Inside Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick's Romance

The Sex and the City star would later say she regretted her black wedding gown.
joyce chen wedding news expert the knot
Joyce Chen
joyce chen wedding news expert the knot
Joyce Chen
Wedding News Contributor
  • Joyce writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in celebrity wedding features and pieces on wedding trends and etiquette
  • Joyce conducts interviews with real couples about how they’ve adapted to the challenges of wedding planning during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
  • In addition to The Knot Worldwide, Joyce also regularly contributes writing to Architectural Digest, Paste magazine, Refinery29, and
Updated Feb 28, 2022

Sarah Jessica Parker may be the breakout face behind Sex and the City character Carrie Bradshaw, but in 1997, the Just Like That actress was simply another New York City bride looking to celebrate her wedding. The HBO actress and her then-fiancé, Matthew Broderick, threw a surprise, spring wedding for about 100 of their closest family and friends. "The secret is, we don't discuss it. To reporters or anybody else. That's it!" the actress once told the Huffington Post. "We don't hold it up as an example and we don't air our dirty laundry."

All the same, much has been written about Parker's memorable black dress and their low-key wedding day. Read on to learn about the surprising reason why Parker chose to opt out of a traditional white gown, and to look back at how her relationship with Broderick evolved from Broadway buddies to so much more.

In this article:

All About Sarah Jessica Parker's Wedding to Matthew Broderick

There was plenty of buzz when Carrie Bradshaw married Ferris Bueller on May 19, 1997. But, unlike her Sex and the City character, SJP wasn't particularly fond of attention, and tried to minimize the buzz surrounding not only the wedding, but herself as well. Which, it turns out, was the reason why she wore her since-iconic black Morgane Le Fay dress. "I was too embarrassed to get married in white," the actress told Marie Claire in 2006, "and both Matthew and I were reluctant to have people pay so much attention to us." In classic Carrie style, however, Parker's fashion choice made waves, causing black and other non-white wedding gowns to trend within months of the couple's nuptials.

SJP and Broderick's guests didn't know they were attending a wedding.

In order to keep the paparazzi at bay, Parker and Broderick didn't tell their loved ones that they would be attending their nuptials. The pair simply invited their friends to New York for what they thought would be a regular party. Instead, the gathered guests watched the Hollywood celebs exchange vows at the Angel Oresanz Synagogue, located in the city's Lower East Side neighborhood. About 100 friends and family were present to witness the couple's big day.

Parker's wedding dress was an impulse purchase.

In 2016, years after their wedding day, SJP revealed to Andy Cohen that she bought her wedding dress on a whim. "Oh, I wish it was because I was badass," she said on Watch What Happens Live. "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." The result was a black Morgane Le Fay dress that has since inspired countless copycat brides' gowns of choice.

Years later, she stated that she regretted the fashion choice.

In the same interview, Parker told Cohen that if she had it her way, she'd go back in time and wear a "beautiful, proper wedding dress" and "white it up." One year prior, she told Martha Stewart Weddings that she even had a gown in mind for her hypothetical white wedding dress. "Oscar de la Renta feel, pockets below the waist, a very fitted bodice, a huge skirt, in taffeta and duchesse satin," she said. If only she'd had the foresight to dream up that dress for her big day—Parker told People in 2018 that growing up, she "never thought about a wedding dress. Never. Had not one daydream about it."

"I never thought about a wedding dress. Never. Had not one daydream about it," she told People in 2018. "At one point I just simply remember thinking, 'God, I really hope he asks me to marry him.' I don't know when or why. It was fairly early on."

The ceremony was officiated by Broderick's sister.

Though little is known about the wedding ceremony itself, a fun fact that is known is that Broderick's sister, Jane, officiated their wedding. (Jane is a reverend.) In spring 2020, Jane (or "Janet" as she's known) was actually among the first confirmed coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County, a fact that brought her name back into the headlines.

The couple and their friends reportedly danced along to show tunes during the reception.

Both Parker and Broderick are big Broadway fans—in fact, that's how the pair originally met—so it was only fitting that they ended their wedding day on a literal high note. According to multiple reports, the pair rang in their married life together by singing and dancing along to show tunes until two o'clock in the morning. "When [Matthew and I] were young people, all we ever wanted was to be good working actors. We didn't think of fame or money because, honestly, money was never part of the dream," Parker told Harper's Bazaar in 2013. "It was to work in theater, to be around those people whose work I was in total awe of."

The Couple's Relationship Timeline

So how did the Sex and the City alum and the Ferris Bueller's Day Off star cross paths in the first place? Like many other celeb couples in Hollywood (and beyond), they were introduced by mutual contacts. For Parker, specifically, her family. The stars then hit it off because they shared common interests. And the rest, as they say, is history.

When did they meet?

In the early '90s, Parker's brothers Toby and Pippin started a Broadway theater company called Naked Angels. Parker, a Broadway enthusiast even then, met Broderick through her brothers after he got involved with the company. (It's unclear what the occasion was for the first time they met.) It took several months for the Ferris Bueller actor to call, however, but when he did, he immediately asked her out. "He left a very charming, very self-effacing message on the machine," Parker told the New York Times in 1996. "You know, 'Hi, it's Matthew Broderick.' You had to use your last name."

How long did they date?

The pair instantly clicked from their first date onward (they went to the movies), and both were effusive in their praise for one another. "He's so bright, so handsome, I think he's the most handsome man I've seen in my life," Parker told the Los Angeles Times in 1996. "And he inspires me. I'm mad for him, totally." The couple frequented the red carpet, and even acted opposite each other in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Broadway.

When did they get engaged?

Details of Broderick's proposal to Parker are scarce, but following their engagement, there was no missing the ring on SJP's finger. Estimated to be a 7-8 carat elongated cushion-cut diamond atop a yellow-gold setting, the ring instantly inspired copycats. What also couldn't be missed was how head-over-heels Broderick was for his soon-to-be spouse. "I still remember very clearly seeing her walk down the street toward the movie theater," Broderick told E! News in 2012, recounting the couple's first date. "it's very unique, because I wouldn't remember most people the first time I saw them come down the street. [But] I remember it as clear as day."

When did they get married?

The couple largely kept mum about their engagement, and extended that secrecy to their wedding. Instead of a lavish celebrity wedding, Parker and Broderick opted for a hush-hush affair, inviting 100 of their closest friends and family to the Angel Oresanz Synagogue in the Lower East Side on May 19, 1997. The Sex and the City actress wore black, and the gathered guests reportedly danced the night away to show tunes.

After the Wedding

In the years following their under-the-radar nuptials, Parker and Broderick have continued to guard their personal lives fiercely while still celebrating each other publicly from time to time. "The things that annoy me don't matter," Parker said in a 2016 interview with CBS Sunday Morning's Jane Pauley. "I feel like it's as simple as I like him so much. Like he's still the person that I want, that I hope I'm making proud, or whose approval I'm still needing in some way. He's still the smartest and funniest to me."

The stars have since welcomed three children together: son James Wilkie Broderick, in October 2002, and twins Tabitha Hodge Broderick and Marion Loretta Elwell Broderick, who were born via surrogate in June 2009. Reflecting back on the life they've built together in an interview with Harper's Bazaar in 2013, Parker said, "I love Matthew Broderick. Call me crazy, but I love him. We can only be in the marriage we are. We're very devoted to our family and our lives. I love our life. I love that he's the father of my children, and it's because of him that there's this whole other world that I love."

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