Running Of The Brides is a semi-annual event traditionally held at Filene’s Basement in Boston; it’s an opportunity to purchase designer wedding gowns at bargain basement prices. Since 1947, brides in waiting and their teams of helpers have camped out at the entrance to the store the night before and “stormed the Bastille” when the gates are opened.
At 8 a.m. the Running of the Brides begins – racks are quickly emptied, and the trading, bartering, and trying on of wedding dresses begins. Teams communicate with each other using whistles or bells, wear similar hats, carry light sticks, or wear the same color t-shirts for smooth “event coordination.” The store staff works beforehand to gather more than 1,500 wedding gowns priced typically between $249 and $649. The gowns are not returnable; The Basement doesn’t normally carry wedding dresses – they’re shipped in special for the event. Brands include Claire Pettibone, Vera Wang, Pronovias, Carolina Herrera, and Priscilla of Boston.
Hynes Convention Center (also the finish line for the Boston Marathon) will be the site of the event next Saturday, March 11th, 2011, since the flagship store has been demolished. Sadly, this annual tradition will be at Filene’s no more.
In addition to the Boston location, Filene’s Basement Stores in Washington D.C., Chicago, Atlanta (March 18), and New York City will hold winter and spring wedding dress sales as well. Boston’s fall event is August 20 this year.
Rochelle A. from Fort Knox describes her experience at Running of the Brides: Their team brought a full length mirror and large binder clips to “remove” excess fabric in the back when trying on larger sizes. She and a friend chose an impromptu “dressing room” spot in one of the aisles; she jumped on her shoulders so that the team could easily find them as they waved a sign. The plan was so successful that not only did her team easily locate her – so did the news crews with their cameras. Their picture was featured on http://boston.com and she was interviewed for Oprah! After only a few minutes their strategy had to be abandoned as they were deemed a safety hazard.
Rochelle and team arrived about 6:30am, not in time to be one of the first 200 or so to get in the store. The racks were dress-less except for a few ugly items. Things calmed down 2 or 3 hours into the event, and some dresses had been returned to the racks. After 4 hours of looking, waiting, trading, and modeling dozens of dresses, she found the perfect dress for $699, a Pronovias that retailed for more than $3,000.
Hotels in Boston and other cities offers Running Of The Brides special overnight packages, complete with various add-ons like power breakfast and free parking.
Running of the Brides was alluded to in a Friends episode with Monica in focus…