Over 100 people attended an official wedding ceremony to unite Gulfport Vice Mayor Paul Ray, pictured center right, and his husband Wesley Ray, center left, in the city’s Veteran’s Park on Saturday, November 9, which was also their 20-year anniversary. Officiating was Jackie Kreuter, left, and conducting the blessing at the renewal of vows along with the ring ceremony was Father Bill Yanson of the Saint Sofia Synodal Catholic Community of Gulfport, right. “It was scary,” said Paul. “Believe it or not, after 20 years together you’d have thought it would have been easy but no. I’m glad we did it. And, I’m so glad to see so many people turned out. It’s just wonderful.” Wesley said about the public ceremony where the entire town was invited to attend, “I wish it had been earlier but I’m glad we did it now.” To sum up the festivities, Paul posted on Facebook at 5:02 p.m., “We are so overwhelmed, we love you Gulfport, thank you for one hell of a special day and a lasting memory, wow, just wow.”
During their wedding reception at Salty’s Gulfport Bar, 5413 Shore Boulevard S., Wesley Ray, left, and Gulfport Vice Mayor Paul Ray, cut their cake topped with two white Adirondack chairs complemented with two layers bordered by beach-themed white picket fencing. A full-catered meal by three local restaurants including hors d’oeuvres and desserts was served buffet style. The sashimi tuna and shrimp platters were from Gulf Coast Seafood Florida; the whole pig with side dishes were from Smokin’ J’s Real Texas BBQ; and, the mango bread was from Island Flavors and Tings, said Paul. Live entertainment was by the DOUBLEMBAND and SIK Promotions organized the reception.