Families were merged this weekend, political dynasties and caftans glimpsed. Amidst it all our real human wedding correspondent Phyllis Nefler is here for you in ways that those livelihood-threatening marital algorithms never shall be. Stay indie!

This weekend a little girl whom we've all come to consider part of our family was set to marry her love. We long for a piece of it, having grown up knowing her, watching her, and (some of us) rooting for her, the precocious daughter of a paunchy father and a no-nonsense mother.

Yes, today is the day that Lisa Simpson gets hitched!

I'll be honest, dear readers: it's been tough lately, with Chelsea. I feel like a hard-core soccer fan getting pushed out of my regular seat at the bar during the World Cup by a bunch of jersey-wearing frat boys. It's like, who are all these people knowingly weighing in on the matrimony industry all of a sudden? Who cares what it cost? Who cares where it was? Shut up! Off the bandwagon! Go away, now!

The New York Times dispatched veteran political reporter Katharine Q. Seelye and metro writer Christine Haughey to Rhinebeck for a long A-1 piece and basically this was the most they came back with:

Maureen Missner, whose shop, Paper Trail, was believed to be helping to prepare the gift bags, said this wedding felt different from one last year in the area, when the actor Griffin Dunne was married and residents spotted stars like Hugh Jackman.

There's also a very bizarrely long aside about some random Bill Clinton cousin, who takes the opportunity to grab the spotlight and discuss when she was the bride twenty years ago. What? Why? Let's focus on the important matters, and the important matters are 1) Congrats, Chelsea, and sorry for all those times our beloved talk show hosts made fun of your tweenage awkwardness on national television and we laughed about it; I really like your dress and veil; and 2) DAY-UM, HILLY BABY. MORE OF THIS PLEASE K THANKS:

I've not seen a good enough photo of her pink Oscar de la Renta gown from the actual wedding (this blurry background shot is not super-pleasing) but we need to talk about this look from, I believe, the rehearsal dinner? Oh man, I don't think I will be able to readjust to the pantsuits after I've tasted the sweet nectar of this ... this.

And her hair! What was once a shellacked and perfectly coiffed bob has relaxed into these free-spirited winged tresses with the fun little kick at the ends. It's borderline feathered!! The world could use some more feathered. I know we've seen the magazine montages, but has anyone written like a serious highbrow coffee table book that explores the rise and fall of the turn-of-the-century late-empire America as expressed via Hillary's hair? I'm talking high-res images, glossy stock, maybe a little chip that plays Fleetwood Mac every time you open the cover ... this could work. I really think this could work.

Anyway. The other thing weighing on me besides Chelsea is this: last week I was alerted to the existence of a Fox Books to my own The Shop Around The Corner, the savvy Tom Hanks to my bumbling Meg Ryan. It's called Wedding Credential, folks, and it threatens to crumble the very foundations upon which Altarcations is lovingly constructed.

Wanna see all the apple-cheeked Middlebury grads to have graced the NYT wedding announcements? Here you go! More interested in knowing what unions won't last? Here, do a search for "ended in divorce!" (8.46% of searchable unions, to be precise.)

So while I toil by hand, the creep on the jitney underlining the print copy with a red pen as girls my age glance over quizzically and people my senior shake their heads at me with great empathy, the robots have taken me over, and the media has lapped it right up. Hey, where's my New York Observer profile?

The featured wedding this week makes the Chelsea Clinton circus seem all the more insane, telling of a groom finding love again after losing his first wife to a plane crash in Kabul. I teared up at least thrice. The elegant devastation of this sentence made me actually gasp out loud:

He spoke at his wife's funeral in Omaha — at the same church where they had been married four months earlier.

The passage makes a haunting companion to an aside in Frank Bruni's NYT Magazine profile of Laura Linney that Liam Neeson walked Linney down the aisle just 2 months after the death of his wife Natasha Richardson. "It was an astonishing moment, a celebration of love and loss, being given equal treatment," said a friend of Linney.

