Hugh Howser and Kate Steele of H Three Events are well-known for their fabulous party-planning skills, over-the-top wedding receptions and laugh-out-loud Instagram presence (if you’re not following @hughhowser, do yourself a favor). Together, the duo has been planning events in Nashville for nearly 10 years, and their creative vision, bold energy and extensive experience truly make them a dream team. They’ve seen it all — from sweet 16s to destination weddings to New Year’s Eve nuptials and everything in between, so it’s safe to say they’re experts when it comes to event planning.

We chatted with Hugh and Kate to get answers to some of our burning event-planning questions in our latest edition of “10 Questions With … ” They’re giving us the inside scoop on where they’d splurge and save on a wedding, the best reception food they’ve ever seen, the most untraditional wedding they’ve ever planned and more. Enjoy!

Kate Steele and Hugh Howser of H Three Events

Kate Steele and Hugh Howser are the fabulous minds behind H Three Events. Image: Rachel Moore Photography

10 Questions with Hugh Howser and Kate Steele

1) What’s the best first dance song you’ve ever heard?

Kate: “This I Promise You” by *NSYNC. It had everyone singing!

Hugh: “I Loved Her First” by Heartland. People start crying and shooting tequila — love an old country ballad.

2) If you were planning your own wedding, where would you choose to splurge? Save?

Kate: I would splurge on the band and a great after-party DJ. Anything in the entertainment department, i.e. cool dancers, fun outfits, etc. I would save on florals and use more sustainable decor. I am not a big floral person … Hugh would kill me for saying that.

Hugh: The band is very important, Kate, but Lord knows I would splurge on a large decor element — something above head, something to make mothers go wild!

3) What’s the most common event detail that brides are happiest about on their wedding day?

Kate: Seeing the room before everyone else. I love watching their faces as they see the vision come to life. It makes all the hard work worth it!

Hugh: They LOVE getting their groom alone for a second — a private moment, finally, after the ceremony and every aunt and cousin has told them how stunning they are and how they remember the day she was born — she is able to connect, take a breath, and say, “We did it!”

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4) Do you have any wedding guest etiquette you want to share?

Kate: If you do not have a “plus one,” do not bring one or ask. The guest list is often one of the more stressful parts of planning, and people need to be respectful that each guest costs lots of money!

Hugh: Please do not bring a gift to the wedding — ship it! No bride needs to load a Cuisinart into her departure car.

5) Any advice on wedding days when it pours rain?

Kate: Have a great Plan B and let it go; it’s the one thing we cannot control. Also, be calm. You will still be married at the end of the day, and that is what matters.

Hugh: Lord, grab an umbrella and run! You’ll be fine, and I will be right beside you with a plastic rain bonnet on.

6) What’s the most non-traditional wedding you’ve planned?

Kate: The bride and groom told everyone they had already eloped, but they did a surprise ceremony during cocktail hour.

Hugh: I planned a wedding on a couple’s favorite golf tee on a golf course. “FORE!!!!!!!!”

7) What was on the best reception menu you’ve ever seen?

Kate: I did an after-party where the menu was all breakfast food. Late-night pancakes and bacon, eggs and cheese were a big hit. I’m a sucker for casual comfort food!

Hugh: I love SOUP! Don’t ask. I am like an 89-year-old, but I love a soup station. Any flavor, any topping — or a soup course on a seated menu. I am ready for the nursing home at a moment’s notice!

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H Three Events duo

This duo is energetic, creative and just plain FUN to work with. Image: Rachel Moore Photography

8) What do you wish brides would start doing?

Kate: Ditch the bridal party! I want brides to ditch wedding parties and not have them. Pick one girl and guy to stand up there with you or no one.

Hugh: I wish brides would run everything by their planner before making decisions they regret. I’ve put out more fires than a sprinkler system.

9) Excluding weddings, what other events do you two love to plan?

Kate: I love themed parties — Halloween, kids’ birthdays, etc. It is different, and you can have fun with creativity!

Hugh: I LOVE a Mitzvah! Creativity gone WILD! I have a ball at these!

10) As the holidays approach, do you have an entertaining tip or hack that we can use in our own homes?

Kate: Consider all your guests’ dietary restrictions, and keep your thermostat at 68 degrees.

Hugh: Have a phone charger handy. Everyone is obsessed with their phones and may need to take a selfie and tag everyone they have ever met.

Thanks for your insight, tips and stories, Hugh and Kate! Learn more about this dynamic duo and H Three Events on their website at hthreeevents.com, and on Instagram at @hthreeevents.

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