January 18, 2014 Updated: January 18, 2014 at 11:06 pm
Imagine it - a ballroom full of brides-to-be without a 'zilla in the bunch.
That was the unlikely scene Saturday on the opening night of the Brides Against Breast Cancer Charity Wedding Gown Sale & Bridal Show, where the quest for the perfect gown always ends in an act of goodwill.
At this gown sale, 80 percent of all proceeds are handed over to cancer organizations across the country.
"We raised more than $2 million last year," said Kelsey Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Florida-based nonprofit that hosts the traveling sale, in which a changing collection of some 700 gowns are shipped to 120 cites in five trucks.
The sale - which continues from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Antlers Hilton downtown - features a dizzying variety of gowns donated by designers, wedding boutiques and brides themselves.
Some are brand-new, and others "lovingly worn," to use the parlance of the event hosts, who promise that along with the charity comes what Anderson called "spectacular deals" - some at a discount of up to 80 percent.
During Saturday night's "Unveiling of the Gowns" event, mothers, daughters and sisters-in-law-to-be paid a tax-deductible $40 for a sneak preview of the offerings, arrayed in a ballroom decorated like a bridal reception, complete with an emcee, pop hits on the stereo and enough personal shopping assistants to accompany each bride.
For Doreen Harding of Canon City, the mother of bride-to-be Beth Cline of Denver, the evening's cause added a layer of significance to a powerful mother-daughter ritual.
Cline's stepfather, Fred Harding, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and he wasn't far from Doreen Harding's thoughts even as she beamed while talking about her daughter's upcoming nuptials.
Her daughter was also committed to the cause.
"Even if I don't get a dress here, I plan on donating the one I get,"
said Cline, who asked her bridesmaids to bow out of the evening in favor of family time.
Said fellow proud mother Carol Warner of Denver: "It's a great cause - because, really, what are you going to do with a wedding dress once you've worn it?"
Money raised by the traveling sale goes to the Network for Building Hope, which supports cancer organizations across the U.S. which also benefit men and children with cancer of all types, Anderson said.
Admission Sunday is a tax-deductible donation of $7.