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Couple to Hold New Orleans-Style Wedding Parade in Clarendon

Hundreds of people will march through Clarendon to the tune of a live band this weekend as part of a massive wedding parade.

Alexandria couple Sarah Matheson and her fiance, Mike Mihalecz, are planning to hold a New Orleans-style parade after their wedding at the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 3:15 p.m. A procession of about 125 people, some wearing masks and carrying handkerchiefs, will travel from the church at 3304 North Washington Blvd to the nearby Clarendon Ballroom, where the couple’s reception is being held.

The parade is modeled after the “second line,” a jubilant and musical New Orleans tradition usually held after weddings or funerals. Matheson describes the idea as “a walking party that goes on forever.”

“We have a four-piece band that will be playing,” she added. “We’ll have a pedicab for some of the older folks who can’t walk so well.”

The parade also will have a motorcycle police escort to safely guide revelers through the streets.

Though Matheson said she’s a fan of New Orleans culture, the idea to plan such a big parade actually came from a desire to keep people from driving to the wedding.

“We were joking around, like, how can we get people not to drive to the wedding?” Matheson said. “This just kind of blossomed from something practical.”

The parade won’t be limited to wedding guests, either. In true second line tradition, people from off the street can join in if they’d like. They’ll have to part ways when they get to the Clarendon Ballroom, however, as the reception is only open to guests of the bride and groom.

Above all else, Matheson hopes the parade will inspire lots of warm memories that last for years to come.

“They’ll all enjoy the process,” Matheson said. “I think it will be definitely unique.”

Photos courtesy of Sarah Matheson

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