Jeff Suskin & Shalisa Pouw
Creators, Producers, Bride & Groom To-Be
Jeff Suskin is the publisher of DiningOut Magazine and heads up DiningOut Events, which produces a number of culinary events, including: "Top Taco" (Denver & New Orleans), "Chicken Fight - The Everything Fried Chicken and Bourbon Festival," "LoHi Music & BBQ Block Party," and “Rare - The Denver Steak Championship.” Jeff is also a yoga instructor, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt and acts as a mentor for Denver Urban Scholars.
Shalisa Pouw joined the DiningOut Events team in 2018, after selling her fitness studio in Boulder, CO, and is the Executive Producer for all DiningOut Events for the 2019 season. She also works as the Community Marketing Manager for Bumble in Denver, and teaches Pure Barre and Rush Cycle classes in the Denver area.
After getting engaged last summer and having many long discussions about the stresses of weddings, Jeff and Shalisa decided to create an event that focuses all of it’s energy on celebrating love and commitment, eliminating the stress often felt by the couple, and bringing people together for an amazing party! They have put together an amazing group of couples and a killer team to bring The Wedding Party to life!
Producer, Emcee, Love Director
Ben Higgins is best known from season 20 of ABC’s hit series, “The Bachelor,” where he opened himself up to millions of viewers, giving them the chance to truly get to know him. The opportunity ultimately led to an enhanced platform that he now uses to share what he is most passionate about with others – his faith, his hope for humanity and his love of sports.
Ben founded Generous International, a for purpose company dedicated to contributing profits to social issues around the world, starting with a cup of coffee. With a vision to change the way society thinks of consumer products, all Generous merchandise is designed specifically to create and multiply good in the world. He also is involved in a number of projects including his lifestyle blog, The Mahogany Workplace, and two iHeartMedia podcasts, “Almost Famous” with Ashley Iaconetti and a new project, Lady Bosses (and Ben).
Of all Ben’s ventures, his longest-running connection has been with Humanity and Hope United, where he holds a seat on the board. Established by one of his best friends and Mahogany Workplace contributor, Riley Fuller, Humanity & Hope United is a non-profit organization working to assist underserved villages in remote parts of Honduras. They partner with the people of each community to achieve sustainable change, focusing on the needs of individuals rather than a single issue or approach.
“I am excited about The Wedding Party because there is something magical about so much love being celebrated at one time, in one place, on one day. In a time where isolation seems to be an epidemic festivals and celebrations are a way to bring the masses together for one common purpose. With this, in the case of the wedding party that purpose is love. In closing I am anxiously looking forward to a day of celebrating couples from all over the world who are making a commitment to love each other through thick and thin!”
Owner of Calluna Events, Wedding Guru
Heather Dwight started Calluna Events in 2004 after working in non-profit and corporate events for 10 years. With a vibrant and captivating sense of style, Heather is one of the most sought-after wedding planners in Colorado, and the visionary behind Calluna Events being recognized as one of the Best Wedding Planners in America by BRIDES, The Knot’s Best of Weddings (2008-2019), The Knot Best of Weddings Hall of Fame and the winner of Wedding Wire Bride’s Choice Award. Heather served as the Director of Communications on the inaugural WIPA Colorado Board of Directors. Clients describe Heather as having a sophisticated, yet calming confidence, allowing her to be a true advocate for her clients’ vision. She loves mindful design, style and immaculate detail. After 15 seasons, what Heather adores the most are the relationships she is fortunate to build with clients and helping couples achieve a beautiful wedding that is authentically theirs.
Calluna Events is a boutique wedding planning company now in our 16th wedding season! We are a dynamic group of women who love planning weddings! Since 2004 we have been creating memorable weddings and special events, many of which been featured in the top wedding publications from Martha Stewart Weddings, BRIDES, Style Me Pretty, The Knot, Rocky Mountain Bride, and many more. We were named one of the Best Wedding Planners in America by BRIDES in 2018. Above all else, we value creating fresh, inspired weddings that truly represent our couple. We want your guests to walk into your wedding and feel that it reflects the two of you and the details should be authentic and timeless. We are honored to work with the couples who choose to hire us and grateful that we have developed very strong relationships with our creative partners. We pride ourselves on building long lasting relationships with our clients and planning a wedding that truly reflects their personality. From intimate gatherings to spectacular affairs, we put our heart and soul into each of our clients’ events. Are you planning a Colorado destination wedding? Nearly half of our clients live outside the state and are traveling in with their guests to host a destination wedding. Colorado is one of the top destination wedding states in the country. Our Colorado destination wedding packages include coordination of all vendors so you can relax from afar and know all the details are being taken care of. We look forward to collaborating with you!
