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Cate Doty | Mergers and Acquisitions

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in conversation with Ayn-Monique Klahre, editor of WALTER magazine

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Warm, witty, and keenly observed, this behind-the-scenes memoir takes readers inside the weddings section of The New York Times—the good, bad, and just plain weird. It is an enthralling dive into one of society's most esteemed institutions, its creators and subjects, and a young woman's coming-of-age.

Soon after graduating from UNC in 2002, Doty, who "loved nothing more... than playing dress-up in my mom's homemade wedding dress" as a girl, landed a job writing wedding announcements for the Times. Doty tracks the evolution of the paper's society pages from the appearance of the first wedding announcement in 1851 to the first inclusion of a same-sex couple in 2012, shares details of the selection process (announcements typically chosen for publication are "chronicle of power"), and describes the awkwardness of fact-checking the backgrounds of marquee couples whose announcements were set to appear "above the fold." Throughout, she interweaves biographical details about her childhood in the South, reflects on how the institution of marriage has changed as a result of women's empowerment, and offers an intimate look at the ups and downs of her love life in New York City and her own marriage (which was announced by the Times in 2010). Laced with frank reflection and entertaining anecdotes, this is a winning portrait of love and ambition in the 21st century.

Cate Doty is a writer and a former editor at The New York Times, where she worked for nearly 15 years, including as a wedding announcements writer, presidential campaign reporter, and a senior staff editor on the Food desk. She teaches journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from which she graduated, and lives in Raleigh with her family.

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