This Festive New Orleans Wedding Almost Didnâ€™t Happen!
On October 7, six years after meeting at a concert in Manhattan, Jessica Clemons, a psychiatrist, and Law Parker, a record executive at Jay-Zâ€™s Roc Nation, were set to marry in New Orleans, the groomâ€™s hometown. Over the course of a year, theyâ€™d worked with planners Clark & Kelly to intricately plot a marathon of events, like outdoor vows at Congo Square and a dance party that would go until dawn.
But at the end of an especially punishing hurricane season, it looked as if another storm was heading to NOLA, throwing off Jessica and Lawâ€™s best-laid plans. The outdoor ceremony was a no-goâ€”as was the all-night party, since officials imposed a 7 p.m. curfew in the area. After a brief panicâ€”"Our officiant had to remind me to breathe," Jessica admitsâ€”the couple quickly came up with alternate arrangements.
First: a full-on dress rehearsal (in their wedding attire!) the day before to ensure theyâ€™d get their dream photos in Congo Square. "We just decided we were going to be nontraditional and forget any possible bad luck that could come from seeing each other dressed beforehand," she says.
On the big day, Jessica did a first look with her father to show off her stunning gown by Pronovias. The bride had visited the designerâ€™s flagship store in New York City with her friend and stylist Shiona Turini. "I felt so overwhelmed at first. I simply loved them all," she recalls. "But once I booked our venue, I returned for a second visit and knew the Raciela was the one!"
Jessicaâ€™s gown featured a strapless neckline and a close-to-the-body mermaid silhouette. "Its simple design made me feel confident that my future husband (and all my guests) would be able to see me as I walked down the aisle," she explains. The bride accessorized with Badgley Mischka shoes and a statement veil. "Itâ€™s actually a cape that attaches to the back of the gown at the top," she says. "It gave me the drama I was looking for without taking away from the elegance and grace of the gown." The groom looked equally great in a custom suit by Musika Frere NYC showroomâ€”and a headband he fashioned from the sash of Jessicaâ€™s robe!
Jessica saw Law and his friends having an "epic photoshoot" in the streets, so she gathered her girls and copied the same shot. The bride considered all female guests to be her bridesmaids, so she asked friends to wear shades of rose and family members to wear a darker maroon.
As a nod to their New Orleans location, the bride and groom posed for photos with fun, feather-lined parasolsâ€”and even carried them for the march to the ceremony.
On the big day, their 125 guestsâ€”including BeyoncĂ©, Jay-Z, and their daughter Blue Ivyâ€”arrived determined to make the nuptials extra festive. "For people to commit to being there despite all the anxiety made me feel so loved," Jessica says. "I remember walking down the aisle and being in tears because everyone was there, smiling like there wasnâ€™t a hurricane coming."
During the emotional ceremony, which was rescheduled for noon at their dinner restaurant, Arnaudâ€™s, the bride and groom shared their own vows. "We both wrote our vows, but in the midst of the madness, we forgot them and had to recite them from memory," recalls the bride. They also personalized their script with special musical selections: Jessica walked down the aisle to Al Greenâ€™s "God Blessed Our Love," while Law entered to Stevie Wonder's "The Secret Life of Plants."
The daytime event continued with a Creole-inspired feast in a private dining room (with an art-deco vibe) at the restaurant venue. "We love hosting dinners because sharing a good meal in good company is a great way to connect to one another," explains the bride. The couple had two signature cocktails using D'Usse Cognac, which they named the "Desperado" and the "Forever-ever."
After dinner, the bride changed into a sparkly Valentino dress and Giuseppe Zanotti sandals.
Next came a second-line parade through the cityâ€™s streets and an abbreviated dance party at Treme Market Branch, a former bank. The couple had a second-line parade led by the Wild Tchoupitoulas, the Mardi Gras tribe the groomâ€™s grandfather belonged to.
A full brass band and DJ played carefully-selected songsâ€”including Curtis Mayfieldâ€™s "So in Love With You" and Stevie Wonderâ€™s "Pocket Love"â€”until the cityâ€™s curfew.
When the jam sesh shut down in time for curfew, everyone headed to an Airbnb, where they mixed their own cocktails and played chess. "It wasnâ€™t a raging house party, but it was an intimate, chill good time," says the bride. Such a good time, in fact, that everyone stayed until 4:30 a.m., despite the curfew being lifted when the storm changed course earlier in the evening. "We didnâ€™t have time to do a lot of the traditionsâ€”the first dance or bouquet toss," Jessica says. "But in the end, that was fine. The focus was just really on the love; there was so much radiating that it shifted the winds. Our love blew that storm away."