Twenty-three years ago today, jazz singer/actor Harry Connick Jr. was married to top model Jill Goodacre, in a fairytale New Orleans ceremony that included a carriage ride through the streets of the city. On Saturday, April 16, 1994, 300 guests, including comedienne Carol Burnett (friends with Goodacre’s mother, Glenna), witnessed the 45-minute wedding mass inside the magnificent St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest Roman Catholic Cathedral in the United States. Afterwards, they showered the newlyweds with pink and white rose petals as they left the church hand in hand.
Goodacre, a Texas native, wore a white satin Valentino ballgown, with short sleeves and raised polka dots on the bodice. She wore a full-length veil, and held a bouquet of pale peach roses in hands dressed in long white opera gloves. The groom wore an Armani morning suit.
Following the ceremony, the couple’s aforementioned horse-drawn carriage ride delivered the newlyweds to their reception at Gallier Hall, a historic event space boasting grand Greek-American architecture in the storied southern city. Guests were served traditonal Louisiana fare as classical musicians added to the elegant ambiance.
When the couple left the wedding, they headed straight for their Caribbean honeymoon. The night before the nuptials, Connick celebrated his bachelor party at the fine-dining establishment Antoine’s, a historic New Orleans eatery (opened ca. 1840) serving French-Creole cuisine.
Connick, now 49, and Goodacre, 53, first met at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in Los Angeles in 1990. As they told YourTango in 2015, he was swimming in the hotel pool when he spotted her checking out at reception, and he was compelled to get out of the water to introduce himself. Goodacre said it was truly love at first sight. Connick added, “I thought I wanted to marry her the night I first met her.”
Still, he waited two more years to propose, and the couple were engaged for two more years before they wed. “It was amazing that we waited for so long, but we wanted to get to know each other,” Goodacre said.
“I married my best friend,” Connick said. “Ultimately I’ve been very fortunate – I understand that that doesn’t happen for everybody, but I happened for us, and we take it very seriously. I married the girl of my dreams.”
Still going strong, the couple have three daughters – Georgia Tatum, 19 years old tomorrow, Sarah Kate, 17, and Charlotte, 14. After the wedding, Connick went on to memorable roles in Independence Day and Will & Grace, and later a celebrity judging stint on American Idol, while Goodacre gladly retired from the demanding world of modelling when she became a mom, becoming an advocate for the rights of models working in the fashion world.