milenas

WEDDING DATE:

Feb 19, 2008

milenas
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whiteCHICAGO/whiteXCHANGE.com
 
( 2.0 / 5.0 )
White Chicago is a designer resale shop for wedding gowns with prices starting at $ 1,000. Their selection is at the traditional end. However, at each given moment, they stock around 300 gowns. So, chances are that if you are interested in a tradition style ball gown or an a-line, you would be able to find it there. For me, quite frankly, it was a waste of time destination. All of the gowns seemed very old fashioned to me even though the requirement of the store is to stock gowns donated within three years of their purchase date. In my book, it just tells you how outdated, most, if not all, of Chicago bridal stores are regardless of the price one is willing or able to pay for a gown of choice. Anyway, going back to White Chicago, at the time I went to the store, they had one Monique Lullier, three or four Vera Wang, ton of Alice Padrul, Anne Barge, Christos, and Demetrios gowns. One of the dresses I noticed was Alice Padrul's gown which was exactly the same one and in the same condition as the one I saw at her gallery two days later. Generally speaking, each dress was discounted for at least 30% off their original price. However, the dresses are already altered for their previous owners. so, in theory, none of them is going to be perfect unless you share the same body structure as the bride who wore it before. The store is very pleasing to the eye and it has a fairly good customer service. However, I would not go there unless you are looking to buy a traditional ball gown with a price tag of $ 6000 because, by buying it for $ 3000, you are really saving a lot of money by getting an exact same dress.
Services used: Dress & Attire

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( 5.0 / 5.0 )
Dimitra's is by far the most contemporary bridal boutique in town. It stocks not only popular bridal designers, but also those small European designers that give you the look of a runaway for a more modest budget. This store is the only one in Chicago to stock Cymbeline, which is a great French design line with gown that have plenty of attitude and sex appeal in stark contrast to the American designers that in the 21 century, still preserve the puritan style of a virgin bride in their design aesthetic. The customer service is very satisfactory with a lot of personal attention provided. The prices of this store are fairly competitive for those bride that are interested in purchasing a designer gown. I don't know what their starting price is but I saw gowns that were around $ 2500 at the store. So, it is already lower than those of Ultimate Bride and Belle Vie. Yet, this store is probably not for the bride seeking something nice in the House of Brides price category. In other words, if your budget is at least $ 1,000, Dimitra's should be a must store to try.
Services used: Dress & Attire

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Belle Vie Bridal Couture
 
( 3.0 / 5.0 )
This was the second bridal store I visited in my search for a perfect gown. If it was all about customer service, this shop would have gotten 5 stars from me. However, once I factored in selection and prices, it had to be brought down to three. This store offers almost no variety. All of the gown are super old fashioned ball gowns. Nothing is unique. Their most unique designer is Amsale which is famous for huge ball gowns and, quite frankly, is far from being unique. If you want to get your typical rich princess look with plenty of beading and heavy skirt, go ahead to Belle Vie. It caters to a very traditional bride. However, if you want to get a runaway look and be able to dance at your own wedding, then Belle Vie is not the right place for you. Moreover, even if you are a traditional bride interested in heavy gowns with lots of beading and lace, the prices at Belle Vie are so high that it is not justified going there for a traditional dress from a decent bridal designer. You should go to White Chicago which has many traditional gowns from Anne Barge, Christos, Demetrios and other designers who work with classical styles for a fraction of the cost. Being not a fan of White Chicago myself (my taste is more avant garde than their selection), I can easily see how this store can have something for a traditional Belle Vie customer. While being extra critical of their selection, I can't say enough good things about Belle Vie's customer service. The girl who worked with me was nice and helpful from start to finish, followed-up with me in a week, and sent me a "thank you" card just recently. In other words, I received the treatment that should be expected when one thinks of dropping major bucks for a gown. The prices of Belle Vie are similar to those of Ultimate Bride, i.e., the highest in the business. I believe that they start from $ 3,000 and go all the way into the sky. Again, in summary, I would recommend going to Belle Vie if you are 1) a traditional bride with a very traditional taste, 2) looking for luxury more than style or even glamor, 3) opposed to wearing a gown that was previously owned (like those sold at White Chicago), and 4) capable of spending major $$$ for a gown and alterations.
Services used: Dress & Attire

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Ultimate Bride
 
( 3.0 / 5.0 )
There are three components that should come together in order for me to appreciate any store. Bridal store is no exception. The three components are selection, customer service, and price. Ultimate Bride, in my personal opinion, is not succeeding in any one of those categories. Ultimate Bride is located on Oak street and clearly caters to a typical Oak street clientele. Thus, the selection of their gowns tend to be more about the richness of materials than about the uniqueness of design. In other words, you get your typical variety of classical wedding gowns from the top bridal designers. There are almost no architectural, deconstructed, funky, etc. designs that can suit somebody with a modern and eclectic taste. The only exception would be gowns from Suzanne Ermann who is a smaller French designer and whose gowns are very fairy tale influenced and have a distinctive European vibe. The store also stocks Carolina Herrera, who is probably the most unique of the American bridal designers. However, Ultimate Bride's selection of Carolina Herrera is fairly mediocre. With respect to the prices, they start at $ 2800 and go all the way to $ 20000. Moreover, their sales people try to "size" you the moment you enter the store by asking you completely unrelated to the gown shopping questions about the size and location of your wedding. They also bring you gowns they preselected for you. You can's go and pick you own gowns. Interestingly enough, they try to show you the most expensive gowns first so that, maybe, you can fall in love with the dress at the top of your budget before you saw a less expensive choice. Customer service is also less than desired especially if you had an opportunity to compare this shop to similar bridal boutiques like Belle Vie. Unlike Belle Vie, this shop is nothing but pretentiousness, ignorance, and attitude. They treat you as if you owe them money, especially if you are not in the $10000 plus gown category. This store is only worth the trip if you are 1) into Monique Lullier gowns because their selection of Monique is probably the best in town, 2) unable to find anything good in other bridal stores, and 3) want to spend at least $ 3000 for a gown.
Services used: Dress & Attire