I look forward to them every Sunday — wedding announcements published in the New York Times full of juicy details about the happy couples rarely found in other publications. The NYT does not charge brides and grooms to print their happy news. Instead, it requires a submission form, which asks the usual questions about hometowns, educations, parents and occupations. It also asks squishier questions about how the couple met, fell in love and decided to commit to each other for a lifetime. Rarely does the Times dwell on who wore what, ate what or carried which flowers.
In other words, it prints the dish everyone wants to know, and if you want your wedding announcement published in the Times, you have to give up the real skinny of how you and your darling got to the altar. Some of these accounts are nothing short of wonderful, particularly those of the couples featured each Sunday for a longer exposition of their relationship, complete with quotes and candid photographs.
Here is some of what I have learned about newlyweds in the NYT.
Randi Dennett and Barry Altmark met and were best buddies in pre-school and say they were inseparable. But something totally out of their control occurred when they were six. Randi’s family moved to another town an hour away and even though Barry pined, the families eventually lost touch. But Barry never forgot his friend and confesses to looking her up on Facebook during high school. When he was preparing to go to college at Cornell University, a friend mentioned that her assigned roommate, also at Cornell, was a girl named Randi Dennett. After he recovered from the shock, Barry picked up the phone and called her. They went to dinner, then college together. Says Randi, “I was so happy. I was head over heels from the second I saw him.” Randi remembers thinking, “Good. I’m done. He’s it. It was meant to be.” They married last month in New York.
Anna Comte, who turns out to be a great granddaughter of Anne and Charles Lindburgh, married Ryan Hodgdon the first Saturday of December in Charleston. They met two years ago at an Oysterfest in Atlanta but got off to a rocky start because the future groom had already “celebrated” too enthusiastically and realized he could not actually converse with Anna. They reconnected days later on Facebook, enjoyed an oyster dinner and each other, and the rest is wedding history. The couple is pictured walking down a path shaded by trees hung with Spanish moss.
Ames Brown is handsome enough to have been a contestant on television’s The Bachelorette, although he was not the bachelor chosen. Embarrassed by the entire experience and definitely not looking for love, Ames signed up for a sailing trip in Mexico. So did a reserved young woman named Allison Palm, and the two became friends, traveling companions, and eventually more for five years. Last Christmas, Ames surprised Allison while she was visiting her family by ambushing her in a local drug store where he proposed. They married late last summer.
Food plays a big role in romance, it seems. Here are two love stories centering on yumminess.
Shelby Stevens and Chris Long, both chefs, dated for years and wanted to marry, but restaurant life is demanding and they never quite found the time until last month. Says Long, “We’re like fresh, warm bread and soft sweet butter. We’re really good on our own, but when you add them together, it’s like…that’s amazing!” To celebrate their happiness, Shelby walked down the aisle to “The Winner Is..” from the movie Little Miss Sunshine.
Rebecca Roth owned a popular restaurant in Boston and loved her work. Stephen Quello, a devoted diner, became her most faithful customer, and things developed from there. To propose, Stephen cooked his sweetie a fancy dinner and dimmed the lights. When the bride-to-be arrived, she got the idea of what might be afoot and began crying. Marshaling his romantic skills, Stephen asked, “Do you want to eat? Or do you want to talk business?”
This week’s couple is Jenna Miksis and Jason Canavan who met two years ago when Jason was singing “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” during an Irish bar’s karaoke night. Jenna was more impressed with his looks than his singing, but their relationship grew to the point that Jason, suffering from dengue fever contracted in Belize, dragged himself to her place so as not to disappoint her. He was wearing his pajama bottoms. Jenna and Jason married last Saturday in a self-uniting ceremony in Philadelphia.
It is worth noting that the NYT also runs stories on ongoing relationships and a column on relationships that do not last, called “Unhitched.”
I have no idea why people decide to lay bare unique details of their most intimate relationships for all the world to savor, but they do make compelling and affirming reading. Perhaps they are just so happy they simply want to share. We wish them all much happiness and good times together … or apart.