Photography by
Ryan Joseph Photographs and Pezz Photo

Brooke Palmer & Craig Kuhl

March 15, 2014 in Sarasota, Florida

Brooke Palmer was planning high-profile events and working in public relations when a restauranteur friend introduced her to Craig Kuhl. With Craig being in the wine and liquor business, Brooke’s friend thought he would be a great networking connection.

Over cocktails and witty banter, Craig mentioned that a girl he was dating would drop by. Once his date arrived, she was “colder than the obnoxious frozen drink she ordered,” and proceeded to retreat to the restroom. While she was gone, Brooke turned to Craig and said, “I realize I don’t know you very well, but I am in the people business. She’s not for you. I’ll bet you dinner at Bern’s to prove it. If I lose, you get a meal. If you lose, I get a meal. It’s a win-win.” He agreed, and a bet was made. Within two days, Brooke received an email asking when they could schedule dinner.

Four years later, Brooke was still reveling in winning their bet. She got the vodka, the guy, and Bern’s became one of her biggest public relations clients. With Thanksgiving being a major tradition for her family, she and her boyfriend traveled from Florida to Washington, D.C. to celebrate with more than 40 friends and family members. Before eating, it’s customary to go around the table and have everyone say what they’re thankful for, and Brooke’s mother always joked that Craig was only allowed to come back for Thanksgiving in five years if he married her. On that particular Thanksgiving in 2012, Craig was the last one around the table to speak. He turned to Brooke and said, “I always want to be a part of Thanksgiving and your life, so…” and dropped to one knee.

Within weeks, Brooke and Craig had their reception venue and vendor meetings booked. “It was such a joy to plan my wedding with some of my best friends in the industry,” Brooke says. “Ian Prosser of Botanica International Design Studio has been my mentor, and did the very first wedding I booked.” After years of planning other people’s special days, it was finally Brooke’s turn to create the wedding of her dreams–complete with sparkles, chandeliers, and cherry blossoms. “My parents were the greatest gift, allowing us to have the most incredible wedding I have ever planned and produced,” she adds.

When they arrived at the wedding site, the couple stood at the top of the museum steps, looking down in awe. From the mirrored 10x10 seating charts, to the 6-foot disco ball on a 100-foot crane, to the secretly placed glitter circus animals, to the endless flow of Veuve Cliquot, the wedding décor and ambiance was pure magic.

Today, guests are still talking about Brooke and Craig’s wedding, and the couple maintains that the best part was being able to share such a spectacular celebration with everyone they love. “Every once in a while, a fairytale event comes along–but this time, it was ours,” says Brooke. “Neither one of us gambles, but if we did, we would always bet on us.”

Location: The Ringling Sarasota, FL; Event Design and Planner: RSBP Events Tampa, FL; Floral Design: Botanica International Design Studio Tampa, FL;
Cake & Dessert Table: Chocolate Pi Tampa, FL; Wedding Dress: Amsale;