Tip Sheet: Filene's Basement Running of the Brides

On Friday, you’ll have the chance to become one of the thousands of women across the country who, through laughter, sweat and tears, have proudly become Filene’s Basement brides. That’s right. The world-famous Running of the Brides® event is back and the more you prepare, the greater your chances are of walking away with your dream gown.

For brides-to-be who have no idea what this event is, simply put, it’s a chance to score a designer wedding gown for a fraction of the original price and have some fun with your friends while you’re at it. Brides-to-be and their “teams” (friends and family they bring along to help with the shopping) line up hours in advance to be among the first to stampede into a room filled with designer bridal gowns. Gowns are from sought-after designers, originally priced anywhere from $900 – $9,000, will be priced between $249 and $699.  No appointments are needed and you can bring as many friends and family members as you like. And, unlike some bridal salons, dress sizes range from 2 to 26, so you can actually try on gowns in your size rather than having to imagine what the dress will look like on you when a sample doesn’t fit.

We spoke with Patricia Boudrot, the director of public relations for Filene’s Basement for 18 years, shared some of her tips for dress-hunting success:

Recruit, coordinate, and delegate your team. Gather those you trust most to help you out the day of the event. Wearing matching shirts will help you find your team members in the crowd. Give them specific tasks to do (i.e. search for a particular size or style, trade with other shoppers, guard your gown lineup, etc.).

Skip the make-up. No one wants to buy a gown with smeared lipstick stains.

Wear layers. Remember the fitting room in the old Downtown Crossing Filene’s Basement? Exactly.  You’ll be trying on gowns in front of several hundred people. Wear something fitted underneath your clothes (even a bathing suit) so you can easily pull dresses on and off.

Get there early. Know this: the racks will be bare within minutes. But if you are among the first to arrive, you will be among the first to get in the doors. However, racks are restocked throughout the day, and the chaos does dies down as the day goes on.

Scope out other brides’ reject gowns. Have a member of your team check out the gowns other brides try on and reject. Most brides have a sense of style they are looking for. If you see someone trying styles you like, chances are you might find a great dress in their pile of castoffs.

Stay positive. There’s a pretty good chance you’ll find a great gown. In fact, last year, over 90% of brides-to-be found their dream gown. The crowds may look overwhelming, but just remember most of the people you see are team members helping out other brides.

Have fun. If you walk away with your wedding gown, congrats. If you don’t, enjoy the day with your team, take pictures, and make it a memorable experience.

8 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday, October 28. Filene’s Basement Newton, 215-227 Needham St., Newton, 617-332-1295, filenesbasement.com.

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