Altarcations: Salima Vahabzadeh & Paul Sheppard

As noted philosopher Carrie Bradshaw once put it, the New York Times wedding announcements are "the straight woman's sports pages." Altarcations is all about scoring the game. Each week, we evaluate the latest newlyweds, based on an elaborate rating system, described below.

Our hearts flitter-fluttered and our loins were tickled when we read that "Salima Vahabzadeh and Paul Kenneth Sheppard, who are vice presidents at investment banking firms in New York, were married here yesterday." There is little that makes our Sundays more fulfilling than to hear of an i-banker on i-banker union. Not only are the Vahabzadeh-Sheppards both vice presidents of investment banking firms, but Cambridge-grad Paul also earned a Fulbright! Go, Paul, go! Even Barclay Cunningham and Joseph Whitten's WASPy names and famousish forebears couldn't trump Paul and Salima's overachievements!

Salima Vahabzadeh and Paul Sheppard: 16 points

  • Both vice presidents of i-banking firms in New York: +5
  • Salima attended Cornell for undergrad: +1
  • Both received M.B.As from U. Penn: +5
  • Paul was a Fulbright fellow: +2
  • Salima is from New York: +1
  • Paul graduated from Cambridge: +2


    Barclay Cunningham and Joseph Whitten
    : 13 points

  • Barclay's name is Barclay: +2
  • Barclay is the descendant of Pierre Laclede, a founder of St. Louis: +3
  • Joseph over 35: -1
  • Joseph is a doctor: +2
  • Joseph has a MA in biomedical sciences and a medical degree: +2
  • Joseph is the grandson of the late Jamie Whitten, the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives (1941-1995): +3
  • Both descendants of someone famous: +2


    Jenny Huang and Roger Hong
    : 13 points

  • Jenny and Roger both graduated magna cum laude from Harvard: +9
  • Jenny graduated magna cum laude from NYU law: +2
  • Robert is getting his medical degree from Cornell: +2

    Our patented rating system:

    Investment banker: 2
    Both Investment bankers: 5
    Job involving the word "banker" OR "investment": +1
    Both have jobs involving the word "banker" OR "investment": +3
    Management Consultant: 1
    Both management consultants: 3
    Trader: 2
    Both traders: 5
    High-powered lawyer: 2
    Both high-powered lawyers: 5
    Works for Defense Department: +2
    Doctor: +2
    Both doctors: +5
    Teacher at a New York City or Connecticut private school: 2
    Parents from New York City or wealthy suburb in Connecticut: 1
    New York Times employee: +1
    State Department employee: +2
    Bride is an elementary school teacher: +1
    Works in media: +1
    Ivy league graduate: +1 *
    Both ivy league graduates: +3
    Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, Sorbonne: +2*
    Both Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, Sorbonne: +5*
    For each subsequent degree after a B.A.: +1
    Ivy league B.A. with graduate degree at low-ranking local
    college/university: -1
    If bride or groom attended/teach at any school with "Country Day" in
    the name: +2
    Coro fellow at NYU Law: +1
    Has MFA in creative writing from University of Iowa: +1
    Graduated Cum Laude: +1
    Graduated Magna Cum Laude: +2
    Graduated Summa Cum Laude: +3
    Fulbright fellow: +2
    Rhodes scholar: +3
    Couple met online: -1
    Couple met at art opening: 2
    Couple met at art opening for husband's/wife's show: +3
    Woman is at ideal age for getting married (25): 1
    Man is at ideal age for getting married (27): 1
    For each member of couple over 35: -1
    Couple married by a Cantor: +1
    Couple met during or before their freshman year in college: +2
    Bride or groom goes by middle name: +1
    Mother a nursery school/kindergarten teacher or reading
    specialist/father is a wealthy professional= +3
    If the groom is Jewish and the bride Asian: +2
    If the groom is Asian and the bride is Jewish: -1
    The bride/bridegroom's first marriage ended in divorce: -2
    Descendant/related to somebody famous: +3
    Descendant of a founding father: +4
    Groom wearing gingham in picture: +1
    Parent is a trustee or board member of a company or organization: +1
    per company/org
    Parent is a member of the Bermuda parliament: +2
    Bride or Groom is a board member of a company or organization: +1 per
    company/org
    Bride "is keeping her name", "will continue to use her name professionally": -1
    If there is a Jr., II, III or IV in a name: +2
    If there is a "von" in a last name: +2
    Bride or groom's first name is a made-up preppy name: +3
    If someone famous comes to the wedding and is mentioned: +2
    If wedding ceremony held at Bethesda by the Sea in Palm Beach, and/or
    reception under a tent at the bride's grandmother's house in P.B: +2
    Bride clearly quits her job after the wedding: +1
    Married by an Episcopal priest: +1
    Groom is 15-30 years older than bride: +3
    Bride and groom both from New Jersey: -2
    Partner in corporate law firm: +3
    Bridge teaches elementary school, groom in finance: +2
    Bride works for auction house, groom in finance: +2


    *Apply to graduate school degrees in addition to B.A.s