The NCAA basketball thing continues to happen, but Gawker weddings scribe Phyllis Nefler has assembled her own single-elimination tourney: It's couple vs. couple as advanced degrees clash with cool employment in our first ever APRIL WEDDING ANXIETY. Who will win!?
Easter is a big day for the greater Nefler family. I have, like, a lot of cousins, each one more newly engaged or pregnant than the last.
But to think that all the while I was standing amongst my chuckling uncles and clucking aunts, basking in the glow of their unconditional love, I could have been assessing the relative heft of their pockets.
According to the Times (click at your own risk: includes one couple spending $125k on flowers!) young couples are increasingly "relying not only on the kindness of the bride's parents, who have traditionally borne most of the burden, but also on that of the bridegroom's parents, along with the couple's stepparents and even grandparents, aunts and uncles."
And all I got was this baked ham in a Tupperware.
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Given the holiday weekend and in anticipation of tomorrow, when millions of people around the world will finally get to stop hearing the words "my bracket" from that guy they sit across from at the office, this week's Altarcations will feature a tournament format as ruthless as it is abridged.
All seven couples featured in this week's Sunday Styles are given a chance to achieve top honors, with initial seedings determined by column length (as measured with a Crayola marker and a McNally Jackson bookmark — support your local bookstores!) and subsequent rounds judged as follows:
Finals: Everything Else
Sarah Staveley-O'Carroll and Michael Matthews (1) vs. BYE
Staveley-O'Carroll and Matthews easily cruised to a top seed and a bye on the strength of their featured three-column "Vows" placement. Winner: Staveley-O'Carroll and Matthews (1)
Schwartz and Coleman, mere babies at the ages of 22 and 25 and the tournament's lowest seed, met at the University of Michigan, which is lovely to hear but which earns them no points. Only upon their successful graduation from the University of Texas School of Law would they be eligible for a +2. As for Jambor and Vellon: she graduated magna cum laude (+3) from Seton Hall (+0) while he earns a point for his master's degree in aeronautical science. Winner: Jambor/Vellon (2)
Westley graduated from Yale (+3) and received a Ph.D. (+2) in oceanography from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, while Pinkus went to Penn State.
On the other side, La Borde picked up four points with a law degree from Penn while Luyombya added a point with his UNC MBA. Winner: A tie! But Westley/Pinkus (3) got married at a Princeton lab, which tips the scales in their favor.
The strapping pair of Heywood and Tomasetti pick up only one point (law degree from Tulane) but they shouldn't feel too bad losing to Weeks and Daniels: the pair both went to Yale and earned masters' at Stanford (she in education policy, organization and leadership studies; he in law) and Weeks is working on a second advanced degree in school building leadership. Winner: Weeks/Daniels (4)
This one is tough. The groom is a helicopter pilot for the US Navy, and I am all about supporting the troops. And I think in the past brides have earned points when their job description is prefaced with the ole "until recently…" cushiness. But the paralegal job she held "until October 2009" is nothing compared with the vocation of Westley, who is an oceanographer who "works in the geophysical fluid dynamics laboratory [as] part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration." Her husband is a mere high school physics teacher, but still. Winner: Westley/Pinkus (3) Here, enjoy a video about the ocean:
It's too bad that Weeks and Daniels aren't going to make it out of this round alive, because I suspect they would have held their own in the Everything Else round what with that "chief of gallery archives at the National Gallery of Art" mother and "chairman and chief judge of the United States Civilian Board of Contract Appeals" father. But the pairs' own employment — he is a law associate, and she is a high school principal — can't compete with the motley mashup of jobs held by Staveley O'Carroll and Matthews.
The groom accepted (then served one quarter of) an "opportunity" for the Clinton Foundation. He is now a person who "works on various film projects." The bride, having gone through law school, is a district court law clerk, but the important stuff came earlier: she "ran a nonprofit educational organization" and "coached an equestrian team." Only the truly privileged get to be so vague. Winner: Staveley-O'Carroll and Matthews (1)
Finals: Everything Else
We're going to turn to bullet points here, folks, as the pink champagne and plates of pie set in...
• "Marian Bohanna Westley, an oceanographer, and David Steven Pinkus, a high school physics teacher, were married Saturday at a fusion energy research laboratory, where the couple met, at Princeton University."
• The pair met when Pinkus took girls in his class to a conference to expose them to more women in science. (Hey, rock on, Mr. Pinkus! Seriously.)
• They learned that they both used the same model of mass spectrometer.
• Okay I've been saving this the whole time but like, the article does it too: HIS DAD IS CHRIS MATTHEWS. I repeat: HIS DAD IS CHRIS MATTHEWS. God yes there I feel better.
• She's no slouch herself: "The bride is the granddaughter of one of the most prominent Republican politicians in South Carolina, State Senator Arthur Ravenel Jr., for whom the bridge linking Charleston to Mount Pleasant is named. She is the daughter of Ormonde Staveley-O'Carroll, a boat builder and self-described firebrand liberal, and Suzanne Ravenel, an intensive care nurse, whose family has been a part of the fabric of Charleston since the 1600's."
• The story begins, as they always do, with stolen sourdough bread in the Brown University cafeteria.
• "He likened her to the main character in the movie 'Amelie'." (What is it with film students and that movie!?)
• Despite claiming an "almost fanatical interest in current events, politics, and law," the bride did not know who Chris Matthews was: "I thought it was a show on ESPN."
• "They moved to a small Upper West Side apartment, which became frequent host to crowded film shoots."
• "On March 21, the couple was wed by the Rev. Philip C. Bryant, a Huguenot minister, in Charleston's French Protestant Huguenot Church. The Rev William George, a Roman Catholic priest and a longtime friend of the bridegroom, began the ceremony by asking the 200 or so in attendance, "Can you hear their hearts?"
Yes, yes I can. Winner: Ravanel-Staveley-Nancygrace-O'Carroll-Olbermann-Matthews. Bonus points to anyone who can pick out famous people in this crowd.