ACCORDING TO THE MAP, BLOCK Island lies 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. But last week it looked closer to a faintly remembered Camelot as dozens of Kennedys converged on the tiny, idyllic spot for three days to celebrate the marriage of Edward M. Kennedy Jr., 32, elder son of the Massachusetts senator and his ex-wife, Joan, to Dr. Katherine Anne Gershman, 34, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University Medical School. Said young Ted of the vivacious blonde known as Kiki, who caught his eye four years ago at a New Haven chamber-music concert: “She’s the most wonderful person I’ve ever met.”
The wedding was an emotional event for the groom’s family, which wasn’t sure he would live to see this day when, at age 12, he lost his right leg to bone cancer. Ted not only recovered but, filled with a prosthesis, mastered such sports as skiing and sailing—two of the newlyweds’ favorites. (In the New Haven area, where they plan to live, Ted directs a Yale-sponsored project providing aid to children suffering from lead poisoning. He is also studying for a law degree at the University of Connecticut.) Contrary to “the fantasies people would have about us, like, ‘Oh, wow! You must be flying off to Europe with him every weekend,’ ” Kiki said, her new husband isn’t “into anything glitzy or glamorous.”
Still, there was a storybook aura to the festivities, which included a nautical-themed rehearsal dinner, a western-style hoedown and lots of touch football before the Catholic ceremony in the cedar, rose-and-iris-filled St. Andrew’s Church. (Kiki, whose father is Jewish and mother is Protestant, is not converting.) Though Jackie, Caroline, Maria and Arnold pleaded previous engagements, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Daryl Hannah were conspicuously present.
Was the groom nervous? Not at all, Teddy said at the rehearsal dinner: “I’ve found the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with.”
ALLISON LYNN on Block Island