Our Philosophy: Everyone has a story, and it deserves to be told.
Our Once Upon A Time is a unique service offering a unique anniversary gift: your love story. Professionally written using interviews with you and those you hold dearest, it is a story of your own personal fairy tale. Your tastefully designed hardcover book contains the story and your most important photos, and merits the story’s significance to your family. It is the perfect anniversary gift or wedding gift, the ultimate way to preserve the story behind your engagement and marriage.
Your Story, Our Product.
An Our Once Upon A Time book isn’t just the best and most unique anniversary gift you’ve ever purchased. It’s your story.
Before getting to the physical description of the book, imagine: on your coffee table sits a book containing the story and photos of your great-grandparents. How they met, how they fell in love, their thoughts and feelings, their ups and downs — the story of how your family started, through a compelling, magazine-like narrative using quotes and photos, printed on a beautiful, bookstore-quality hardcover book.
Fast forward three generations: On your great-grandchildren's’ coffee table sits your story. They read about how you knew you were meant for each other the moment you said, “I love you,” and she said it back. … Or knew it at a Halloween party at a bar in downtown Nashville when you were dressed as Wonder Woman and he was dressed as Clark Kent. Or when she finally worked up the courage, logged onto Facebook and sent you a friend request and a message. Or midway through a conversation on your first date in 14 years after both having already been married. Or on your first date when she texted her friend from the bathroom that she was going to marry you. Or when you began looking at engagement rings after having been together for only four months. Or the time you both hopped on a plane to Austin just to see your favorite band. Or when you were just friends until you finally drunk-dialed her seven years after you first met and confessed your love. Or when you both grew old together, and suddenly it occurred to you the enormity of his devotion as a boyfriend, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a great-grandfather.
What an Our Once Upon A Time book also is: your chance to show how thoughtful you are beyond a cliché anniversary gift, and preserve your family’s history beyond a family tree. It is genealogy through a professionally written story in an elegantly designed book with your most important photos. It is, we think, the ultimate way — and one of the few ways — to guarantee that you and future generations never have to regretfully ask, “How did this family begin? How did they meet and fall in love? What were they like? What did they do?” Our Once Upon A Time offers a special way to ensure you save the family history you wish you knew. The book preserves unique details that, unfortunately, get lost when generations pass.
Your Story, Our Process.
The book will arrive at your doorstep no later than 30 days after purchase. After purchasing through OurOnceUponATime.com, the writer begins with a phone interview or video interview using Skype or Gmail video chat, whatever is easier for you. The writer can interview one person at a time or the couple together. You paint the picture. We’re just the paintbrush.
Two to four additional phone interviews with appropriate sources (parents, siblings and best friends, for example) will be conducted. The photos for the book are submitted by you to firstname.lastname@example.org. The more, the better.
We use the online printer Blurb.com. Your book gets every high-end feature it offers: a fantastic hardcover linen, professional end sheets and photographer-preferred paper. It looks and feels similar to the nicest hardcover book on your bookshelf, and you might ask yourself, “Is this really our book?” A proof of the story and PDF files of the book will be e-mailed for your review before shipping.
Your Story, Our Writers.
Will Bans Owner and Writer
Will has practiced journalism since his first semester at San Diego State University. He won numerous awards for his work at The Daily Aztec, the on-campus newspaper, and landed prestigious internships. He graduated in 2008, interned in New York covering the New York Yankees for MLB.com, and then worked for the Odessa (Texas) American as a sports reporter. He left the newspaper business in late 2009 but continued to freelance and launched Our Once Upon A Time in the spring of 2010. Throughout his journalism career, Will’s favorite stories have been human-interest pieces, ones he writes from his heart, aimed straight at the reader’s heart. His freelance work has appeared in The New York Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Newark Star-Ledger, The Des Moines Register and MLB.com. He has covered the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s as a freelancer since 2010. He lives with his girlfriend in Seaside, Calif., and is an elementary school teacher in Big Sur, Calif.
