You'll have to excuse Weddings Expert Phyllis Nefler for feeling a little ghoulish today. Like war, the NYT's Weddings & Celebrations breaks for no holiday, including the Tet Offensive of hangovers, but The Vows must go on. They always do.
I spoke last night to a dear old friend who was heading to her colleague's wedding.
"So do you have your costume packed?" I deadpanned.
She didn't take the joke. Her voice became robotic, almost fearful.
"We were specifically instructed no costumes," she recited. A chill swept through the air accompanied by swirling leaves. I shivered. "The bride does not want costumes."
Contrast this tyrannical Halloween policy with the more costume-friendly (but highly passive-aggressive) strategy favored by Annie Catherwood and Caleb Frankel. This couple's announcement, released online by the Times on Saturday morning, preemptively described their Saturday evening wedding:
The wedding ceremony was followed by a Halloween masquerade reception, with many guests in full costume.
I hope it was! In either case, can't you just imagine a militant and scowling bride, ripping off rogue bunny ears or slapping feathered masques on startled guests, depending? I hope the airline didn't mix up any of those two weddings' groomsmen's stuff is all I'm trying to say.
I think the greatest thing to come from the Sunday Styles cover article about a cool hip wedding band is the coinage "LOB". It stands for Level Of Brutality, and isn't that so on? I didn't know this til I read it, but it's really how I view not only weddings but the world. (The LOB of getting to the marathon in a few hours is off the charts, for example.) The geniuses behind this rubric are the rockers behind The Dexter Lake Club Band, a wedding-band-but-not that has become "one of New York's premier wedding bands for people who would never dream of hiring a wedding band."
(Apparently, Amanda Peet was one of those people.)
First of all, there wasn't a tuxedo in sight, just dark suits and skinny ties. Nobody was doing any cheesy patter. There was no horn section, no back-up singers, no creepy vocalist singing "Wonderful World." Instead, there was a floppy-haired lead singer working his way through Rolling Stones tunes; another signger, big and bearded, belting out 80s hits; and a killer rhythm section,"
The Dexter Lake Club Band comprises such members as Tim Ruedeman, a "most improbable vessel for a voice that can perfectly channel everybody from Steve Perry to Axl Rose." The "enigmatic Christian Oates" owns a smoke machine and reads the Economist, while "lank-haired Gunnar Olsen ... could be clutching a marriage license in one hand and a bride in the other and would still clearly be with the band."
And then there's frontman Matthew Stinchcomb, now married but "once notorious for enjoying the benefits of being a handsome, single man with a guitar" who once woke up post-wedding "in a closet, wearing only leather pants, his guitar abandoned outside on the gravel driveway." I can't help but think of this:
They met, of course, at Oberlin.
Brett Martin provides some of the best wedding writing I've read to date, bringing to life the "roving female vigilantes, beckoning nondancers with their demanding, accusing fingers" and "the middle-age couples who've somehow lost the connection between their upper and lower bodies and can only dance with one or the other at a time." (I can assure you from personal experience that it isn't just the middle-aged who can fall victim to that particular affliction.)
The piece was so enjoyable that it compelled me to Google Martin; lo and behold, Ancient Gawker was on the case, care of Mascot Emeritus Andrew Krucoff. My only quibble with Martin is that he doesn't mention the provenance of the band's name:
We are gonna die.
So maybe it's my hangover and/or my lingering animosity toward the amateur hour that was last night, but good god this weekend's weddings SUCK BALLS. The lone exception is the featured union of Gita Pullapilly and Aron Gaudet, which made me cry.
I'd say yes to THAT dress.
Pullapilly (that name is a delight; it makes me think of this) met Gaudet when he was bored with his production job and looking for a change. The pair wanted to create a documentary but lacked a fitting subject until it dawned on them that Gaudet's elderly mother would be the perfect inspiration.
The 70-year old Joan Gaudet, you see, had taken up a new pastime: "driving herself to Bangor International Airport as part of a group of Maine residents who greet every soldier passing through that airport on their way to or from Iraq and Afghanistan." The article describes her waking up to a 2am phone call and driving to cheer on a plane of returning troops alongside "30 other elderly greeters."
The resulting movie about the Maine Troop Greeters was called "The Way We Get By" and here's the website and the tagline is "Sometimes all it takes is a handshake to change a life" and the Washington Post called it "not so much a slice of life as the whole pie, the highs and lows of twilight living" and oh my god I'm crying again.
It gets better: at one screening of the film, the audience learned that the couple, engaged but having sunk their savings into making the documentary, did not have any wedding plans. A wedding planner in the crowd was touched and "helped mobilize a small army of vendors to freely give the couple the wedding they were too weary and poor to assemble themselves." Oh, and at another screening the couple met "Joseph R. Biden, Jr":
Breaking into a smile so broad his dimple seemed permanently etched in his left cheek, the bridegroom said, "The vice president told me that he had once met a man who shook his hand, looked at Mrs. Biden and said ‘You really married up.' Without missing a beat, Mr. Biden looked at Gita, then looked at me, grinned and said, ‘You're about to marry up, boy.' "
That man is a national treasure. Here, enjoy my favorite photo.
Elsewhere in the back of the Sunday Styles a couple affirmed their commitment to wearing matching glasses; the executive producer of "I Love You, Man", "Observe and Report", and "Without a Paddle" looks exactly as you'd expect; lesbians lesbianed; and this couple is attractive but they're only 26!?
This boring week's boring matchup:
• The bride graduated from NYU and received a "Master of Letters" from St. Andrews (I have my Master of Letters from St. Paul's Nursery School) and a Master of Science from London School of Economics: +5
• The groom graduated from Yale: +3
• Then got his law degree at ... Baylor: +1
• The groom kind of looks like Edward Norton, no?: +1
• The bride's parents are kind of weirdly into historic reenactments: her dad is "chairman of the board of trustees at the Mystic Seaport Museum" and is the "governor of the New York Society of Colonial Wars" and her mother is "the president of the Bowne House Historical Society" and "trustee of the New York State Archives Partnership Trust": +5, and I hope there was some creepy powdered wig theme at the reception.
• The groom's dad helps the rich get richer: +1
• The wedding was officiated by an Episcopal priest: +1
• "The bride, 29, and bridegroom, 30, met at Cambridge University in England, from which they both received Master of Philosophy degrees, she in Latin American studies and he in real estate finance": +9; I like that real estate finance constitutes "Philosophy".
• The bride is also pursuing a doctorate in sociology at Cambridge and went to Princeton undergrad: +4
• The bride's father works for the International Monetary Fund and is retired from the World Bank: +2
• The groom graduated with "first-class honors" from the University of Adelaide in Australia: +only 1, because someone the other day told me that "Australia is the Alabama of the world".
• The groom's parents do Australian things in Australia: +1
• "The bridegroom wore a wedding ring that was inscribed, Halloellaween, a play on the bride's first name and Halloween: +1, and aww.
In addition, "the couple's invitations read: 'Black tie welcome, costumes at your discretion.'" That is the second best way to have a Halloween wedding. The best way to have a Halloween wedding is don't.