choice long after the I Do’s. But we are a business and we have contracts in place for a reason. All we’re asking is that you be mature about the decision you are making. We agree to take the journey with you and be there every step of the way.

Don’t have a gown yet? We'd love to walk with you through your gown shopping experience... Click here to book your bridal appointment and start enjoying the benefits of our expertise right away.

What I Wish Every Bride Knew, Part 1

What I Wish Every Bride Knew… About Being Engaged.

By: Erin Bouchard
Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings

 You’re engaged!  Whether you’ve been waiting for a long time for that shiny ring of yours or your fiancé completely surprised you, you are about to embark on a new journey together.  This is the first of a 5 part blog series that will help you navigate through some of the big decisions you will need to make now that you’ve gone from girlfriend to fiancé!   In this first part we’ll tackle what to do first, how to announce your engagement in style, as well as cover three important decisions you should make ASAP.  So grab a glass of bubbly and get ready to jump in!

The Essential Thing You Must Do Now That You’re Engaged.

The very first thing that you should do is call your insurance company and add your engagement ring to your policy.  Because if heaven forbid something happens to your ring, I’m betting your fiancé doesn’t want to have to buy you a second one!  Insurance can be purchased as an extension or sometimes called adding a rider, to your renter’s or home insurance.  Call your insurance company today to get it added on.

Announcing Your Engagement

There are so many cute ways to announce that you’re engaged.  Before you post it on social media make sure you have let all close friends & family members know personally.  Send them a quick email, text or give them a quick call.  Then post away on facebook, Instagram, twitter, etc.  Be prepared for lots of questions regarding date, venue, etc!  Throwing an engagement party is a good way to celebrate with family, friends and a great way to introduce members of the wedding party.  Or it might even be a fun way to ask your guys & girls to be part of your wedding party.  An engagement party can be as low key or as formal as you want it to be.

engagement announcement.jpg

Three Important Decisions to Make Right Away

The first important decision to make is where the wedding will be held at.  This is crucial because it will determine your wedding date.  Start researching wedding ceremony and venue locations right away.  Draft a rough draft or your guest list so you have an approximate idea of number of guests before narrowing down your list of potential venues.  Schedule a few tours and get some more information on your top choices.  If you’re planning a backyard wedding or a wedding at the family farm, call a couple rental companies and ensure availability of a tent.

The second important decision is to decide on your wedding party.  Talk to your fiancé about how many people they are planning to ask to stand up with them.  Then ask your wedding party to be part of your big day.  Search pinterest for this as there are a ton of cute and fun ways to ask.

ask bridesmaids.jpg

The final decision you should do right away is research local wedding shows.  Bridal shows are a great thing to attend when you’re first engaged as they are a great way to meet local wedding vendors, chat with other local brides and see some fun bridal fashions.  For a list of bridal shows in Southwestern Ontario check out the Wedding Ring’s list http://www.theweddingring.ca/year.listevents/2011/03/23/.  Browse through your local bridal shows and choose a couple to attend.

I hope you enjoyed this article and got some good information on what you should do now that you are engaged.  Next Friday I`ll tackle What I Wish Every Bride Knew About- Setting A Budget for the Wedding.  If you have any questions, concerns or need to reach me you can email me at info@onceuponatimeweddings.ca, call me at 519.245.7997 or text me at 519.319.9441.

Be Beautiful!

Erin Bouchard

Owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings.