Princeton: home to the best academics, most knowledgeable professors and, now, “the greatest white person wedding announcement of all time,” according to gossipy Australian news sources.
The New York Times wedding announcement of alumni Grace du Pont and Conor Sutherland went viral after White House reporter Josh Dawsey (which said gossipy Australian news source miswrote John Dawsey) retweeted the announcement, saying “it has it all.” By having it all, he meant Ivy League elitism, unparalleled WASP-ness and sailboat references.
Seeing the many articles (such as this New York Post one) and social media following Dawsey’s post, I believed the du Pont/Sutherland announcement got a raw deal. An avid follower of The Grey Lady on Instagram, I knew this was not the first time the Vows section of the New York Times has referenced investment banking, billionaire family names and latin honors in a wedding announcement. In fact, they nearly always do. Mass media picking out just the du Pont/Sutherland announcement seemed like picking out one boy in salmon shorts on Princeton’s campus and calling him out for his preppiness; don’t the Sperry-wearers need to be called out just as much?
I set out to find other ridiculously elitist Princeton couples featured on Vows and had no problem doing so. But rather than present more of the same, I offer a few conclusions–what we can learn from the Princeton alums featured in Vows:
- You may end up marrying that random Street hookup… when you’re 64.
Bennett’s Princeton roommate takes a photo of Bennett’s marriage to La Plante. (Photo by Tina Fineberg of the New York Times)
Laurie Bennett ‘76 was hooking up with Skip La Plante’s ’72 roommate when they met her freshman year in 1972. Or, at least that’s what I deduced from this:
Then, Bennett and La Plante hit it off at, where else, a Princeton University Glee Club trip the next year:
Who said hookup culture is a millennial trend?
From there, the two stayed in touch but both went on to marry other people and have families. The story gets complicated, but also touching: his wife died of cancer and her husband confessed he wanted to become a woman. They helped each other through these times, describing their relationship as being each other’s “life referees,” and eventually became romantically involved again after Bennett divorced her husband. They married in 2015, when Bennett was 60 and La Plante was 64. It’s worth the read.
- No, you really won’t do better romantically outside of the Orange Bubble.
Dunne and Bracken are married in the Chapel. (Photo by Laura Pedrick of the New York Times)
Tom Dunne and Molly Bracken met, became engaged and married on Princeton’s campus. They’re not alums, but they are about as close as they can be. Bracken was an admissions officer and Dunne was an associate dean of students when they began working together in 2000. Bracken sent some flirty notes to Dunne, but Dunne ignored them:
Then, even after they had been dating for years, Dunne still had not proposed and Bracken’s father prodded him not-so-slightly in the back:
Finally, Dunne accepted the Orange Bubble Love and proposed to Bracken in East Pyne Courtyard. They married in the Chapel in 2006, sealing the admissions-pamphlet-worthy romance.
- But, if you don’t look like siblings and make cum laude honors, it’s not meant to be.
Amelia Jane Thomson-Derveaux and Samuel Andrew Taxy in Vows. (Photo by Credit Bethany Fritz of Maypole Studios via the New York Times)
Grace du Pont and Conor Sutherland. (Photo by JJ Ignotz via the New York Times)
No further explanation needed.
- Grade deflation follows you forever.
If it seems like Princeton and the New York Times Vows section are a match themselves, they are, as proven by Todd W. Schneider, who once analyzed the frequency of Ivy Leagues, investment banks, titles and graduate honors in the Vows section. Essentially, Princeton is the most represented Ivy in the Vows section when student population is taken into account:
Graduate honors, though, are the least reported:
I’m looking at you, future du Pont/Sutherland couples. Keep your grades up! Not for the grades themselves, but for the next “greatest white person wedding announcement of all time.”
P.S. Check out this former “make up artist, cigarette girl, go-go dancer (no stripping), and restaurant critic” Princeton alum’s book on wedding planning. Best wishes on your big day!