Earlier this month, residents of Pamplona, Spain celebrated the running of the bulls at the annual San Fermin Festival. On Thursday evening, Georgetowners will witness the running of the brides down Wisconsin Avenue.
Two local bridal boutiques, and , will host sample sales with designer wedding dresses marked down as much as 75 percent.
According to a New York University article, the wedding dress industry rakes in approximately $3 billion in the U.S. each year. Very basic dresses by high-end designers like Vera Wang and Monique Lhuillier typically start at $5,000 apiece and can run above $20,000. So while a regular sale at or isn't much to write home about, when it comes to wedding dresses, the savings of a sample sale can be significant.
Typically, boutiques like Hitched and Carine's Bridal Atelier order a dress for a bride after she tries on several dress samples in the store and chooses one to purchase. It works very similarly to a furniture store; will custom-order a couch for a client instead of selling the floor model. In a sample sale, though, the bridal boutiques will sell these slightly worn dresses at a fraction of the normal price.
It's an effective way for the stores to clear out last season's inventory and make way for new styles, said Carin Levine, co-owner of Hitched.
"As a fashion store, you want to have up-to-date things. We’re constantly looking for new things in the store...and we can only hold so much inventory," Levine said.
The sale also includes dress styles that have been discontinued and samples that have become too shop-worn.
The dress samples typically run in sizes 8, 10 and 12, but can be altered to fit smaller and larger brides, Levine said.
The appeal of the sample sale for both bridal salon and bride is obvious. That's why both Georgetown stores expect brides to starting lining up along Wisconsin Avenue before the sales start at 5 p.m.
"(Staff) are trained on how to keep order during these sample sales, which can become very chaotic if not closely monitored," said Carine Krawiec, owner of Carine's Bridal Atelier. "Only 10 brides are allowed in at a time, which is why it is pertinent to arrive early as it is first come first served."
is located at 1523 Wisconsin Ave. in Georgetown near the intersection of Volta Place. is located at 1726 Wisconsin Ave. near S Street. Both sample sales will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday.