Chicago’s annual Running of the Brides® sale on Friday, July 24, is expected to attract a record number of brides-to-be looking to snag a bargain on a wedding dress. The doors of Filene’s Basement on State Street will open at 8:00am to let loose hundreds of brides and their helpers into a sea of white. “The number of calls we’ve received is way up compared to last year,” said store manager Melanie Schuetz. “Brides are looking to save anyway they can, and if they find a dress here, they can stretch the wedding budget a lot further.” Once inside the store, the racks are stripped bare in less than 90 seconds as the brides and their team members grab the first dresses they come upon. Then it’s time for the women to strip — down to leotards, sports bras or even underwear — to try on the gowns in the middle of the sales floor. If it doesn’t quite fit, a seamstress can do the trick, and the bride can still come out way ahead. But what happens if a petite bride found she pounced on a size 14 dress in pink chiffon instead of a size 4 in white satin? That’s when the real fun begins, as the women start bartering to find the right designer or size. It’s a ritual that turns Filene’s Basement into an old-fashioned bazaar. “The ‘rush to the racks’ when the doors open can be a lot of fun, but it’s not everyone’s idea of a good time,” said store manager Schuetz. “We want brides to know that by late morning things calm down and customers can go through the dresses one by one in relative calm.”