Friday, June 13, 2008

Kathleen on: Wedding Season

Many important things happened in 1947.

I was born, for one thing, so I notice these things about 1947. It was also the first year of Filene's Basement's "Running Of the Brides."

Having grown up in Massachusetts, how have I lived this long without ever hearing about Running Of the Brides?

I ran into a special about it channel surfing recently. In case I'm not the only one who had never heard of it--they started holding the event in Boston once a year, and now I think it's twice, plus yearly in their other stores. $1000 to $10,000 wedding dresses for $299, $499, and $699. Brides line up at the door in the wee hours with their teams of power shoppers, and when the doors open, they dash for dresses. The idea is to grab as many as you can first. When the dresses are gone from the racks, brides try dresses on, and then the trading begins.

It sound like a madhouse, and it is, but I have a feeling it's an experience that turns out to be almost as memorable as the wedding. For better or for worse. You can see clips on YouTube and there's at least one bride's diary at, but Google will get you there.

If you run across the show--it's a one shot special--great for any wedding fan.

I'm such a curmudgeon when it comes to the money people spend on stuff like weddings and proms these days, but I'm also a romantic. I've mentioned here before that I learned the answer to the Why Weddings? question when our daughter got married. My own wedding was typical Boomer flower child in many ways--spent very little because I was marrying "the wrong guy" and my parents didn't attend. Clyde's family--the whole community, really--put on our wedding. What I love about weddings is each unique story, and so many little details from our daughter's wedding went into a book (ONCE UPON A WEDDING, featured in TODAY'S PRIZE).

So how did "Running Of the Brides" get past me all these years? I wasn't into weddings. And then I was. It was all about my little girl. Oh, my goodness, you should see us create "wedding fashion" at the Eagle's nest with the 6 and 4 year old granddaughters and Nana's bag of dress-up fabric.

Anyone remember the reality show with the couple getting a planner, something like $5000, and a week to plan, but they have to stay out of it and let the their chosen team make the wedding? I'm so bad with titles, but I liked that show. Again, the story. I can't do "Bridezillas." Those girls need some serious education. And Platinum Weddings, Celeb weddings? No story appeal for me.

What about you? Talk weddings with us.
I'll draw a name from the comments to this post and send that visitor an autographed copy of ONCE UPON A WEDDING and this lovely hankie from my collection of vintage hankies (which got started as a result of my "wedding awakening"). This one features delicate handwork, and it would be perfect for bride. It's something old!

Okay, I'm a little late posting this morning, but I had to watch the game and the postgame and the post-post game last night.

How about those Celtics!


Cheri2628 said...

The Running of the Brides amazes me. It is so wild and crazy! I can't even imagine getting in the middle of that! I would rather pay more money than get in the middle of a bride reminds me too much of a shark feeding frenzy! LOL :)

Playground Monitor said...

My daughter-in-law participated in the Running of the Brides at Filene's in Atlanta and came home with two dresses. I guess she sold the other one on eBay or at a consignment store. Anyway, she said it was a madhouse and really not fun at all.

My own wedding was a small one. It was in our church but nothing fancy and no big guest list. My dress was a sample dress at the local department store and my mom got it for $50 (and sold it for about that much a few years later). It's just as well since I have two boys. I think our whole wedding cost about $750 and that was in 1973.

You mentioned "something old." I did that tradition. Something old was a pin made from a pearl button off my great-grandmother's wedding dress. All the women in the family wear it. Something new was the pearl earrings my husband-to-be had given me. Something borrowed and something blue was a blue garter from my mother's best friend. And there's another part to the rhyme -- And a sixpence in her shoe. The local jewelry store gave a sixpence to every bride who registered there. And when my son got married, I loaned the sixpence to my daughter-in-law.

My mom has a friend who is a priest and he complains that many young couples put more effort into the wedding than they do into the marriage. If you've seen any of the Bridezilla shows on TV you know it's true in those cases. Who the heck spends $100K on a wedding??? You can make a downpayment on a house and furnish it for that.


