Darling, come on in. We’re just sitting here sipping bourbon with lifestyle expert and party planner extraordinaire, Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, as she prepares for a fabulous fall fete at her lovely Dallas home. An editor-at-large for Southern Living and a regular guest on The Today Show, our pal Kim has planned some sensational soirees for the likes of Bobbi Brown, Tory Burch, Louis Vuitton and one of our favorite party frock resources, Net-a-Porter. She is also the author of six lifestyle tomes including the The Party Planner: An Expert Organizing Guide for Entertaining that offers tips and worksheets on everything essential—from invitations to attire—for organizing a fabulous fete. Doll, we can hardly stand it. These details are right up our alley! Pull up a chair, and let’s get cozy as this affable salonniere and entertaining guru gets personal about her favorite party tips and memories—like the time she met the fabulous Anna Wintour in Paris.
Your entertaining style?
Ohhhhh….I love to mix it up…cocktail parties, dinner parties, pool parties but I always love to pay close attention to the details.
Kim designed this 60s-inspired table for a dinner honoring jewelry designer, Irene Neuwirth
Best or most memorable party you’ve ever attended?
Liaisons de Louvres in Paris several years ago was an amazing night put together by the incredible Becca Cason Thrash.
Most fascinating person you met at a party?
We met Mikhail Gorbachev and Anna Wintour at the same party in Paris several years ago – that was quite the night!
Dream dinner partner?
Dolly Parton – that smile and positive attitude could make any party a life-changer.
Kim’s dining room is always dinner party ready
Best conversation piece in your home?
Photos of friends, family and our travels. There is an amazing photo of my in-laws in Paris in the late 60s that always catches everyone’s eye. My husband likes to show off the photo that our friend, Buzz Aldrin, sent when our son was born – the iconic photo of his moon landing with a note that reads “To JR, Welcome to this world. Buzz.”
Party you’re most proud of?
Our wedding. We have so many special memories from that weekend. We hope our dearest friends had so much fun!
Party item you’re in the market for?
I’m always looking for great containers for flowers. I love to hunt at auctions, flea markets and estate sales.
Kim loves the idea of spray painting old glass bottles and using them as vases
Most memorable hostess gift you ever received?
Books and games for my children so that they were entertained while we were celebrating. It was so thoughtful.
Most memorable thank you note you ever received?
I have a scrapbook full of notes that are meaningful to me. One came from a “Grand Dame” of Dallas society and it was so special to me to get a note from a woman who I have such admiration for.
You know you’re at a Kim Whitman party when…
The napkins are monogrammed and my handsome husband, Justin, is playing DJ :).
How do you stay party ready. What’s always in your fridge or pantry?
Champagne, cheese and crackers. That is really all you need to throw a great night together.
Best tip for making your home a great entertaining space?
There should be lots of places to sit and relax and every chair should have a table within reach so that guests can set down a drink.
Kim has a small bar set up in her cozy library for impromptu entertaining
Best tip for getting your home party ready quickly?
Put flowers everywhere. I always go overboard with flowers even though I always say that I am not going to! My sister, Krystal, just started a flower business and is putting what we learned at flower school in Paris to good use!
What would you buy if you only had $100 to spend on party décor?
A disco ball!
Your go-to conversation starter for a shy dinner partner?
I always ask about their travel plans and/or books they have recently read.
Three party pet-peeves?
I have one major one—when it is too loud to have a conversation!
Three party must-haves?
Candles, champagne and interesting, friendly, smiling guests
Kim puts the finishing touches on an al fresco tabletop design
Let’s play favorites…
Cocktail – St. Germain Cocktail – simple and delicious
Champagne – Anything rosé
Food – French fries if I’m being honest. A beet salad if I’m trying to give you the impression that I only eat healthy!
Flower – Peonies or Pois de Senteur
Florist – My sister Krystal’s new flower business, Flowers by Krystal!
A floral arrangement by Krystal Schlegel from Flowers by Krystal
Dishes – Herend. I love the classics!
Glassware – Moser
Linens – Porthault
Porthault’s Papyrus collection of table linens
Hostess gift – Geode candle holders or acrylic boxes from CJ Designs
Party dress designer – I like to mix things up with designers and try new things. My new favorite dresses are from Rosie Assoulin that I order on Moda Operandi
Party shoe – YSL Tributes are actually comfortable but I am usually barefoot or in flats when I entertain at home
Kim’s go-to party shoe…when she’s not barefoot, that is
What will you wish for this year when you blow out your birthday candles?
I’ll be thinking of the things I’m so grateful for this year and the goals that I’ve set for next year.
Fabulous, doll, thanks for having us.
To meet more of today’s top salonnieres, come on in and spend time here.
Introductory image: Beverly Drive Magazine