The New York Times Wedding Section Is a Messy Bitch

Illustration for article titled The iNew York Times/i Wedding Section Is a Messy Bitch
Image: Ramin Talaie (Getty Images)

Almost 250,000 people have died of coronavirus, a number that is both staggering and excessively cruel. Yet people continue to have large weddings, many detailed by the New York Times’ “Vows” section, which meticulously documents their escapades and affairs and romantic getaways in excruciating detail. The Vows section has always provided a hate-read for readers hoping to gawk at the ridiculous love stories and exploits of socialites and the fabulously wealthy. But during covid times, it’s leaned even more valiantly into its position as an agent of chaos, locating the most absurd of hook-up stories and haplessly touting potential superspreader weddings with little to no context. Vows, you are a messy bitch!

To cite the most recent wild example: On November 13, the Times published an account of a whirlwind romance between a priest and a television producer, who met while on assignment in the Vatican. Kaitlyn Folmer was reporting on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in 2013, while on assignment for Good Morning America. In the process of booking guests, she met Jonathan Morris, who at the time was still a priest serving under Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York.

Here were their first impressions of each other, according to the Times: Morris found Folmer “super smart, super happy, very efficient,” while she found him “kind and very pleasant.” He also spoke Italian, which came in handy as both a priest and a Fox News correspondent. Despite this, they didn’t meet again until 2019, when he resigned from the priesthood, and the two began dating. In June 2020, they got engaged at a resort in San Diego, while on vacation. And then they had their wedding.

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According to the Times, their nuptials occurred on October 17 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, in front of 200 people. Yes! Two hundred people went to watch these people get married, in the grip of a rising wave of coronavirus cases. The couple claims the proceedings were “socially distanced,” as were the meet-and-greet reception at Hudson Yards’ Skytop, and the dinner for 50 people at a golf club in Mamaroneck, New York, though they’re a touch light on the details.

Though the sizable ceremony flew under the radar of the couple’s lurid details—a priest turned Fox News contributor!—things aren’t looking good for guests. Take this Long Island wedding, with just 109 guests, which infected 56 of them with coronavirus and forced another 300 into quarantine.

Here’s another example, perfectly engineered to force readers to recoil. In October, Sean Christian Casey and Elaine Gabrielle Joseph were married near Oklahoma City, after bravely cutting their guest list to just 150 people. (How thoughtful!)

Casey and Joseph met in the worst possible way: Working for Republican Senator Thomas A. Coburn who, before his death in April from cancer, stood proudly in opposition to gay marriage, abortion, and healthcare reform. The couple obscured these details, merely describing their respective jobs as “intern” and “legislative correspondent.” The two began dating, and soon Casey had transitioned his work into the Obama administration, where he planned an “after-hours private tour of the West Wing,” which the two describe as “a perk of a White House staff job.” I say: If a man wants you to tour the West Wing as a date, leave him! But what do I know, anyway?

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September saw another large wedding in the Times. Lina-Marie Mano and Andrew Silvestri got hitched in front of 100 people, at the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center. They claimed the coronavirus forced them to “reduce their guest list,” leaving me to wonder just how many would have been there to begin with. In pictures splashed across the Times, countless guests went without masks, at both the indoor and outdoor portions of the ceremony. She wore Oscar De La Renta, and he wore Guiseppe Zanotti. Lucky guests were even allowed the chance to peruse the Arts Center’s collection during the reception, a treat I’m sure they would have savored had any wound up in the hospital as a result.

Even the smaller weddings profiled by the Times now take on a sinister tone. At an outdoor wedding in Alaska, a dog sledder got married in front of 85 guests and his dogs. The Times wrote that the guests were “largely unaffected” by the pandemic and that it had actually “compelled [the couple] to keep their original wedding date.” In Palm Beach, a couple was married in front of 60 people, at the Colony Hotel. Another couple had an emotional affair, while one was still married, on the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV. He lived in Quebec, and she lived in New Jersey, and they are still unable to live together, even after tying the knot.

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Even as the virus continues to hold the country in a vise grip, I doubt large weddings will disappear. So, congrats to the Times, I guess, for all the hate clicks and rage tweets they continue to reap through the messy drama of the Vows section.

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From what I’ve seen of socialite-y-WASP weddings so far around here, including a couple of brides I’m no longer hanging out with, their “coronavirus precautions” literally amount to, “we put a sentence up about it on our website that if you didn’t want to come you didn’t have to,” and “we put a mask on Nana, maybe.”