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

Present Over Perfect.

It’s so crazy that Christmas is 4 days away. Today I thought I’d share a blog I originally wrote two years ago. And while some things have changed since then {those two sweet boys were returned to their mama and this year we also have an adorable 13 year old joining in on the Bouchard family fun} I thought it was fitting to share again.

Last fall I read a book by Shauna Niequist called, “Present Over Perfect.”  It was the perfect timing because one month before Christmas we received an emergency, same day placement of two babies – a one year old and a two year old.  The concepts of that book quickly sprang to life as I was forced to let go of perfectionism. 

As we near the holidays again I wanted to share some of what I learned from this book, because it’s not only applicable to the holiday season but also to those in the throes of wedding planning.

I get so caught up in perfectionism.

The perfect tree.

The perfectly wrapped presents in matching paper.
The perfect family day.

The perfectly behaved children.


I want it all.  I want the food to taste amazing.  The kids to not fight.  The family to have no drama.


I set these high expectations.  


But what my family needs is for me to present.

To delight in them.

To spend time with them.

To be present.

Why am I seeking perfection when what they need most from me is presence?

So, what if I use the leftover napkins from last year instead of buying new ones.

So, what if I don’t have enough matching silverware and we use mismatched?

Will Christmas continue? Will anyone notice?


Those things don’t matter in the grand scheme of the holidays.


This year I chose present.

I chose to be organized and prepared so that I wasn’t stressed.

I hosted dinner for my entire extended family on Saturday.  And instead of getting stressed with how much I had to do, I paced myself and I chose to include my kids in the preparations, and to enjoy the season.  To look at Christmas through their eyes, remove some of my expectations and delight in being fully present.  To be organized and to let some things slide. To find delight in their presence. After all they will only be this age at Christmas, this year.


Why am I telling you this?

Because I truly believe it’s a choice.  One that each one of us can choose.

Are we striving for perfection or are we choosing to be present?


This holiday season, choose to be present.  Choose to not care if the floor is a bit dirty or if the kids are a bit cranky.  Choose to spend time with people, not just money on them.


It’s the same with wedding planning.  There are tons of things you can stress out about.

Are the napkins the same exact shade as the bridesmaids’ gowns? 

Will the ring bearer make it down the aisle?

Will everything come together perfectly?


I'm not saying don't enjoy the small things.  I'm not saying don't care about wedding planning.


Just don't let those small things pull you away from what matters most: the people around you.

Let go of some of the desire for perfection and celebrate the start of your new life together.  Write the beginning of that chapter as present instead of perfection.

So whether you’re in the throes of planning a wedding, finishing your Christmas preparations or both, pause. Soak it all in. Let the little things go. Notice smiles and laughter. Soak it all up.

I wish you the Merriest of Christmases.

May you be present this year.

XO Erin

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

20 Things You Might Not Know About Erin Bouchard.

Happy Friday! It’s hard to believe that it’s December already. As we head into a busy season, surrounded by family, filled with food and love, I wanted to take a minute to share some things about me. I’ve been at the helm of Once Upon A Time Weddings since we opened our doors on September 20th, 2010.

And although I don’t work as much in the store as I once did, hello three kids and another part time business, I absolutely love that I get to own Once Upon A Time Weddings.


So here’s 20 things you might not know about me. I’d love to share in the comments one things I might not know about you.

  1. I am a huge introvert. I work with people all day and I totally can do it. But it drains me and I need to recharge before more people interaction.

  2. I have endometriosis. I’ve spoken about this a few times on our social media and blogs. But I have stage 2 endometriosis and had laparoscopic surgery last February. I’m waiting to have excision surgery with a specialist.

  3. I love reading. Seriously the queen of reading over here. My favourite way to pass time is to read. I believe there’s always more information out there for us to learn.

  4. I love my family. My husband is amazing and I have the three greatest kids in the world. Our oldest, L is 13 and has been with our family since March. Ethan is 9 and Arianna is 6. Every year I think these are the best ages, the most fun.

  5. I have always wanted to have 5 kids. We’re 3/5 of the way there. And we can’t say too much, but we’re working on filling those last two spots. So keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

  6. I love the beach. I love the sound of the waves. I’d love to live on a lake one day and walk the beach every night.

  7. I can be really blunt. If you’ve been around me for more than like 5 minutes, you likely already know this. I sometimes, okay, most of the time, say it like it is. I work hard to soften the bluntness but sometimes that’s a fail.

  8. my husband is the exact opposite of me, personality wise. I make really quick decisions and am super fast-paced. He’s more analytical and likes to take his time making decisions. We somehow work, now that we understand each other’s personality types better.

  9. I’m addicted to coffee.  Like serious problem addicted.  I drink way too much. It’s a real problem.

  10. I have a degree in counseling which I use a lot in this line of work. I went to Heritage College {where I also graduated with a MRS. because that’s where I met Joel}.

  11. I am organized in some ways, and a total work in progress in others. I’m trying to get better.

  12. I coach other bridal store owners, sharing some of the things I have learned in the last 8 years of running my store with them. I love it.

  13. I am the queen of starting things but not finishing them. Another huge work in progress for me. I am the idea queen. I have shiny new project syndrome.

  14. I am not a morning person, but my days go better when I get up and work an hour before my kids get up, so I make myself. I use this time to work on myself. I listen to podcasts, watch video trainings or read.

  15. My husband’s family lives on St. Joseph Island {near Sault Ste. Marie} and one day I’d love to own a home or cottage up there. It’s just a different way of life up there. If you’ve never been, you should.

  16. I’ve been trying to drink more water. I can’t believe what a difference it makes in energy levels when I do.

  17. I enjoy being busy.  I like the fast pace of a busy Saturday and I thrive on having lots on the go at once. I love a challenge. Tell me I can’t do it and I’ll show you I can.

