Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph Marries Senator
07/31/2005 AT 01:50 PM EDT
The former Moesha star, 49, wore an off-the-shoulder champagne-colored silk charmeuse Tadashi gown with Swarovski crystal straps and a seven-foot train, topped by a light gold silk peu de soire brocaded coat. Completing her princess look: a $16,000 Mikimoto pearl-and-diamond tiara fastened to her updo.
Preceded by her 10 bridesmaids – including singer Patti LaBelle, Divorce Court judge Mablean Ephriam and actress Loretta Devine – Ralph held her Swarovski-crystal-studded bouquet of orchids, Casablancas, calla lilies, stephanotis, and roses as she walked down the aisle to the strains of an 82-person choir. The 48-year-old groom, a state senator from Philadelphia, wore black tuxedo custom-tailored by Designs By Jasper with a white tie, a stephanotis boutonniere, and $15,000 Mikimoto pearl-and-white gold cufflinks.
To celebrate the occasion, 425 guests were in attendance at the chapel, which was decorated in all-white flowers – including orchids and lilies – and white chiffon and pearls draped on the aisle.
The traditional Christian ceremony wasn't without its drama: Matron of honor Dr. Sandra Swann fainted as the vows began. But the rest of the service went off without a hitch, including a uniting-of-the-families portion to honor the couple's children from previous marriages: Hughes's daughter Ariell, 27, who gave her father away; his best man and son Alek, 15; Ralph's son Etienne, 13, who gave his mother away; and her daughter Coco, 10.
The reception was held at L.A.'s City Club. Ralph – who changed into a Tadashi silk peu de soire ivory halter dress with a veil that her mom gave her from her native Jamaica – and Hughes danced to their first song, Etta James’s "At Last," performed by R&B group Elaine Gibbs and The Crew. And guests enjoyed buffet-style soul and Jamaican food, including pork roast wrapped in banana leaves, macaroni and cheese and fried catfish. The wedding cake was a four-tiered confection with a carrot-cake layer, a rum-cake with chocolate layer, and a pink-champagne layer.
Ralph and Hughes, who met through a mutual friend, have been engaged since 2003. It is the second marriage for both. They'll spend a week-long honeymoon at the Paraiso de La Bonita Resort & Thalasso Resort on the Riviera Maya in Mexico.