It’s not the normal season for such things. When you think about weddings, whether you are a guest consuming copious amounts of champagne and charcuterie, or a father writing one of the largest checks of your life, the visions that dance through your head are more of the blooming-dogwood-and-cherry-trees variety than sugar plums and Christmas trees. Who gets married between American Thanksgiving and the corks popping on New Year’s Eve?
Almost no one except golfers. For golfers, the winter solstice is, and always has been, wedding season.
Justin Thomas kicked the season off by marrying Jillian Wisniewski in a phone-free private wedding in Franklin, Tennessee, on November 5. Jordan Spieth served as best man while Rory McIlroy was a back bencher.
Collin Morikawa followed suit by marrying his longtime girlfriend, Katherine Zhu, on November 26. At least they didn’t have to worry about the weather. The couple, who had been an item for five years before tying the knot, held a glamorous outdoor ceremony at the Hotel Bel-Air outside Los Angeles. Other than the bride and groom, the star of the show was the couple’s dog, Koa, who marched down the aisle in a tux and took a nap on the train of the bridal gown.
Like most golfers, they could have planned the festivities earlier. Morikawa popped the question a year before, on Nov. 30, 2021. But, as Epson Tour player Brynn Walker said, “off-season is wedding season, and in golf that means November, December and January.”
Walker married her longtime boyfriend Trevor Collins on December 17 in Chapel Hill, where both were athletes at the University of North Carolina. “Yeah, it’s not the typical time of year for a wedding, but you have to go with what the seasons give you, and in golf, that’s winter,” Walker said. “Jaye Marie Green got married this winter. So did Kaitlyn Papp.”
The Collinses took a lovely honeymoon to northern Italy, spending a day in Vienna before training across the border where they were welcomed by a foot of snow and temperatures in the high 40s. “Everybody at home had that crazy cold snap, and we had great weather,” Brynn said. “It couldn’t have been more beautiful.”
It was cold as well in Seoul, South Korea, between Christmas and New Year’s. That’s when my daughter and I flew to the other side of the world to see Lydia Ko marry Jun Chung in what was billed as the Korean “wedding of the year,” apparently outshining Sungjae Im’s nuptials two weeks earlier. In a beautiful Catholic ceremony at the historic Myeongdong Cathedral in central Seoul on December 30, bride and groom braved a chilly but sunny afternoon to greet all the guests ahead of the nuptials.
A clearly nervous Chung thanked us for coming. “This was all Lydia’s doing,” he said, pointing to the cathedral and the registration table and the gift bags filled with expensive New Zealand wine. “She’s a devout Catholic, and I guess I’m about to be.”
“Don’t kid yourself,” I said to him. “You might become one going forward, but today, you are window dressing. This is all about her.”
He laughed and agreed.
A few minutes later, my daughter and I nestled next to the bride for a photo before the ceremony. “Thank you for coming all this way,” Lydia said to us. “When I heard somebody speaking English, I knew it was you.”
“I think we win the long-drive contest for coming the farthest,” I said of our trip from Atlanta.
“I don’t know. Jennifer Song came from Orlando,” she said.
“That doesn’t count,” I said. “If you have relatives in Korea, you’re visiting family for the holidays. We came strictly for you.”
“And it’s greatly appreciated,” Lydia said with a smile. “I hope you enjoy Korea … and the wedding.”
We did, indeed, on both counts.