THE LOGISTICS OF A major wedding have to begin months before the big day, and planning this week’s all-color, 60-page special issue, which covers dozens of celebrity nuptials, was equally complicated. So project director Susan Toepfer, a PEOPLE assistant managing editor, and senior editor Elizabeth Sporkin got the ball rolling last April. Along with selecting pictures with photo editor Maddy Miller, designing pages with art director Phil Simone and beginning a mammoth job of research with chief of reporters Denise Lynch, there was the vigil of reading the Monday newspapers “to find out who got married that weekend and then to try to track them down,” says Sporkin.
Like any big nuptial event, the project involved more staffers as it gained steam. Imaging specialist Warren Thompson computerized pictures; copy editors Patricia Kornberg, Marcia Lawther and Muriel Rosenblum refined the text; operations coordinator Ellen Shapiro oversaw the complexities of the layouts.
During the process of their connubial concerns, staffers were reminded—sometimes with a groan or two—of their own weddings. When Sporkin was about to marry Richard Eisenberg, an assistant managing editor at MONEY, in 1985, she wanted to elope. But her groom talked her into having a big wedding. “We learned the night before that our caterer went bankrupt,” recalls Sporkin. “Fortunately, another one took over. There were 250 people, and I would have been in tears if people had to brown-bag it.”
Toepfer and husband Lorenzo Carcaterra, an author, tied the knot in 1981, the same year as Princess Diana and Prince Charles. “We were married on May 16,” remembers Toepfer. “About two months later we gave a party for Chuck and Di’s wedding at 4:30 a.m. We watched it on TV, then everybody went totally blearyeyed off to work.”
Writer J.D. Reed had a shock when he wed his wife, Christine, a religious educator, 24 years ago. “We were married in the judge’s chambers,” Reed recalls, “and outside, some prisoners were being arraigned for misdemeanors. A guy handcuffed to a bench said, ‘Just got married? I know where you can get it annulled for five bucks.’ That was a nice start.”
“One of the neat things about the wedding day,” says writer Joanne Kaufman, who married TV news producer Michael Joseloff in 1987, “is that it’s nice to be the center of an event.” Kaufman couldn’t finish the issue, because she was the focus of attention in another of life’s central celebrations: On July 7 she gave birth to second child Karen Elizabeth. Congratulations, Joanne.