Kimberly Schlegel Whitman wears a lot of hats. But on April 2, 2005, Kim put on a crown—an antique tiara provided by Carter Malouf of William Noble, to be exact. Kim’s extensive resume includes, but is not limited to, TV host, lifestyle author, Southern Living editor-at-large, and Halo Home founder. Her new book, Parties Around a Punch Bowl, features dozens of party ideas organized around the Southern party staple. (We like to call her the Texas version of Gwyneth Paltrow.) Kim also has Hollywood ties—she married Justin Whitman, the son of actor Stuart Whitman. For the first time, the socialite-turned-entrepreneur looks back on her big day.
Kim and Justin met at what was formerly Who’s Who Burger in Highland Park Village—“remember that place?” she laughs. “It was after church on a beautiful Sunday in spring.” He was eating with a friend of Kim’s, who introduced them. It’s still unclear who made the first move. “He likes to say that I chased him around for a bit, but I like to say the opposite,” she says. Fast forward to their proposal, which unfolded at The Mansion on Turtle Creek. Justin got down on one knee with his great-grandmother’s ring in hand. They topped off the night with dinner for two. “It was such a special evening,” Kim says.
Then it came to wedding planning. Kim’s parents threw the blowout bash, enlisting the help of planner Diamond Affairs and designer Todd Events. A ceremony would ensue at the Dallas Symphony, followed by a reception under a 40,000 square-foot tent at Arlington Hall. Despite the grandeur, what Kim remembers most vividly is the time she spent with her father right before she walked down the aisle, while over 1,000 guests awaited their procession. “It was the most calm and settled moment of the day,” says Kim, “A quiet moment, just the two of us, before the whole thing started.” Then, they gracefully made their ascent, Kim’s 18-foot train trailing behind them.
Kim knew that her wedding would be her first excuse for an haute couture gown. Her mother-in-law lives in Paris, so after a few appointments with different couture houses there, she landed on Givenchy as the designer. She had fittings in both Paris and New York. “The time spent during those fittings with my sisters and my mother working on the gown will always be a cherished memory,” she says. She fell in love with the end product, so much so that she wants her daughter to wear it. “We framed some of the sketches of the gown and hung them in my daughter’s room,” she says, “I am really hoping they will inspire her to want to wear it when she gets married. It’s just that special.”
Anne Watkins painted watercolors in real time—she was perched discreetly capturing special moments with her brush and paints. “Sometimes she only did a few subtle strokes, and it brings back so many memories for me,” says Kim. Anne remembers, “I have rarely seen a bride as composed and gracious as Kim. She was the one to soothe it and quietly strengthen all around her. She had the perspective of what mattered and what didn’t.”
Kim has one piece of advice for brides: in the midst of the hustle and bustle, be sure to spend time with your new husband during the reception. “It is so easy to get distracted and separated as you visit with your guests, and your attention will want to be in so many different places.” She and Justin made a pact that they would try to stay together throughout the night. “It really worked,” she says.