After a private wedding in Palm Springs, Calif., in mid-January, Mayor Annise Parker and Kathy Hubbard shared their happiness with close to 500 celebrants at The Corinthian Sunday afternoon. The festivities included a champagne toast from their four children, a first dance, cutting of the wedding cake and congratulations from the cheering crowd.
Close friends of the couple Kathryn McNiel and Katy Caldwell organized the gathering that began with the idea of a small dinner party, then grew into a reception for no more than 200, then mushroomed into such a throng that it had to be moved from a private home to the swank party space in downtown Houston. McNiel allowed that once the RSVP list had surpassed 375, they stopped counting and moved to the larger venue.
"I'm sad that we had to go to California," the mayor told the gathering. "But I'm so glad that we were able to." She added that they had hoped to be wed in Texas, but that was not in the cards.
"We are overjoyed that you are finally married," their son said in a toast.
Supporters cheered and applauded as Parker and Hubbard descended the stairs, hand in hand, from the balcony of The Corinthian to join the celebrants in the vast ballroom, packed with supporters. "Unchained Melody" played on the DJ system as the beaming couple joined their friends. Among those offering congratulations were State Sen. Rodney Ellis, Lilly and Charles Foster and city council members including Ellen Cohen, Stephen Costello and David Robinson.
After numerous photos with fans, iPhones and cameras popping, the couple joined their children around the wedding cake for toasts and words of love to one another. They sealed their commitment before friends and supporters with a kiss.
The newlyweds' 36-year-old son Jovon Tyler led the family toast saying, "The two of you took in all four of us when no one else would . . . You have shown us pure love and happiness and the only time we've seen you fight was when it was about us."
"We are overjoyed that you are finally married," he said.
The couple each kissed all four of the young adults who are part of the Parker/Hubbard family and the both commented on their relationship, the mayor reciting from a poem that she had specially written for Hubbard.
The mayor and Hubbard joined hands for their first dance to the Etta James classic "At Last." Guests hit the dance floor for an extended version of the Pharrell Williams hit, "Happy," as Parker danced with a number of guests, including State. Rep. Sylvester Turner and then the younger guests did an enthusiastic rendition of "the wobble."
For those who had missed the wedding, a video of the Palm Springs event was screened at one end of the ballroom. Among those heading in that direction to view the wedding were Karen and Roland Garcia, Jay Jones and Terry Wayne Jones, and Gracie and Bob Cavnar.
Reception guests included Ann and Kenny Friedman, Phoebe Tudor, Betsy and Danny Kamin, David Arpin and Alex Martinez, Debra Danburg, Shirley Dannenbaum, Steve Kirkland, Claudia Solis, Jackie Martin, Ed Smith, Susan Christian and Laura Spanjian with their young son Eli, Shara Fryer and Barry Silverman, Bart Truxillo, Tom Conry, Riyad Abu-Taha and Yasmine Gadelmola, and Cherri Carbonara and Tom McGhie.
Coincidentally, Philamena and Arthur Baird were there, celebrating their 29th wedding anniversary on Sunday.