By Mona Malacane
Having been to six (almost seven) weddings in the past 13 months, I feel like I can safely claim the title of “Wedding Guest Expert” for our department. At this point, I can pretty much smell a wedding from a mile away and I’m getting pretty good at spotting newlyweds! (Seeing updates on Facebook doesn’t hurt either.) They conveniently left this information out of their Monday morning introductions … but three graduate students in our department got married this summer! Ken Rosenberg, Ted Jamison-Koenig, and Josh Sites had zero chance of getting through this semester without me interviewing all three of them on their summer nuptials.
Ken and his wife Ashley met in 2012 through fellow grad student (now visiting lecturer) and wedding day officiant, Russell McGee. Both Ken and Ashley were involved in planning their Star Trek-themed wedding, Ken explained. “We knew pretty much right from the get-go that we wanted to plan it ourselves, that it was going to be ours and it wouldn’t be a sort of a pre-packaged thing.” They took wedding pictures in Studio 5 – with the plan to edit to look like they are in scenes from Star Trek – and then met at the altar in the Fountain Square Mall Ballroom on June 20th. The two continued the Trek theme with their honeymoon at the Star Trek Convention at The Rio in Las Vegas, where Ken received some useful marriage advice from actor René Auberjonois who plays Odo. The advice? “Switch sides of the bed every so often.”
Ted and Erin have been together since the two met in high school in 2006. They were married back home in New Jersey on August 1st after a year and a half of planning. Ted entrusted most of the planning to Erin and was thankful when the day went off without a hitch, “The whole day I was bracing myself mentally for something to go wrong … and I was preparing myself to be ok with whatever was going to go wrong. But everything went pretty much perfectly according to plan.” Ted credited the smooth day to Erin’s excellent planning and also to heeding advice from family and friends, including Ken and Ashley whose recommendation was, “Make sure that you carve out time for yourselves and make sure you eat.” Ted and Erin completed another big life milestone before they left for their honeymoon: buying a house! Ted said, “The last couple of weeks I’ve done two or three of the biggest things people do in their life in rapid succession, but it’s been awesome.”
Josh and Alicia tied the knot on June 14th at Beck Chapel by the IMU. Not to pick on him, but of the three new husbands, Josh was the coolest cucumber and least forthcoming with details! He explained that his favorite part of the wedding was when it was over because there was nothing more to worry about and he could just relax. The two shared the planning over their three years of engagement, so it is definitely understandable that he was looking forward to life after the wedding than the actual day. Josh did, however, give me a great nugget of advice to share for anyone in the early stages of planning: if at all possible, avoid telling vendors that you are planning a wedding because the price for goods will increase at least 25%. In fact, renting Josh’s tuxedo cost more than Alicia’s dress! They honeymooned at a resort in Sedona, Arizona, spending a lot of time enjoying the amazing scenery.
All three gave the encouraging answer that getting married in grad school isn’t actually that terribly difficult. Each one told me that the key to not going crazy was prioritizing, managing your time, and taking advantage of the flexibility you have in the summer. When I asked if life has changed after marriage, I was a little surprised to hear definitive no’s from all three. In fact, Ted summed it up nicely when he recounted his answer to a friend asking “how does it feel to be married?” His answer: “slightly heavier on the left side.”