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Crist wedding: more homey than hoopla

The wedding coordinator at First United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg, where the governor is getting married Friday, said most calls about publicity have come from local media.

DIRK SHADD | Times

The wedding coordinator at First United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg, where the governor is getting married Friday, said most calls about publicity have come from local media.

ST. PETERSBURG — Hey, paparazzi! Charlie Crist and Carole Rome are getting married!

(Chirp. Chirp.)

Didn't you hear? GOVERNOR. WEDDING.

(Trucks on highway. Trickling water. Baby sleeping.)

It's true. Google the gov and his fiancee and you'll find more chatter about the planned protests by gay rights organizations during their Friday nuptials than sheer tinglies over their celebrity.

Once upon a time, businesswoman and socialite Carole Rome played the New York scene, partying with stars, hosting lavish events in the Hamptons, dotting the pages of society mags and blogs. But now she's engaged to a politician who can freely stroll the streets of his hometown. Who wears polo shirts. Whose haircut costs $9.

In a world of Perez Hilton and TMZ, they're beans.

"Socialites only sort of hit our radar if they have reality shows, to be frank," said Jill Stempel, New York bureau chief of World Entertainment News Network, a top celebrity news agency. "I'm aware that he was under consideration for the vice president and he's a political player and it's interesting, but we are not sending a photographer to cover it, just because the celebrity factor isn't there. No disrespect to the future Mrs. Crist, but she needs to get a reality show and then she'll be on our radar."

So it's not America's Next Top Electric Slide. The wedding is still big news, especially for Florida. Crist is the state's first governor to get hitched in office since Claude Kirk in 1967. A gaggle of reporters and photographers, including journalists from the St. Petersburg Times, will document the hoopla. Security details are secret, but Crist's office has released specific press instructions to keep wayward writers from storming the gates.

Publicity calls have come nonstop for Patti Adams, wedding coordinator at St. Petersburg's First United Methodist Church, where the couple will wed before their private reception at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort.

"Most have been local. I have had a couple of requests that I forwarded on to Tallahassee from a couple major magazines. One was People and the other was a rag that I won't even talk about. But most are local."

And who knows? If any paparazzi do decide to show, they may actually get a nip of reality TV sauce. In New York, Rome was known to hobnob with cast members of the Bravo television series The Real Housewives of New York City, including Jill Zarin. In November, Zarin updated her personal Web site with this:

"… We have 6 trips planned thru March. A wedding in Florida…"

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at shayes@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8857.

Wedding ring still waiting in store

Gov. Charlie Crist commissioned a custom wedding ring for his fiancee, Carole Rome. Designer Hien Nguyen, who owns the Gold & Diamond Center in St. Petersburg's Northeast Shopping Center, said his creation is a pave diamond-encrusted 18-karat white gold band that will complement the sapphire and pave diamond engagement ring, which he also designed. Crist, a longtime patron, saw it in the window of the shop and proposed to Rome in July. On Wednesday afternoon, the governor had yet to pick up Rome's ring, and the couple had not yet chosen a wedding band for Crist, Nguyen said.

Niece will give blessing at rehearsal

A family member will say the blessing at the rehearsal dinner today. Crist's niece Mary Catherine Brown, who earned a master's of divinity degree from Iliff School of Theology in Denver, will have that role, said her father, St. Petersburg lawyer J. Emory Wood. Wood is married to Crist's sister Margaret. Brown works in Waynesville, N.C., as executive director of Wilderness Trail, a nonprofit, nondenominational organization, her father said. He declined to say where and when the dinner will take place.

Crist wedding: more homey than hoopla 12/10/08 [Last modified: Sunday, December 14, 2008 1:35pm]
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