Guest Blog - Erin Bouchard of Once Upon a Time Weddings

In honour of this weekends bridal expo I'd like to turn things over to a local bridal expert Erin Bouchard owner of Once Upon a Time Weddings in Strathroy (visit them at www.onceuponatimeweddings.ca ) As a recently engaged bride, you have likely been exposed to a lot of information that will help you plan the perfect wedding. There are many myths and superstitions surrounding weddings which have been passed down from generation to generation. Many of the things you hear today simply aren’t true or just downright hilarious. In fact, many weddings traditions followed today are the result of superstitions created by myth and folklore and the original meaning has been lost or forgotten over the years.

#1 - A wedding dress should be white. You shouldn’t wear a white wedding gown if you’re not a virgin or if it’s your second or third marriage. The most popular color of wedding gowns today is ivory. The tradition of wearing white isn't that old. It gained popularity when Queen Victoria of England married Albert of Saxe-Coberg in 1840, wearing a white gown to incorporate some lace that she owned. At that time, a white wedding dress was extremely uncommon, and not a sign of purity, but a sign of wealth -- for only very wealthy women could afford a dress that could never be worn again (cleaning a white dress was not so easy in 1840). Though many copied the queen's style for their own weddings, it still wasn't until the mid-20th century that white came to dominate the wedding dress market, as pictures and videos from weddings of the world's wealthiest and most famous really spread. Really, the white dress was more a symbol of vanity than virginity. Before Victoria, brides married in almost any color, except black, the color of mourning, and red, which was associated with prostitutes. Brides who wanted to wear a symbol of their purity wore blue. Today, brides can choose whatever color you want to wear that you’ll feel beautiful and comfortable in. That’s what matters most of all.

#2 - I’ve got lots of time as I’m not getting married for a year. Following your engagement, it’s easy to get caught up in the trap that you’ve got lots of time as you plan your wedding. However, as you’ve probably discovered, time passes quickly and your wedding will be here before you know it. Brides magazine recommends that you get your dress at least a year before you get married. There is so much to do as you plan your wedding and your dress will be the centerpiece of everything you do. Prices on fabric have been increasing due to the effects of inflation, so if you see a dress you love and you wait six months to order, chances are the cost of that dress will have increased. By making the decision of purchasing your gown, you’ll be able to focus on all of the other details that will go into planning your perfect day. You’ll want to schedule an appointment and I’ll give you a coupon just for taking the time to read this special report. I’ll give you the details of this coupon at the end of this report.

#3 - In order to find the perfect gown, you have to look endlessly on websites and try on lots of gowns at different stores. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you start looking at pictures of wedding gowns. There seem to be literally thousands of styles to choose from. The reality is that all wedding gowns fall into one of four basic silhouettes. They are:

The ball gown is the most traditional of the categories and has a fitted bodice and waistline that leads to a very full skirt.

The empire has a high waistline (usually just under the bust) which falls to a slimmer skirt.

The A-Line features vertical seams flowing from the shoulders down to an A-shaped flared skirt.

The sheath closely follows the line of the body.

That’s it. Just four styles or silhouettes. We have traveled the world to find you the best and most flattering silhouettes so that you don’t have to.

#4 - You shouldn’t start shopping until you are the size you want to be on your wedding day. Another variation of this myth is that a wedding dress must fit perfectly before you can buy it. Planning a wedding can be very stressful and we know that stress can lead to significant weight gains or losses. 95% of all wedding gown that we sell have to have some alterations done to them. If you’re planning to lose weight it is easy and inexpensive to adjust the gown you’ve chosen to fit you closer to your wedding day. If you wait, you will significantly limit your choices since gowns require time to order. The majority of brides order their gowns nine to eighteen months ahead with this in mind. They plan ahead and ensure that they’ll get the dress they love most and then alter it to fit perfectly right before the wedding. The best bet is to buy the dress that fits you now and you can always alter it down if you lose weight. Don’t forget that you’ll relieve a lot of the stress of planning your wedding once you have your dress and a knowledgeable and competent seamstress can sculpt the dress you’ve chosen to fit you like a glove.

