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World Famous Bridal Team Extravaganza / Dash In To Get Your Brand Name Wedding Dress For Less

Updated on July 23, 2011
courtesy photo from
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The Mad Dash for Discounted Bridal Gowns

Hundreds of brides-to-be flock early morning outside the doors of Filene’s Basement for the most terrifying shopping experience known to women.

It is not uncommon for the early birds to show up the day before and bring their lawn chairs, sleeping bags, and pop-up tents to the bridal gown extravaganza sale which has become part of the wedding planning experience for this tough bargain hunting bunch of brides and their friends.

The 'Running of the Brides'

OR the 'Running of the Bulls'

The Running of the Brides Have Come with a Mission

These 4 magical words "discounted designer wedding gowns" have brought brides running from all corners of the world to find the gown of their dreams at bargain basement prices. It is one of the most fun bridal events in the USA known as ‘The Running of the Brides’.

The 'mad dash' for the perfect gown has been going on since 1947 when Filene's Basement first hosted the famous bridal gown sale held once a year in selected Filene’s Basement stores and twice a year in its original store in Boston.

Currently Filene's Basement has been undergoing extensive renovations and so for the last few events the 'mad dash' has been held at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston's Back Bay until the original flagship store in Downtown Crossing reopens this spring 2009.

Get Your Running Shoes Ready

Things stay pretty friendly until the doors open at 8:00 a.m. Then the countdown begins 5…4…3…2…1 and hell breaks loose! A stampede of brides and their team of helpers literally run full speed to the racks in a dress pulling, tug-of-war frenzy, grabbing as many gowns as their arms can possibly hold. It can take anywhere from sixty seconds to two minutes to strip the racks of nearly 3,000 bridal gowns.

Each team will then look for a private corner or empty space on the floor so the bride can weed out the good, the bad, and the ugly gowns and then she will begin to strip down to her underwear and try on her dresses.

Minutes later the trading begins. Each dress no matter what size, color or style, will get bartered for another, as each of the brides-to-be tries to find the gown of her dream at a discounted price of $249, $499 and $699 from the original $900 to $9,000 plus. The original price tags remain attached to the gowns so the customers can see the savings instantly.

Brides Gone Wild

The Fun Begins with Trading

After the brides-to-be have sorted through the gowns, the real game begins. The secret is to get as many gowns as you can off the rack to trade for the one that you really love. Many have said this event should be called 'The Trading of the Brides'. A trading strategy has evolved over time and the gowns that are rejected by the bride are shopped around to the different teams who are also looking to trade the gowns that they no longer want. This trading can get complex where one trade could involve multiple transactions. Often you will see the team helpers move their way through the crowd holding signs high above their heads that read "size 4 strapless", "size 8-10 in ivory" or simply "size 16 wanted".

At the beginning of the event you may see a wide range of different behaviors such as shoving, elbowing, hoarding but eventually it brings out the best in the brides and bonding takes place between the different bridal groups.

When a bride finds 'her dress' everyone in the area stops what they are doing and applauds. If a brides-to-be mother can't make the event, all the other mothers pitch in and act as surrogates to help find that perfect dress.

I Got My Dress at Filene's Basement

"The Running of The Brides"

Bridal Team Uniform

Why You Should Bring A Team of Helpers

You will definitely need people to help you grab as many gowns off the rack as you possibly can so you will have plenty to trade with later with the other bridal parties. It is recommended you bring at least 4 people. You will also need help in getting in and out of the dresses and to guard the other gowns in your pile from the quick snatchers. It is also the opinion of others who have braved it before you to have a team "uniform" to help you stand out in the crowd such as wearing bright or florescent colored shirts, vests, or hats. Some teams get very creative and print their team names on their t-shirts, carry whistles or walkie-talkies or any other item of their imagination.  The Boston Filene's is underground so cell reception isn't great!

Will You Make It Out Alive

This distinctive event has been called crazy, scary and insane. It is shopping as a full-contact sport, and the women who take part in the 'Running of The Brides' wouldn't have it any other way. At the end of the day, you may have the gown of your dream with a fairytale ending or you may not. But one day you will look back on this experience and recognize that you wouldn't have wanted to miss it for anything, not for the world!


