Barrington, Crystal Lake women launch online bridal gown business
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Bree DiMucci, left, and Eva Pristera, owners of Bellini Bridal.
When Bree DiMucci of Barrington was getting married about two years ago, she had 12 weeks to find a dress before the ceremony. Yet many boutiques and bridal salons said she'd never have her dress delivered on time. Or they would charge her extra fees to get it quickly.
Her friend of 15 years, Eva Pristera of Crystal Lake, went through the wedding experience a few years earlier. Both women had a hard time understanding why wedding gowns were priced so high.
"When you'd see the price tag, you'd go, 'Really?' I'm only going to wear it for about 8 hours," DiMucci said.
The two friends decided to help other future brides avoid such an experience. They recently launched an online boutique that sells bridal gowns at a discount of 30 percent to 60 percent. Bellini Bridal at http://bellini-bridal.com/ offers about 90 dresses and more are expected soon. But inventory is limited because most are in sizes 10 or 12, with just a few other sizes available in one-of-a-kind dresses.
"They're not cheap, but we do provide discounts," DiMucci said.
One unique aspect is called VIP Bride Service, where they will go directly to the future bride's home with up to 10 gowns so they can be tried on in private. The cost for VIP is $99, which can be applied toward the purchase price of a dress.
They offer samples, overstock and used gowns. They're sold as is with no special orders. Brides are on their own for alterations, she said.
"What you see is what you get," she said.
Returns can be made, but within a 10-day period and with specific requirements, like returning it unused and with tags still intact.
The website also may offer mother-of-the-bride dresses and some accessories down the road.
"These may be last year's fashions, but it's not like buying the newest car model," DiMucci said. "Wedding dresses have a classic feel to them and they're not that much different from year to year."
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