#5 - You shouldn’t buy the first dress you try on at the first store you’ve gone to. While it is a good idea to look to ensure that you make the best choice, it is a myth to believe that you can’t buy a dress you love at the first store you’ve been to. After all, you have great taste and are going to pick beautiful dresses from any store that you go to. A large percentage of brides end up buying the first dress they try on for this reason. Those brides who are indecisive usually come back and end up buying that dress after they’ve spent time and money on gasoline by driving all over that they could have easily saved by trusting their instincts and getting the dress they loved when they first tried it on. At Once Upon A Time Weddings, we even have a special incentive for decisive brides who buy on their first visit. There’s a coupon attached at the end of this report. We are able to offer this special savings since we have the price of two visits built into every dress. When brides chose to buy the dress they love most on their first visit, we pass those savings along to them. Trust your instincts. Remember when you chose to bring lots of friends to help you shop, you also bring lots of opinions. Be careful not to let their opinions influence what you really want to wear.

#6 - It’s cheaper if you or someone you know makes your wedding gown. While it is usually cheaper to do things yourself, this is definitely not the case with wedding gowns. All wedding gowns are hand sewn and are done so by artisans and professionals who have years of experience in constructing gowns day in and day out. There are many intricate details that go into making a wedding gown. If you are blessed to have a talented seamstress in your family, you are a lucky bride. However, even talented seamstresses recognize that wedding gowns that are produced at the best factories have a level of detail and attention that they cannot match or re-create. At our store, we are able to offer gowns at prices that are lower than what a close family member can make a gown for (especially if you factor in the time). Do yourself a favour and let that special someone in your life help you do the alterations and trust the wedding artisans who construct our gowns to take care of all the details to make your stunning dress.

#7 - Buying a dress online will save you money. What happens when you buy a dress online versus buying one at a full service bridal salon is dramatically different. Sure, you might be able to find a dress online for a bit cheaper. But what you may not be aware of is that you are actually not buying a Mon Cheri or an Alfred Sung gown or whatever designer they are selling. These Chinese companies steal pictures of gowns off of designers website and then claim to be an "Authorized Retailer" of these lines. Then they try to copy the gown which ends up in them making you a very cheap, poorly constructed gown. When you buy your dress from our store you’ll notice that:

Your dress will be perfectly altered to your figure and pressed so that it is wrinkle free and looks absolutely stunning on your wedding day. An online purchase will arrive in a box and you’ll have to pay more to have it pressed. Because of the poor quality of material used, it will take a lot to press and alter.

Any beads that may have come loose during shipping or the alterations process will be tightened at no charge. An online purchase leaves you on your own. You’ll have to pay to fix and beads that are loose or popped off.

Your gown will look like the sample you ordered it from and you won’t have to worry about any of the details.

Your dress will be perfectly altered to your figure and you’ll know that it will come in the right size. Buying a dress online is a gamble because you don’t know if the size chart you saw online will really match the dress you’re buying. At Once Upon A Time Weddings, what you see and experience will change your belief about buying anything online ever again, forever.

#8 - If you don’t cry, it’s not “the” dress. Emotions are felt differently by people in varying situations. Not everyone cries when they see a touching movie or hear a moving story. The way you’ll feel when you find “the dress” will likely be very different from how a well meaning friend or family member may have felt when they found their wedding gown. Just because they cried when they found their dress, doesn’t mean you will. Another part of this myth is that if everyone in your wedding party doesn’t like your gown, you shouldn’t get it. It’s your day and your decision.

Erin Bouchard is the owner of

Once Upon A Time Weddings located at

6 Front St. W. in downtown Strathroy. She

can be reached at 519-245-7997 or

by visiting www.onceuponatimeweddings.ca