Bride of the Week: Kimberly Starks

Southern Comfort

Kimberly's elegant crystal-beaded Ulla Maija ball gown was the ideal choice for her classic Southern ceremony.

If it weren’t for the Kentucky Derby, Kimberly Greene might have never met Derrick Starks.

Kimberly’s mother and Derrick’s aunt set out to match them up over mint juleps on that fateful day. Sure, Derrick’s aunt claimed later that the two had met before, as children, but Kimberly isn’t so sure. “Our families haven’t provided photo evidence,” she says.

Still, those women were onto something. Once Kimberly met Derrick in Atlanta when he traveled there for a business trip (he lived in Nashville), all bets were off. In fact, their long-distance arrangement could hardly be considered a deterrent. Instead, they embraced travel with a courtship that soon included trips to Miami, Phoenix and Morocco. It was in South Beach that Derrick popped the question: “Do me the honor of sharing my life and become my wife?” How could Kimberly say no to that?

“We wanted our guests to experience dinner as if it were our first meal together at home,” she shares. Their Southern comfort menu, served family style: fried chicken with pepper gravy, bourbon-glazed salmon, grilled spring vegetables, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and biscuits with honey butter and pimento cheese.

On June 3, 2012, 190 guests met in Atlanta for an outdoor wedding ceremony under a gazebo draped with soft white sheers. The dramatic altar was only superseded by Kimberly making an entrance in an Ulla Maija couture ball gown of Italian silk satin with a hand-beaded crystal bodice. She walked on a bed of ombre pink rose petals that blanketed the aisle. After saying “I do,” Monarch butterflies were released into the sky.

“Our wedding style was classic. I wanted each person to share in our love and witness our union as if they were the only other person there,” explains the bride.

For the celebration that followed, Kimberly slipped into something a little more comfortable for dinner and dancing: a Monique Lhuillier bustier and party skirt.

Guests were treated to signature drinks that were a nod to Derrick’s Kentucky roots. “We love Kentucky, horse racing, bluegrass and bourbon,” says Kimberly. In addition to the regular wine and cocktails, a special “Bourbon bar” was set up, where guests could enjoy some of the finest bourbons from the Bluegrass State. “Derrick’s signature drink is Blanton’s neat; but the bartenders were ready for bourbon drinkers new and older concocting bourbon spritzers, martinis, mint juleps and flights of Bulleit, Blantons, Basil Hayden, Eagle Rare, Elijah Craig, Woodford Reserve and Maker's Mark,” recalls the bride.

The dinner menu continued this personalized theme. “We wanted our guests to experience dinner as if it were our first meal together at home,” she shares. Their Southern comfort menu, served family style: fried chicken with pepper gravy, bourbon-glazed salmon, grilled spring vegetables, macaroni and cheese, collard greens and biscuits with honey butter and pimento cheese.

Even the very china the couple dined on looked as if they were home: they ate off of Blue Willow (a favorite of William Randolph Hearst) that was from Derrick’s grandmother’s very own collection.

Of all the highlights of the evening, it was Kimberly's ingenious approach to the bouquet toss that surprised the guests the most. “I had a trick up my sleeve,” she admits. She hedged the bets on the winner by tossing a bouquet that actually divided into three smaller ones when it was thrown in the air. Kimberly made sure a trifecta of women had the luck ahead of marrying as happily as she did that day.

--Erinn Bucklan

 
 
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