I Will Beg. I Will Plead. Whatever It Takes To Get Into The New York Times Wedding Announcements.

I have pontificated before about my odd fascination with the New York Times wedding announcements. I am not sure why I'm drawn to them; I am not sure why I was hooked on them long before I even imagined myself in any sort of situation involving marital bliss.

But they are more robust, better read and filled with far more fancier people than any other wedding announcement page in America, so in that sense they are something of a cultural institution. Some mock them, some obsess over them. And that's why I must be a part of them.

Every Sunday, I have my routine with the wedding pages. I scan for personal points of interest (my hometown, college and city). I scan for couples of interest (old gay men, inter-religious matches, vast age differences). And I scan names/pictures of those I might recognize.

On Sunday, my friends Keith and Jen--whose wedding I was in as both a groomsman AND as the official bubbles-hander-outer--made the cut. Shockingly, as the newspaper was passed around during the Sunday morning post-wedding brunch, I oozed with pride rather than bitter jealously. I swear on next Sunday's copy of the Times, I was happy for them.

That happiness is contingent, obviously, on us being in there in four weeks. And with a picture -- and none of them bride-only shots, neither.

We have pitched the Times hard. We sent along our flip-book invitation, a copy of the actual magazine when I proposed and a detailed summary of our relationship and familial pedigrees. The whole preparation process took like three days, so in case we don't get in (bite your tongue! godforbid! perish the thought! fingers-crossed!), here's our announcement:

Deborah A. Hurwitz and Matthew E. Katz are to be married on Sunday evening (August 31) by Rabbi Lee Friedlander in the courtyard of the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, PA.

The bride, 27, is a senior art director for Gyro Worldwide, an advertising and marketing agency in Philadelphia. She graduated magna cum laude from The George Washington University. The bridegroom, 30, is a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, covering Camden, NJ. He graduated from The George Washington University.

Although the couple went to the same college, they met later through friends. At the time, Mr. Katz was a news reporter at the Gannett-owned Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, NJ, where he also wrote a nationally syndicated dating column. Distributed by Gannett to about 50 daily newspapers, it was called The Bachelor Pad, and it chronicled Mr. Katz’s dating life. (See mattkatz.net for back columns.)

Mr. Katz and Ms. Hurwitz became friends, and he told her he was interested in dating her. But she made it clear that she only wanted to be friends. So Mr. Katz began writing columns about wanting to date a friend (see two attached articles). Eventually, Ms. Hurwitz relented. And Mr. Katz began writing about that, too.

Mr. Katz chronicled the couple’s relationship in The Bachelor Pad for about two years. Although he wanted to propose in a way befitting the public, written nature of their relationship, he said he thought it would be too predictable to propose through the column.

Fortunately, just when he was ready to ask Ms. Hurwitz for her hand, the New Jersey Monthly magazine interviewed him for a profile because his column ran in a half-dozen daily newspapers in New Jersey.
The magazine headlined the profile "Mr. Write." In a quoted passage in the last paragraph, he proposed. (See enclosed magazine.)

Ms. Hurwitz read the article in their apartment in Philadelphia, and when she got to this quote – “Deborah, will you marry me?”—Mr. Katz got on one knee. He now writes a blog about their engagement at engagedguy.blogspot.com.

The bride is the daughter of Ilene and David Hurwitz of Randolph, NJ. Her father retired as president of Allerton Enterprises and is a former vice president of Fisher Scientific, now Thermo Fisher Scientific. Her mother is an administrative assistant with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in Madison, NJ.

The bridegroom is the son of Roberta and Richard Katz of Roslyn, NY. His father is an independent insurance broker and retired as deputy director of the New York district office of the Food & Drug Administration. His mother retired as a New York City public school teacher after 32 years.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kelly Turso Photography (this pic is not the one, unfortunately, that the Times got)


Commitment Tattoos!

In one single article last week, the New York Times pointed a shotgun at my head and blew my fucking mind.

I grew up with strong conservative Jewish principles rooted in the northeastern Queens mid-1980s traditions of Judaism, and one of our main precepts was: "Thou shalt not get a tattoo, because thou won't be allowed to be buried in a Jewish cemetery."

Guilt trips don't get any worse than, "When you're dead, we won't let you hang out with us." And as such, almost every Jewish kid I know has kept his and her arms pasty white, free of the cool barbed wire that our goy brethren wrap around their biceps. Religious or not, atheist or not, the vast majority of Jews refrain from getting tatted up because of the whole Jewish cemetery thing.

Unfortunately, it turns out it's bullshit. The New York Times:

The eight rabbinical scholars interviewed for this article, from institutions like the Jewish Theological Seminary and Yeshiva University, said it’s an urban legend, most likely started because a specific cemetery had a policy against tattoos. Jewish parents and grandparents picked up on it and over time, their distaste for tattoos was presented as scriptural doctrine.

This is the first and only time you will ever see me write this: OMG!

I haven't stopped thinking about this article since I read it. It's like turning 21 and finding out you can drink every drop of booze in the bar and no one can stop you. A whole new world is open to me...and us.

Clearly, Deborah and I need to take advantage of this. Should we get matching "commitment tattoos"? Should we write something in Hebrew, to be doubly ironic? Should we just brand ourselves with Shabbas candles?

The options are limitless. Suggestions, as always, are welcome.

CREDIT: Justin Dawson/The New York Times


A Waffle House Wedding

And you thought we were taking some liberties with wedding tradition.

