A trio of opera-related weddings presents a tantalizing pattern for our Phyllis Nefler, our resident weddings numerologist and all-around expert. What universal truths will she find in today's New York Times wedding announcements? Read on.
With Memorial Day fast approaching, the New York Times poses the question: should you have a destination wedding...Over a three day weekend?
On the one hand, more time for people to travel to your special day. On the other hand, more expensive and everyone will hate you. If you ask me, it boils down to this: my heart says no, but my brain says yes, because then you can weed out all those random annoying people — coworkers, parents' friends, cousins who only know you as a diapered toddler, college roommates who you always secretly thought were bitches — who have better things to do than schlep to Sun Valley over the 4th for your Sunday night shindig. But they'll still have to send you presents. Win-win!
Also, whatever you do, don't have a Monday night wedding. Just don't.
* * *
There are three recurring themes (I really want to call them "underrecurrents") in this week's Weddings and Celebrations section: old people, Cornell grads, and couples whose announcements manage to shoehorn in a reference to opera. That really says it all about the entire operation, you know?
Jenna Mitchell and Michael Goldman met in gorge-ous Ithaca; she received a masters in real estate from Columbia after college while he attends NYU med school and is to begin an internship at a children's hospital.
But Debjani Bhaumik and Sandeep Rao are like whatevs, you may have met at Cornell but we met there as freshman and we've racked up a collective master's in public health at Yale, master's in public administration from NYU, and a law degree from Columbia. Give my regards to Davy, y'all!
As for the olds, if there's one thing I've learned during my tenure as that creepy person who sits in a cafe on Sunday mornings circling and underlining the wedding pages under the pitying glares and back-away-slowly frozen smiles of nearby patrons, it's that if you want to get into the Times wedding section you'd do well to be a divorce or widow who has personally branded themselves as a single-n-lovin-it! [D/W]ILF but then, gasp!, finds a man:
Mr. Lewis, who admits to being "smitten early on" with Ms. Stern, suggested a way that she might put an end to writing about being single: a banner across the home page of ther Web site reading: "Closed for Business: Married."
That's heartwarming and all, but I'm glad I'm not some poor aging heartbroken dame who was a loyal visitor to Lea Lane Stern's site "sololady.com, a Miami-based Web site dedicated to single and independent women." (Although, taking a quick look at the site, I feel sorry for anyone who visited it, ever.) Also, I thought that clunky copy-edit of "Web site" was a thing of the past? Ah, but the Times marches to its own drum, just like Ms. Stern did when she was writing "an item on the Huffington Post Web site [gahhh!] titled "Why I'm Alone." (Sample sentence: "My adorable granddaughters provide the passion, and I long for them like I used to long for a lover." Um, Grandma!?)
Shortly after, she met William Lewis and decided that despite his adoration of fishing and sailing, two things she hated, she "was not about to let him go."
Pamelee McFarland, whose previous marriage ended in divorce, was spotted by Raymond Murphy at a reception for the re-opening of the Providence Art Club in September 2009. A "consummate dancer who never likes to let an excellent band and an empty dance floor go to waste," Murphy asked McFarland to dance to some hot new hits like Gershwin and Rodgers/Hart. After exchanging telegram addresses they met and learned that "they shared interests in art, music, theater, books and travel."
"He reached down to the bottom of my soul like only a Puccini opera could do," Ms, McFarland said.
I know nothing about opera, so I reached out to a pal who is something of an expert. "Ugh," he said. "That's a pretty shallow soul, then." Oooh, I love hearing catty things about opera I don't understand!
Weirdly, McFarland and Murphy are just one of three announcements this weekend tangentially related to fat ladies who sing. Amanda Cannon and Justin Fredericks are another: her father is on the board of the Opera Company of Philadelphia, and from 2001 to 2003 was its chairman. Cannon married a man whose job is "introducing hedge-fund clients to investors." What, they can't meet at the Round Hill Club barbecues on their own?
And then there's Emily Grant, "the granddaughter of the opera conductor Julius Rudel," and her groom Scott Werthamer, who get the prominent top-left-hand column typically reserved for foreign dignitaries, Ivanka Trump, or Kerri Strug. It's hard to see what merits such a distinguished placement — she graduated from Union; he works at Fortress but in the bullpen of investor relations — until you realize that the Times is dorkily trying to play their meet-cute story as some aww-inducing "only in New York!" phenomenon.
