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The Running of the Brides: The Battle of Union Square

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This morning at 8am, Filene's Basement in Union Square will open its doors to a crazed throng of brides-to-be and their support teams, all trying to get their hands on massively marked-down gowns. Fawnia Soo Hoo reports live below.

7:19am: What a glorious morning for the Running of the Brides at Filene's Basement! There are about 200 people in line now, and the first arrivals got here at 9:30 last night. Organizers and the sponsor Slimfast put out mats so people could sleep, and they're also handing out breakfast bars.

7:22am: These girls are serious about teamwork. Most groups of brides-to-be and their crews have made custom tees and are ready to rumble by 8am. Apparently, there really aren't any hard rules once the floodgates open. But a staffer did say that they have to stop people from sneaking in full-length mirrors. What? How?

7:30am: Let's get the logistics out of the way first before 8am. It's supposed to be like a mini-economy inside where girls basically just grab anything in sight and then barter with other teams for the ideal dress. To make this process easier, each team has a big barter sign with all their stats on it.

June Ambrose, cap and all

7:35am: Stylist June Ambrose is here to dispense fashion advice to shoppers. She looks pretty fab in a red dress and heels, accessorized with her veiled Slimfast cap. I'm assuming she was contractually obligated to wear that. Oooh, a guerilla marketer just walked by passing out teeth-whitening fliers.

7:43am: There are two teams that won Filene's Basement's raffle. They get first dibs on the competition.

7:48am: I'm inside now, waiting for the gates to open. I see dresses hanging neatly on the racks, but I guess the organizers don't want to make things too easy on the girls since there's no indication of size or style on any rack. Staffers are being sent to their stations now—one staffer per rack. I can see the fear in their eyes.

7:51am: I'm standing right in front of the door with the press and bloggers. I'm afraid we're going to be trampled come 8am. One lady staffer at her post is already gripping the rail of her rack for support. I hear screams (battle cries?) from downstairs. We're at the ten-minute mark.

7:53am: On average, the dresses on offer are priced at about $250. Compared with paying, oh, $4000 for a designer dress, it might be worth sleeping on the sidewalk for a night.

7:54am: June Ambrose's platforms have to be at least seven inches high. She might topple over, brides or no brides.

7:57am: A formidable lady staffer is holding the first arrivals at bay at the door. They're all chanting "Filene's Basement! Filene's Basement!" OK, get ready!

7:58am: I just heard a guy goad the crowd, "Trip 'em." One bride said, I'm nervous.

8:01am: Delay...

8:02am: Z100 host Elvis Duran is announcing over here, too. That voice!

8:03am: People keep making false countdown starts and it's getting the crowd riled up. Why is there a delay?

8:04am: Less than a minute, Elvis says. Why does he know everything?

8:06am: OMG. It happened. It happened and I thought I was going to die. Now the girls are pillaging the racks.

Ever wondered what it was like to be in Filene's Basement with hundreds of crazed brides and their wedding parties? The liveblog continues this way.