Out of all the 942 annoying, mind-numbing chores associated with your wedding, announcing your nuptials in the New York Times—or any paper, really—has the distinct honor of being the one activity, the only activity, that serves utterly no purpose.
Everything else, no matter how wasteful, at least contributes something. Cake is eaten. Flowers are smelled. Invitations are mailed and filed. The “Announcement,” however, is purely an exercise in Bridal Ego. In fact, if you score this coveted shout-out, it’s an even bigger jolt to Bridal Ego than the diamond ring itself.
What, exactly, is the Weddings Section of The Times?
As Gawker described in its glorious, now-defunct Altarcations series: “The weekly Weddings and Celebrations section in the New York Times is your guide to who is superior to you—and who is worse than whom. But don’t you know: They’re all winners, because they’re newly-married, and you’re single again, or thinking about a divorce, and just generally losing all the time.”
It’s okay. We won’t judge. If your fiancée is panting for a juicy bit of Times’ wedding real-estate—and all brides secretly do—then we’ll make the best of it and show you how it’s done.
The good news: You won’t spend a nickel.
The bad news: You are completely at the mercy of the Times’ staff. They pick and choose whichever couple they damn well please, basically a cross between a sorority leader, college admissions officer, and God.
Happily, they provide an official “How to Submit an Announcement” guide. Yet it’s vague and unspecific. That’s where The Plunge comes in. Below, we’ve excerpted The Times’ guidelines and have filled in the blanks.
Let’s take a look.
New York Times: “Please send in requests for weddings or commitment announcements at least six weeks before the event. Although we sometimes consider submissions received after that deadline, we give preference to those received first.”
Fair enough. These announcements, obviously, demand rigorous fact-checking. For perspective: if the US invades Iran on Tuesday, then The Times will be able to turn around a story by Wednesday morning. Online it’s even faster.
Scrubbing your wedding announcement, however, clearly requires six weeks of intensive research, due-diligence, and investigative reporting. This is far more important than Iran. It’s more complicated than Iran. This is a wedding.
New York Times: “The Times does not charge for publishing these news articles — but space is limited, and we cannot guarantee publication.”
Translation: We will probably deem you unworthy, uninteresting, and/or unattractive, but please don’t take it personally. Space is limited.
New York Times: “Your request must be typewritten and include the full names of the couple, the date of their event and the approximate time of day.”
The key word is “full names.” The more names the better. Use all of your names. Borrow some names. If you don’t have one, get a suffix and get it quick. “Henry Winston Fordham III” is 75 times more likely to get selected than “Tom Smith.”
New York Times: “We need their addresses, schooling and occupations.”
Now we’re talking. Addresses, schooling, occupations.
Again, a quick tip of the hat to Gawker’s Altarcations, which pioneered the sport of “point scoring” the wedding announcers. (+2 points for Harvard, -3 points for Oklahoma State, etc.)
The address should be New York. The schooling should be Ivy League. If you didn’t graduate magna umma gumma you are likely without hope. The occupation can be anything—anything in the world—so long as you have a very, very difficult time describing what it is you do for a living. No carpenters. No cops. But if you’re a Derivates Analyst? We can work with that!
New York Times: “Also mention any noteworthy awards that the couple may have received, as well as charitable activities and/or special achievements.”
It’s go-time. Whip out your resume and start embellishing. In one recent announcement, “His mother is a teacher’s assistant for children with special learning needs at the Old Bethpage Grade School in Old Bethpage, N.Y.”
Children with special learning needs! Details like this are solid gold.
In another recent announcement, the groom had “published Kovacic’s algorithm, which has been used in some mathematical software.”
You have published an algorithm, right? If not, get cracking.
New York Times: “We also ask that you tell us how the couple met.”
The odds of them liking your anecdote are inversely proportional to the odds that your friends will vomit. Let your fiancée handle this one.
New York Times: “We also require information on the residences and occupations of the couple’s parents. Please include this information even if the parents are no longer living.”
At least one of the parents should be from New York or briefly lived in New York or once traveled on a bus and got out and took a piss in New York. One of them should be a lawyer or accountant. Military service isn’t exactly disqualifying, per se, but it doesn’t help your odds.
New York Times: “In the case of a wedding, a civil union or a partnership registration, we must have the name of the person who will sign the official certificate. Please give the exact title and affiliation. For an interfaith event, please include the names and affiliations of any other officiants who will participate. Please also state the exact location of the event.”
The Times likes interfaith events. If you’re the same faith, consider converting to something else.
New York Times: “All announcements must include daytime, evening and cellphone numbers for the couple and their parents. We also need the office phone numbers for those performing the ceremony. Please identify each number. Submissions without telephone numbers cannot be considered.”
New York Times: If you wish, you may demonstrate your preferences by following the form of an announcement that has appeared in our Sunday newspaper.
You can find plenty of examples here. Get ready for some good laughs.
New York Times: Our policy on photographs has changed.
Oh no! So all that work you did researching this two years ago will be wasted…
New York Times: While we continue to include formal portraits of couples and individual brides, we also include full-length images of brides in wedding dresses, as well as informal photographs of individuals or couples at home, outdoors or in other attractive settings.
Translation: Back in the day, we’d let it slide if she had a cute face but an ugly, squishy body. Now our readers demand more. We need to confirm that she’s not a Butterbod.
New York Times: Those posing for pictures should be neatly dressed, and the images should be of professional quality. Five-by-seven or eight-by-ten prints are preferred. They may be either black-and-white or color.
I love this. “Neatly dressed.” I love that they think you’d be stupid enough to send in pictures of you mowing the lawn, eating pancakes in your pajamas, or shampooing your dog’s balls.
New York Times: Couples posing for pictures should arrange themselves with their eyebrows on exactly the same level and with their heads fairly close together.
Um…weird, but okay.
New York Times: Couple pictures should be printed in a horizontal format.
….aaaaand it gets even more technical and boring from that point onward. For the rest of the gruesome details (where you send it, the file types to use, technical photo info), check out their full schpeel here.