Wedding show a real blast

Event draws plenty of brides-to-be while sharing space with gun expo

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor

Published:

 
photoEvelyn Taul, left, of Vancouver watches for ideas as she helps her sister, Anna Douglas, not pictured, plan Anna's wedding, set for Aug. 3 at The Academy.

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It was guns and roses Sunday at the Event Center at the Fairgrounds.

Prospective brides found plenty of ideas in half of the exhibit hall, while gun enthusiasts packed the adjoining area.

Anybody for both shows?

"Oh, yeah, a lot of crossover," said Marla Baumann, promoter of the Collectorswest.com Gun & Knife Show. "Shotgun wedding … we've heard all day."

At the Clark County Wedding Expo, promoter Pauline Mulcahy said, yes, a number of men bailed on family members and headed for big ammo.

"They'd show up (for the wedding show), and you'd see this look, 'There's a gun show!'" said Chris Baumann. He was working at the ticket counter where a sign said: "No loaded firearms." Sixty vendors worked the show.

Wedding show organizers Donna Hays and Pauline Mulcahy of Abacus Event Rental of Ridgefield were fine with the competing show. They said about 1,100 people attended their one-day event. Mulcahy said there were 50 vendors at the wedding expo.

Here's a taste of the wedding expo:

• The gowns: Rachele Lindberg, 16, a Battle Ground High School student, was modeling for The Unique in Hazel Dell. Her navy blue dress with white applique was priced at $160.

"This is my first time (modeling)," said Rachele, who also is a 4-H horse enthusiast. "We had to walk the stage (which included a 20-foot runway)."

How was the experience?

"It's very different compared to barrel racing," she said. She competes on her 12-year-old quarterhorse, "Bar D."

Larissa Marini, 19, of Battle Ground said modeling a bridal dress was "an absolute blast." Her bridal gown is priced at $899.

A former rodeo queen, Larissa said she has modeled before and noted, "We learn a lot of stuff and we can be confident." She is a student at Clark College and wants to become a veterinarian.

Models with Gala Gowns of Vancouver also were working the room, said an excited Tarah Watson, who works at the business with her mom, Vickie Nabors.

• The food: Steve and Jane Waddle of Duck Tales restaurant and catering were offering information at their booth.

Full dinners range from about $18 to $20 a plate, Steve Waddle said. It can go higher, depending on the fare.

Steve Waddle said his catering business "is going a lot better these days. When we started four years ago, it was pretty quiet."

• The flowers: "My average wedding is about $1,500 in flowers," said Jennifer Fish of Flowers by Snap Dragon studio in Minnehaha.

Fish worked for years at the Craft Warehouse and then started her business to be home with her boys, Theodore, 7, and Porter, 5.

What's popular?

Rustic is in, she said. She often uses burlap in arrangements of succulents, freesia, football mums and billy ball.

A bride's bouquet with garden roses, hydrangeas, berries and greenery is $169, she said. If you want peonies, the big puffy ball-like flowers, expect to pay more, she said.

"I hope for about 30 weddings a year," Fish said. and most are between May and September. She gets her flowers at the Portland Flower Market on Swan Island. The market only sells to wholesalers.

• The ride: You could step inside the 34-foot, 2006 black Hummer, which seats 16 and has all the extras, including champagne wells. Wendy Stevens of Silver Limousine Service of Ridgefield said the price will be $120 to $135 an hour, depending on how far you're traveling. The company has six limos and one party bus.

Driver Pablo Villa, a football referee who stands a formidable 5-foot-10 and weighs about 290, said he exercises "a lot of patience with the customers."

• The DJ: Craig Brown of High Fidelity Entertainment is a Battle Ground High School grad who has been working as an event disc jockey for 26 years.

"I did 173 events last year," Brown said. But fewer weddings than in past years.

"It's more intimate now," he said. "I like to know the (wedding) client, I like to know their names."

He can cut a rug, too, as he worked with other dancers onstage demonstrating the Cha Cha Slide, the Stayin' Alive Bee Gees' classic, and the Cupid Shuffle.

His fee is $2,000. Add $795 for an open photo booth or $1,095 for a closed (privacy) photo booth.

"Every year, I go to Vegas for DJ education," Brown said. "The main reason I'm here today is what I've learned in Las Vegas."