The Producers: diningout events
A FULL SENSORY EXPERIENCE
At DiningOut Events, our mission is to create unique experiences to dazzle the senses.
We transform each of our festival sites into an adult playground, full of culinary and auditory and experiential wonders. We are determined to surprise and delight festival-goers and sponsors alike by challenging ourselves to break the mold each and every year. We never rest on the laurels of a previous event’s success. Simply put, if our attendees aren’t picking their jaws off the floor, we haven’t done our job. Behind the scenes, we work to ensure that logistics are air-tight and that our sponsors are able to show up and enjoy the event right alongside attendees.
We leverage strong relationships and a reputation for excellence to curate the best chefs, restaurants and food trucks in the city, the most popular local musicians, and the most engaging activations. We wrap it all in a beautifully decorated and efficiently flowing space—where lighting and artwork and design enhance the mood—and the result is a series of parties that guests anticipate and return to year after year.
A HISTORY OF EXCELLENCE
DiningOut has been publishing elegant magazines and guides to regional dining across the USA since 1998. In over 20 years of business, we have focused on serving as a 360-degree marketing resource for our advertising clients. In 2014, we segued into event production as yet another means to providing a platform where our local eateries can shine.
Since then, DiningOut Events has developed a diverse line-up of its own themed food festivals, including TOP TACO and CHICKEN FIGHT!, and has lent its culinary production experience to some of the largest events in Colorado: a Food Truck Festival at Velorama (30,000 attendees), a BBQ Festival at LoHi BazaarBQ (25,000 attendees) and all VIP services at the Grandoozy (60,000 attendees). DiningOut has also organized and produced various cocktail competitions such as The Garnish Games for Diageo Spirits.
5,000 attendees, Stanley Market Place Park, June 27, 2019
This is no run-of-the-mill Mexican food festival. TOP TACO is hands-down one of the most popular and talked-about events of the summer. It attracts an affluent, in-the-know audience, with refined palates, a sense of fun, adventure, and a passion for thoughtful, unique food and drink from the best venues Denver has to offer.
Over 60 of Denver’s hottest restaurants compete for honors including awards for Top Creative Taco, Top Traditional Taco, Top Vegetarian Taco, and Top Creative Tequila Cocktail (Judge’s Choice & People’s Choice). Top Taco has more than 40 different spirit brands showcasing hundreds of Tequilas and Mezcals at interactive tasting areas, comfortable lounges, and creative pop up bar areas. Our VIP tent offers exclusive spirit samples, additional culinary tastings, a comfortable sitting area and a host of perks and surprises each year.
3,500 Attendees, RINO, May 23, 2019
Kick off Summer 2019 with a down-home taste of Denver’s finest fowl and craftiest cocktails. A curated selection of 50 top restaurants, each of which will offer their own inimitable bite-sized tastes in order to win your vote. Categories include Best Fried, Best BBQ, Best Wings, Best Overall Chicken Dish, and Best Cocktail. Entry fee includes unlimited food and beverage tastes, voting tokens for each category, plus live country and bluegrass music, demos, and plenty of surprises in store!
1500 Attendees, Denver, August 15, 2019
A steak town at its roots, Denver welcomes RARE, its first festival centered around the juicy cuts of the Wild West. For one evening, the city’s most revered restaurants will come together to dish up the highest-quality beef-bites paired perfectly with steak-worthy cocktails.
In partnership with a top producer offering all-natural humanely raised meats, RARE will serve as a one-of-a-kind competition among Denver’s finest carnivore-centric restaurants. Pitted head-to-head, 15 of the region’s acclaimed purveyors will put their grilling expertise to the test as they vie for the title of Denver’s Prime Cut. Competitors will aim to garner votes from a panel of professional judges and our festival attendees to determine which steak reigns supreme. Chefs can vie for the hearts of the city’s steak lovers with a tried-and-true classic in “Traditional Steak” category, or throw caution to the wind and get inventive in the “Creative Steak Dish” competition. To up the ante, all restaurants will compliment their entries with a signature cocktail, because, what’s a great steak without a great beverage?