Old people: Will we ever get tired of making fun of them? No! But today we learn of a geriatric nuptial that's enough to make us want to volunteer at a nursing home. Our wedding expert, Phyllis Neffler, reports.
Attention, you bright and brilliant couples near and far, with your Ivy League degrees and your board director daddies and your ranches in Wyoming: you may be something now, in your 20's and your 30's. But I challenge you to check back with me half a century from now and see if you come anywhere close to this elderly engagement, this Greatest Altarcation:
The bride, 90, will take her husband's name."
This bride is Patricia Murray Wood, widow of "Sidney Wood, the tennis champion" and granddaughter of Thomas E. Murray, "an inventor and electrical engineer who worked with Thomas Edison."
From 1972 to 2000, Murray was "the Beachcomber columnist for the Southampton Press." She knew whereof she wrote, because as a Vanderbilt and Murray descendant (with a truly badass sister), she was part of a family that "helped establish Southampton, NY as a summer resort." (In a 1983 Palm Beach Post article she defended her summer wonderland's honor, scoffing that a Hamptons-based soap opera distorted reality: "I've never seen anyone in black sequined dresses cut down to the navel — most women here wear honest cotton.")
Murray's daughter Hilary Geary Ross, who hosted her mother's wedding at the home of her "and her husband, the financier Wilbur Ross, in Palm Beach" wrote in NY Social Diary that her mother met Edward Ney at the Southampton Bathing Corp last summer and "there was no turning back." He's no slouch himself:
The bridegroom, 85, was the United States ambassador to Canada from 1989 to 1992. Until 1989, he was the chairman and chief executive of Young & Rubicam and more recently was chairman of the worldwide board of advisers of its Burson-Marsteller public relations division. He graduated from Amherst College.
(The reviled butler-loving mother of the bride from last weekend, I should note, could learn a lot about "Old World" WASPy class from this pair. Several commenters and tipsters pointed out that the high-fallutin' Suzanne Lammers was the culprit behind a hit-and-run incident that was, shall we say, a bit distasteful. No wonder the Times went so bland and boring with this week's featured couple!)
Making you look bad from the opposite side of the generational spectrum is a couple of young ... rocket scientists. No, really:
The couple met at the Georgia Institute of Technology, from which they both received master's degrees in aerospace engineering. They design missles for Raytheon, the military technology and equipment developer.
They are 24 and 25 years old. They went to Notre Dame and Duke. They will one day rule us all. Oh, and the groom's stepfather was "the chairman, chief executive, and publisher of Parade magazine, the weekly publication distributed in newspapers." No word on whether Marilyn vos Savant was invited to do a reading at the ceremony.
The Nefler stamp of approval this week goes to Lori Holmes and Benjamin Clark.
It would be easy to write this couple off as a bunch of rich hippies: their wedding took place at "Clarkdale Fruit Farms, the bridegroom's family farm" in Massachusetts, which the groom runs with his father. (He went to Wesleyan, natch.) And both mothers-of are free-spirited artists, with the bride's mother "a silversmith and driftwood sculptor whose works are on display at WildChild Art Gallery in Matlacha, Fla" and the groom's mom a creator of pastel drawings.
Even the bride is an unconventional sprite, teaching dance classes and yoga and working as a freelance choreographer (she was formerly seen on Broadway.) She went to NYU. And then we get this:
Her father, a member of the National Football League Hall of Fame, was a running back for the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants. He is the host of "North to Alaska," a hunting and fishing program on the Versus Network.
Larry Csonka! Bearer of this fantastic stache! Father of the bride! And also, says Wikipedia: "an analyst on the syndicated show American Gladiators from 1990–1993." (Which was exactly around the time I used to fake sick so I could stay home from school and watch NITRO dominate.) Larry Csonka, man. He's going to be the BEST grandfather.
Finally, CollegeHumor Media co-founder Josh Abramson and his lady Gabrielle Finley get prime billing this weekend. (Don't worry, Ricky Van Veen gets the requisite namecheck.) It's always fun to imagine the copy editors fact-checking the capitalization of sentences like "The bridegroom, 28, is a founder and the president of CollegeHumor Media, an online entertainment company based in New York. It runs Web sites like CollegeHumor.com and BustedTees.com."
Elsewhere this weekend, one bride is all "my maternal grandfather is the late Jeremiah Milbank Jr. blah blah Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford" and then another bride is like "girl, my mama's papa counseled Carter and Clinton so like, don't even"; the son of the Sag Harbor town historian (and director of the Whaling Museum) married a nice young lady; a guy's job is "the iTunes producer for "American Idol" (the description killed me: "He oversees the uploading of performances on the show."); two NPR journalists intoned the most soothing vows of all time; and "the bride, 38, is known as Buffy."
This week's Faceoff:
• "The couple met at Yale, where she is studying for a joint Ph.D. and medical degree in immunology and he is a candidate for a medical degree": +10
• The bride and groom both graduated magna cum laude, she from Princeton and he from Harvard: +10
• The bride's parents are both doctors: +2
• The groom's mother "owns Shindigs and Extravaganzas," an event-planning firm (they should merge with Remarkable Buttons, Rhinestones and Trim!) and his father is a law partner: +1
• The couple "are to be married Sunday at River Farm, the headquarters of the American Horticultural Society": +1
• The bride and groom both graduated magna cum laude from Harvard: +10
• The groom appears to have written these sentences, in 1992: "Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is a babe. Allow me to define my terms. My love for Hillary springs not from her svelte physique nor her ersatz-flaxen locks. (I'm not even sure what that means, but whatever it means, that's not it.)": +10
• The groom ran some weird-sounding matchmaking service originally called "Harvard Hotties FriendSwap": -5
• The bride graduated from Yale Law and the groom magna cum laude from Harvard Law: +11
• The bride is "a counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee" and the groom is "a senior counsel to the deputy attorney general at the Justice Department": +3
• The bride's mother is "a docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art": +1
• "Tempted to propose a date in Patagonia, Mr. Columbus contented himself with e-mail messages instead and delighted in Ms. Seiler's descriptions of penguin sightings by day and tango lessons by night: +1
• The announcement includes an attempt at explaining an online relationship that falls horrifically flat: "She got a kick out of his online name, cucumberoils, which is an anagram for Eric Columbus": -5. When will people learn?