Weather Updates

Obamas invited to June 16 Kenwood-Hyde Park wedding of Valerie Jarrett’s daughter

LaurJerrett Tony Balkissoon.  PhoCourtesy Harvard Law School

Laura Jerrett and Tony Balkissoon. Photo Courtesy, Harvard Law School

storyidforme: 31592735
tmspicid: 11502498
fileheaderid: 5251087
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: July 7, 2012 8:36AM

The wedding aisle . . .

Sneed hears exclusive wedding whispers!

It could become the backyard wedding of the year!

It’s very hush-hush, but Sneed hears President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have been invited to the June 16 Kenwood/Hyde Park backyard wedding of attorney Laura Jarrett, daughter of Obama’s best friend/senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.

A contingent from the president’s Cabinet including Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, as well as Chicago attorney Allison Davis and Valerie’s close friend Susan Sher — Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff — also made the invited list.

“It could be the wedding of the year — considering how many powerful people may attend,” said a top Obama insider.

The wedding, which is scheduled to take place in the large backyard of Jarrett’s family home — is located near the Obama compound in Kenwood.

It’s a hop, skip and a jump from President Obama’s close buddy Marty Nesbitt. Barack pal Eric Whitaker will also be in attendance.

“It’s like a gathering of African-American royalty,” said the source. “They are all close friends who care a great deal about each other. Valerie Jarrett was raised in the Kenwood house and her mother, Barbara, still lives there.

“For the president and first lady not to come, it would have to be a security issue at the last moment.”

A call to Laura Jarrett’s finance, Tony Balkissoon — an attorney with the Sidley Austin law firm — netted the following polite response: “I’m not going to answer any questions, but thanks so much.”

The couple met while attending Harvard Law School and celebrated their engagement at the Paris Club.

The couple’s wedding registry includes an electric knife sharpener ($200) and a set of German steak knives ($160) from Williams-Sonoma and a bamboo serving bowl ($40) from Crate & Barrel.

The big question: Will Mayor Rahm Emanuel be invited?

“Valerie and Rahm were not kissing cousins in the White House, when Rahm was Obama’s chief of staff,” said the source.

Laura Jarrett, a lawyer at Mayer Brown, who was described in a Vogue magazine article as “gorgeous: a cross between Alicia Keys and Halle Berry,” is incredibly close to her mother.

“My daughter is, of course, perfect . . . but I could not have raised her without my parents. From the time she was 7 months until now, I have been a single parent,” Jarrett stated in a magazine article four years ago.

Valerie Jarrett’s father, James Bowman, an internationally recognized geneticist, died last year. Michelle Obama attended his memorial service. Her mother, Barbara, an expert in early childhood development, co-founded the Erikson Institute.

Laura Jarrett’s father was Dr. William Robert Jarrett, son of legendary Chicago Sun-Times journalist Vernon Jarrett. They were divorced in 1988. Dr. Jarrett died in 1991 of a heart attack.

Sneedlings . . .

Congrats to Chicago attorney Mike Monico and wife, Tricia, on the birth of their first grandchild, Tessa Mae. Parents Tina Monico and Chris Langager could not be happier . . . Tuesday’s birthdays: Tom Gorman, 54; Pete Wentz, 33; Mark Wahlberg, 41; Kenny G, 56, and Jill Biden, 61.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.