You can construct a pretty good psychological profile of a couple by observing how they execute their wedding. Registry, caterer, dress, flowers—all can be indications of discriminating good taste or pitiable superficiality. Perhaps most important is the chosen location for the blessed event. In The Perfect Choice: Wedding and Reception Sites (Gray, McPherson & Associates, Silver Spring, Md.), publishers Betty McPherson Dunkins and Joy Gray- Miott list nearly 200 D.C.-area matrimonial spots. Choice‘s locales run from the snooty (say, the Carnegie Institution) to the quirky (the National Aquarium) to the dubious (would you really want to tie the knot at the Best Western Springfield Inn?), all organized by state and labeled as “Mansions,” “Ballrooms,” etc.; unfortunately, some sites are listed up to eight times because they fall into many possible categories. Choice also cites fees, cost, and crowd capacity for each location. But be advised that the optimistic site descriptions should be taken with a grain of salt. The entry for Evans Farm Inn in McLean, Va., says nothing about the plastic deer that stands guard over the parking lot, and there’s no mention of the weight-loss center or the surf shop that closely flank Fairfax’s Old Town Hall. Still, simply due to its vast selection of connubial venues, Choice is already serving as a handbook for my own impending matrimony. Sorry, ladies.

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