Dream Weddings: Vintage

We love putting together inspiration boards to capture the mood of the weddings we’re planning (or the weddings we’re dreaming of planning). Today, we thought we’d play around with one of our favorite themes: vintage weddings. There’s so much to enjoy about a wedding that throws it back to eras gone by. We adore the classic feel of vintage weddings – you know those pictures will never go out of style! And there’s something so special about honoring the history of past decades. Whether you choose to focus on a particular era in your planning – the roaring 20s, the glamorous 40s, the fabulous 60s, etc. – or go for an overall antique vibe, a vintage themed wedding will bring style and charm to your big day.


We want to hear from you! Tell us in the comments: what do you like about vintage weddings? Are you planning one of your own?

Wedding Planning 101: Elements of the Perfect Proposal

Before the wedding planning can start, there’s one little (okay, not so little) question that needs to be asked. While it may seem like a simple phrase, “Will you marry me?” is probably one of the most nerve-wracking questions you’ll ever have to utter. But never fear, Once Upon a Wedding is here . . . to help, that is. Whether you want your proposal to be over-the-top epic or sweetly sincere, there are a few elements that you’ll want to consider and have in place for one of the most special milestones of your lives. Here are the major ones to keep in mind:


1. The Ring

Okay, we know this one’s pretty obvious, but for the most part, proposals (in Western culture at least) are accompanied by a certain piece of bling. We know that the choices here are endless, so whether you know your loved one’s style best, get some help from a friend or family member, wait to shop with your soon-to-be spouse, or decide to go completely nontraditional and opt out of jewelry (more power to you!), this is one thing you’ll want to carefully ponder before the big moment arrives.

Instagram: @ouawchicago

2. The Location

As you’re planning your proposal, we recommend you give lots of thought to the perfect place to pop the question. Some ideas include:

• A gorgeous local spot (a park or the beach, somewhere with a beautiful city backdrop, etc.)

• Somewhere special to your relationship (where you met or had your first date, a favorite place to go, etc.)

• A special occasion (a holiday or party)

• At home

Wherever you choose, this is a memory that you’ll keep forever, so make sure it has the right backdrop.

beach_engagement_couple3. The Speech

Even if you plan to wing it and be spontaneous as you ask the love of your life to spend forever together, it can be a huge help to make some mental notes or even jot them down. Even the most steel-nerved folks will likely feel some butterflies, so planning a bit ahead of time can be a lifesaver.

4. Attendees

Do you want this to be a private moment between you and your significant other, or do you prefer to share the joy with special friends/family? Maybe you’d like to keep the actual proposal private, but have loved ones on-site to celebrate immediately after? Something else to consider, too, is having a photographer hidden to capture the excitement and emotion for you to relive for years to come.


5. “Extras”

This is the “how will you do it” part. Whether with a sweet scavenger hunt, a romantic meal, incorporating their favorite hobby, on vacation, or with a thousand yellow daisies* – the sky’s really the limit. Even if you want to keep it completely simple and heartfelt, try to think of some memorable, personal, and unique way to show your bride (or groom) to be how much they mean to you. We guarantee they’ll never forget the moment you create for them.


Tell us! What’s your proposal story, or your ideal proposal? Do you love seeing amazing stories (and rings!) as much as we do? Let us know in the comments.

Feeling like you might need some extra help in planning the perfect proposal? Once Upon a Wedding now offers Proposal Planning!! Contact us for more info.

*Bonus points and eternal love for anyone who can tell us in the comments where this reference came from.

Rachel and Vaughn’s Romantic Winter Vineyard Wedding

winter_weddingWe absolutely love when couples are brave enough to embrace the beauty of a winter wedding. It’s even better when they find a gorgeous venue that perfectly complements the season, AND the weather cooperates! Rachel and Vaughn’s big day was a perfect blend of their own individual style and every thing we love about this time of year.

engagement_photoThey met through the Police Explorer’s program , and spent two years getting to know each other while in high school. After going away for college and the military, they ran into each other years later through mutual friends. And, well, as they say, the rest is history!