AuthorM said...

Running of the Brides! Hilarious. Not something I'd ever do. I bought my wedding dress at the Jessica McClintock outlet (sadly no longer at the outlet mall any more) for $150 and thought that was a pretty good price. We had a medium-sized but gorgeous wedding in a beautiful riverfront mansion, horse and carriage ride to the reception, lots of dancing...and a Frankenstein and Bride wedding topper! :) I wore boxers with shamrocks under my gown. It was a fun day that passed in a blur, frankly, and had a lot of angst and drama leading up to it I could have done without. But you was almost 13 years ago and what matters is the every day details of our lives together, not that single day I remember more from looking at horrible wedding pictures than from actual memory!


kimmyl said...

WOW! I've never heard of Running of the Brides either. Definatley something to watch though. LOL
I agree with you on Bridezillas. When I got married I was so nervous and couldn't wait to get it over with but I was also very happy. Which is the way it should be. It should be fun especially a memerable time with your mother and best friend. Which still is to me.
Thanks for such a great post.

Michele Hauf said...

I remember finding my dress at some warehouse sale here in Minneapolis. Think I paid (or my parents paid) $600 for it, and remember thinking that a bargain. Huh. Wonder what it was originally?
Now I look back at those poufy sleeves and think, was I trying to float away? Definately not a style that survived the decades!
I still kick myself for not selling the thing right away after the wedding, to try make a couple bucks. It's been packed away in a box every since. Never once taken it out. I mentioned selling it once to the hubby and he had a fit. It's a memory!
Yeah, but not really. I mean, I have pictures. Why save a dress you're never going to wear again? Think I can make it work for a twenty-fifth wedding anniversary? Not! :-)

CrystalGB said...

Wow, the Running of the Brides sounds interesting. I can't imagine spending tons of money on a wedding. We had a simple but nice wedding. My dress with shoes and veil cost 300.

Dev said...

Running of the Brides is something I would never do. I'm not a big fan of crowds, so it would not be a good experience for me. If I ever get married, I'll just elope or go to the JP or something like that and then have a party with my friends/family at a later date.

Anna And Sean said...

To authorm:
You had a Frankenstein? I am sooo jealous! I looked everywhere for a Dracula topper and could never find one so I settled for Mickey and Minnie.

In response:
I cannot imagine being involved in something like the Running of the Brides. My head aches just thinking about being in a store that is bursting with women all searching for a dress, a dress of all things. I have said before that I am not the most girly girl out there and I will admit that my wedding was less than traditional. I can't understand the whole spend a fortune on your wedding concept. My husband and I decided on Las Vegas (10 years ago) because we thought we could go up, not wear formal gear and party... we were very wrong. Our parents decided to go along, then all our friends, and the next thing I know I am spending money on a dress and a cake. I got my dress for really cheap though, like $200 at a place called David's Bridal. To top it off I think I became possessed by the wedding fairy so I had to have my hair done pretty and I had to have all the things in the traditional rhyme. I was able to hold my Papa's old kerchief with my Gramma's blue cameo attached. That part was special to me and I am glad I folded on that subject and have kept the stuff for my daughter someday.I did manage to avoid fancy shoes( wore skechers when we went to party), I got black roses on my cake and I had bat confetti everywhere. The entire thing ended up being more than we had intended but it was definitely worth all the trouble. We have great memories and tons of pictures- and I think the whole shebang cost about $1000 dollars and that includes all the hotel costs for a week!

AuthorM said...

to annaandsean:

It was actually a set of salt and pepper shakers but they were Frankenstein and the Bride. I still have them!


Liza said...

I've never been married, but my ideal wedding is on the beach at sunset, wearing a really pretty dress and no shoes. I don't enjoy crowds, so I could never do the Running of the Brides, but my friend lived in Chicago for a while and the brides line up like the day before when the store closes.

Christie Ridgway said...