Consider the case of George "Bubba" Mathis and Pamela Christian, two
23-year-olds who work together at the same Waffle House off the same highway in Georgia. Bubba (I shit you not, that's his real nickname) married Pamela in the parking lot of their Waffle House because it was too much trouble figuring out how to arrange their work schedules to make time for a more typical journey down the aisle.

Waffle House holds a special place in our relationship, too, as it is our go-to spot for coffee and cholesterol whenever we take our bi-annual Southern roadtrips. Waffle House has some of the most delectable hash browns man has ever made, and despite the carbon monoxide from the neighboring highway, it has a quaint charm. For the uninitiated, the details to this wedding are all you'll ever need to know about Waffle House.

Nearly all the wedding pictures on the slideshow (scroll down here) include a decked-out bridesmaid with a Newport 100 dropping out of her mouth. The trail of cans attached to the back of the "Just Married" car includes at least one Keystone Light.

Yes, we are getting married at the house where Betsy Ross stitched the first American flag. But these guys? True, blue Americans.

CREDITS: Benjamin Hager (photo)/Randi Max (tip)


The B. Party

Some guys have bags of silicon bounce on their foreheads. Others take the refund money from returned Bed, Bath & Beyond engagement gifts and put $1,000 on black at the Hard Rock in Vegas.

Me? I'd prefer to get shot in the face with 190-mph pellets.

One feature of my 68-hour bachelor party last weekend was a vicious paintball game at one of the most notorious paintball places in the world. Twenty-two of us broke up into two groups, based on the period of time which people happened to have met me. It was 1996-2000 vs. 1990-1995 & 2001-2005. I have no idea who won, but I do know that the referees on our squad were named Knife and Gomer, and they accidentally secured a $180 tip.

I also know that I wore a white jumpsuit (see top of pic) while the rest of the team wore camouflage one-pieces that were ridiculously impossible to detect in the woods . We had the fields to ourselves, and there were games in which one team would man a three-story castle with 10 towers and the other team would have to storm the castle, kill everyone it and then take the killed people back onto their own team as mercenaries.

There was a game where one of our men, Stuart Pines, got shot in the goggles, swallowed some paint and wandered around looking for the rest of our team for a good 45 minutes. A search party was dispatched.

Typically, being hit with a paintball signifies a kill. But for one particular experiment in idiocy, in a match called "President," I was on a team with just three other dudes. And instead of one shot anywhere on my body, I would only "die" if I got hit FOUR TIMES IN THE FUCKING HEAD.

As "President," I had 5 minutes to hide in the woods with my three "Secret Service" agents. When the time was up, the rest of the 18 men were sent to hunt us down. They had 15 minutes.

Eight minutes in, as I lay in belly-down in the grass enjoying my time at one with Mother Earth, I heard: "I see a head moving!" With nowhere to run, and with my Secret Service all but gone, I was doomed. I was shot five times in the head, a couple of times in the jugular, seven or eight times across the rest of the body. A failed jump and body roll into a bush didn't seem to work at all. It also didn't make me look good. I screamed each and every time I was hit, for some reason, adding to the legendary wussiness of the moment.

Best bachelor party ever.


Flip That Invite

One friend flips it daily. Another likes to flip it backwards, just for fun. Some have never flipped before, but now they know the flip is hip.

Because the the wife2be is brilliant, our wedding invitation came with a custom-made flip book. A couple of months ago we shot a short video (see above) on the roof of our apartment building. I wore red; she wore green. Twas a rainbow, ya know.

I double-timed the video on FinalCut Express, and we sent it to FlipClips, which turned it into a series of pictures compiled in a flip-book invite. Deborah designed the accompanying card and the cover, which features a rainbow, the skyline of Philly and the phrase, "come join us under the rainbow..." That makes sense, because of this.

There were mishaps. A flipbook or two cut through the envelope and made a run for it at the post office. One or two folks were thoroughly, thoroughly confused. We were even accused of wasting paper (our response? this is a keepsake, dammit).

But for the most part, our people seemed pumped to get an invite that wasn't written in cursive on off-white soft paper with a faded rose in the background. In fact, the response has been a little too overwhelming. With so many people RSVPing in the affirmative, the line for the bar at the wedding might just be unbearably long.


The Bloggin' Brides & Me

I awoke from the fog of my bachelor party this weekend to realize that something funny happened: I am now the most famous male engaged blogger on earth.

Months ago, I surpassed my only competition,
So I'm Engaged, who hasn't posted since April. It's a shame, too, because he was willing to go places that I'm not: "If I could have it my way, Cousin Michael and Brother Andrew would engage in a Best Man Death Match to suss out who will be at my side when it comes time to sign the ketubah in my blood."

Signing the ketubah in your own blood! Brilliant. He also says the dress theme for the wedding is "pimps and hos," and it will take place on Long Island, the "home of innovation." I hope that's ironic. Either way, funny.

So now it's just me. And guess what? The bloggin' brides have discovered me! It seems that it began with 122lovesme, 23, from Seattle, who blogs about her adoring fiance, Mr. 122. I got a little love from Guilty Secret in London, who got engaged only after her boyfriend stopped slinging drugs. Thoughtfulday in Brooklyn is a designer, just like the ole lady. And two women getting civil unioned in DC (see above) named me an "allied bride"!

And then it rolled from there, when Meg from the uber-famous A Practical Wedding said I had filled the "black hole of groom nothingness," and then began a campaign to get me more comments and "peer -pressure" me into posting more.

Love ya ladies! Welcome! My world is a little rougher around the edges, but let me tell you something sister -- when it comes to weddings and the taking-over-your-life thing, I feel you. I feel you. Mmm, hhhhm.

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