The wedding announcements of the Sunday New York Times — so careful in their cataloging of academic degrees and parents' professions — seemed to beg satire from Rob Baedeker and his fellow members of the Kasper Hauser comedy group.
And so, in the new book Weddings of the Times, the group presents a collection of faux wedding announcements, all rendered in the understated style of the paper of record.
Baedeker tells Robert Siegel that the book was inspired by the "perfect and polished" nature of the Times' Sunday section.
"The inspiration comes from that primal feeling one gets when one sees a perfect picture, which is to scribble a mustache on it or draw some sunglasses on it like you did when you were a kid," Baedeker explains.
The fictional pairings in the book feature couples you're unlikely to see in the real paper. Caroline Hanson and Dean Van Wyck, for instance, experienced "some kind of miscommunication" regarding the dress code of their wedding: The bride wore a Vera Wang gown, the groom a padded codpiece.
Gina Flushing and Kyle Pearson, meanwhile, are an arsonist and a money launderer who were arrested during the ceremony by the officiant, who happened to be a member of the Carson City Police Department's "Wedding Sting Division."
Other unconventional couplings include zombies, Chihuahuas and the two-dimensional male and female figures most commonly seen on bathroom doors. All are accompanied by a photograph in the paper's trademark eyes-at-the-same-level wedding announcement style.
Baedeker says that in creating the book, the Kasper Hauser group was most interested in the aspects of weddings that weren't being reported in the newspaper. Take, for instance, the Weddings of the Times' description of the union of rabbit rescuer Bernice Bannister and part-time falconer Stephen Shipley:
In separate attempts to surprise one another, both Ms. Bannister and Mr. Shipley released groups of their respective hobby animals into a nearby pasture: she, a warren of Dutch lops; he, a cauldron of Peregrine falcons.
Ms. Bannister said the ensuing massacre, "undid years of my work."
Weddings of the Times
By Dan Klein, Robert Baedeker, John Reichmuth and James Reichmuth
Paperback, 128 pages
St. Martin's Griffin
List Price: $12.95
From 'Weddings Of The Times'Caroline Hanson, Dean Van Wyck
"Caroline Hanson was married to Dean Van Wyck on Saturday at the Peach Tree farm in Scarsdale, NY.
The bride, 33, wore a strapless white Vera Wang wedding gown.
The bridegroom, 38, wore tight-fitting purple breeches, a white silk shirt, a fox-fur mantle, and a livery collar from which was suspended a diamond the size of a walnut."