Princess for A Day

Pilar Burlingham, owns the Lilac Dress Boutique located at 1918 Encinal Ave. Pilar decided to carry practical wedding gowns. "My brides call out for a simple, classic, silk, unique wedding dress, with a budget in mind and I offer that to them.

"Many of my clients come over from San Francisco. My most reasonably priced dresses are around $700, silk and beautiful. Most girls want to spend about $1,000, a few $3,000 and some $500; I will not put a dress in their room that falls out of their budget, it is just not fair!" said Pilar.

Along with bridal dresses, Pilar also sells local designers and up-and-coming artist jewelry in her store. Pilar refers things like photography, hair and make-up and seamstress help to her network of people, and hopes to carry shoes soon. A bride can depend on Pilar to help her access what she needs to accomplish her goals.

"Usually a young bride throws the first big party of her life, and it is also the most important party she will ever throw," said Pilar.

Pilar recommends that you: 1) Stick to your guns. 2) Know what you like. 3) Know what is important to you. 4) Do not open a wedding magazine. It will bully you into spending way too much money. 5) Invite guests to your wedding who love you. 6) Don't invite guests that will judge you. 7) The "which party favor should I use" is the trivial stuff. 8) Keep in mind you are getting married, and the person you are marrying will grow old with you."

The Lilac Dress Boutique also sells casual designer clothes like denims, T-shirts and cashmere sweaters. Burlingham carries sizes from 0-18 and can order any size above that. She has two "plus size" designers.

One other outstanding thing about this store: Pilar's "Belle of the Ball" event. Lilac collects dresses all year long from other designers — "once worn" dresses, bride's maid, cocktail and other dresses — while donating 15-20 new, once a year, give away prom dresses from her own store to high school girls who cannot afford a dress. "It's one thing if a girl doesn't want to go to the prom, but to stay home for the lack of a dress is devastating and no girl should experience this so young," added Pilar.

"When the girls walk in the store, they know that everything is available without cost: dresses, jewelry, shawls and strapless bras. Community mother figures and college girls help the high school girls find their perfect dress for the prom. The Blue Dot Cafe brings homemade lemonade and warm cookies; Susan Bell Florals supplies corsages and boutonnieres and Anne Kohler takes a picture of the girls as a memento for them to have.

"So, for one day, these girls are pampered. Last year, we gave away 70 dresses," said Burlingham.

A raffle follows that allows 10 girls to receive a free corsage and boutonniere for their date. This is a very special day. All the dresses that are left over are collected by Stanford Hospital, for their prom and children in their hospital.

For more information about Lilac, call 865-2544 or visit


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