The first shoppers in line for the “Running of the Brides” break through the starting line paper. (Sarah L. Voisin/THE WASHINGTON POST)

The liquidation of Filene’s means all 46 of its stores will close by January, leaving the would-be brides no place to run to.The company cited competition from larger department stores and the economic downturn as reasons for the filing.

The annual event saw hordes of brides camp out in front of the doors overnight for a chance at snagging their dream dresses. Brides brought teams of bridesmaids dressed in color-coordinated shirts, and often wiped the racks clean in a matter of minutes.

Reporter Maggie Fazeli Fard attended a Running of the Brides event just days after the Royal Wedding:

Shoppers and their teams grabbed gowns by the handsful and sequestered themselves in the department store’s nooks. Then, the bartering began.

As brides stripped down to tanks and spandex shorts, corseted shapewear and, in some cases, nothing, their teams members roamed the aisles, looking to make an exchange.

“Anyone need a 12 or an 8?” yelled one woman, calling out sizes, hawking the wares she had assembled in the initial rush. Yes, responded another woman who, to her chagrin, didn’t have the right size for a swap. The woman making the offer would only exchange the dress for a size 6.

The Post has covered several years of Running of the Brides, and our photo galleries and videos capture the excitement of finding the perfect wedding dress.

(Clarification Nov. 3, 2011: Syms will be closing all stores, as well)

Katy Kinch (left) and Amanda Cook laughed happily on top of a pile of wedding gowns they grabbed at Filene's Basement. (Xiaomei Chen/WASHINGTON POST)

Bride-to-be Regina Washington, right, found her wedding dress at the 2008 Running of the Brides. (Melina Mara/TWP/TWP)

Mallory Dover, 26, of Temple Hills, Md., was the first to run through the front door. (Sarah L. Voisin/THE WASHINGTON POST)