I'll reduce it to its core: they had trouble finding cabs every morning on the same street corner, and later they realized they lived in the same building and their doorman helped make the connection. Well, yeah, because they live in Murray Hill! Everyone has made out with someone in their building if they live in Murray Hill. Wake me up when you've made out with the actual doorman.
Or, like, a sanitation worker? Avery Willis, a Stanford grad with a master's and PhD in classical languages and literature from Oxford, met Matthew Hoffman, a self-described "garbologist" (a much better coinage than "master of the custodial arts," if you want to be a dick about it) on a late, frustrating-week-ending Friday the 13th on the good old F train to Brooklyn.
It's probably easy to come up with the clever quip, but you won't find it here: I defy you to watch their video on the Times website and not come away with a huge smile. (Though I wish they'd lingered longer on the photo snips where he grows out the full Jesus/Lieutenant Dan mane!)
* * *
I feel like I don't know enough about music to properly discuss this week's featured couple, she a woman who was once described by the Village Voice as being "the evil twin of Gwen Stefani" and he a former musician who once took the stage at "the rock club Sin-é" with "a custom-made contraption created from microphone tripods and multiple rows of guitar pedals." The bride, despite being a Julliard grad, "had never seen such a device."
And yet, love eventually blossomed:
Their first New Year's Eve, in 2005, found them kissing outside Sin-é as they leaned against a dump truck. It was such a picturesque smooch that a stranger photographed it. "A very Sid and Nancy moment," she said.
Now, like I said, I'm too ignorant to truly parse this (I recognized the word "Fugees" though!) but, photographic similarities notwithstanding, aren't Sid and Nancy maaaybe not the people you'd want to liken your big romantic moment to? But regardless, I wonder if the reportedly insane fact-checkers who are wont to disturb couples on their honeymoons are aware that if the couple did meet at Sin-é in 2005, as the article notes, it wasn't actually at the St. Mark's location?
Elsewhere this weekend: this couple wins for the quote of the weekend ("Wow, that girl's pretty...but she's in the third grade, and I'm in the seventh. That would be weird."); props to Kalen Karnes, because I think Ann Taylor Loft is one of the great underrated clothing stores out there; a Pottery Barn merchandiser and a ceramic tile manufacturer are going to have a much nicer kitchen than you can ever dream of; I was happy to see that at one point the webpage announcing the nuptials of the son of a MSG Network broadcaster had a big Modell's ad alongside it; the first sentence of this announcement rivaled the opening line of Absalom Absalom; and this couple earns the coveted "quirky, free-spirited photo of the week" honors. (In the print version, you can see that she's pulling him adorably by the hand down some cobblestone street.)
Oh, and speaking of photos, don't Gabrielle Stein and Eric Goodman look like they chose like, the very last photo taken after a long day of grinning here? Would it kill them to look alive? Something about her eyes is screaming a silent "help, get me out of here!", you know?
This week's face-off:
• "The Rev. William F. Murtphy, a Roman Catholic chaplain at Harvard, performed the ceremony": +1
• The groom graduated from the University of Colorado and received an MBA from Columbia: +4
• The groom "was a lieutenant in the United States Navy whose service included Operation Desert Storm": +1
• The groom's previous marriage ended in divorce: -1
• The bride's father is a lawyer and her mother a library trustee: +1
• The groom's mother was the deputy mayor of Ridgewood, NJ: +1
• The groom is an investor person and the bride "works in Manhattan as an archivist at Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, accompany based in East Hampton NY. She specializes in the papers of 20th century American and British writers": +2 and WTF, that sounds like the best job ever? How can I get it!?
• The bride graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and earned a master's degree in library sciences: +7 … Oh.
• An Episcopal priest performed the wedding at St. Alban's in DC: +2
• The main page of the NY Weddings website exhibits this hilariously concise teaser for the announcement: "Ivy League graduates are married in Washington, D.C." Okay then! :+1
• As such: the bride graduated cum laude from Columbia and the groom nothing laude from Yale: +8
• The groom is studying for an MBA from Columbia: +2
• The bride's father is a former US Congressman from Pennsylvania and the president of the National Air Transportation Association; in the 80's he was a special assistant to Reagan: +3
• The bride's mother serves on the board for the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation": +1
• The groom's parents are a lawyer and a doctor: +2