Behind the Scenes at the Chris Paul-Jada Crawley Wedding!

The Pauls & Me!

I’ve been itching to share this with you guys and the time is finally here! My former employer ESSENCE magazine tapped moi to cover the nuptials of NBA superstar Chris Paul and his wife Jada. You can check out the story in the November 2011 issue on pages 61-62 and over on Essence.com in their Bridal Bliss Wedding of the Week. (Be sure to watch the video, too.) This assignment admittedly caused me quite a bit of angst. Why? Well, while I’ve interviewed dozens of celebs in the past — from Heidi Klum to Steve Harvey — covering the Paul wedding was extra-special because it marked the first celebrity bridal-related story I nailed since launching Triple B. The stakes were high. Thankfully Chris and Jada couldn’t have been a more down-to-Earth couple. Once I calmed down and treated the story like a typical Tie the Knot Tuesday feature, I was just fine. Traveling to Charlotte, NC to cover the star-studded affair was technically work yet the entire wedding weekend felt like hanging out with family. Seriously. Here are my exclusive highlights you won’t read about anywhere else:

Me & David Tutera during the Paul's fab wedding reception!

  •  The very top pic of me and the newlyweds was taken the day after they tied the knot. Guests were loading up on charter buses heading to Charlotte’s Carowinds Amusement Park as a wedding farewell. They were happier than pigs in mud and couldn’t wait to continue the fun.
  • The next pic is of me and wedding planner extraordinaire, David Tutera. He and his team did such an impressive job transforming the reception space from typical boring banquet hall to a majestic purple, orange and gold “experience”. Upon entering the reception you could smell the flowers he selected were just as fragrant as they were pretty. David and I got to chat it up a bit between my interviews and doing The Wobble and he was so intrigued by Triple B that he agreed to give an exclusive interview on how to recreate a similar reception on a budget. Stay tuned!
  • A heartfelt slideshow filled with “Awww!” inspiring pics of Jada, Chris and their son Chris II aka Lil’ Chris (he’s such a cutie) were displayed on large plasma screens while guests waited for the ceremony to begin and throughout the couple’s cocktail hour. They dug deep and even included pics of Jada with pigtails and Chris sporting a high top fade!
  • Robin Thicke can dance his a** off! He tore the dancefloor up when Meek Mil featuring Rick Ross’s song, “I’m a Boss” was played. Who knew?!
  • Um…Yes, Gabrielle Union is really that freakin’ gorgeous in person.
  • Although this wedding was a star-studded affair with LeBron James as one of the groomsmen, Robin Thicke performing at the ceremony and reception and Kevin Hart cracking jokes on everything and everybody (no one was spared!), there wasn’t a drop of pretension floating around. Not. A. Drop.
  • Need more proof of the above bullet? The couple was registered at Target.
  • Even Malaysia Pargo and Meeka Claxton of “Basketball Wives” fame attended and there was zero drama. In fact Malaysia was so sweet during the rehearsal dinner that I will forever watch reality tv with a higher level of discernment.

Papa Chilly's: Hands down the best part of the Paul's wedding reception!

  •  Last but certainly not least, what truly impressed me about Chris and Jada was the picture above. Chris’s deceased maternal grandfather, “Papa Chilly”  was Chris’s best friend and the patriarch of their family. He was also the owner of a service station — one of the first Black-owned service stations in the state of North Carolina. Papa Chilly was the victim of a senseless murder a few years ago and the loss left Chris devastated. Thus he wanted to acknowledge him in the wedding. However, he and Jada chose to uplift his spirit, not sadden their guests. So, this “Papa Chilly Service Station” was created in his honor and served specialty cocktails throughout the night using Papa’s favorite cordial, Bacardi Lemon. Although the Pauls had a “flipbook” photo booth and several other wedding bells and whistles, this personal touch showed their character the most. Even though I’ve never met Papa Chilly, I felt like he was looking down on the entire weekend with a proud smile. And it is those types of special moments that make me love weddings — whether they are for big-time celebs or my lil’ cousin TiTi.
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    Comments

