Chrystal Huskey had a vision for an unconventional bridal show. Rather than a traditional show, where guests pay money to scout an assortment of wedding vendors, she brainstormed a celebration where guests enjoyed food and drinks while mingling with industry experts and wedding-gown models.
She called it the Colorado Un-Bridal Show.
“A bridal show that provides a unique and engaging experience that gives back is what folks can expect from this campaign next and every year to come,” said Huskey, founder and event planner of Logistical Meetings & Events.
The Un-Bridal Show, held on Feb. 22 at the Falls Event Center in Littleton, was the final event of A Veil & Dress Blues, a giving campaign that supports the James Resource Network, a nonprofit organization that provides services for single-parent families in the Denver metro area, and Brides Across America, an organization that partners with bridal salons to provide wedding gowns for military and first-responder brides. The campaign raised more than $50,000 and reached more than 400,000 people on social media, according to Huskey.
Sandra Coen, president and founder of the James Resource Network, said she is pleased the campaign is bringing awareness to her mission. The James Resource Network is based in Centennial and offers resources and attainable housing for single-parent families.
“I’ve been really excited to see how much the bridal community cares about single-parent families as well as military and first-responder families,” Coen said.
Coen’s organization has helped many individuals, including Ashley Miller, who attended the Un-Bridal Show.
Miller, a single mother of two children, was living in a run-down apartment in Littleton, she said. She shared a room with her son and her infant daughter slept in the living room. She applied for housing through the James Resource Network and within months, she was moved into a home in Centennial.
“The James Resource Network provides these resources to empower you,” said Miller, who hopes to buy her own home in a year. “That extra help helps me give my kids the life they deserve.”
More than 25 vendors donated their services for the Un-Bridal Show, creating an inviting atmosphere with food and drink, music and vibrant decor. One of the vendors was Maxine Cutts Alcott, owner of Alboom Inc., in Highlands Ranch. The florist provided a variety of lush bouquets for the wedding gown models.
Alcott said that her go-to charity is the James Resource Network. The organization holds a special place in her heart as she was raised by a single mother.
“To see the support for the single moms in the community and have them be embraced is phenomenal,” Alcott said. “It’s wonderful to have this experience.”
Another vendor was Crystal Goodman, manager of the Dessert Stand in Westminster. Goodman stood behind a table covered with bite-sized treats, including salted caramel cupcakes and brownies. The company is known for its dessert bars versus a tiered wedding cake.
“It’s a fun, different bridal shower,” Goodman said, “more relaxed, mingling of guests.”
Dana Sweetin, a photographer from Highlands Ranch, lent her services to the event because she comes from a military family. Her husband and two sons are in law enforcement.
“When I knew it was supporting that, I was all in,” said Sweetin.
At the Un-Bridal Show, several models stood on platforms in the ballroom of the event center. They wore flowing white gowns from Compleat Couture, a bridal salon in Centennial. The salon features thousands of dresses at discounted prices. And proceeds benefit the James Resource Network and Brides Across America.
Raffles and prizes were handed out throughout the night, including weekend getaways and spa treatments. But the most noteworthy prize was a wedding package valued at more than $15,000. Mindy and Willie Walker, a couple from Colorado Springs, were the recipients. Willie Walker is a sergeant first class in the Army.The married couple didn’t have a wedding.
Mindy Walker, the youngest of five daughters, said she is looking forward to having her father walk her down the aisle.
“Our daughter asks us all the time where our wedding photos are,” Mindy Walker said. “I’m excited to celebrate with our family.”