Two Elon alumni (2002) have pooled their talents to bring excitement and joy to your day. One is a classy woman who combines her Italian and feminine powers to influence men of all shapes and sizes. The other is a tall blond man who relies on wit and boyish good looks to impress women, especially when they're drunk. Join them in their epic pursuit of the phenomenon known as adulthood. NoSalesTax side effects may include addiction and abrupt laughter as colleagues look on in confused jealousy.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Running of the Brides

I know, I know, my wedding is the subject of too many entries (Bite me, J-Mazz) But this is a story that has to be told….and so it is.

Filene’s Basement holds an annual, traveling sale that is most affectionately referred to as, “The Running of the Brides”. They buy a huge selection of designer wedding gowns and bring them from store to store, slashing prices and bringing incredible gowns to giddy brides for a fraction of their original cost.

I have been waiting for this year’s sale since last year’s sale….when I was not engaged. My mom and I stumbled upon the sale one drunken afternoon. Two pina coladas and a few bloody mary’s deep we went shopping in Friendship Heights, and you can imagine our surprise when we went down Filene’s escalator and found wedding gowns in place of discounted Coach bags and Franco Sardo slingbacks. We did what any half-cocked, mother-daughter pair would do- danced around in wedding gowns. I found my dream dress that day for $250. I vowed to come back and claim her once I was engaged.

So, as the picture shows, my mom, sister and I spent the early hours of the morning camped out in front of Filene’s on August 5. We arrived at 3:30 am and found a line had already started forming…a line that included brides, bridesmaids, and a group of 4 men holding a spot for one of their fiancés and 14 other of her closest friends/church group….remember that they were a church group, it’ll come back into the story a little later, I promise you. Ohhh, do I promise you.

Around 6:30 am I left to pick up Abby. When we returned, the sun was out and the brides were ready to rock and roll. At 7 they let us into the mall, where we would stand outside until 8 am when they opened the doors. My group was the 5th group in line, behind a few people who had been there since the night before, the church group and a relatively normal girl and her mother.

It was about this time that the church group decided we didn’t none have enough Jesus in our lives, and that Jesus also needed to focus all of his attention that day on getting their friend a dress (you know, as opposed to like, helping find peace in Iraq, fix the ozone layer, helping the BackStreet Boys have a better comeback album. Those sorts of things.) Soooo, they started praying, singing, clapping hands, jumping up and down, preaching, yelling, and crying. The crying was the best, or the worst. All the while it made for a very uncomfortable situation for me and all others involved. Only one thing could remedy the situation of the Jesus freaks…and that was free food.

Towards the front of the line was a huge table with complimentary baked goods and a chocolate fountain with strawberries. When my sister, Abby and I spotted the strawberries we headed up to take a look and get a sample. It was then that some dumb, crazy, crazy bitch put her hand out in front of me and every so manically pushed my shoulder.

“No! No! You can’t come up here! This is a line! You have to get in line! I have been here all night!” she whined. Her eyes were crazy, did I mention that? Big, crazy eyes.

I tried to reason with her, explain that I. too, was in line, but just wanted a strawberry.

Her mom then started yelling in this half frenetic, half really really sad and maybe sorta tired and on crack voice, “We’ve been here since 8 pm!! You can’t do this to us!!!”

Sadly, this is all very very true and I wouldn’t even have the creativity to make it up. This went on for about 1-2 minutes, whereupon my sassy 19-year-old sister told the girl to take a chill pill, get out of our way, we were having a strawberry. She sorta did….
…but took that defeat as a reason to start fighting with the even sassier black girl coming up for strawberries behind us. Not only did she put her hand on this girl’s shoulder, she pushed her. It was the WRONG MOVE. It turned into a scene from a very bad movie, where two girls fought (“Oh, no you didn’t!!! Oh no you didn’t? Who you think you are? I’m gonna kick yo little ass!!!!”) the cops came, and FOX was there to catch it all on TV.

