Out of the Box Bridal’s Engaging Cocktail Party grew out of Ocken Photography’s desire to have more potential brides see their images. The show was originally conceived as a sort of gallery opening for brides, but we quickly realized that if busy brides were coming to an event, they’d probably want to see more than just photos.

So, Ocken Photography joined forces with an assortment of like-minded Chicago wedding vendors, and the Out of the Box Bridal co-op was born. The co-op decided we needed a better, more fun gathering, both for ourselves and our guests — something that wasn’t overwhelming and competitive, as Bridal Expos tend to be. We wanted an event that would allow for friendly conversation and be something a bride might actually enjoy attending — something that would help plan her wedding, not just try to sell her services. We decided to limit vendor participation to one of each kind  – one florist, one photographer, one DJ, etc. — to keep the event from being too overwhelming and to allow vendors to relax and network right along with the brides who attend the party.

With these ideas in mind, we produced our first party in September 2005 at Gescheidle Gallery in Chicago. Since then Out of the Box Bridal has spread to Dallas and Baton Rouge, and we’ve hosted a long series of parties in Chicago. But, our commitment to the original ideals remains the same, and the co-op — which currently includes Ocken Photography. Amelio Designs, and An Urban Affair — is going strong!