Atlanta gets its own version of ‘Running of the Brides’

Remember the Running of the Brides at Filene’s Basement?

It began in the 1940s in downtown Boston (birthplace of Filene’s) before expanding to about eight cities, including Atlanta. Brides from all over the Southeast would wait in line for hours at the store on Peachtree Road to be first in line for the chance to get deeply discounted bridal gowns.

The event had its last run in 2011 when Filene’s declared bankruptcy and closed all of its stores. But the spirit of the event is being regenerated by a local company hosting its first annual “Dash for the Dress” Bridal Gown Sale.

“I thought what if we brought Running of the Brides back and put our own spin on it?” said Nicole Alexander, owner of Chic Occasions Bridal Shows. “Filene’s used to be one of our vendors. They would come to our shows and promote the  Running of the Brides. I think it is the most awesome event and we need to bring it back.”

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Previously held at the Fox Theatre, the Chic Occasions Bridal Show will move to Georgia Freight Depot (65 Martin Luther King Jr Dr SE, Atlanta) and add Dash for the Dress as an additional event. Hundreds of brides are expected for the dress dash which takes place Feb. 7 at 11:00 a.m. A bridal show will run concurrently with the sale event beginning at 12 p.m. Both events will wrap up at 4 p.m.

About 500 gowns are available for brides at discounts of up to 80% off, said Alexander. In addition to Chic Occasions gowns priced from $50 – $100, participating salons include East Cobb’s Gale Morgan Gowns offering dresses in the range of $499-600. Fostering Hope, a South Carolina-based non-profit which provides assistance to children in foster care will sell gowns for $99 with a portion of the proceeds going to the organization.

Brand name and designer gowns include Maggie Sottero, Mori Lee, Rivini, Impressions, Allure, Justin Alexander and more. The $20 entry fee (you can get a 65 percent discount with code DASH) covers the entry for the bridal show and sale. The first 50 brides will get a $100 value swag bag and 25 lucky brides who score a golden ticket will get a free gown.

JasmineT142061The 10-year old company does four interactive bridal shows per year offering brides the opportunity to have intimate conversations and experiences with about 70 vendors. Dash for the Dress is a smaller event than the Running of the Brides was, but Alexander hopes the dress dash will grow bigger each year.

This event will be as intimate as can be expected as crazed brides arrive to score the dress of their dreams. Many of the same rules from Running of the Brides apply to Dash for the Dress, said Alexander.

“I tell brides to bring their own team and show your team pictures of your ideal bridal gown,” she said. She also advises participants to have signs saying “I am looking for a size 8” so they can work with other brides to get what they need. And of course, “no pushing or shoving,” she said.

Alexander understands how a bridal gown can make you crazy. “I did a destination wedding and I paid for a (plane) seat for my gown. I know how other people are going to be because I was that anal,” Alexander said.

And while they may be focused on getting the perfect dress, Alexander tries to remind brides that the event is also about having fun.

“I want my brides to walk away and say ‘I had the time of my life,'” she said.

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