How One Film Director Created a Celebration of Cinema for Her Wedding at Hotel Peter & Paul in New Orleans
When moving back to her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, during the pandemic, Jaclyn Bethany—a writer, director and actor known for her work in Indigo Valley and The Delta Girl—probably didn’t expect to meet her future husband: Brian Chadwick. “Brian and I had a lot of crossover growing up, but we never knew each other,” tells Jaclyn. Before they knew it, Brian was popping the question on a trip to North Carolina, and the imaginative couple began planning the wedding of their dreams.
From the start, Jaclyn and Brian wanted their nuptials to evoke creativity and artistry in every detail. “This was a vision that my wedding planners, Kerri and Jamie, really honed with me,” the bride explains. “I wanted it to feel cinematic, theatrical and personal. The more I cultivated inspiration, the more the vibrant bold colors of Baz Luhrmann's iconic Romeo and Juliet seeped into the vision.”
The movie ideation was especially evident in the ceremony decor. The grandeur of the church venue housed a heart-shaped floral arch with bunches of dyed blooms, which gave way to a spectacular mirrored aisle flanked by ghost chairs and, of course, neon heart crucifixes. Candles of varying sizes and low lighting gave the space that extra Romeo and Juliet touch. “At the entrance to the church, it was sort of a mini LoveShackFancy set up: different potted plants, flowers and bright pink bows on each door. I always wanted a lot of flowers in unique arrangements and colors,” says Jaclyn. “The flower girls had custom angel wings like Clare Danes in the movie—I really loved this detail.”
Some of the couple’s favorite aspects of their big day came through during the ceremony. “The bridesmaids walked down the aisle to 'House of Woodcock,' composed by Johnny Greenwood for Phantom Thread: one of my favorite films. I walked down to a live rendition of 'Kissing You,' the theme from Romeo and Juliet,” recalls the bride. “I had some performer/composer friends there that I had worked with before, and we had a gospel choir perform 'All You Need is Love,' along with pop-up instrumentalists before we left the ceremony. This was a surprise!” Jaclyn goes on to explain the significance these moments played for her during the day: “I think before I found words, I found music. Intertwining those two worlds together for our ceremony was incredible. Music is such a beautiful way to express a thought or feeling, and New Orleans is one of the music capitals of the world.”
In addition to the decor, the bride was equally as excited to bring out her creative spirit with her wedding-day ensemble. “Fashion has always been a big part of my life. Growing up, my mother and I would always walk past the bridal salon at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. So, naturally, that was one of my first appointments. They brought out a dress that they were going to send back. It was Vera Wang, and it was totally unique and beautiful. It had a classic corseted shape, but a gorgeous skirt that was mainly pink, but incorporated what I like to describe as the color palette of a Degas ballerina. It just felt like me.”
The ceremony area was flipped to host the reception post-vows—plenty more fun and unique details awaited the newlyweds’ loved ones! From a tarot card reader to a Prince impersonator, a Sazerac signature cocktail, hidden photo booth, cotton candy, face painting and more: “it was all very festive and beautiful,” notes Jaclyn.
The final touch came during dessert. The couple’s wedding cake was a signature celebration of all things cinematic (and chromatic). “One of my favorite films aesthetically is Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock, and our cake reminded me of that film.” The four-tiered confection displayed bright pink and blue, as well as literal cherries on top—the final piece to the perfect evening.