The Bride: Rebecca Fiore, a 27-year-old assistant director at a college learning center
Her Gown: Carolina Herrera
Her Story: "I always said a white dress is a white dress, and nobody can tell if a bride spent $500 or $5,000. So when I set out to find my gown, I gave myself a budget of $1,000. I had a clear idea of what I didn't want—lace, beading and tulle. I wanted a simple, comfortable ivory dress that was a tad untraditional. My mother suggested that we check out Filene's Basement's Annual Running of the Brides sale, but I was skeptical. I didn't want to get up at 5 a.m. on a Saturday and wait in line only to run around in a crowded store. My mom promised to buy me lunch afterward if I went to the sale with her, so we had a deal.
We were two of the last people to arrive. The long line was filled with brides and their shopping companions wearing matching T-shirts, hats and face paint. Some of the women had spent the night before sleeping in tents on the street to secure positions at the front of the line. These were clearly brides on a mission.
The doors opened soon after we arrived, and madness ensued. Women began running in every direction, grabbing handfuls of dresses and sprawling their bodies on top of them to prevent other brides from snatching them up. I quickly realized that I was underprepared and would have needed an army of friends just to navigate the racks. But this didn't deter my mother. She grabbed the only gown she could find in my size.
Although I didn't like this particular gown, it gave me bartering power to get a dress I did like. Another bride-to-be approached me and we made a trade. She handed me an ivory Carolina Herrera strapless sheath, the same gown Renée Zellweger had worn to the 2004 Oscars. I loved how it fit, but the best part was the cost—the original price of $4,000 had been slashed to just $700. I didn't want to wear a veil, and this gown, with its oversize vertical bow and eye-catching train, was dramatic enough to warrant going veil-less. I wore the gown around the store for about an hour, and many dress-shoppers tried to trade with me, but I knew I had found 'the one.' I didn't even take it off when I made my way over to the checkout counter—I was afraid someone would snatch it from my hands if I carried it! I found my dress at the most unlikely of places, but I'm thrilled that I listened to my mother this time!" —Meredith Bodgas