The featured Vows piece, too, is a lovely if shattering story that culminates on a happy note with a post-nuptial bike race in Portland, Oregon. (Colby grads, natch.)

Unfortunately, the geniuses at the Times choose to run it DIRECTLY ADJACENT to a story of a flight attendant marrying someone who hates planes:

One thing they don't share is a love of flying. While flying is second nature to Ms. Cochrane, it is torture to him.

The only time the couple has flown together was on a visit to Ms. Cochrane's parents in Alabama, a flight "scary for a number of reasons," Mr. Cherkasky said. "I was meeting her parents for the first time."

The flight was "definitely not pretty," Ms. Cochrane said. "He's a grabber. He thinks the plane's going down."

Oof. (backing away slowly) Oh, and by the way, can anyone explain to me why a girl named Lindsay Lane Cochrane "is known as Lyndsea"? I'm willing to let it slide but only because I feel a certain kinship with any girl who gets married at "Gurley's Soggy Bottom Music Barn in Somerville, Ala."

Oh, by the way: I refuse to respond to the trend piece about "mengagement rings" except to quote it back at itself: "The number of 'mengagements,' in which men are symbolically declaring themselves off-limits at the same time as their fiancees, is so small, no one seems to be counting."

My favorite announcement this week is this one between Veronica Martell and William Riccardulli, a jazz singer and a firefighter. But not just any firefighter:

The bridegroom, 45, is assigned to Engine Company 45 in the Bronx. He is also an actor and has appeared on the CBS soap opera "As the World Turns" and "All My Children" on ABC, as well as in television commercials.

I've gotta say, as impressive as that resume is it's no match for televisionaries Dia Sokol and Garret Savage. She is an executive producer of "16 and Pregnant," while he is an editor of the film "My Perestroika." I bet they have some uplifting conversations.

And on the topic of uplifting conversations, what do you think Sophie McManus, who "graduated from Vassar and received a master's in fiction writing from Sarah Lawrence," talks about with her mother in law, who "retired as the dean of the National Academy of Hairdressing in Norwalk, Conn."?

Elsewhere this weekend, for Jessica Rivkin and Jeffrey Larson, "it was not until the last dress rehearsal, during which Mr. Larson's face was concealed by a Venetian carnival mask, that their eyes finally locked"; a guy who helps coordinate the Macy's Thanksgiving parade marries a girl whose father is an executive vice president of...Macy's; an NFL lawyer marries a regular lawyer; and I sure would not want to leave the son of a deputy manager of missile programs and a mechanical engineer for weapons development stranded at the altar.

Also, we are treated to the most insufferable correction in the history of corrections:

A report on July 18 about the marriage of Alyssa Litoff and Joshua Gordon omitted part of the bridegroom's education. Besides having graduated from Williams College, Mr. Goron also holds a master's degree in Asian studies from the University of Hawaii and a law degree from Harvard.

Oh, what a sternly written letter that must have been. Sorry, still not winning you any faceoffs! Here's this week's:

Julian Clare Sully and John Schendel Rose

The wedding was performed by the Princeton University chaplain at the Princeton Catholic church: +1
The bride graduated magna cum laude from Princeton: +6
The groom graduated summa cum laude from Wabash College: +2
The groom received a master's in theology from Duke and is pursuing a doctorate at Princeton: +3
The bride's mother is the "vice provost for academic programs at Princeton and is a trustee of Emory University and the Morristown-Bear School in Morristown, NJ: +2
The headband and pearls: +2


Dace Annette Caldwell and Roman Martinez V

The wedding was performed by an Episcopal priest: +1
The bride graduated summa cum laude from Oklahoma State and received a law degree from the University of Oklahoma: +3
The groom "graduated summa cum laude from Harvard. He also received a Master of Philosophy degree from Cambridge in England and a law degree from Yale": +11
The groom is a V: +2
"Until last month" the groom was a law clerk to Chief Justice John G. Roberts: +2
The groom's mother is on the board of Sloan Kettering and his father is on the board of New York Presbyterian: +2