Surrounded by their family and closest friends, there was no better place for Rachel and Vaughn to say “I do” than in Rachel’s gorgeous family church, St. Joseph’s. Getting married in the first week of January meant that everything was conveniently still decorated for Christmas!


Friends and family all pitched in for the ultimate DIY experience, including Vaughn’s immensely talented cousin, who has quite the eye for floral arrangements.


Rachel combined her Pinterest addiction with her passion for the winter season to create a flawless design that flowed perfectly with the amazing, rustic vineyard their reception was held in.


We are so crazy about all the unique personal touches that made this wedding a perfect representation of the couple. Congratulations, Vaughn and Rachel!

Tradition Tuesday: Nonreligious Weddings

It’s that time again! We’re thrilled to bring you a brand new Tradition Tuesday, where we focus on one wedding day tradition and our ideas on how couples can make it their own. As huge proponents of the nontraditional wedding, we always strive to make sure that our brides and grooms’ celebrations reflect their personalities; part of this means putting their own spin on the wedding traditions of days past. This week we talk about secular wedding ceremonies.


Until very recently, the word “wedding” almost certainly conjured images of a lovely church (or other house of worship) ceremony. Religious weddings often include very specific guidelines, time-honored traditions, and time for spiritual readings and prayer. We love nothing more than to see couples for whom these traditions mean a great deal incorporate their faith(s) into their special day. For many other couples, however, faith may not be a major part of their day-to-day lives. In those cases, we firmly believe that nonreligious couples should plan a ceremony that first and foremost reflects their own priorities and personalities. If that sounds like you, follow our tips to begin writing your own ceremony rules, making sure every moment feels 100% personal.

Find the Perfect Officiant

It’s so important to find someone you trust and connect with to officiate your wedding. After all, he or she will be the one delivering a (hopefully) heartfelt message to your family and friends as you tie the knot. Some religious figures are more than happy to conduct a secular ceremony, while other officiants (like a justice of the peace or judge) specialize in nonreligious and/or nontraditional weddings. Either way, an officiant seasoned in secular weddings will be a huge asset to you in planning the structure of your ceremony. Another route, and one of our favorites, is to be married by a friend or family member. While this may require some additional research about what your state/county requires of an officiant, the extremely personal touch this brings to your big day is almost certainly worth it.


Choose Your Ideal Venue

Gone are the days where all weddings take place in the family’s church. Today, there are so many different kinds of venues to choose from! When searching for venues, think about what kinds of locations inspire you; what reflects you as a couple. Your options are endless: parks and gardens, museums, libraries, historic homes or buildings, loft spaces, barns, vineyards, country clubs, hotels, banquet halls, galleries, city landmarks… the list goes on and on. Once you narrow down a venue type or two that speaks to you, research a list of such places in your city or town and make sure to experience your favorites in person. The venue is such a key piece to your wedding day puzzle, so make sure that the one you choose can accommodate your needs and, more importantly, feels like the perfect fit.


Write Your Own Vows

We love love love when a couple decides to write their own vows to each other. There is almost nothing more intimate and unique than to hear a couple commit to one another in their own words. Your loved one and your guests will appreciate and remember hearing your unguarded, genuine sentiments as you promise your own happily ever after. This is your chance to express what’s most important and personal to you as you move forward into married life. Whether you choose to be funny, sentimental, or somber – or a combination – we truly believe that this will be one of the most special moments of your day.


Embrace Your Uniqueness

Our number one tip: While it may seem daunting to break with tradition, never forget that you deserve a day that perfectly represents you and your bride or groom-to-be and honors your love together.


We want to hear from you! What you think about nonreligious ceremonies? How did you/are you planning to update traditionally religious customs? Tell us in the comments!