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Scoring Sunday’s Nuptials: Not Afraid To Be Insidery

Phyllis Nefler first met ## correspondent Jack Waffles at The Club’s annual gentleman’s week in Trieste a few months back. Jack, of course, is a longtime member, albeit one who has lost and regained official status due to a variety of mishaps including, but not limited to, the time he was found pulling into the harbor with 10 tons of Colombia’s Finest and paperwork that indicated his intent to acquire a stake in a terrorist-backed front in Qatar; a two-month-long “experiment” with intravenous opiates with a man in Addis Ababa known only as “Holy Man Sam”; and that explosion in ‘97 at the refinery in the Pacific that later resulted in him spending a few years under the alias “Chico Kincaid,” hopping from Swiss cottages on the run from the El Salvadorean royal family’s hired goons. His standing at the club was good enough to allow him to attend Trieste. 

Phyllis, meanwhile, was engaging in her own Eat-Pray-Love sort of faux-soul-searching mission, and she somehow ended up at the Club’s compound. There she found herself in a… well, let’s just say it was a compromising scenario, and it involved something resembling a bridesmaid, and that it always comes in handy to bring your own extra pair of socks to these sorts of things. Short of the long, Jack agreed to keep her secret and bail her out. As always, though, his cooperation came at a price. She had no choice but to say, “I do!” So: Say hi to Phyllis Nefler!

I never thought it would come to this, but two announcements this weekend left me forced to choose between two Supreme Court justices. Which line should draw a firmer nod of approval, I wondered? “Sandra Day O’Connor, the retired Supreme Court justice, officiated,” or “The bride is a niece of Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the United States Supreme Court?”

It’s kind of a tossup. On the one hand, Katherine Goldstein-Breyer is actually related to an enrobed one, and you’re goddamn right she’s keeping that name.

But on the other hand, it’s really fun to read through the announcement for Channing Powell and Jonathan Soverow and try to ascertain what their connection to Sandy O is. Is she an art collector who has crossed paths with Powell’s father, the director of the National Gallery of Art? Perhaps she also had a child who attended the tony Potomac School, where the couple first met. Or maybe the groom’s father is her shrink. I’d watch that show!

It’s the kind of question that I’d want to ask Sally Quinn, whose column about her son Quinn’s shotgun wedding to his yoga teacher and the, er, unfortunate scheduling conflicts it created ultimately sealed her fate as a coLOLumnist at the Washington Post.

I can’t be bothered to wade through this sea of WASP passive-aggression but it does contain some pearls. Did you know Quinn met his bride “at the suggestion of New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd”? Or that… this?

Oh, and one last question for the mother of the groom. Will the baby call her Granny? Nope. “It’s going to be ‘Mama Sal,’” she explained. “Quinn and I go once a week to work with learning-disabled kids at a small school in Anacostia, and that’s what they call me.”

Oh, Sally.

* * *

It should come as no surprise that the wedding of a pair of anarchists would be way more drama-free and lovely than the nuptials of etiquette-mongering Washington insiders, and that’s exactly what we find with the featured couple, Allie Compton and Chris Ryan. True, I preemptively rolled my eyes at this tagline:

The Statue of Liberty was the backdrop for the couple, who met at the Anarchist Ice Cream Truck.

But I mean, how can you not be charmed with an article that has passages like this:

He borrowed a bicycle from one of his East Village neighbors, Donna Squeeze Leonard, known to all as Squeeze. Ms. Leonard realized immediately that it was no ordinary date: “You know when Chris Ryan puts on a button-down shirt things are serious,” she said. “He didn’t want to blow it because she was so beautiful and so perfect, like an angel to him.”

I just… trust Squeeze, you know? Anyway, what I like most about Chris Ryan is the way he can cleverly accept or reject anything while maintaining a cohesive ethos. This is how he manages to be an anarchist while still submitting to the marriage-industrial complex:

“I’ve never been much of a joiner,” he said. “If I see people protesting something, I want to protest them.” Although he initially viewed the loosely organized Critical Mass protest rides “as a party on wheels, not a political statement,” all of that changed after his arrest at a Critical Mass ride during the 2004 Republican National Convention. He said, “I wasn’t so committed” to any particular cause, “until they said I can’t do it.”

Perfect. Watch out, marriage protestors, because this couple is rising up against you, and they’ve got experience with this sort of thing, having met at “an art exhibition called ‘Democracy in America: The National Campaign,’” where Mr. Ryan’s band, Team Spider, was performing and where Allie Compton was engaged in a participatory art installation called “The Anarchist Ice Cream Truck.”

They began talking about art and politics and went inside the truck, which — along with gas masks and progressive literature — actually had ice cream. Because the project’s artist had declared himself off duty, they began handing out ice cream to others who walked up to the window.

