Miniature Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Belle figurines sit on Sarah Lee's desk, not far from her collection of Disney princess movies.
She's not 4 years old, though. She's 25. And she's getting married in August. So it's no surprise that this Disney-loving bride-to-be was among the first to try on one of the new Disney Fairy Tale Wedding gowns at Volle's Bridal & Boutique in Lake Zurich Thursday night.
"I want the princess look," said Lee, of Des Plaines, acknowledging with a laugh that she's about 20 years older than most Disney princess fans.
The first woman to try on a Disney princess-inspired wedding dress at Volle's Thursday bought it on the spot -- a light gold, puffy-bottomed "Belle" dress for $3,500. She declined to be interviewed, but the staff described her as "a romantic."
For many women, the thought of a Disney wedding dress conjures up images of awful-colored gowns and poofy sleeves. But the Disney Fairy Tale Wedding dresses aren't really that much different than regular wedding dresses. High-end designer Kirstie Kelly created the line, using Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine for inspiration. Sometimes, the princesses' style is obvious, such as the hoopy skirts for the Cinderella gowns and the flowy material on the Jasmine dresses. But most designs just look normal wedding gowns.
The dresses are all 100 percent silk and high quality, the Volle's staff said. Prices range from $1,500 to $4,000.
Volle's co-owner Deanna Dean said the two most common things she hears from brides-to-be are "I want to look like a princess" and "I want to look like Cinderella," so Disney chose to capitalize on that. Wisely so, it seems.
While standing in front of the mirror in one of the Cinderella gowns, Melissa Monroe, 32, of Grayslake beamed that she loved the dress and "felt like a princess."
"Every girl wants to be a princess … and I'm marrying Prince Charming," she said. "I'll probably eliminate the glass slippers, though."
Lee loved the Snow White dress she tried on, admitting that the Disney label made her like it even more. The $1,950 price tag was a little too royal for her budget, though, so she plans to return Sunday and let her dad see her in the dress.
Volle's is the first store in the Chicago area to carry the nine-month-old bridal line, and it's the only store in Illinois that will carry the entire Disney fairy tale collection: 63 wedding gowns, 47 "maiden" bridesmaid dresses, 15 "blossom" flower girl dresses and matching jewelry inspired by Cinderella and the crew.
The Disney people will be at Volle's all weekend, showing off the new line. The store still has a few appointments available, but they're expecting a Disney World-like atmosphere. Dean said the response to this new line has been unlike anything she's seen, and women from across the Midwest are coming to see these gowns.
"Trust me," Dean said, "by Sunday, I will be seeing Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in my sleep."