Fashion / Weddings

Inside the Surprising Wedding of One of Houston’s Most Prominent Couples

No Expensive Diamond, Little Fuss, Lots of Love

BY Jenny Antill Clifton. Edited by Catherine D. Anspon. // 02.19.16


The Couple: Bill and Andrea White

Trip Down the Aisle: October 19, 1985

Andrea: Our oldest son got engaged in January. Will White asked Kelsi Stayart to marry him, after concocting an elaborate cover story to get her to Austin for a surprise celebration. Will made up a traditional Indian wedding and invited Kelsi to attend as his date. Our courtship in 1984-1985 was more straightforward.

Bill: Andrea and I were friends before we dated. At times we ran together — no, not running in the fast track, but jogging around Buffalo Bayou and Memorial Park. We were both busy with our law practices and gave up dating others shortly after we went out as “more than friends,” so there wasn’t a magic “we are going to get married” moment.

She should have known about the seriousness of my intentions when I took her to church after our first date, and then she invited me to have dinner with her parents. The wedding jewelry was an inexpensive gold wedding band. Neither of us has relished the cost or responsibility of expensive jewelry. We wanted the wedding to be low-key. (I had been married before — to someone who was and is a big fan of Andrea’s.)

The wedding was at Andrea’s parent’s home in Memorial, in the backyard she loved, with a minister from a church I attended. I prepared a few words about what the wedding meant to me — words that came from the heart but might seem a bit over-the-top. We took a honeymoon weekend at her parents’ house on Lake Livingston — homey and remote, built from the ground up by her father with child labor from his kids. We celebrated later with a week-long ski vacation, which we took at Snowmass.

Andrea wanted as little pomp and ceremony as possible. She dreaded public speaking, and I remember how nervous she was before the ceremony — not because of the wedding as such, but at being the center of attention.

Andrea: Bill’s right. I was nervous. I was 31 and had waited awhile to get married. I didn’t relish the attention of walking down the aisle and my parent’s ranch-style ‘50s home was perfect. There was no room for an aisle. Bill wrote our vows. It really impressed me that he was willing to declare in the boldest language his love for me and his promise to be with me for all time. The dress was a midcalf, off-white flapper-style dress.

I am almost sure I bought it at Tootsies, assisted by Joanna Handel. It’s hanging in the attic, an unlikely candidate for another bride. But I still wear the Mariquita Masterson pearl necklace that I bought to go with it. Jeff Love, an attorney at Locke Lord, reminds Bill of our anniversary every year, or he would never remember. I remember the date, but we are not big on traditions. Phyllis Hand took our wedding photos. She and I were in the same dorm at University of Texas.

At my 60th birthday party, I recently told assembled friends that I would marry Bill again. I meant it. I wouldn’t have been so nervous on that day almost 31 years ago if I had known him like I do now.

Home, chic home.

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