Tom Ross: The groomsmen wore coyote skin caps
Weddings of the rich and brilliant in the Sunday Times
October 13, 2009
Feeling a little full of yourself? Would it do you good to be knocked down a peg? I have the fix you seek.
Never have I been so fascinated in the midst of suffering from a sudden onset of inferiority complex as when I settled in with the New York Times Wedding/Celebrations section during the weekend.
Does everyone who gets hitched on the East Coast get their start in life by kicking butt at Yale before moving on to the London School of Economics and later obtaining a medical degree from Harvard?
One could easily arrive at that conclusion from reading the Sunday Times.
If you haven’t spent an hour with the wedding announcements at the back of the Times‘ Sunday Style section, you’re missing out on a chance to glimpse the lifestyles of the rich and brilliant.
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Just make sure you have a good grip on your sense of self-esteem before you begin reading.
Take the case of Dr. Vanessa Bradford Kerry and Dr. Brian Vala Nahed, who were married Oct. 10 in Boston.
She is the daughter of Sen. John Kerry and the late Julia S. Thorne, as reported by the Times‘ Vincent M. Mallozzi. The groom is the son of Nooshin P. Nahed and Dr. Reza M. Nahed, of Los Angeles.
Dr. Kerry graduated summa cum laude from Yale, picked up her master’s degree in health policy, planning and financing from the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Kerry came home to earn her medical degree cum laude from Harvard.
Dr. Nahed graduated magna cum laude from UCLA and earned his medical degree cum laude from Yale. That’s all.
They make a very handsome couple. And I found myself asking, “How did these brilliantly beautiful people find one another?” and, “How stupendously brilliant will their children turn out to be?”
The newlyweds are residents at Mass General in Boston. They hit it off when he successfully negotiated a social gaffe perpetrated by another hospital worker over a cup of coffee. I guess that’s kind of romantic.
Here’s what’s crazy. The Kerry/Nahed nuptials were given a full vertical column in the Sunday newspaper, but there were many more announcements of happy couples with careers almost as dazzling as those of doctors Kerry and Nahed.
In spite of all that, it was the marriage of soap opera actress Brooke Alexander and tennis pro Marko Zelenovic, known far and wide as the “Croatian Sensation,” that earned the biggest play of the week. The Alexander/Zelenovic ceremonies warranted two color photographs. Their story had a gripping narrative. Forty love!
If it sounds like I’m taking a tongue-in-cheek approach to this column, I don’t mean to. I sincerely recommend that you read the Times‘ wedding announcements, even if only online. There’s something undeniably fascinating, almost voyeuristic, about studying the photographs of couples in love and being granted a brief glimpse of their successful lives.
I once photographed a wedding for money here in Northwest Colorado that might have made a nice layout in the Sunday New York Times.
I booked the wedding even though the ceremony was 150 minutes away by mostly dirt roads at Trappers Lake in the Flat Tops Wilderness, and the reception was all the way back in Steamboat Springs.
But that wasn’t what made this combination mountain man/Russian orthodox wedding noteworthy. No, it was the very different tastes in wedding garments exhibited between the two extended families that made this wedding assignment stand out from all others.
The bride’s family members were generally dressed in dark suits. I can recall an elderly woman in pumps, gingerly walking down the rough trail to the lake while carrying a huge gilt icon.
The groom and his groomsmen were more in their element at Trappers Lake. They wore moccasins and beaded buckskins topped by fur caps fashioned from coyote pelts – the kind where the crown is formed by the late predator’s scalp – with its delicate whiskers intact, but its eyeballs missing.
There was a certain awkwardness between the two parties, but the photographs of the extended families together were something to behold.
I just wish I hadn’t turned the color negatives over to the father of the bride.
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