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    • mysisters profile image


      7 years ago

      Great Hub. This event is insane, but if you can get a gorgeous dress for a great price why not?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      We provide a variety of Wedding dress wedding gowns according to the measurements your supplied. Holy Dress Wedding dress factory would like to thank you for visiting our site and welcome wholesale Wedding gown from us. Wedding and bridesmaid dresses and shoes from Hell. Everything you need to know about prom dresses. As always, the best place for full info on businesses

    • My Digest profile image

      My Digest 

      8 years ago

      Oooh I love weddings...I adore weddings and brides and bridal gowns and would love to join this mad dash! LOL

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      A new web site is something that you should watch out.

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      Thanks 1weddingsource. Glad you enjoyed it. You can't beat the prices and it's a once in a lifetime experience. Thanks for checking it out!

    • 1weddingsource profile image


      9 years ago from Georgia

      Look at the future brides' face, they are all having fun. Good thing filene's basement have this cool offer. The price are really amazing, so low. Excellent job for creating this hub. Enjoyed reading it.

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      Ya know sis, I still have my white wedding gown.  I'll take it with me into Filene's Basement when we go.   Maybe some poor sucker  will want it. I'll give them a good discount, LOL! (just kiddin!)


    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Well heck for the fun of it, let's go!  :-)

      You know sis, there was a time in my life when I wanted to wear a white bridal gown (not the creamy one, but the silvery white one.) Yes, that would be my dream wedding gown. :-)

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      Hi sis, there is another herd of brides dashing off this Friday, March 20 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA and again in Rockville, Maryland USA on April 3rd. The next one in Boston is Friday, August 21st! Wanna go? You won't have to be the bride, I promise!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi...are there new brides dashing off to buy wedding gowns? LOL

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      Blondepoet, I love your answer for not marrying for small reasons. That makes perfect sense to me. Either way, married or not what matters most is the beautiful person you are. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • blondepoet profile image


      9 years ago from australia

      This is a awesome story Dottie1.Yoy certainly know your stuff. I always wanted to be a bride. I would lay there imagining what dress I would wear. It is like being Cinderella a magic moment.

      That wont ever happen to me I ws engaged once at 18,once at 19. Then again at 21 I was married in a registery office but it did not last long.I am not being negative I mean I just have this inner feeling it wont happen for me, But I would never get married for small reasons anyway, I would have to be head over heels and 100% I was doing the right thing.

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      Glad you enjoyed and Thank you Meka for your nice comments. ~Dottie

    • profile image

      Meka J 

      9 years ago

      This is a great hub and I have never heard of this bridal run. What an interesting read. Sounds like fun!

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      Another just as dangerous event is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when bargain hunters make the mad dash to start Christmas shopping!

      I've been to the Bull Run in Spain and I've done the stampede on Black Friday but I'm still hesitant of being near the Killer Brides. I think I'd be a crushed Dottie!

    • compu-smart profile image


      9 years ago from London UK

      Hi Dottie,

      Ive heard of the famous Bull run In Pamplona, Spain, but ive never heard of the ‘The Running of the Brides!!

      Looks just as dangerous! lol and if the beatles WERE there as Shirley wondered, they would have surely been crushed Beatles!! lol

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      LoL Shirley @ were the Beatles there? Ya never know, maybe they had the Beatles on subliminal singing "All You Need is Love". That would set the brides screaming! Thanks for shopping by Shirl and for the showing of the thumbs.

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Love this hub, Dottie! I've never heard of this but it looks insane. It'd be fun to watch, but I sure wouldn't want to be part of it. The dresses that I could see looked beautiful, though. Never heard of brides screaming to find their dresses....were The Beatles there? ;)

      Thumbs up for you, my friend!

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      2-raghu9 - I did but not anymore, thanks. 2-Anna - I can see where these bridal affairs can get emotionally charged leading to bumps and bruises. Maybe that's why some of the teams wear hard hats and steal toed shoes. I think that is your safest bet! 2-ripplemaker - definitely a much safer place and as the story goes by Robert McCloskey, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard are looking for a place to live. They finally decide on a place in Boston along the Charles River. Mrs. Mallard has eight ducklingsand decides to leave the Charles River site and settle in the Boston Commons.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hey Anna that is scary...

