There’s a new database out there to supplement your weekly dose of matrimonial elitism. Wedding Crunchers has compiled 60,000 wedding and engagement announcements over the last 30 years from the the New York Times wedding section of record, allowing users to search through these archives by keyword and generate charts based on the changing frequency of the term over time. Are hyphenated last names, Ivy League educations, and fancy job titles a recent phenomena in the wedding section? I don’t know, but this program can tell you!

While the wedding announcement sifter probably serves some grander sociological purpose, like showing in chart form how the average marriage age has increased over the years among an affluent demographic, I opted to break it down for D.C. purposes so we can figure out our best chances for making it to the golden pages of the New York Times wedding section.

Here’s the key to finding your name in the Grey Lady:

1) Move to New York. If you don’t make it to the wedding section, don’t be so hard on yourself: You were at a disadvantage living in D.C. Those snobs in New York appear in the section about four times as often as D.C.ers, though we’ve been catching up in recent years. (It should be noted that since New York’s population is more than 13 times bigger than D.C.’s, you might actually be better off sticking around.)

2) Go to GW, not Georgetown. In the nineties you were much better off going to Georgetown, but GW has edged Georgetown out in recent years. It could have something to with enrollment numbers, or possibly GW’s even more gloriously hefty price tag.

3) If you can’t relocate to New York, move to Bethesda. And get out of Anacostia. It appears that Anacostia has one lone mention in the wedding announcements, and that came in 2000 when a couple met at a clean-up drive at a community center there. Bethesda, on the other hand: total gold mine.


4) Be a senator, work for a senator, or have a parent that was or is a senator.  This is much better than being a lobbyist.

5) Don’t have Marion Barry officiate your ceremony.  The mayor-for-life has been in search of a gay couple to marry, but it appears he hasn’t even made it to the wedding section himself.

Note: I cut off the y-axis both because it’d mean very long graphs, dating back to 1980, and because it’s not all that useful: Rather than charting absolute numbers, it tracks the percentage of the listings using the specified term.

(h/t to Philly Mag for thinking to localize this critical trove of information.)