The Colorado Wedding District in Castle Rock seems to be meeting expectations after its first year, but the Downtown Development Authority would like it to do even better in the next few years.

The Castle Rock Economic Partners, made up of the town, Castle Rock Economic Development Council, Downtown Merchants Association and Downtown Development Authority, came up with the idea for the Colorado Wedding District in 2011. The district is based on a similar one in Reading, Ohio, which features gown stores, florists, bakers and caterers. The idea came shortly after moved its headquarters to Castle Rock.

The first gown stores started moving into town at the end of 2011. Charlene Meeker, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, said the idea was to bring a recession-proof industry to bolster business in the downtown area.

“That focus on downtown has a ripple effect among the community, so having this district impacts the rest of the town,” Meeker said.

Since the start of last year, when gown stores Blue Bridal and Wedding Treasures moved in, the more than 20 wedding-related businesses in Douglas County coordinated and launched a website,

“That’s been really big since we’ve been able to get the word out rather than just word of mouth,” Meeker said.

Sarah Snyder, owner of Blue Bridal, said the brides that come into her store really like that everything is so close, as well as the easy parking and small-town feel of Castle Rock.

“I think it’s just a great concept to have everything within a few blocks of each other, so that the brides can go where they want,” Snyder said.

She said her business has steadily been increasing and she’s getting more referrals.

Meeker said she hopes to attract another gown store — she said there could be up to five — a boutique hotel and possibly create a new venue for weddings in downtown Castle Rock. She said expanding regional awareness that the Colorado Wedding District is a destination location will be important for driving business to the area.