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Giving other brides-to-be the beatdown | Manolo for the Brides

Giving other brides-to-be the beatdown

Please don\'t hurt me!

How does one procure a $5,000 gown for $500? By being the strongest, the fastest, and the most agile bride on the block. When brides-to-be are training like quarterbacks, it can only mean one thing: Filene’s Basement’s annual “Running of the Brides” sale. On July 14, hopeful future brides in Towson, Maryland are going to push, punch, and kick their way to the gowns of their dreams. The Running of the Brides event will come to Chicago, D.C., and Boston later in the summer.

Frankly, the whole thing scares the hell out of me. According to the Filene’s web site, once the crowd gathered outside the store is let loose, “it takes less than 60 seconds for the racks to be stripped bare. Shoppers grab as many gowns as they can carry, drag them off to a corner, strip down to their underwear, and start trying on dresses.”

Now, I can’t imagine how those gowns stay clean, much less intact, but the Running of the Brides event is quite famous, so Filene’s must be doing something right. A Google search for images reveals hordes of crazed women streaming into Filene’s, ripping gowns of racks, bodily staking their claims on piles of gowns, and being helped into gowns by dazed looking dudes.

To help hopeful brides find that perfect gown, Filene’s has published a guide to the Running of the Brides sale that shares a handful of tips and tricks like:

Pick a team — people whose taste you trust and are willing to get in there and do shopping battle for you. Hold a pre-sale meeting with your team. Come up with a team uniform — matching hats, t-shirts, headbands, carry whistles — anything that would make it easier to find each other in the crowd. Assign jobs to team members — someone to gather, someone to trade, someone to help you in and out of the dresses, someone to guard your inventory from prowlers.

Be nice — with all the excitement, shoppers have been known to get a little territorial and competitive. As our security manager once said to a TV reporter, “you don’t want to be walking down the aisle knowing you had to punch somebody out to get the dress.”

Be decisive — it’s only a one-day sale and gowns are not returnable.

Now, I can understand the desire that compels women to seek out designer duds at rock bottom prices. But aren’t weddings stressful enough without brides-to-be having to resort to berserker tactics to find gowns? Sure, its not really as crazy as Ive made it out to bebut it can still get pretty crazy!

17 Responses to “Giving other brides-to-be the beatdown”

  1. patient one July 6, 2006 at 4:22 pm #

    This reminds me of that Friends episode where Monica was trying to find a gown. All I remember is Rachel rocking back and forth in a pile of gowns blowing her whistle.

    When you read about stuff like this, its no wonder a lot of men are intemidated by wedding planning. Heck, it scares me a little.

  2. jenny July 6, 2006 at 5:46 pm #

    Surely, surely one should be able to find a great gown at a price you can afford without losing every last trace of a civilized animal with opposable thumbs and the most basic of manners. I break out in hives even thinking of going shopping the afternoon of the day after Thanksgiving. I’ll leave this sort of sale to those with a linebacker’s shoulders and a death wish…

  3. Never teh Bride July 6, 2006 at 5:55 pm #

    I feel the same way, jenny. Crowded stores and malls give me the heebie-jeebies but I may just be a sissy. The thought of being yelled at or socked by some rabid bride-to-be freaks me out. I mean, doesn’t fighting to the death over a dress give the dress itself bad ju ju? Think about walking down the aisle, thinking about how insane you had to be to get your gown. Eek!

  4. Ninjarina July 6, 2006 at 6:32 pm #

    No thanks! With the advent of the internet, I’ve been able to find many deeply discounted items sans being tackled by scary people.

    I usually boycott Black Friday b/c I think it’s a symbol of crass American consumerism but if I don’t, it’s usually b/c I’ve been eyeing something that I actually need (for example, when my printer broke down one year).

  5. Dataceptionist July 6, 2006 at 8:49 pm #

    Aarrgghh the horror! The pressure of the decision! all too much for me I’m afraid

  6. McSarah July 6, 2006 at 9:23 pm #

    Not to be too picky, but as a former resident of this city, a suburb of Baltimore, I must correct you nevertehbride… it is TOWSON, MD. You must have just mistyped in your haste to form your dress hoarding plans 😉

  7. Never teh Bride July 6, 2006 at 9:51 pm #

    Eeeeeek! Thanks, McSarah! I was too caught up in the briderunning excitement to notice my error, I swear.

  8. jenny July 6, 2006 at 11:14 pm #

    D’ya know, though: this would be a hoot to just sit and watch as purely a bystander! If they had bleachers. And cold beverages.

    Wait a minute. That whole image flashed into my mind, and then changed in a flash from watching the run o’ the brides to watching a gladiator showdown in ancient Rome. Maybe I’m not a civilized as I thought I was…

  9. Dataceptionist July 7, 2006 at 3:15 am #

    Hahaha Gold. Not sure if you’ve seen this site NtB
    http://www.goingbridal.com/etc/ and it has the american flag dress referred to in fourth of july post comments….

  10. Never teh Bride July 7, 2006 at 11:25 am #

    Oh man, Dataceptionist. My recently married aunt had dresses like these at her first wedding. In Pepto pink!

  11. Twistie July 7, 2006 at 12:24 pm #

    I think the Running of the Brides needs sportscasting. It would be great, like that PDQ Bach number with the orchestra vs the conductor for Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Hell, I might even shell out for Pay-Per-View for that one!

    But be there? In all that bloody chaos? To find a dress? No freakin’ way.

    I love a good bargain as much as the next thrifty shopper, but there are some hazards I’m not willing to face to save a buck…or even fifteen hundred bucks!

  12. Omnibus Driver July 7, 2006 at 12:37 pm #

    This is a very longstanding tradition at FB’s. In fact, my own mother got her wedding dress at this sale back in the late 1950’s. According to her, it’s always been a madhouse!

  13. Phyllis July 7, 2006 at 10:31 pm #

    A woman I worked with did the Filene’s thing, and she did get a great gown, but I think it scarred her for life!

  14. kk July 17, 2006 at 3:37 pm #

    wow that is ridiculous
    making a team and going in and fighting
    i am lucky to have a wonderful parents who insisted on treating me to the dress of my dreams
    the bridal department at saks is amazing
    this makes me realize and appreciate how lucky i am

  15. ahh July 19, 2006 at 3:18 pm #

    It really *is* that bad. Honestly. I made the mistake of showing up about 15 minutes after the doors were opened (Boston, 1995), and there were about 20 sad-looking gowns unclaimed. Women stripping down in the aisles, mothers and brides to be guarding their stash of gowns…Fellini-esque.

  16. jennipah August 7, 2006 at 12:51 pm #

    i went to the dc running, and it was crazy! i got there at 5am, and i think if i went much later, it wouldn’t have been worth it (unless i waited until an hour or two after the opening). people do literally RUN, and the racks are stripped bare. you can only get more dresses by bartering in the beginning. dresses do come back out after a little while, but you’d seriously think these people were professional hunters on the prowl!

  17. Never teh Bride August 8, 2006 at 1:08 pm #

    Though I’m a bargain hunter by nature, I’d rather spend a little more on a gown after hearing jennipah tell it!