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Deal Divas

Stephanie Hayes, Katie Sanders, Kameel Stanley, & Keyonna Summers

Wedding Week: A wedding planner answers your wedding questions!

The professional became personal when wedding planner Brooke Palmer married Craig Kuhl at the Ringling Museum of Art on March 15. Friends in the industry rose to the occasion to stage an extravaganza that some of the guests tweeted was “the wedding of the century.”

Ryan Joseph Photographs

The professional became personal when wedding planner Brooke Palmer married Craig Kuhl at the Ringling Museum of Art on March 15. Friends in the industry rose to the occasion to stage an extravaganza that some of the guests tweeted was “the wedding of the century.”



If you're planning a wedding, we hope your happy days are just beginning. Sadly, Wedding Week is coming to a close. We hope you had as much fun as we did!

Throughout the week on the blog and Twitter (@dealdivas) you all have lobbed some questions our way. Rather than trying to pluck the answers out of thin air, we turned to an expert. Brooke Palmer Kuhl is an event planner based right here in Tampa Bay, president of RSBP Events. She has coordinated over 100 weddings, including her own. You should take a few minutes to read the Times story about the glittering affair at the Ringling. We can only begin to dream.

Here, Brooke gives us straight answers to your questions, not coated in any Jordan almond sugar. I'll let her take it away.

Am I terrible person if I wear a black dress as a wedding guest?

You aren't terrible, you are just probably not appropriate. This is Florida. I guarantee you can find another color in your closet. I'm guilty of doing this too, but it's kind of like wearing white to a wedding. You just don't do it. Period. I didn't make this rule. Call Emily Post. Or even better, Google it.

Selling an old bridesmaid dress: What's the most effective way to do it?

There are a lot of sites now like Tradesy, Bridesmaid Trade, and Wore It Once that are great resources for unloading that dress you know you won't wear again.

My daughter is getting married in March and I hate most of what I see designated as "Mother of the Bride" dresses. What's appropriate for a mom to wear and still be in style?

It's really a discussion one should have with your daughter. I have brides freak out about this, and my best advice is, pick a color and something you both like that complements the style of the wedding. Ultimately you want to be pleased with what you are wearing and have your daughter love it too.

I'd like to know how far in advance you generally need to look for/book venues. If you want to have a short engagement, can you do it in 6 months?

You can, but your choices will be limited. If you want a specific day or a popular venue, good luck. I've done a wedding in three weeks but I wouldn't recommend that either! Give yourself time to have the day you both want. What's the rush? You have your whole lives, do it the way you dreamed.

If you don't want to serve the standard mass event/wedding food - stuffed chicken, horrid mixed veggies - what's the easiest way to get around that?  I know a lot of places make you go through certain caterers.

Know your budget. Every caterer is flexible and usually offers great menu choices. If you have expensive taste for lobster but can't afford it, consider seafood options during the cocktail hour. Venues require certain caterers to ensure quality as well as protect the venue. They know how to work in the space. It's not about you or to be difficult. Most venues have insurance and requirements that your uncle's cousin's friends restaurant might not have or understand.

We are getting married this year the day after Thanksgiving. Since we are not footing the bill for guests travel expenses, is it appropriate to have a gift registry?

I would say people will want to get you a gift because it's your wedding, regardless of the holiday. Don't be surprised when people don't send or give a gift. We certainly didn't receive gifts from all our guests, but keep in mind they have up to a year to give one.

We're thinking of getting a day of coordinator - what do they actually do and what's a reasonable price range?

This statement is all together false. Why? Because day-of coordination is ludicrous. You can't possibly coordinate a wedding by just coming in for one day. My coordination for these types of brides usually begins about 30-45 days out. This allows me enough time to make any necessary changes, familiarize myself with the vendors and finish anything the bride or groom may have not completed. In addition, you will find planners of all price ranges. I compare it to hotels. You get what you pay for. There are a lot of newbies in the business that will charge $500 or less for this type of service. But in reality, they might have only done one wedding, THEIR OWN. I have done over 100 weddings, and hundreds of events. I have 15 years experience. I just planned my own wedding. Who would you trust? Ask those questions up front. Sometimes the price is not always right.

What are the best parts of a wedding to go cheap on that won't make your wedding LOOK cheap?

Here's a tip. Don't be cheap. Know your budget and what you can spend. It's not about being cheap. I have done intimate weddings with small budgets and they looked like we spent three times as much.  Pick the three most important things to you. Make those your larger ticket items and work your budget around that. That will always ensure that your dreams are becoming a reality! And in the end, if you don't want it to look cheap, hire a planner!

Happy Planning!

[Last modified: Friday, August 1, 2014 9:19pm]


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