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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist kisses the bride, but she wants more



Before an audience filled with leaders of Florida’s business and political communities, Gov. Charlie Crist married businesswoman Carole Rome Friday in a traditional 20 minute ceremony in St. Petersburg that started promptly at 7 p.m. as chimes tolled the hour.

Trumpet Voluntary by Henry Purcell was played as the bride was escorted down the aisle by her daughters Skylar, 10 and Jessica, 12. Crist smiled broadly as he stood beside his father, Dr. Charles Crist of St Petersburg, who served as best man.

When the Rev. David Miller, pastor of the church, asked who was there to give the bride away, the bride’s two daughters by a previous marriage quickly answered, “I do’’ and “I do.’’

The vows were traditional with each of them pledging to “have and to hold from this day forward for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death us do part.’’

The Rev. Miller urged the couple to invite God into their daily lives and noted that Jesus chose a wedding in Cana to perform his first miracle. There he turned water into wine when the wine for the wedding guests ran out.

“I’m sure the good folks at the Vinoy will make sure that doesn’t happen tonight,’’ Miller added as the crowd laughed. The ceremony was followed by a reception at the Renaissance Vinoy Hotel & Resort.

Most of the guests were prominent politicians, business leaders and lobbyists from all over the state. Fox national newsman Geraldo Rivera and his wife, Erica were also in the crowd.

Rivera said he met Crist in 2002 and promised to come to his wedding after Crist made an appearance at Rivera’s mother’s 85th birthday party in Siesta Key.

Others spotted in the audience included former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack, his son, U.S. Rep. Connie Mack and his wife, U.S. Rep. Mary Bono; former Gov. Bob Martinez; Attorney General Bill McCollum, Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Bronson; former Senate Presidents Ken Pruitt, Jim Scott  and John McKay; St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, Carl Kuttler, president of St. Petersburg College and Republican fundraiser Al Austin of Tampa.

Business leaders on hand included J. Charles Gray, senior partner at Gray Robinson in Orlando; Tom Kuntz, chief executive officer at Suntrust; Sherrill Hudson, CEO of TECO; Lew Hay, CEO of Florida Power & Light.

Lobbyists included Ron Book, Brian Ballard, David Rancourt, Richard Heffley and Rodney Barretto.

When Gov. Charlie Crist kissed the bride, it was tender and brief, apparently too brief to suit his bride, who gently put her hands on his face and kissed him again.

The church, famous for its Tiffany stained glass windows, was decorated for Christmas, with two Christmas trees on either side of the altar and boughs of greenery looped across the balconies.

Large, elegant bouquets of cream colored roses and hydrangeas were on either side of the altar. The couple lit a candle in honor of the bride's parents, both of whom are deceased, and for other members of the family who couldn't be there.

View wedding photos

--Lucy Morgan, Times Staff Writer (Final Writethru)

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 3:09pm]


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