They travel hundreds of miles, camp out overnight and wake up ready to sprint. This isn't the running of the bulls—it's Filene's Basement's Running of the Brides! Each year, thousands of brides-to-be line up for their chance to find wedding gowns at thousands of dollars off the resale price.
To get a firsthand look at this event, Carson traveled to Boston to check in with all of the women—and the few men—lined up the night before the event.
Several of the brides talked strategy with Carson—grab as many gowns as you can carry, guard what you have, and trade until you find the perfect fit. "It's sort of like baseball cards for girls," one bride-to-be says.
In the middle of the melee, Carson meets Kathryn and joins her wedding dress search party, called Team New Mexico.
After two and a half hours and a dozen dresses, Kathryn finally picks a winner. Carson says her Reem Acra gown would have cost $5,000 to $6,000—but Kathryn got it for just $699.
When Kathryn's father, Ed, gets a sneak preview of what his daughter will look when he walks her down the aisle, he's left on the verge of tears. "It's the first time I really realized it's going to happen," he says.
While a bride's dress sets the tone for her wedding, Carson says the bridesmaids' dresses are equally as important. "It's about the look of the overall day," he says. "Obviously, the bride wants to be the star, but you want to have a beautiful supporting cast."
To help Kathryn find her bridesmaids' dresses, Carson secretly enlists the help of five models...Kathryn's own bridesmaids! "We secretly flew in all of her bridesmaids to be our special models," Oprah says. "Surprise, surprise!"
For Kathryn's bridesmaids, Carson selected a J.Crew cocktail dress in a neutral color. "It's every bridesmaid's worst nightmare that they're going to have to buy some ugly dress and shell out like 300 bucks," he says.
Skipping the standard satin shoes, Carson chooses nude patent pumps by Aldo. "They lengthen the leg and make everyone look tall and glamorous," he says.
To give each bridesmaid a slightly different look, Carson purposefully avoids matching jewelry and adds fabric to the dresses when needed. "We did three of the girls in a strapless. The girls that needed coverage and wanted the support of a halter, we added the halter detail and we put them in statement earrings," he says. "The girls in the strapless have a statement necklace."
Carson says since all of these fashions "don't look so bridesmaids-y," Kathryn's wedding party could easily wear them again.
Dresses: J.Crew: Arabelle in graphite, $225; shoes: Aldo, $75; jewelry: Old Navy, Ann Taylor, Express and New York & Company; hair styling: Salon Buzz Chicago; spray tan: Ortanic.