Filene’s Basement’s Running of the Brides begins Friday, Feb. 20 at 8 a.m. at Hynes Convention Center, and continues until 8 p.m. It’s a new location, but the concept hasn’t changed, and with a bit more room to roam, the ladies aren’t as feisty as they used to be. We rounded up some tips from the bound and determined brides who managed to score the dream dress.
1. Arrive early: You have to get there between 3-4 a.m. to actually get your hands on the dresses. If you show up later, you’ll still get into the sale once the doors open, but all of the dresses will be claimed.
2. Team on: You need a crew of at least four people. The bride, two people to guard the pile, and at least one other person to help the bride trade and hunt, and maybe one more to zip up gowns and put them back in the bags.
3. Wear costumes: Wear matching colored shirts and quirky costumes so that you can find each other in the chaos. One group wore florescent traffic vests, another wore diamond ring headpieces, and one group even carried balloons.
4. Make signs: Know what style you want before you go, then make big signs that state your size, color, and style (Size 4, Ivory, Strapless). Hold the sign above your head and walk through the crowd to track and trade easily.
5. Pile it on: Bust through the door and grab 10-20 dresses, no matter the size or style, and put them in a big pile, which should then be guarded by “team members” until the bride has gone through the stash. Unwanted dresses are then used to barter and trade with other brides.
6. Collect collateral: Even a dress that’s not your size or style of choice can be used as bargaining chips to find the right one. Since each bride picks up dresses in all shapes and sizes (like you will), odds are you can trade for one that fits.
7. Wear cute underwear: You’ll be so frantic, throwing dresses on and off, that you won’t care who sees London, or who sees France. But keep it conservative for others who will have to look at your butt.
8. Bring a mirror: Inside the convention center, each mirror is surrounded by too many brides trying to get a glance of the gown they’re wearing. If you bring your own looking glass, you won’t have to wait, and you’ll be able to filter through the rejects at a quicker pace. A digital camera could also work for this.
9. Give the sob story: Since we didn’t have any dresses to barter with at first, we approached the moms and grandmas who were guarding the dress piles, and begged and pleaded for rejects. The moms and grandmas were more likely to give up the goods for nothing in return, while brides and the ‘maids always required a trade.
10. Or go late. After noon, most brides will have already chosen their dresses, and their piles will be up for grabs. Search through the cast offs, and you could still find the one. But you still may end up with one that looks like this.
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