Eager Ladies Go Wild in Annual Running of the Brides

Cast members from "Mamma Mia!" on hand for stampede

You've heard the old warning about waving red in front of a bull.

A department store waved white in front of hundreds of excited brides-to-be on Friday in a chaotic tradition known as the "Running of the Brides."

"It was crazy," said successful competitor Lauren Grace of Woodbridge, N.J.

Cast members from the Broadway show "Mamma Mia!" were even on hand for the noisy Manhattan event, which was punctuated by cheers when brides nabbed the dresses they wanted.

Organizers said dresses originally priced up to $10,000 were going for $249 to $699.

Grace was among the victors. "I got a bargain. It was $499, originally $3,000," she said.

She said she and her shopping team had stayed overnight at a hotel. They arrived outside the store at 4 a.m. and waited four hours before they were allowed to pounce on the deeply discounted dresses at the Filene's Basement/SYMS event.

It was a bittersweet moment for Grace. She shed some tears while thinking of her late mother, but then regained her good spirits while leading the charge along with a bridesmaid, maid of honor, friend and aunt.

They'd worked out a system in advance: two of them ran in and grabbed a spot, three others hoarded dresses and they all carried yellow balloons — Grace's wedding color — to locate each other in the chaos.

Grace tried on dresses over her shorts and tank top. "I was a little more modest than some people, to say the least," she said. "Some people were down to their undergarments," right there in the aisles.

She's hoping to prevent her groom from learning too much about the gown; she wants him to be surprised during their big moment on April 28, 2012.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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