We’ve watched Sarah Jessica Parker, 52, get married (and almost get married) so many times that we sometimes forget we didn’t witness her actual wedding. You know, the one to Matthew Broderick, 55, that took place on May 19, 1997 — 20 years ago today.
The future star of Divorce married her beau of five-plus years in a “stealth” ceremony in NYC, it was reported at the time. Days after Broderick told the New York Post they had no plans to marry, the pair hosted 100 friends for a “party” on a Monday night — without giving a reason for it. Who gets married on a Monday anyway?
Parker and Broderick, who are both part Jewish, surprised their guests when they exchanged vows in a civil ceremony held in a former NYC synagogue, the Angel Orensanz Center, on the Lower East Side, not far from where they had been shacking up together for two years. The groom’s Episcopalian minister sister, the Rev. Janet Broderick Kraft, was the officiant for the union of the two movie stars. Peter Duchin, who’s still a SJP fave, provided the music.
The bride was going to stand out either way — she was SJP, star of First Wives Club, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Footloose, L.A. Story, and Hocus Pocus, to name a few — but she especially did so by being different and wearing a black wedding gown. This was long before the black dress trend of the early 2010s (thanks, Vera Wang!), making her strapless Morgane Le Fay dress, which she bought off the rack, a big deal.
However, Parker has said that she actually wore the dress to not stand out. “Our logic was we didn’t want to call attention to ourselves that day, because we’re actors and we get attention all day long,” she told Glamour in 2009, making her sound like one of the most down-to-earth actresses ever. “It was a party for everybody else. Matthew bought a suit off the rack and I bought the first dress I looked at. I wish I had worn white, or off-white, I should say.”
That is her one big wedding regret, and it’s stuck with her. In a 2009 interview with Harper’s Bazaar, she was asked if she would still wear black if she renewed her vows with the Ferris Bueller star, and the answer — given quickly — was no.
“I’m not kidding. White it up. I’d wear a beautiful, proper wedding dress, like I should have worn on the day,” she told the mag. The mom of three then recounted a conversation with her son, saying, “James Wilkie’s teacher is getting married, and he said, ‘Do you think she will be wearing black?’ I said, ‘No! I can almost assure you.’ Then he said, ‘Do you still regret it?’ and I said, ‘Yes, I still regret it.'”
She’s maintained that stance ever since. While sharing her bridal tips with Martha Stewart Weddings more recently — in 2015 — Parker, who now has her own shoe and clothing lines after Sex and the City made her a style icon, said, “If I were getting married today, I’d likely wear cream, just to have that bridal experience. Now I would want my dress to have an Oscar de la Renta feel, pockets below the waist, a very fitted bodice, a huge skirt, in taffeta or duchesse satin. That silhouette appeals to me because it’s old-fashioned yet can look very modern.”
And just last fall, while appearing on Watch What Happens Live with her pal Andy Cohen, Sarah Jessica — who actually wore a wedding dress from Vera Wang’s line to the Golden Globes in January — again spoke about her wedding regret. “Oh, I wish it was because I was badass,” she said in response to a caller’s question about her black dress. “I just was too embarrassed to spend any time looking for a wedding dress. There was a store that I liked, that I knew, and I just went and got whatever they had hanging.” She ended by saying, “I would do it differently.”
What Parker wouldn’t do differently is marry a different guy on her big day. The actress, who previously dated Robert Downey Jr. and John F. Kennedy Jr. (swoon!), said last year that Matthew is “fantastic for so many reasons.” But that’s as specific as she’d get. When pressed for more, she quipped, “I can’t pretend to put together an anecdotal laundry list. I don’t usually talk about it, so it’s nice and a mystery!”
It’s nice, it’s a mystery, and it works. Twenty years on, congrats to them!
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