Friday, November 4, 2011

Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead. AKA Running of the Brides!

Hi, my name is Rachel and I am crazy.  I participated in this:

You can see us at the 45 second mark!

I decided to participate in Filene's Basement's "Running of the Brides" event.  I just found this list of advice that I think I posted on right after the event and thought I'd share what I learned with y'all.
My mom, my brother, and me at the DC ROTB 2011
We weren't playing around y'all.
Here's the run down if you'd like to participate in ROTB, though from what I understand Filene's has recently filed bankruptcy and there is a likelihood the event will no longer occur.  

My thoughts a few days after running around mostly naked for a couple hours in a department store:

- go in the early morning (we got there at 5am) if you want the full experience: some free stuff, making friends (and giving angry looks to the smokers in front of you) in line, music, and sitting on concrete.  Expect to RUN for dresses, grab what you can, and use a tall neon sign that everyone can regroup at.  Trades what you have, hoard smaller sizes and the more "desirable" styles such as trumpets and the better designers.  

- Girls who showed up at 10am-ish did just as well as the early birds.  By this time people will have stopped trading and most of the dresses will be back on the racks for you to browse.  Some girls will stilling be hoarding dresses, but most are down to one or two and will let you have what they don't want... even if you don't have anything to trade for it.

- Expect the dresses to be older and come from lesser known/cheaper designers.  All of the dresses were from past styles: heavy beading, lace, pickups, etc.  

- Smaller sizes are hard to come by but there are enough 4-10's (which I needed) to give you a good variety.  Just because you think it is way too big or too small based on the size doesn't mean the dress will actually
not fit.  I fit into (or could have successfully altered) a 4 and 14.  If you a plus size bride GET TO A ROTB ASAP!!!! There are many size 16-24 dresses and they were honestly the most gorgeous. 

- Don't expect to find your dream dress.... especially if you have one in mind.  It won't be there. SIGH. If you just have a basic idea of what you want, you will probably find something that you really like.  (Note that I didn't use "love."  Most girls left with a dress that wasn't "the one" but was the "I really really like it and the price was so great I'll get in case I don't eventually find something better!")  I had a basic idea of what I wanted: simple, ballgown or A-line, strapless, ivory or white, no shit all over it.  There wasn't one dress in the ENTIRE STORE (and believe me, I looked, stalked, and begged) that fit this description at all. Everything was covered in beads, embroidery, and yards of lace. Everything.

- Team up with another bride who wants something different than you, but is a similar size.  I worked with the girl behind me in line (after three hours in line together you should all be friends by now) and she bought TWO dresses that were gorgeous and just her style.  She traded for me, I traded for her, and we each made a really great new friend.  What's not to like?

- Don't be rude. Yes you can run in front of people once the actual running begins, but don't push or steal or elbow or rip. "Running of the Brides" is a play on words... don't actually act like a bull.  90% of people were super sweet and are happy to help you out.  

- Make a sign and bring it.  Tall, neon, and obvious. It'll work better as a tool for locating your group than telling people what you want, mostly because you'll give up holding it once you've established your area.  

- You might be on tv!!  You might win free stuff!  YAYYYY!!!!  FREEE!!!!  FAMOUS!!!

- I brought fun things to do in line, but we didn't use them. aka don't wast your money.  Bring breakfast and a blanket and a backpack for everything that can't be left in the car.  Remember that you will have to carry everything with you as you run for dresses.  

- Don't be afraid to ask a guy friend.  My brother Will was awesome, strong, and really committed to helping me find my dream dress.  As long as the guy isn't afraid of the situation, he'll be a HUGE asset.  Bonus points if his wingspan is large (so he can grab more dresses at a time!)

- Free alterations were offered.  Use the seamstress's opinions if you love a dress that is too big or small and then use her services - at least for the basic things if you don't necessarily trust them.   FREE!!!!!!

- Don't be upset if you don't find a dress.  There is one out there for you.  Go for the experience and be happy with just that - the dresses and tv spots are just perks.  

That's all I can think of for now.  I hope this helps some one else!

***I forgot to mention that the store will have photographers all over the place. You should be running around in something that you are comfortable with the whole world seeing you in.  AKA not a bra that is way way too small or thong underwear.  I wore a sports bra and short leggings which did the job without creeping William out.  

I'll post about the actual experience once I recover from my grad-school-induced coma. 

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