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How to get your wedding announcement featured in the New York Times
Getting your wedding announcement published in the New York Times may not be as easy as you think. New data suggest the announcements that do get published in the Times all have a few things in common. - photo by Brittany Binowski
If you're looking for your next match, you may want to try OKCupid before using any other online dating site.

And if you're over 30, you may just want to skip the dating sites altogether to find a potential mate and go straight to asking your friends.

According to a new analysis from Todd Schneider, who created a search engine to analyze the words in New York Times wedding announcements, romance has changed quite drastically over time. In an article for Vox, he wrote about the findings he gathered from a data set of "more than 63,000 wedding announcements dating back to 1981."

In his research, he found that people in New York Times wedding announcements are using social media more than ever before to find a mate, getting married older than previous years, asking friends to officiate their weddings, and beginning to choose technology as a career path over business.

While more and more people are using social media to find love, however, fewer wedding announcements mention online dating websites. Only 15 percent of NYT wedding announcements said the couple met online. The couples in the majority of announcements said they met at school (27 percent) or through mutual friends (26 percent). The schools where most NYT couples met were Harvard, Cornell and Columbia.

Of those who used online websites to meet a partner, OKCupid topped the list, with daters older than 30 relying on dating websites more than any other age group to find love.

"OkCupid leads the pack, having introduced 39 couples, while Match and JDate follow with 16 and nine couples, respectively," Schneider wrote. "Tinder and Hinge have four each, but their numbers might be limited by a selection bias. Phone-based dating apps are relatively new, so its nearly impossible that a couple who met online five years ago could have met using a phone-based app."

Those who are getting married are also getting married at a median age of 30 for women and 32 for men, as opposed to 27 for women and 29 for men in 1989.

In addition, couples are asking friends to officiate their weddings over rabbis and reverends. The number of Universal Life ministers and American Marriage Ministries officiating weddings has risen consistently since the millennium.

Tech is also becoming a bigger industry for New York, as more and more NYT wedding announcements are beginning to mention Google just as many times as they mention Goldman Sachs. More people with wedding announcements in the New York Times are also pursuing careers at startups.

"Startups are on the rise, too, though lest we get ahead of ourselves, theyre still only a tiny blip on the radar compared with law firms and banks, the most traditional of all NYT wedding professional institutions," Schneider wrote.

These are just trends one data analyst noticed over time in NYT announcements, and not official data released from the publication. But it may say something about the kind of couples the New York Times looks for when making selections to include in its weddings section.

One website published by The Atlantic attempted to determine just how likely it is that the typical American would have his or her wedding announcement featured in one of New York's flagship papers and found most announcements have some striking things in common.

According to The Wire, which "spent some time crunching numbers to figure out exactly how over-represented certain demographics are," your odds of getting your wedding announcement published in the New York Times increase if you live in Greenwich, Connecticut; are a graduate of an elite university; are a congressional staffer, elite lawyer or investment banker; and are involved in a same-sex relationship.

The average American family, however, earned $53,657 in 2015 and the wage earner has not received a degree from an institution of higher education, hardly the demographic of an investment banker from Greenwich, Connecticut, who graduated from an elite university.

Even though New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt said the wedding announcements that do get featured in the paper are of "people who have achievements" regardless of where they come from, The Wire feels as though the paper's editorial decisions on which announcements to include are slightly less meritocratic than they like to think.

"We readers have a nagging sense that if you're, oh I don't know, a homosexual Princeton graduate working at Davis Polk & Wardwell, your specific achievements give you a near guaranteed spot in the section," The Wire wrote. "To actually prove it, we spent some time crunching numbers to figure out exactly how over-represented certain demographics are."

To get an announcement published in the New York Times, couples must complete an online form six weeks prior to the legal ceremony, which asks for the couple's names, address, schooling and occupations. The form also asks the individuals to include "any noteworthy awards the couple have received, as well as charitable activities and special achievements. And tell us how the couple met," according to the New York Times website.

But who says you even want your announcement to be published in the New York Times? A relationship is about more than just the prestige of telling the world; it's also about real commitment and connection, which is important to the health of a relationship and can exist regardless of who knows about your love.

A 2012 study out of UCLA published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that there's a difference between people who just say they are committed to their relationship and those who actually are committed to their relationship.

"When people say, Im committed to my relationship, they can mean two things," study co-author Benjamin Karney, psychology professor at UCLA, told the UCLA Newsroom. "One thing they can mean is, I really like this relationship and want it to continue. However, commitment is more than just that."

The researchers found that couples who were more likely to make sacrifices for their partner and take action to ensure the well-being and happiness of both individuals had lower rates of divorce and healthier relationships overall than other couples.

"Of the 172 married couples in the study, 78.5 percent were still married after 11 years, and 21.5 percent were divorced," UCLA Newsroom wrote. "The couples in which both people were willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the marriage were significantly more likely to have lasting and happy marriages."

However, other research does suggest that couples who post frequent updates about their relationship on social media are happier than those that don't.
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