Thrifty brides find significant savings at Dome wedding expo

Anyes Kim watched in a mirror as Amy Jackson snipped away pieces of her wedding dress.

One by one, decorative, feathery flowers fell away from the textured, ball gown-style skirt.

Kim smiled, while her mom, Monica Nishikawa, gathered the fallen faux flora and pondered whether they would make good decorations when her daughter walks down the aisle Aug. 30 to become the bride of Joe Browder.

Kim and her mom came to Saturday’s Brides Club Tacoma Wedding Expo at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall, never expecting to walk away with a wedding dress. Dresses were the last thing they decided to look at after touring the exhibit hall filled with caterers, photographers, DJs, florists and other wedding vendors.

But Jackson and her crew from Weddings With Joy hoped to move out last year’s designs at the show so that they could make way for this year’s new gowns in their small Olympia shop. They were ready to please — even if it meant removing a little wedding gown bling. It didn’t hurt that prices were marked down anywhere from 20 percent to 90 percent, either.

“I’m self-conscious,” Kim said, noting that she wanted to make sure she found a dress that flattered. She came in looking for a particular designer’s gown, but Jackson had just sold her last one.

“She just started putting me in all these types of dresses,” Kim said. When Kim tried on the strapless gown with the full skirt, she loved it. But on one condition: the flowers had to go.

Discounted dresses also caught the eye of Wahayla McCloud, who was gathering ideas for her 2016 wedding to Justin Walden.

“I’m planning ahead so I can save money,” McCloud said.

Bride-to-be Sienna Gerson just got engaged and is planning an August wedding, so she said Saturday’s event was “a whirlwind” exploration of photographers, hair and makeup stylists, DJs and more. After trolling for ideas at the Expo, she was on her way to visit the Issaquah venue, Trinity Tree Farm, where her wedding is scheduled to take place.

Damion Baker and Amanda Cantrell were one of the rare couples checking out the Expo, which attracted more women than men.

“We plan everything together,” Baker said. He liked the idea of being able to meet caterers in person. An Internet search for wedding caterers proved overwhelming, he said.

“It was nice to talk face-to-face,” he added. “Everyone remembers the food at a wedding.”

That’s something that Cindy Broome of Scooter’s Custom Catering was banking on.

“The most important part of the day is how beautiful the bride is,” she said. “Next is how lucky her partner is. Then, it’s how good the food is.”

She said modern brides are budget-minded, so Scooter’s offers tips, such as how to use color to enhance table settings. Her business offers everything from buffet-style meals — the least expensive — to plated dinners served individually. That requires extra staffing and costs more, she explained.

Christina Legerton brought a multi-pronged support team to the Expo: her husband-to-be, Keith Blocker, and friend and bridesmaid Alexis Oliver.

“She’s been the most amazing bridesmaid ever,” Legerton said of her friend. “She keeps me grounded.”

“I’m Type A,” said Oliver. “I say, ‘Let’s get everything done.’”

They talked to vendors, gathered price quotes for services and Legerton entered several contests offered at the Expo in the hopes of winning at least some of what the couple needs for their big day.

Blocker said he was there for support, but left most of the sampling and exploring at the Expo to his future wife.

“I just smile and nod — and stay close to her,” he said.


The event continues from 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall. Tickets are available at the door.

More information, go to

Debbie Cafazzo: 253-597-8635