Jon Gold is an award-winning writer and former columnist for ESPN.com, CBS, The Los Angeles Daily News, The Las Vegas Review-Journal and Beckett Media. Jon graduated from San Diego State in 2007 after serving as editorial adviser, managing editor and sports editor during his tenure at The Daily Aztec. Upon graduation, Jon became a staff writer for The Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune before moving on to The Las Vegas Review-Journal, where he was awarded Best Sports Columnist in Nevada during his year in the desert. Jon moved on to the L.A. Daily News in 2008 and quickly was promoted to local columnist and the UCLA sports beat. He was awarded prominent honors at each stop, including a 2007 Associated Press Sports Editor Award, 2008 Nevada Better Newspaper Awards Best Sports Columnist and No. 2 Best Sports Story, 2009 Los Angeles Press Club Sports Story of the Year and 2010 California Newspaper Publishers Association Sports Story of the Year Certificate of Merit. Jon has also written for Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, among others. Jon loves story-telling, particularly feature-writing, and he is also a comedy writer and stand-up comedian.
The company’s founder, Will Bans, had friends getting engaged and making wedding websites. In the sites there was always some kind of “Our Story” section. These stories were OK and included the bullet points. Will believed they did not just need to be better, but they deserved to be better.
Will also believes these stories should produce the same heart-thumping from a reader that the couple felt for each other when they first met. The stories should make the reader understand how the decision to marry not only seemed to be the right one, but the only one. The reader should want to cry tears of joy, because there is little else more precious than the beginning of a family. Who should have a story written by Our Once Upon A Time?
Anyone. As in, any engaged couple, any married couple, anybody. We all have interesting stories, and these can be written for anniversaries, weddings, tributes, etc. All are written in a compelling way.
What occasions are these books good for?
For married couples …
This is a story of a family, the ups and downs, the special moments and the friends or children along the way. Most importantly, these stories are about the love that still exists, and how that love has enabled a lasting relationship. It’s a unique anniversary gift to be unwrapped, read and there to reread forever, even for future generations.
For engaged couples …
1. The wedding website — With Our Once Upon A Time, you receive a professionally written story e-mailed to you. Simply copy and paste into your site, and it is one less thing you have to worry about and one more thing your family and friends will love.
2. The wedding day — You can display a book and distribute copies on the big day so everyone can take home a piece of your real-life fairy tale.
For an individual …
This can be a mini-biography, a story about one person’s accomplishments and family and life. It is a birthday or retirement or appreciation gift that cannot be bought in stores and shows the utmost thoughtfulness: you believed someone deserved a story written about him or her.
This is an anniversary gift, and I want to surprise my loved one. Can you still make the book?
First of all, you will look like a champ with this anniversary gift. Secondly, yes, we can easily interview everyone except for that surprised person. Interviewing his or her family members and closest confidants guarantees the whole story will be told.
How long is the process?
The book will arrive on your doorstep within 30 days of purchase.
What does an Our Once Upon A Time story look like on a wedding website?
From weddingtracker.com’s examples page: About Us.
“This was a wonderful experience for both my husband and I. My husband and I were renewing our vows and so we used this experience as our gift to each other. We did not know what each other had said to the interviewer until we simultaneously read our story. And it was a wonderful experience! I highly recommend this to everyone.’” — Ziva A.
“Our Once Upon A Time is a wonderful service. The writer, Will Bans, is a talented artist. He beautifully wrote our love story better than I could have imagined. As we were planning our wedding, we thought it would be a great gift to have a story of how we met, one that we can share with our friends, family, future children, and grandchildren. We'll surely use this in our wedding, but I imagine this to be great for anniversary gifts, gifts for parents, or any other special moment that needs to be remembered. … We love Our Once Upon A Time.” — Manny and Leslie K.
"My fiancé and I worked with Our Once Upon A Time to have them write the story of our relationship to use for our wedding. Will was so easy to work with and very accommodating with setting up times to talk with not only us, but our close friends as well. We were beyond excited when we received our story from Will and couldn't believe how well he was able to capture our relationship. I look forward to sharing the story with our family and friends as well as future generations." — Courtney S.
For more information, please contact Will Bans at email@example.com. He can answer any questions you may have, and help you get started in writing the fairy tale that is your life.