    1. Congrats on nailing a celeb wedding!! great video and article Bridgette, I love weddings and David Tutera is the man!! :-)

    2. You go girl! So proud of you! ;-) The piece was awesome. Must have been a great time!

    3. Great job! Hopefully one day I will get my event planning business to the celeb status!

    4. Great story. Congratulations on the first celeb wedding. I know more will start to flow.

    5. What can your #1 fan say? Love it! Keep up the good work, you know I got your back.

    6. What a lovely feature…so proud of you and very happy for you..there’s truly more to come…xoxo

    7. Just Great!!! Keep on doing what you do!!!

    8. Excellent story!! I am so proud of you, keep up the good work.

    9. Congratulations to you and the couple! Hopefully this means bigger and better things for triple bbb. I love reading about love whether is everyday folks or celebrity.

    10. It’s great to hear Chris speak upon how he gave up the club scene BEFORE he was married. I truly believe it helps prepare a man to become a better father and husband. As soon as kids come into the world, we have to put ourselves 3rd (God, Kids, Us). Keep it up Bridge!

    11. I LOVE that they registered at Target. What a beautiful wedding story! Thank you for sharing!

    12. Great story! I can’t wait to see others. Keep up the good work!!

    13. Bridge, What a wonderful story! I just loved it. And, David Tutera to top it off!!! I love his show; will the wedding be featured on his show as well? I look forward to more and more from BlackBridalBliss.

    14. It feels as if you were talking to a friend over the phone about what you just witnessed….so genuine and engaging! Very fun read!!! **places phone down and smiles at the conversation just shared :)

    15. Nicole Marie Melton says:

      AWESOME!!!!! Way to go Bridgette! So proud of you and thrilled to be a Triple B reader!

    16. SCORE!!!! I hear your essence.com story was quite the hit yesterday :O) CONGRATS!

    17. Love the story, loved it so much I read it here and on Essence.com. Great job.

    18. Amazing way to capture this celebration of love! I felt like I was there from your detailed descriptions of the atmosphere, guests and couple. Congrats Triple B…a job well done as always!

    19. Keep up the good work!! You continue to make your family proud.

    20. Thank you so much all! The feedback is greatly appreciated and I sincerely value your comments.

      @Aunt Zee – I’m not sure if the wedding will appear on David’s show but I will check for you.

    21. Janice Guthrie says:

      Great Going, Bridge! I enjoyed reading about all of the activity.

      Cousin Janice

    22. I LOVE this wedding story. The bride and groom did an amazing job including every aspect of their life together into this special day. The tribute to “Papa Chilly” brought me to tears. It is truly special that the couple was able to find a place during their wedding day to honor a lost loved one in such a magnificent way.
      Your coverage of the wedding was well done. Stories like this remind us of the magic and love that should fill each and every wedding day.

    23. Here, here! Congratulations on the exclusive…and how fitting to cover such a grounded couple. Can’t wait to see you fly higher!

    24. Bridgette,
      Awesome job on the Paul’s wedding coverage and congrats on your first celeb wedding feature. This is just the beginning!

    25. unfortunately, my guilty pleasure is watching reality shows that often have nothing to do with reality but has a lot more to do with petty competition and fighting. I came back to your site to read more about this beautiful down to Earth couple. thank you for sharing this wonderful story. Keep it coming!

    26. Such a great story. Amazing :) Congrats! :)

      -Sally Mars
      http://dressifyme.com

    Trackbacks

    1. […] thought this was pretty adorable, Bridgette Bartlett over at Black Bridal Bliss recently covered the wedding of New Orleans Hornet Chris Paul and longtime girlfriend Jada […]

    2. […] I had a chance to briefly chat with David who as you remember I originally met while covering the wedding of Chris Paul and Jada Crawley. The episode we previewed is a must-see and scheduled to air on Sunday, December 18. (I won’t […]

    3. […] Family Tribute: Chris Paul & Jada Crawley – Technically I covered this wedding as a freelance assignment for Essence and Essence.com […]

    4. […] James and Brinson were in the bridal party last fall for Chris Paul’s wedding to his now wife Jada. Just observing the couple up close throughout the Paul’s wedding […]

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