  18. I love shopping.  My two favourite online companies are Grace & Lace and Evy’s Tree. I have to cut myself off frequently and have no spend months.

  19. I skipped kindergarten and went right into grade one.

  20. My daughter is exactly like me, which is a bit fascinating since she’s adopted and all.  But she couldn’t be more like me if she tried.  She’s stubborn, independent and one day she’ll rule the world.


How to be the most kick-butt bridesmaid!

Being a bridesmaid can be tough. And it’s easy to get caught up in your own excitement and forget what your role as a maid is. So today on the blog, owner of Once Upon A Time Weddings, Erin Bouchard is sharing her 5 tips to being the best bridesmaids a bride can ask for.

  1. Remember it’s about the bride.

This day is for the bride. Shopping for a gown is for the bride. The bachelorette is for the bride. Remember that there is a difference between giving your opinion and enforcing your way. Share ideas but make sure you listen more to the bride’s ideas. So often in bridal appointments we hear friends giving their opinion is a degrading way. “Well I don’t like that gown at all, but that’s just me.” Most brides will not be able to hear someone say they hate their gown and still purchase it. Think about how you say things. You could try saying something like, “Well this isn’t my personal style, but you do look beautiful in it.”

2. Show up.

Don’t leave your girl hanging. If you say you’ll be somewhere, be there. If you’re running late, text or call and give an update. Be there for all the important things - showers, bachelorette, fittings, etc. Get all the dates in your calendar and make it a priority.

Photograph by  Chris Sit Photography.

3. Ask the bride what you can do to help.

She likely has a whole list of things she is wanting help with. So ask her regularly. Check in with her on progress on tasks. Be as helpful as you can.

4. Don’t complain.

This should be a given. Don’t complain to the bride. But also don’t be complaining to other members of the wedding party. It may get back to the bride and no one needs that much negativity. Show enthusiasm.

5. Follow through on what you say you will do.

If you say you’ll get your dress ordered by a certain date, then do it. If you say you’ll come over to stuff invitations, do it. Brides have enough stress to worry about, that they don’t need to also be tracking you down to finish your tasks.

Bonus Tip: Have fun. Being in a wedding should be fun and exciting. Be respectful of your bride, yes. But also do some fun things with your bride. Whisk her away to the movies or gift her a gift card to a restaurant. Tell her that her only to do task at the dinner is to not talk about the wedding. Give her some stressful moments during a stressful time.

Still need your bridesmaids gowns. Book here.

On Adoption.

This month is National Adoption Month. So you know I couldn’t let it pass without sharing some of what is on my heart. For our family, adoption is everything.

As many of you know we adopted Ethan + Arianna in December 2014. They have lived with us since May 4th 2013. Adoption holds a really special place in our hearts as that is how we grew our family.

I made a post on instagram last week about our adoption and so many of you had great questions. So I thought I would share a little bit of our experience with adoption and where our family is headed.


Joel and I have been married for 11 years. {Holy cow that seems like a long time} We have always known right from the beginning that we’d like to adopt. Our beautiful children are biologically related to us, which means it was a kinship adoption.

We adopted before I discovered I had endometriosis and was going to struggle with infertility. In many ways it’s been a huge blessing already having formed our family before entering that struggle. We love everything about our family and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Ethan and Arianna were in Children’s Aid care when we began the process of adoption. In Ontario there are three ways to do an adoption:

  1. International

  2. Private

  3. Through Children’s Aid {CAS}

We were already licensed foster parents when we were approached to consider adopting Ethan and Arianna. But we were licensed through a private foster care agency. Which meant that CAS did not recognize our home study or license. We had to redo the licensing process in order to become licensed through them as well. Which involves police checks, medicals, references, full financial analysis and multiple home visits to ensure you are safe and a good fit.

The kids were officially placed in our homes on May 4th 2013. Then CAS got crown wardship for the children that August. Which meant in September we could officially be placed on adoption probation. This is a period of time that enables CAS and you as parents to ensure that this is a good fit and that things are progressing well before finalizing your adoption.

We were working with two agencies at the time - London Middlesex CAS because that’s where we lived geographically and the CAS where the kids were born. Both agencies struggled to get the necessary paperwork done so that the Ministry would approve our adoption. So instead of three months, we sat on adoption probation until December 12th, 2014. 15 months later we finally had our adoption court date.


There are several hard things about adoption. The biggest being making decisions that are best for the kids. That includes restricting who they have access to as we worked to build a strong attachment with us. Little Ethan had moved six times before coming to our house and was really struggling. It was hard to balance keeping extended family members happy and doing what we felt was best for the kids.

The other thing that’s hard about adoption is that adoption starts with a loss. Yes, we’re so happy they are ours. Yes, we love them deeply. Yes, we’re so glad we’re a family. But in order for our family to form, another one had to fall apart. That’s something that never goes away.

Our kids have experienced more loss than most kids their age. They feel things differently. That impacts our day to day interactions with them and our parenting style. We sometimes parent a little bit different.

We feel so blessed that we are able to have Ethan and Arianna as part of the Bouchard family. And we do hope to adopt again and are once again starting the process to complete another adoption. All the heartache, paperwork and struggles are worth it when you finally get to happy court and become an official forever family.

Have other questions about adoption? Ask away. I love to share about our adoption and our family.

All The Dress Shopping Secrets Revealed

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 or by phoning the store.  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.  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 you’re 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.

Photography by  Amanda Kopcic Photography   Hair + Make Up:  Selah Vie

Photography by Amanda Kopcic Photography

Hair + Make Up: Selah Vie

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 could decide?  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 book 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 likely 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.


Who should I bring to my appointment.

Or how many can 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.  Sometimes we need to sit back 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!