It would not be the only fight caught by cops and FOX that day; later on an argument between two women who grabbed the same dress was diffused by two officers, two TV cameras and two daughters who were so pissed at their moms for fighting that they probably left the store without any dress at all.

But I got a dress….did I ever. When they opened the doors at 8 am, my sister and I took off like greased owl shit (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation). We were two of the first people to get through the doors, despite the extremely crazy bitch in the front of the line, and the police, and the other brides in line in front of us. I felt adrenaline pumping through my veins and all of a sudden it became a very, very desperate situation…which might have been due to the fact that I got very excited about finding the perfect dress, or the fact that not too far behind me there were at least 200 crazy, sleep deprived women and their crazy sleep deprived mothers and their crazy, sleep deprived fiancés.

I grabbed at the first rack of dresses I saw. Employees of the store lined the racks, bracing them so when we came in and grabbed dresses, they wouldn’t topple people….But people managed to get toppled anyway. My mom was toppled by someone who broke the strap on her leather Ferragamo bag (Heinous.). My sister was tackled by a bride who elbowed her in the shoulder blade and left a bruise (my sister is a SOLDIER). And poor, poor defenseless Abby got trampled by several people with dresses in hand…when I found her; she was walking around by herself, clutching one dress. “I got so sacred,” she said. “People were like ramming into me. I could only grab one dress. I think I’m going to cry.”

I comforted Abby and brought her over to “homebase”- the little area I had scoped out a few weeks before by a huge mirror towards the front of the store. Sure, it meant anyone coming down the escalator had a front row seat to view my ta-ta’s but who was I to complain? Filene was bringing me a designer dress at a premium price, the least I could do was through her other customers a little boobie action.

I took the one dress Abby managed to grab and laid it on the pile of 25 or so dresses my sister, mom and I had grabbed. I tried on 2 dresses, and then got to Abby’s lone pickup, a lovely cream colored gown. I took the dress out of its bag and I looked inside, checking for the size. If it was too big or really too small, I would put it back in the bag and back on the rack, where another bride or member of her posse would snatch it up quicker than I can say “Holy Matrimony”. I looked inside the dress and I saw the label of all labels- the designer of all wedding dress designers….Our sweet, dear Abby had only grabbed one gown, but she sure as hell grabbed the right one.

“It’s a Vera!! Abby grabbed a Vera Wang! I got a Vera Wang gown!” I laughed and yelled and probably jumped up and down (energy from chocolate covered strawberries) and smiled at my faithful group. We couldn’t believe it, and neither could anyone else…anyone including other customers, Filene’s employees, fiancés, and TV cameramen. I slid the dress on and up over my hips. It felt like it was made for me. The satin of the underskirt felt good against my legs and I think I smiled when Abby and my mom zipped up the back.

It wasn’t what I thought I wanted…but ended up being exactly what I wanted and exactly what I got. At least 10 people stood around me in my Vera and told me how beautiful it was. All that hand stitching. All those beads. And who was I kidding? A ridiculously low price. When I took the gown off, girls circled around me, wanting to try it on, wanting any number of other gowns I still had in a pile. I tried a few more on, but I knew what I wanted. I gladly gave up my giant pile of gowns to those girls, hoping they’d put one on and feel the same way I did when I slid into Vera- like a princess.

It seems like a long story, I know, but I left out a lot- the 15 minute rental of the honeymoon suite (advertised on a flyer distributed throughout the crowd) The guy who showed up in biker shorts with a stereo who tried to get us all to warm up and exercise before we went in, more intimate details about the crazy bitch in the front of the line, the visors my mom made us to wear into the store…

We waited in line for 4.5 hours that morning. My mom and I got into 1.5 fights. My hypoglycemic sister ate 3 granola bars. Combined we used the bathroom 5 times. And it took us less than 1 hour to find the dress of my dreams. I can only hope that in a few shorts years I’ll get to do it all over again with my sister, or Abby, or anyone else who is willing to brave the storm that is the Running of the Brides.


At 12:09 PM, Blogger J-Mazz said...

Now THAT'S how an editor-in-chief writes. Great "article," my friend.


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