Local bartender accused of scamming brides speaks out as more allegations surface

On Wednesday, we spoke to several brides who claim they’ve been scammed out of thousands of dollars by a local bartender. Even more brides who hired that bartender have reached out with similar stories, and now, the bartender herself is telling us her side.

We spoke to three additional people who contacted our newsroom claiming they signed a contract and paid for bartending services with PNW Weddings Cocktails With Kari. Each of them said that Kari’s company was either a no-show for their big day or was asked for a refund but never responded.

Two weeks ago, best friends Rylee Byrum and Kaitlynn Wilson signed a contract and sent a deposit to PNW Wedding Cocktails With Kari. A week later, they saw social media posts about Kari’s no-shows without refunds and had second thoughts.

That had Kaitlynn’s mom, Molly Wilson, reaching out to Kari.

“I just told her I wanted the deposit back and she gave a long message to me that was kind of strange,” she said. “I just didn’t really respond to it, I just said ‘Please give us our refund.’”

A majority of the women we’ve spoken to have told us that they were unable to reach Kari by phone, email, or Facebook. That includes the two brides we first talked to on Wednesday who were both married on Oct. 28.

We found Kari and spoke to her Thursday morning.

“In my defense, in the last couple months I have not been well,” Kari told us. “I have been in the hospital so I have not had the chance to sit down and go through.”

“I own what I’ve done,” she continued. “I have to own and make up for what I have missed - I apologize for that, it wasn’t done maliciously.”

Kari claims she was admitted to the hospital three different times, starting on Oct. 24. She said she was most recently discharged on Tuesday, Oct. 31, which is why she said she missed wedding bookings on Oct. 28.

“I had to get a new email address as well,” she added. “Anyone could have reached me via email, but unfortunately I wasn’t reading emails because I was not who I was.”

But that didn’t quite line up with our conversations with brides who hired Kari. Molly Wilson told us that Kari was able to respond to her over the weekend, supposedly when Kari would have been in the hospital.

In that response, Kari placed the blame on one of her employees.

“I’m being judged on things I didn’t do,” the message read. “I hired the wrong gal, and yes, she did a lot of bad things, and I have to own [that] like any other person would bring people on.”

Regardless of the reasons why Kari no-showed, Rylee, Kaitlynn, and her mother Molly all agree that this situation is still unsettling.

“We’ve signed contracts stating that even if we cancel within 30 days we can get our money back,” Rylee said. “We have signed agreements, and the brides that she’s no-shown to their wedding said communication was great right up to the wedding - it’s interesting that on the day of the wedding the communication suddenly stops.”

Kari did tell us that she plans on reaching out to every bride she has no-showed or ghosted to make things right. We asked if she has the money to pay back these brides, but she told he she doesn’t have all of it. Allegedly, some of it was spent to purchase the alcohol for the weddings she did not show up for.