While there are an estimated 2.2 million weddings held every year in the U.S., we're pretty sure that few of these joyous affairs get as wild and weird as the Brides of March. After all, when the last wedding you attended that included a high-heel race, veils adorned with condoms, or hundreds of men gender-bending in white frocks?
Such sights and activities are common at the Brides of March, the annual bar crawl and gonzo event that's held in cities around America (including here in the Valley) in mid-March and put on by the Cacophony Society, the infamous urban pranking group with branches worldwide. It's a spoof of wedding culture that riffs on the Ides of March and involves hundreds men and women wearing goofy and glitzy bridal dresses while engaging in an afternoon of drinking.
It's also a helluva good time.
See also: Brides of March 2014 in Photos
This year's event in the Valley happens on Saturday, March 14, at various bars around downtown and midtown Phoenix and will be organized by members of the Arizona Cacophony Society. And based on local versions of the event in the past, which have been taking place since 2009, we're expecting an army of brides will participate and attempt to drink downtown dry.
If you happen to be someone who's down for some mischief and happen to have a spare wedding dress that you don't mind getting a little messy, it's a fun way to spend an afternoon -- especially if making a scene or getting stares from onlookers is your thing.
We've assembled a handy guide that details all the relevant information about this year's Brides of March in Phoenix, including where to go, what to expect, and a few tips on how to score a secondhand wedding gown to wear.
Time/Place: The event kicks of at noon on Saturday, March 14, at Charlie's Phoenix, 727 West Camelback Road, where participants will gather for a round before starting the crawl to other bars around midtown and downtown Phoenix. Organizers recommend showing up a little early to ensure that things start on time.
Price: There's no cost to participate in the crawl itself, although you will (obviously) have to cough up the cash for your own drinks and food, as well as for whatever costume you decide to wear. Those who bring a canned food item to donate to St. Mary's Food Bank, however, can score one free drink per person at Charlie's.
Age Limits: Brides of March is a bar crawl and most (if not all) of the stops will be at drinking establishments, so it's specifically for the 21-and-over crowd.
Getting There: Since drinking is pretty much de rigueur during Brides of March, it would behoove you to avoid driving as much as possible, if not entirely. Therefore, your best bet is to use the Valley Metro Light Rail to get to and from the event. You're gonna be using it to travel between bars anyway, so spring for a $4 all-day pass and head for the Seventh Avenue and Camelback Station, which is just across the street from Charlie's.
And while park-and-ride facilities are available near the 19th Avenue/Montebello and 19th Avenue/ Camelback Road stations, organizers recommend using a designated driver for the event. After all, you wouldn't want to spend a night in the lockup while wearing a wedding dress.
Weather: There won't be any rain on this wedding day as the forecast calls for clear skies and warm conditions on Saturday with temperatures in the upper 80s. Better go for a dress that's not too bulky.
Food and drink: A surfeit of spirits, suds, and other adult beverages will be available at any of stops, as will many non-alcoholic options for designated drivers or anyone that wants to pace themselves. When it comes to food, however, that will vary depending on the particular establishment. Each stop along the crawl will be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, which should give you just enough time to polish off an appetizer or a small plate or two.
What to bring: If you'd like to get your drinks as quickly and efficiently as possible, be sure to bring a stash of cash and your ID. Sunglasses and sunblock are also a good idea, as are a good pair of walking shoes for most of crawl (save for the high-heel races outside of Charlie's at the beginning of the event) and a camera.
What to wear: According to the Arizona Cacophony website, wedding-themed costuming is "absolutely mandatory" to participate in the event. And while bridal gowns that are either white or off-white are acceptable, you can also sport bridesmaid dresses or even go as a flower girl.
As for where you can score such frocks, we recommend haunting local secondhand or thrift stores such as Goodwill, Savers, and Salvation Army. The Goodwill at Main Street and Recker Road in Mesa also has a "Bridal Clearance Center" boasting a large selection. (Dudes who might be having a hard time fitting into their dress should check out this handy online guide detailing how to make suitable adjustments.)
You're also free to accessorize with high heels and a bouquet or veil of some sort -- and even make each a bit gonzo, like the Brides of March crawler who wore a veil of condoms last year -- although these are optional.
That said, there will be a High Heel Race outside of Charlie's just prior to the start of the crawl that will award such prizes as a $50 gift card to Stacy's at Melrose and a night's stay with poolside cabana access at the Clarendon Hotel. (Three-inch heels are required to participate in the race, and wedges won't be permitted.)
It also goes without saying that you'll want to wear underwear underneath your dress, but whether or not it's gender-specific is entirely up to you.
What to do: Drink, dance, and get debaucherous. Make hammy wedding jokes. Toss the bouquet. Watch or participate in the shenanigans. Take a bunch of photos. Have a blast. Get home safe.
What not to do: Brides of March is definitely a fun event involving an excess of drinking and mischief making. However, you should know your limits and not get too blasted or rowdy enough to force bartenders to either kick people out or call the cops. Also, if you bring along a flask, avoid drinking in public or on the light rail, which is (of course) illegal.
Oh, and make sure to use a designated driver, a taxi, or public transportation to get home safe. And don't worry about all the stares or quizzical looks you'll get while doing so.
Schedule and stops: While the exact schedule hasn't been posted as of this writing, the event begins at noon at Charlie's and should run through the afternoon and early evening. An after-party will also reportedly take place at 8 p.m. at an unspecified location that may (or may not) involve cake.
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Brides of March organizers recommend following Arizona Cacophony's Twitter for further details or updates of where everyone will be on the day of the event.
What to Expect: