Well, not quite true, but there is a LOT to learn from reading the Wedding Vows Section in The New York Times. It appears every Sunday and in the spring and summer the Section often runs to 10 pages; in fall and winter it is much smaller.
It turns out the Wedding Vows Section is not just about brides in white dresses; it’s a portent of things to come. It is a predictor and a reflection of changes in our society and culture. For instance, in 2002, the Section began including announcements for same sex couples. That’s 11 years ago folks.
At least 30+ years ago, The Times made a similar change, by featuring couples, not just the bride. Not as earth-shattering as the above, but still, considering what things were like for women in the 1950’s and 60’s, this was a big change.
It turns out that these changes in a non-“news” section of the paper — showing a couple in the photo in The Times in the 1970’s, featuring gay couples who were having commitment ceremonies in the 1990’s — not only made a statement, but was a subtle predictor of our changing world.
There are some who make fun of my preoccupation with reading the Vows Section. But they would be mistaken to think that this is a frivolous occupation.
Even the Wall Street Journal thinks the Vows are worthwhile reading: “. . . what is particularly fascinating about the wedding announcements in The New York Times is the way in which they act as a window into the ways in which our society has evolved. They are actually watched by those who are interested in the shifts in our country, especially when it comes to the power structure.”
This Sunday’s Times says something about our evolving economy. I’m serious. Even though it was small pickings this week, being in the dead of winter, it is revealing.
All 13 announcements included information about what the couples do for a living. And one bride and two grooms work in “start ups”. One groom is the founder of a company in San Francisco that offers electric-scooter sharing services. (I kid you not; that’s a real business). One is a founder of a lobbying organization (also in San Francisco) that represents technology start ups. And another bride and groom work in a business consulting firm, that he founded, that specializes in small start ups, this time in New York City.
So, just under 25% of the couples work in small, start up companies. And three of them are founders. As the WSJ says, this section of The Times can be very revealing.