There are not enough good words in the dictionary to describe the amazing experience that I had whilst working with Victoria on my dress, and gorgeous custom hairpieces for my wedding last November. She is truly a consummate professional, and a perfectionist to boot.
During the course of the year between picking out my dress, and my wedding day, I had the pleasure of watching my dress literally take shape in front of my very eyes. This is not something that brides will be able to experience at most, if not all other bridal stores in Chicago. Knowing that my dress was being handmade just down the street from where I lived, instead of being mass produced overseas, really meant a lot to me. Since we had a destination wedding, having my dress made by Victoria made me feel like I had a piece of Chicago with us on our wedding day. I also received so many compliments on how amazing and unique my dress was, which echoed my sentiments about the dress as well, and is exactly why I chose it. In addition to making me a wonderful, truly high end couture dress [without the couture price tag mind you], Victoria also made some gorgeous custom hairpieces to perfectly match a bracelet that I had previously purchased with another vendor.
She also played her part in helping me to navigate a touchy issue with my mother, and even so much as personally packed my dress into my carry on luggage, so that I didn't have to let it out of my sight or hands while traveling to our wedding destination. If only I could get married every year to experience what I did with Victoria making the dress of my dreams. Instead, I will have to live vicarously through the friends that I send to her in the future, so that they too, can experience the amazing quality and service that comes standard with purchasing a dress from Victoria...
Victoria was one of the most important vendors to me because I always had this dream of what I wanted to look like as a bride. It included tons of adjectives: elegant, bohemian, natural, Hawaiian and the list goes on and on. I was originally just going to wear flowers in my hair but I just couldn’t totally get with it. I saw Alicia Key’s headpiece during her wedding and something similar on another bride and knew that it was the look I was going for. I scheduled an appointment and my mom and I met with Victoria, and together we were able to collaborate and create the most amazing hairpiece and matching earrings, better than my wildest dreams. Victoria is so incredibly talented. She is expensive but well worth it. She also makes the most stunning dresses! When she becomes world famous, I will always remember what a sweet person she is and how much fun it was to work with her to create my dream wedding accessories.
I was living in NYC when I got engaged and eventually moved to Chicago, so I went everywhere looking for my dress, including Kleinfeld. There were many dresses I liked, but not one I knew I wanted to wear. I found Boutique Victoria online and made an appointment. As soon as I walked in, Victoria herself introduced herself to me. She is the boutique owner, has some of her own designs sold at the store, and is the person who you will work with, all throughout your wedding dress purchase!
She was so pleasant to work with, she is so genuine in wanting to make sure you find a dress you will love and feel perfect in. Never once did I feel like she was being pushy or too opinionated. I really enjoyed my experience with her and did find my dream dress. In addition to selling her own designs (Victoria Sdoukos Couture) she also sells Jim Hjelm and some others. She was so accommodating when I wanted to bring my best friend and then come back with my mom before I finally purchased the dress. She talked me through how long it would be for my dress to come in and was very organized! When my dress finally came in she called me right away so I could come in and try it on!
The great thing about buying your dress at Boutique Victoria is that, since she designs and sews all her own dresses, when she alters your dress it is PERFECT! She really knows what she’s doing and has been doing this a long time! My final last great thing about Victoria is that, because she really knows her stuff, when I thought my dress (which fit perfectly at my last fitting) may be too tight for the wedding. She said that all brides lose, not gain, the week prior to their wedding due to stress, so if the dress fits perfectly it will not be too tight! I was really weary, but trusted her and she was 100% right! If I had to take it out, it would have been too big! I really appreciate her expertise!!! And again – she is SOOOO easy to talk to. Every time I called to ask a question or ask to come in try my earrings or shoes with the dress – she was more than willing to let me make an appointment and stop by. Appointments are necessary so that you are the only one in the store when she is working with you! It really makes a difference ladies!
I also purchased my veil from Victoria – and she made me on based on what I told her I had in mind! We used one of the veils she had and tried to play with the ends a little to make it a little more unique! Again, because she designs all her own veils and dresses – her special touch came in VERY handy!
I highly recommend Boutique Victoria!
I found Boutique Victoria after searching for dresses on theknot.com and found a dress I liked at this shop. I didn't end up liking this dress in person but found another dress I fell in love with. After shopping at a couple other places I ended up back at Boutique Victoria to buy the dress from my first visit.
Because Victoria owns and runs the shop herself you get that personal touch that you don't get at a lot of big salons. Victoria even designs and creates her own jewelry so she can create the jewelry to perfectly match the style you're going for.
The one downfall of this boutique is that it does only carry 3 designers (Tara Keely, Jim Hjelm and Lazaro). But the upside is that they are all respectable designers, all 3 displaying a common theme of understated elegance but representing 3 different price points. Victoria asks on your first visit what your price range is, so you don't need to worry that you'll fall in love with an $8,000 dress when your budget is $2,000. I think just about any modern bride could find something here in her price range that she will love. The 3 designers are all very elegant without being over the top. Tara Keeley is a little more simple in design while the Lazaro is more high end in both design and price. I chose a Jim Hjelm dress with a separate Tara Keely bolero that really made the dress something special. I love how all the designers feature dresses with lace and/or "tasteful" beading, without being too gaudy or over the top.
Also with Victoria's one-on-one attention she'll make sure the dress is perfect and is right for you. She wants you to buy the dress that you love and won't try to push you into anything just so she can sell a dress. Also, she can help you complete your total look with jewelry, shoes and bridesmaid dresses. The jewelry can be a bit pricey but considering it's custom designed and handmade just for you, you know you won't look like just any other bride, and that's worth something.
Thanks Victoria for all your help!
Boutique Victoria is a relatively new bridal shop, located in the west loop, and carries Jim Hjelm Couture, Tara Keely, and Lazaro dresses. It also carries Jim Hjelm and Alvina Valenta bridesmaid dresses. It's pretty much a one-woman shop, run by Victoria Sdoukos, but she also has a little stationary section in the store that her sister managers. Appointments are in one-hour one-on-one sessions with Victoria, which is nice. The prices of the dresses she carried were right in my budget range. She also makes her own veils and jewelry which although nice, were very expensive I thought. For example a waist-length satin-trimmed veil at her place costs $500 while something similar at another store costs $125. While hers are handmade and perhaps has slightly higher-quality materials, $500 for a short veil seems a little outrageous to me, especially given the dress brands she carried (great quality brands but definitely not in the uber expensive group). I might have been less surprised if I saw those price tags at the Vera Wang shop on Oak. She also had a big selection of hand made jewelry that I think were around $100 or so for a set or earrings or bracelet. Up until the actual dress fitting part of the process, I thought in general that her service was just fine, even though she's a little "quirky" and opinionated. But I think that's good when a lot of other people in the industry will tell you anything they think you want to hear.
What totally ruined the experience for me though came about a month before the wedding and I tried to schedule my first fitting with Victoria. To my surprise, she said she can no longer do the fittings and alterations for me anymore due to the general deteriorating health of her seamstress. That part I can understand - it's something you just can't control. However, what I didn't appreciate was that she sent me to another tailor that was much more expensive (I ended up paying $200 more - almost double her initial quote!! and it was a very simple alteration) and didn't even give me a heads up or offer to pay for the difference (or at least a portion of) from what she originally quoted me. Also, for the volume of new business she was referring to the tailor (since all her brides were sent to this place), you would think she'd negotiate a discounted price for her clients.
In summary, good initial experience and good dress selection, but overall ended less-than-satisfactory due to the alterations snafu.