What Can Thirty Years of the Times’ Wedding Section Tell Us About Marriage And Social Status?

The Rap Genius Engineering team decided it would be fun to analyze over thirty years of New York Time nuptials to see just what NYT couples are like


Weddings are a personal affair —a gathering of the closest friends and family to celebrate love. But, for some couples, it’s also important  to tell as many people about their wedding as possible. Enter the New York Times wedding section.

The couples who make the Times‘ wedding pages represent a certain type of life: the section is known for favoring Ivy League grads, couples with high-achieving parents and people who can keep their eyebrows on the same level while posing for a picture.  The Rap Genius Engineering team decided it would be fun and illuminating to analyze over thirty years of New York Times nuptial announcements to see just what Times-worthy couples are like. They write:

New York is the status-consciousness capital of our status-conscious culture, and this makes the Times’s wedding section a perfect natural experiment designed to answer the question, What do the world’s most self-important people think is important?

The database has about 60,000 weddings in it and, using Google’s ngram view, allows users to search all the nuptials from 1981 to 2013 for the frequency of specific words.

The Rap Genius team pulled out a bunch of interesting stats, like age. Here’s a GIF of how the ages have shifted towards 30  in the past thirty years:

They also looked at the differences between Democrats and Republicans (more of the former show up) and the prevalence of New England boarding schools mentioned. (It’s dropping.)

Here’s a graph of how many ads mention online dating:

And here one of the social media the lovely couples are using:

Despite being tech savvy, the number of women who are keeping their names doesn’t seem to be changing much:

You can do your own searches using WeddingCruncher.com.

More from Smithsonian.com:

June: A Time for Weddings and Wedding Tales
Food Rituals in Hindu Weddings