Wait, can we pause for a second to acknowledge the “artist” who “declared himself off duty”? I have such a specific visual, and it involves body hair, some glitter, and a caftan.

Anyway, the wedding was itself a public art project, at one point taken over by pirates, as these things are wont to be, and that’s actually the only thing that I’ll shake my head no to here, because people who get all into “International Talk Like A Pirate Day” yarrr the worst.

* * *

Compton and Ryan really set the tone for this weekend, which was pretty pleasant to read because of some of the totally quirktastic couples it featured. A quick and rambling rundown of some of the best.

 First of all, Aimee Carlson and Trevor Moore. It’s almost unfair that you see this picture and then you learn in the very third sentence that the bride works for Myspace.com. At least make us work for it! Her husband is “a creator and a star of ‘The Whitest Kids U’Know,’” a show I’m unfamiliar with which means nothing because I’m still stuck in Season 3 of The Wire and I’ve never seen Back to the Future or Absolutely Fabulous.

(Amusingly, the NYT auto-links the name of his father, suggesting he is of the loud yeller Moores, but an indisputable result from something called Chacha.com clarifies that his dad is not, in fact, that Michael Moore. He’s the “former Christian rock musician” Michael Moore! Oh. I much prefer the job description of bride Eva Labson’s dad, who is the “director of the Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center.”)

Here, without comment, is this:

The bride, 28, will take her husband’s name. She is a full-time nanny in New York. She graduated from Suan Dusit Rajabhat University in Bangkok…The bridegroom, 27, is a news assistant on the obituaries desk at The New York Times.

I mean. How soon before this becomes a Zach Braff movie? And how soon before another bride’s life is fodder for a film? Tiffany Kary’s dad’s job sounds badass: he “retired as a chief superintendent in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; he oversaw the organized crime division in British Columbia and the Yukon.” Dude, organized crime in the Yukon!! Kary and her husband are both financial writers. Seriously, how does one go about “optioning a story?” This could be my big break.

Some couples met in interesting places: Emily Grant and Matthew Turner met in a combat zone in Fallujah. Courtney Knowlton and Terence Li met on a squash court.

I kid, I kid! The full truth is subtler than that. For one thing, half of each couple went to Yale. And the Marines were Brooklyn Heights-bred – their moms set them up – while the prepsters were both working at a wonderful program for low-income kids called CitySquash that I dearly support! There are no villains in Vows this week, there are only well-rounded young people who serve their communities in the various ways they know how! (Also, one bride is “a granddaughter of the late Attilio Castellani, known as Rocky, a professional middleweight boxer in the 1940s and ’50s, and later a judge of boxing matches,” and I mean, you can’t argue with that.)

I wonder how Uncle Rocky would fare against Akemi Nakamura, a ninth-degree black belt who is the father of bride Meg Nakamura. (Unsurprisingly she married a more peaceful sort: a former divinity student who works for the Botanic Garden.) Elsewhere this weekend, John Boehner’s deputy communications director looks kinda like him; one parent works for something called “The Population Fund,” which sounds like a George Costanza concoction; a mother of a groom wrote a book called “Kimono in the Boardroom”; and these two really need to cheer up!!!

This week’s face-off:

Alexis Warner Ginsburg and James Bendiner Weiss

  • The bride graduated from Wake Forest and received a master’s in broadcast journalism from Columbia: +3 
  • The groom graduated from Princeton and received an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania: +6 
  • "The bride’s father is senior vice president of APCO Worldwide, a public relations firm in Washington; he is also the president of Layalina Productions, a nonprofit television production company in Washington and Dubai that produces Arabic and English language programming. He was the United States ambassador to Morocco during the Clinton administration from 1994 to 1998 and was the United States coordinator for Mediterranean trade, investment and security affairs from 1998 to 2000. From 1978 to 1981, he served in the Carter administration as deputy senior advisor for Middle East policy": +2 
  • The bride’s mother is on the board of the American School of Tangier in Morocco: +2 
  • The groom works for Bain, consulting on “strategy for media, technology and private investment companies”: +1 
  • The bride is a CNN producer on the Eliot Spitzer show: +1 
  • The groom’s father is “a founder of Longview Investments, a real estate company in Philadelphia, where he is general counsel”: +1


Christine Maclear Benson and Peter George Schwartzstein

  • The couple was married by a Presbyterian minister: +1 
  • "Mr. and Mrs. Schwartzstein met at Harvard, from which she graduated magna cum laude and he cum laude": +11 
  • "The bride, 29, is a vice president at Goldman Sachs in New York": +1 
  • The bride’s parents live in Jackson Hole: +2 
  • The groom’s mother is a registered nurse at Beth Israel and his father is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School: +2


Send a wire transmission to Phyllis Nefler, the author of this post, at hashtaghashtag@gmail.com.

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