In the New York Times last Sunday, public editor Clark Hoyt discussed the changes gradually taking place in the Times Wedding Announcements. A large percentage of the couples still attended an Ivy League school, and are "clustered in prestige occupations. The top three fields for men were finance, media and law. For women, it was media, education and current student. Nearly half had advanced degrees." However, the announcements are reflecting a wider range of people than they once did. He writes, "As the announcements under [editor in charge Robert] Woletz have become more diverse, parents like a union electrician, a retired firefighter and even a courier have popped up beside orthopedic surgeons and authors."
I love these changes, because they reflect New York as it truly is -- a city full of different kinds of people. (Although, I do think they should stop writing about people outside the city, because that reflects New York as it isn't -- in Boulder.) The changes could go further. Fortunately, I have some suggestions.
Run better photographs of the couple. First, run a photograph of the couple. A photo of only the bride makes it the groom seem imaginary. Second, no more hugging photos. Though sometimes sent in by the couple to make it harder for the groom to be cropped out, these make it look like the bride must use physical force to keep her man in the photo and in the marriage.
Run more information about the groom. Writing mostly about the bride and her family turns announcements into pieces of property that are now off the market. Everyone already thinks women are obsessed with marriage and hate fun and think that this day is all about them, whereas men are fun-loving and wild and free and youthful and need to be forced into a union that robs them of their fun potential. Don't make it worse.
Fewer couples that meet in college. It's depressing. Since I am single and not in college, this means I will have to go back to my ex-boyfriend who dabbled in steroids -- or back to college (an Ivy this time).
Less rich-relative flaunting. This isn't the Common Application. Lines such as "the bride is a great-great-great-granddaughter of the New York banker and philanthropist Jacob H. Schiff and of Abraham Abraham," sound ridiculous. More than one great is braggy. And why did great-great-great-grandfather have the same first and last name? One exception is Sage Lehman, "a descendant of Cornelius Vanderbilt." This is exciting, because as a Gossip Girl fan I wonder how Sage will get that diamond back from Nate Archibald.
Include more elderly couples who met at college but are marrying at age 72. I'm talking about you, Richard Nolan and Robert Pingpank. They look like tough but loving classics professors at boarding school who want the lads to appreciate literature before World War Two makes them men too soon. They found love, and that is as uplifting as the lectures on Achilles going back into battle I imagine they gave in the fictional lives I created for them.
The Times must appreciate its influence and think of the readers' feelings. I do not want to think love is about rich people meeting at college. The best announcements are inspirational and make me believe I can find my own Robert Pingpank.