You've dreamt it, saved for it and logged a year's worth of Bar Method to show off your delts in it, but when it comes time to shop for a wedding dress, the process can feel daunting. There are plenty of places in Chicago to find gorgeous gowns, so we've rounded up a few of our favorites to get you started. Happy hunting!
Bella Bianca Bridal Couture (Above)
The sister duo behind Bella Bianca create a fun, vibrant atmosphere for bridal and bridesmaid dress shopping. Expect a selection from anchors in bridal design such as Badgley Mischka, Christos, Ines di Santo and Lazaro. Read real brides' reviews here!
When her majesty the queen of wedding gowns opened a boutique in the Gold Coast a few years ago, Chicago brides were swooning. Always showstoppers, a Vera Wang gown is characterized by drama and sophistication, and there will be no question that it's your big day when you walk down the aisle in one of her creations. Read real brides' reviews here!
From the more contemporary looks of Romona Keveza and Angel Sanchez to the uber-romantic, sexy designs of Zuhair Murad and Israeli designer Inbal Dror, Dimitra's selection spans the gamut. And since dress shopping can be intimidating enough, the owners really foster a warm, inviting atmosphere where clients feel welcome. Plus, the store stocks one of the best selections of headpieces and accessories in town. Read real brides' reviews here!
We love how this boutique's mix of vintage and modern — from the custom finishes and décor to the design of the dresses, headpieces and accessories — makes you feel like you've been transported to a chic dressing salon in 1920s Paris. The BHLDN bride really embodies wearing vintage glamour in a modern way, and we say yes to these elegant, understated (and budget-friendly!) dresses. Read real brides' reviews here!
Known for stocking one of the largest selections of gowns in town, House of Brides can easily outfit your entire bridal party from flower girl to mother of the groom in one fell swoop. Even more convenient, the online selection is extensive, so you can log hours perusing dresses online. But take our word for it, there's no replacement for the real thing, so definitely make an appointment to try before you buy. Read real brides' reviews here!
Over the last decade, designer Jenny Yoo has made her name synonymous with modern, understated bridal and bridesmaid gowns. Her chic, elegant designs cater to discerning brides looking for an elevated bridal style. Plus, we're obsessed with her Nabi line of convertible dresses that offer different tie options for multiple flattering silhouettes — it's a dress you actually should wear again. Read real brides' reviews here!
Who says brides get to have all the fun when it comes to dress shopping? Bella Bridesmaids has one of the largest selections of bridesmaid gowns under one roof (TwoBirds, Bill Levkoff and Amsale to name a few), and with 43 showrooms nationwide, friends scattered across the country can easily pop in for a courtesy fitting before placing their orders. Read real brides' reviews here!
Monique Lhuillier, Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera... Need we go on? The roster of designers at Ultimate Bride is what little girls' big-day dreams are made of, and these high-end, covetable gowns will have you actually considering how many dress changes are appropriate for one wedding. Read real brides' reviews here!
Located in River North, this sample sale boutique works with designers and showrooms to stock excess inventory and runway samples at a fraction of original prices. Can you say hidden gem? And we've walked past its windows enough times to know that what's on the floor is constantly changing, so even if it's not love at first sight, you're bound to find the one. Read real brides' reviews here!
Recognized as one of Chicago's premier bridal boutiques, Belle Vie Bridal Couture offers an unparalleled selection of designers, including Lanvin Blanche, Valentino and Vivienne Westwood. Followed by a glass of rosé at nearby Del Frisco's steakhouse (ask for a table on the upstairs terrace overlooking Oak Street and the famed Esquire Theater), and you've planned quite the chic dress shopping experience. [*Read real brides' reviews here!