Vendors showcase, brides and grooms shop at South Side I Do

Bride-to-be Cydney McMillian looks through a Jade Bridal, 1600 S. Halstead Ave., portfolio of wedding gowns at the boutique’s table in Connect Gallery, 1520 E. Harper Ct., during the “South Side I Do” wedding stroll, Sunday, Sept. 9. Connect Gallery was one of six storefront venues situated along East 53rd Street and around Harper Court that provided space for vendors during the stroll, a marketing device used regularly in the suburbs, but rarely on the southside of Chicago, according to Amy Allen, publisher of Modern Luxury Weddings Chicago, the lead sponsor of the event. – Marc Monaghan

By AARON GETTINGER
Staff Writer

Scores of soon-to-be brides, attendants and grooms attended the South Side I Do “wedding stroll” Sunday, browsing florists, caterers, planners and venues who set up shop in different businesses around Downtown Hyde Park.

Amy Allen, publisher of Modern Luxury Weddings magazine, organized the event with the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement’s UChicago Local economic development initiative. Allen also sponsors wedding walks on Oak Street in the Gold Coast and West Loop neighborhoods; this was her first event on the South Side.

As wedding gown model Diana Zambuto reclines on a classical cabriole in Connect Gallery, 1520 E. Harper Ct., bridal consultant Monica Grace Matar (on left) and Jade Bridal boutique owner Wini Wu (on right) speak with a potential customer during the “South Side I Do” wedding stroll, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. Connect Gallery was one of six storefront venues situated along East 53rd Street and around Harper Court that provided space for vendors during the stroll, a marketing device used regularly in the suburbs, but rarely on the southside of Chicago, according to Amy Allen, publisher of Modern Luxury Weddings Chicago, the lead sponsor of the event. – Marc Monaghan

Leslie McDavid, operations manager of the Vanille Patisserie chain, said the company’s founder Sophie Evanoff came up with the idea for South Side I Do, and that Vanille began emphasizing its wedding cake operation five years ago out of its flagship Lincoln Park location.

“We get a lot of clients on the South Side coming out to the North Side for our products, so I think it’s convenient for people all around,” McDavid said, adding that business at its Hyde Park location, 5229 S. Harper Court, open since December, is going well.

La Petit Folie, 1504 E. 55th St., proprietor Mary Mastricola speaks with potential customers Naythea Johnson and James Sumter at the restaurant’s table in Vanille Patisserie, 5229 S. Harper Ct., during the “South Side I Do” wedding stroll, Sunday, Sept. 9. Vanille Patisserie was one of six storefront venues situated along East 53rd Street and around Harper Court that provided space for vendors during the stroll, a marketing device used regularly in the suburbs, but rarely on the southside of Chicago, according to Amy Allen, publisher of Modern Luxury Weddings Chicago, the lead sponsor of the event. – Marc Monaghan

Lindsay Levita, owner of Cornell Florist, 1645 E. 55th St., said most of her work comes from commissions with the U. of C. but she is trying to build up her presence at weddings, which she estimated makes up a third of her business. She said South Side I Do had been a good way to network with other area businesses in addition to consumers.

Courtney Haywood heard about South Side I Do from a friend and was pleased to gather ideas for her wedding next November “and to see what the South Side has to offer, because “I do want my wedding on the South Side of Chicago.”

She said, “Being here definitely gives me more ideas, so I won’t be all over the place. It’s a good event.”

Daniela Fernandez, Brianne Pearson and Serena Napolitano model bridal gowns from Frock Shop Dress Rentals, 1368 ½ E. 53rd St., as they pose with custom-made suits at Jojayden, 1457 E. 53rd St., during the “South Side I Do” wedding stroll, Sunday, Sept. 9. Jojayden was one of six storefront venues situated along East 53rd Street and around Harper Court that provided space for vendors during the stroll, a marketing device used regularly in the suburbs, but rarely on the southside of Chicago, according to Amy Allen, publisher of Modern Luxury Weddings Chicago, the lead sponsor of the event. – Marc Monaghan

Allen was pleased to give customers like Haywood this opportunity.

“We find that brides really want to find unique places to have their weddings no matter where they live,” she said, suggesting that someone attending the wedding stroll from the suburbs may decide to have their wedding at The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. W. because of the event. “Our goal is really to spread the word out to the broader base.”

She hopes to begin holding the event annually.

a.gettinger@hpherald.com