Top Weddings of the Year

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Tradition with a twist was the theme for some of 1997's best broom jumpings. Couples followed their own flair and fancy as they proclaimed their "I Dos" with traditional gowns and personalized ceremonies. Couples from New York to Los Angeles pledged their love and fidelity forevermore, and they did it their way.

Among the best weddings of the year was the much-anticipated alliance of two of Black America's most talented actors, Courtney Vance and Angela Bassett, who had to work in their lavish but intimate nuptials between movie takes. Both actors were filming roles far apart from each other, Bassett in Jamaica and Vance in Canada. The couple, who wrote their own vows, plan a delayed honeymoon sometime this year.

Rhonda Ross, daughter of Motown mogul Berry Gordy and song-stress/actress Diana Ross, pledged her troth to jazz pianist Rodney Kendrick in New York City. The jazz world and the bride's entire family turned out to toast the couple in a ceremony performed by. Muslim Minister Conrad Muhamed. Ross Kendrick currently portrays the character Toni Burrell on the soap opera Another World.

Another New York wedding that had the entertainment and society world atwirl was the wedding of producer and television writer Susan Marya Fales to financial executive Aaron Christopher Hill. The groom is executive director of SBC-Warburg Dillon Read, an investment firm. The bride is the daughter of world-famous actress Josephine Premice Fales of New York and Capt. Timothy Fales of Paris. Her father is a captain in the United States merchant marine. The bridegroom is the son of Dr. and Mrs. Errol G. Hill of Hanover, N.H. The bridegroom's mother, Grace Hope Hill, teaches movement and dance in Hanover. His father, who is the John D. Williard Professor Emeritus of Drama and Oratory at Dartmouth, wrote Shakespeare in Sable: A History of Black Shakespearean Actors.

More than 200 star-studded guests witnessed the nuptials, including actors Cicely Tyson, Harry Belafonte, Roscoe Lee Browne, Lynn Whitfield, Diahann Carroll, Tim and Daphne Reid, and Vanessa Bell Calloway. Yvette Lee Bowser, creator of Living Single, and her husband, Kyle Bowser, also attended as did Lady Stella St. John, former first lady of Barbados, who is the groom's aunt. Fales-Hill is currently developing projects with actor-producer Tim Reid and Whoopi Goldberg. She was the executive producer of A Different World.

Deanna Brown, daughter of the "Godfather of Soul" James Brown, made her famous father proud when she wed businessman Shawn Thomas in South Carolina. …