      Sis Dottie, yeah, the ducklings will be "safer" than the bulls...ahh I mean brides. LOL

    • Anna Marie Bowman profile image

      Anna Marie Bowman 

      9 years ago from Florida

      A friend of mine went to one of these discount bridal dress sales, and she said it was brutal!!! She had a couple of bruises and she never did find a dress she liked out of all of it!

    • raghu9 profile image


      9 years ago

      i think u missed an indian wedding

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      cgull8m, It's all in the name of fun!  Thanks for stopping by :)

      Hey sis ripplemaker, not your cup of tea?  I'd probably get knocked over and run down if I went in that zoo but I like animals and bridezillas so I thought it would be fun.  Maybe we'd be better off visiting 'Make Way for The Ducklings' or something like that which is a little tamer than the 'Running of the Bulls', I mean Brides, LOL.  Thanks for the visit.  Take Care Now!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Sis Dottie, I was laughing in astonishment (first time I heard of this); and you offering to bring me there if ever I want to get married --ROFL. But no thanks my angel sis. I would get dizzy with the crowd. I'm not much of a shopper. LOL I'd probably just say let's get the first one and get out of here. I would be a bummer. But I'm sure this is a pretty good treat for those who want bargain bridal gowns. :-) Happy shopping brides to be! :-)

    • cgull8m profile image


      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Great job Dottie, marriage is once in a lifetime experience, people should have fun. Cheers :)

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      Thanks Princessa. After I watched the video "A dress for Jess" it sounds like I missed out on something really fun and an experience that Jess said was the most fun she's had in her whole life. I heard it is a much crazier event than what you read about or hear on the news. The best part is sharing your story and people asking "did you get your dress" and yes Jess got her dress after trying on 70 of them, unbelievable. This is an event people are very happy they went to but would not want to repeat ever!

      Laughing at the bruise comments and Peggy's comment of going far enough in advance for the bruises to heal in time for the big day, lol.

      Thanks Ladies for stopping by and commenting! I'm getting excited now and I really want to go! Anyone getting married?

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Certainly not everyone's dream shopping experience! Hope they do this far enough in advance of any wedding for the bruises to heal. Ha!

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      9 years ago from France

      That sounds fantastic, plenty of fun (and a few bruises I bet). Buying my wedding dress was so boring... just one shop and the third dress I tried did the trick! Your "running of the brides" souns like so much fun!

      Thumbs up :)

    • Dottie1 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      Hi Laila, thank you and yes it does sound like fun to me as long as I'm not the bride. If I were to be asked to help, definitely I would want to experience the thrill of it all! I'll have to start plugging on my neices, lol!

      Hey G-Ma, I'm glad you had fun browsing through the hub. I couldn't find the article I once read about the "running of the bulls" but it is the comparison of how this event got it's name. I'll have to dig more for that story! Nice to see you and hope all is well at your home! Take care!

      Hi mamacoots, Looking at dresses can make for a very long day. Have fun with your sister and her bridesmaids and shop til ya drop. Wear your running shoes, at least your feet can go home happy! Thanks for coming by!

    • mamacoots profile image


      9 years ago from Louisiana

      Great Hub, Dottie! Looks like this is for SERIOUS shoppers!!! lol I'm supposed to be going on a shopping trip with my sister and her bridemaids this weekend to look for dresses. I hope it's not going to be crazy like that. Maybe I should wear my running shoes. ;-)

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      9 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      you did a great job here sweetie...I have seen this and to me it is craziness...but I AM A PLAIN  jane...but to each her own???  what ever makes your boat float??? Life is a one way trip....there is no going back so enjoy and be yourself...and Be Happy...don''t worry...Thanks for a fun fun hub...G-Ma :O) Hugs & Peace

      P.S. Loved the comparison to The Running of the Bulls...yeh

    • Laila Rajaratnam profile image

      Laila Rajaratnam 

      9 years ago from India

      Dotti..this is great!Never heard of this before and yes,it does sound a lot of fun! Youre right,when you look back at all the confusion,grabbing and trading,you would not trade this day for anyother! Thanks for sharing!:)


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