I had a small, casual wedding in my mom's backyard. I regret it at times, because I would have loooved the whole fancy shmancy thing. Then, though, I really just wanted the little wedding. I only wanted 25 to attend, but my mom put her foot down! I also bought this really pretty white linen suit to wear, and my mom was again appalled. I ended up with this lovely Edwardian tea-length dress.

Wedding cake toppers! I collect them. Most of mine are vintage, but the last in my collection is a Day of the Dead topper. Bride and groom are skeletons. I love it

Kathleen Eagle said...

Interesting the number of "hate crowds" comments. Do all serious readers and writers hate crowds? I bet most of us do. I know I do. I'm a wall flower at parties. But one of Mama's traits that I so admire, more all the time, was her ability to rise to the occasion no matter how much the situation went against the grain. i could so do "Running of the Brides" for someone else. Of course I'd be in there "organizing" until the rest of the team wanted to kill me.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Ooooh, a collection of wedding cake toppers. Please show us sometime, Christie!

Kathleen Eagle said...

authorm: I love the fun stuff you wove into your wedding. Frankenstein and the bride, indeed!

anna: so cool that you let your mom have some say. It means more to the MOB than you can ever know until you get to play that role yourself. I've been MOG, too, and it's cool, but not the same.

I believe in the wedding fairy, Anna!

Ellen said...

I have seen clips about the running of the brides and I could never see myself do that. One clip I saw was vicious.
I remember the show you mentioned but like you couldn't remember the title.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Ellen, I can imagine the kinds of bitchy scenes that must happen during this. Of course, those didn't make the tv special. But if you're doing this, you probably need an enforcer on your team. That wouldn't be me. But my dear daughter could do it. Nobody messes with Elizabeth. I get to be the organizer.

PJ said...

I've seen video clips from Filene's running of the brides. (shudders) Not for me.

I'm right behind you Kathleen (born in '51). We wanted something small and casual. I bought a lovely long dress that didn't scream "wedding". We married at sunset on a gazebo overlooking Sarasota Bay (Florida) with my dad officiating. I loved it.

I used to watch that wedding show but I can't remember the name of it either. It was amazing how they always pulled everything together.

Speaking of 'bout those Celtics?!? Wow, what an awesome comeback!

Helen Brenna said...

Yeah, I've seen clips on running of the brides too. Crazy. Would never do it. I wore my mom's wedding dress. Sometimes I regret not getting my own, but, hell, the one I wanted was in Bride's magazine for $3,000. We paid for practically our entire wedding for that!!

Christie, a wedding cake topper collection has to be the most unique, intriguing collection I've ever heard of! Would love to see it. You should post pics.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I got married in Las Vegas. We are of different religions and our parents (mainly his) were throwing a fit about which religion the service should be. So, he and I flew to Las Vegas and got married in a chapel there. Our families watched via the internet and had parties of their own. There was no stress!! The only regret I have was that my mother wasn't there, she is my best friend and I really wish she had come with us.

catslady said...

I can't imagine finding a dress that way. My daughter is getting married in July and we just had a horrible experience. After finding "the" dress, by the third fitting and all the mistakes they made and the problems that weren't fixable as we were told they would be, we had to pick out another dress!!! which cost us $200 more! She probably tried on 2 dozen the first time and we had to do it again. Time is getting short and they better get it right this time but of course they already have our money and it's nonrefundable!

Estella said...

I've never heard of Running of the Brides. I can't imagine the chaos that must reign.

robynl said...

never heard of the Running of the Brides but it sounds almost disasterous in some aspects.
Mom sewed my first wedding dress and it was gorgeous with lace and pearl buttons all the way down the front and on the sleeves.
I love the hankie and the book sounds very interesting so enter me please.

Jane said...

I've seen clips on the news about the Running of the Brides. It's a scene of chaos, but you must do what you can to get an affordable dress. You can get a designer wedding dress for more than half off.

Debra Dixon said...

I've never heard of the running of the brides! This cracks me up.

Thanks for passing that on Kathleen.

Lily said...

I never heard of that show... it looks hilarious.

I see a bride show called Rich Bride, Poor Bride. They show us the whole organisation of the wedding and how they always are over budget!

