Details and photos from Katie and Jay’s big day.
The following is an excerpt from Going There.
Our wedding was on June 10th at 2:00 p.m. at the Navy Chapel, right next door to the WRC/NBC building.
Something I hadn’t counted on: Jay wanted the Monahans’ family friend John Kelly—a Catholic deacon—to marry us. That meant I would need to be confirmed in a Christian church, something I had rejected in seventh grade.
I’d met with our local Presbyterian minister, Reverend Birdsall, at the drugstore, where he bought me a Coke and shared the benefits of a prayerful life. He pulled out a pamphlet with a diagram showing Jesus on a throne surrounded by symbols for parents, siblings, friends, and community. I just couldn’t accept the idea that Jesus was more important than my family and announced to my dad that I didn’t want to become a member of the church. But now, almost 20 years later, I was asking him to go through the confirmation process with me.
Together, we joined the National Presbyterian Church, which was on the other side of WRC. We were mesmerized by the minister’s sermons. Sharing a hymnal and reciting the Lord’s Prayer made me feel so close to my dad. I loved those mornings with him, not as father and daughter but as contemporaries, talking about faith and life.
I shelled out $1,100 for a wedding dress at the Bethesda boutique Claire Dratch: white silk with a shawl collar, a spill of tiny covered buttons down the back, and a train that hitched up to make a bustle. On my head, a lightly sequined pillbox hat with a pouf of tulle. The whole effect was more jaunty than elegant, which felt right. I carried a pretty bouquet of gardenias that my mom made. She had a side hustle doing floral arrangements with women we referred to as “the flower ladies,” providing companionship and a bit of spending money.
We had 230 guests. The ceremony was lovely, although not without drama: Just as Jay uttered those immortal words “I do,” a fire alarm went off in the chapel. Apparently, someone who worked there was
smoking in the balcony.
“Did I give the wrong answer?” Jay ad-libbed.
As for the reception, neither of our families could afford a supersnazzy affair with a soup-to-nuts sit-down dinner. I’m remembering stuffed mushrooms, Swedish meatballs in chafing dishes, and strawberries you could dip in a vat of chocolate mousse. There was a ’40s-type swing band that kept taking smoking breaks at the most inopportune times, which ticked me off; Jay would say it was his first taste of me as “a pouter” (he’d picked the band, so I was mad at him too). Steve Doocy emceed. Long before he became the host of Fox and Friends, he was a benignly funny features guy at WRC. There’s a priceless photo of my mother near the end of the wedding looking anxiously at her wristwatch. Not because she hadn’t had fun but because she knew that if the band played on, she and my father paid on. Time to wrap it up. Jay and I were driven off in a friend’s car, our heads and arms popping out of the sunroof as we waved to the crowd.
Excerpt(s) from GOING THERE by Katie Couric, copyright © 2021 by Katie Couric. Used by permission of Little, Brown, an imprint and division of Hachette Book Group. All rights reserved.