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 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.