Nathalie said...

That seems horrible!

What a bride won't do to have a dress at discount price :)

Kathleen Eagle said...

Catslady, what a disappointment with your daughter's dress. There was a story on local news here about a bridal shop that suddenly went bankrupt leaving lots of brides in the lurch. A few ended up getting their dresses, but most didn't get the dress or money back.

We had an issue with the birdesmaids' outfits, which were "custom" made. They came back not fitting anybody even with multiple alterations. I used that in the book. It was a "bonding experience."

Hey, PJ--give me a C! (and a KG!)

Oh, man, more Comcast woes today made my posting spotty.

Maureen said...

I think they showed the Running of the Brides on the Today show once. I don't think I would have been interested if it existed when I was shopping for a dress. My wedding was a small one and I am always amazed at what people will spend these days.

Keri Ford said...

Running of the brides would be a fun experience, but not for me. I would do it with a friend for HER wedding.

I picked my dress out of a magazine for a school project in my 11th or 12th grade year. 3years later when I planned my wedding, I was shocked to find the SAME dress in a brand spankin' new dress magazine. I had to have it, tracked down buyers, and yeah! someone nearby had it. mom wanted me to try on more than one dress, just in case, so I tried on one other, bought the one I had my mind set on.

JoAnna said...

ack- I am so weddinged out. I have been in two so far this year and have one more next week that I am in!!!

I am not a big fan of the pomp and circumstance of weddings to begin with so this has been interesting:)

I have always said I wanted a very very small wedding because I just dont want to have to deal with all of the issues of planning and putting on a wedding plus the stress.

Now after seeing my friend and cousin go through it I KNOW I just want to elope:)

Caffey said...

Hi Kathleen! I just had my 25th wedding anniversary last week! We still haven't gotten a dinner out to celebrate but hopefully this weekend. Each day is a celebration but it was so sweet to have that 25th year feeling! I actually only knew him less than a year before we married, I knew I couldn't be without him (and the summer was so hard, I got a letter from him every day as he did from me). My mom made it all the special making my dress (except when she had to keep taking it in each time I visited because I kept losing weight being so nervous). I forgot things, Like music (I can't hear, LOL) so I had no wedding planner, but thought we did well without it! Made it for a special one! Thanks for letting me share!

My friend Amy sent me here. Thrilled she did too!

Kammie said...

That's neat that you used the details of your daughter's wedding in your story.

I never heard of Running of the Brides. I bet it's crazy and some of the women get a little mean in there. lol I'm not sure I would go. I purchased my wedding dress at an outlet store, but there were no crowds. Just me, my mom and a few other shoppers. No stress and no thoughts of someone trying to take the dress I wanted.

Debby said...

I heard of this once. I watched it on the news wheno ne woman was hurt. My father had my dress mde in Korea for me by a firend of his.

mec said...

I spent a lot of time in the original Filene's Basement. My mother loved to shop there and would take me along to help with the bags. I remember arriving one morning before the doors opened with my mother - we waited until the crowd stormed down the stairs before heading into the store - we didn't want to get trampled! The selection was a lot better back then - no outlet malls or stores like Marshall's or TJ Maxx.

Virginia said...

I'm not much on big crouds so running with the bride wouldn't be for me. I had a very small wedding and I kind of liked it that way.

Nikki said...

It sounds like it should be running over the brides. And every woman for herself. Wow!
My daughter is getting married in July and she will be wearing a seed pearl necklace that is absolutely gorgeous. It was originally worn by my great grandmother, and many subsequent brides, including me. As the big day approaches, I keep telling myself that I should really decide on a dress for me (you know--black or brown/copper? sleeves or no sleeves?). The decisions are awaiting on the horizon. Oh boy.

Oh! And my daughter is wearing a dress, too, not just the necklace. Wouldn't that be a big surprise?

catslady said...

I wanted a black dress which was okay with my daughter but my mother forbid me roflmao. I ended up with platinum (will go with my grey hair lol).