Once you've got the dress of your dreams, it's time to turn your attention to the ladies who will be standing by your side. Luckily for our Chicago brides, the Windy City is filled with bridesmaid dress boutiques that make shopping something to look forward to rather than dread. With a glass of champagne and your best girlfriends, think of it as playing dress-up—for adults. Here are a few shops in Chicago that'll set you up with bridesmaid dresses worthy of your bridal party.
The West Loop startup burst onto the scene in 2012 and offers an entirely new, digital way to shop for bridesmaid dresses. It works a bit like other online styling services: each bride chats with a Brideside stylist and shares the look and feel of the day. The stylist can share dress options and sizing specifics, and you can browse the website's inventory with your bridesmaids and tag your favorite ones. Then, your bridesmaids can try on three dresses at home for $10—a serious plus if your bridal party is scattered across the country, and local bridesmaids can swing by the West Loop headquarters. The best part is your bridesmaids can return the dress when opting for the try-at-home option if it isn't just right—a rare luxury most other bridal shops don't allow (but note that final dress selections aren't returnable).
From the Parisian-inspired mirrors to sparkling accessories at every turn, there's no shortage of romance at BHLDN. Inside, you'll find a mix of vintage-inspired and contemporary designs, plus headpieces, belts, and shoes to complete the look. Most bridesmaid dress shops require a few months of turnaround time, but BHLDN acts more like a normal retailer. Your maids choose the dress they love, order it online, and pick it up at their doorstep within a couple of weeks.
Take it from us: no other place in the city has this many options under one roof. The designers include Jenny Yoo and Adrianna Papell, so you're sure to find something that suits everyone. Schedule an appointment with your crew ahead of time, during which one of the stylists will take everyone's measurements. Then, the stylist will recommend the best size for each bridesmaid. Another plus: Bella Bridesmaids has nearly 50 locations across the country, so bridesmaids from Boston to Seattle can stop by to get measured in their respective cities.
Join the entire bridal industry and bow down to the queen of wedding dresses—and bridesmaid dresses, too. Jenny Yoo's gorgeous silk and chiffon dresses put every bridesmaid in the best light and make for some gorgeous photo ops. This Gold Coast shop routinely gets praised for striking that fine line between being helpful and not pushy when it comes to its staff's help in finding dresses for your girls. Be sure to book an appointment in advance.
Rent the Runway
Another total disruption to the wedding industry (and we mean that in a good way), Rent the Runway began offering bridesmaid dresses in 2011. It works just like when you're choosing Rent the Runway for any other event: make your selection online, rent it for four or eight days, and return it in the pre-paid envelope. Local bridesmaids can stop by the Chicago shop to try the dresses on before placing the order. And while it seems like a gamble to not have the dress until a few days before the big event, Rent the Runway calms your nerves by offering two dress sizes and overnight shipping if neither work out.
Bella Bianca was started by two sisters who wanted brides and bridesmaids alike to feel excited about the wedding. They do just that with gorgeous dresses from designers like Jim Hjelm and Alfred Sung—and by prioritizing personal service. At their Windy City location, the boutique has a newly expanded space dedicated to bridesmaid dresses, as well as huge mirrors so everyone can stand side by side and admire themselves in prep for the big day.