Oral History Interview with Anna Langdell
Brief Item Record
Title: Oral History Interview with Anna Langdell
Creator: Anna Langdell
Date: May 10th, 2013, 8:30 AM/2:30 PM;2013-05-10T08:30:00-05:00
Description: An interview with Anna Langdell, Vassar Class of 2006, on May 10th, 2013 about the dress she wore to her wedding to her Vassar sweetheart on June 30th, 2012.
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Anna: About my wedding...well it's funny. I'm sure you're getting some interesting responses from my grandma and my aunt and all those guys because their weddings were obviously a very long time ago and mine was not even a year ago (laughter) so there's a bit of difference there. But, I don't know what do you want to know?
Emily: I guess if you can tell me what it was like and what you did, who was there, was it a big wedding, a small wedding? I don't know, anything that you would think of to define it. Did you have a good time? Was it fun?
Anna: Alright, so it was on June 30th of last year and we had our wedding outside Boston in Lincoln, Massachusetts, which is a small little town. I grew up outside of Boston so that was an easy choice for me. My husband grew up in Los Angeles and London, so he...and he is in love with New England somehow...so New England was totally fine with him, which was good. So we met at Vassar, my husband and I. We both went to college there and met our freshman year. We had been together almost 10 years when we got married. So that was kinda fun. We met in 2002 and we got married in 2012, which is kind of funny. The Vassar connection...so we do have a picture, actually I should send that. We have a picture of all of the Vassar grads who were at our wedding. There's like 20 or 25. I don't know...a lot.
Emily: That's awesome.
Anna: So we had mutual friends obviously from being in college together and then my mom's whole side of the family. You know, lots of women there including everyone who has their wedding dress at Vassar, as well as my dad and his sister, and my cousin also went to Vassar but she wasn't at the wedding. So there were a lot of people there and then a coupe of my mom's friends also went to Vassar so they were also there. An old professor, Benny Daniels, who's the Vassar College historian at the moment. She's been at Vassar her entire life basically. She's 90 something years old and she made it to the wedding, which was pretty cool. So that was exciting. We had all ages, which was really neat. And we should've put my sister in there because that was before she accepted going to Vassar. We should, you know, photoshop her in or something. She is now going to Vassar, and starting this fall, so that's very exciting. So we should've added her there. So obviously a big Vassar contingent. We decided to have a fairly largish/medium size wedding--there were about 90 people there and from all over. My husband's family is from California and England and everywhere in between. We have a lot of international friends, who obviously travelled far and wide to come which was really nice, that's all really special. I've lived in lots of different places in the past 10 years since graduating college (0:03:51.8) So to be able to bring our friends from Europe and from Texas and from California and from all over the east coast was really exciting and it felt like, you know, a giant reunion which was really kind of cool. I was worried that I would feel like the center of attention and I would feel uncomfortable, but in fact I was just so excited that I knew everyone and they were all my friends. It was pretty cool. I mean you don't get to go to too many parties where you know every single person and you're really happy to see all of them! So we had a big outdoor wedding. We had the grounds of a historic house in Lincoln and I think the house, I don't know when it was from--17th century, 18th century, something like that. The ceremony was in an Italian garden, which was lovely, at about sunset. So that was really nice. We wanted someplace outside, rather than in a church because in a way being out in nature is just as lovely and special and spiritual as being inside a church. It was a lovely day in June. I wish I hadn't been stressing about the week before, so we kept checking the weather forecast everyday. There was supposed to be thunderstorms and rain and it kept getting pushed closer and closer to the Saturday when I was getting married. I would wake up and check the weather every morning on my phone. I eventually was told that I wasn't allowed to do that anymore because it was stressing me out too much. But it turned out to be a lovely day, a little hot but it didn't rain which was the main concern. So we had an outdoor ceremony which was lovely and then kind of like cocktails and photographs and things on a big lawn and then dinner and dancing inside of a tent in a kind of old carriage house part of the historic house. (0:05:48.8) And what else, the best part was...well there were lots of best parts, but one of the best parts was at the end of the night when we used these, I don't know what they are, some kind of Asian wish lanterns where you light a little fire in the middle and then the air gets hot and they go up in the sky, which was really fun. We did a whole ton of them because we gave them to all of our wedding guests. Eventually, you know there were about, I don't know I think we did about 30 things on fire in the sky and the manager of the estate said I think that's enough, you're not allowed to do anymore. He's getting a little nervous with all of these things floating up. But that was really cool I think that was the best way to end the night which was really, really fun. And that was, yeah that was the wedding. We got to see everybody the next morning and you know, like I said, it was so special to have all of my friends and family there and obviously coming together. I think because my husband and I had been together for so long most people had already met or knew each other so there wasn't any big surprises or anything. But it was fun just combining the family and friends and all of that.
Emily: How wonderful. One quick thing, I realize I'm supposed to do an introduction to all of these interviews which I completely forgot--just for recording purposes. But my name is Emily Goddard I'm interviewing (correct me if this is the wrong pronunciation) Anna Langdell, okay. This is for the Vassar College Costume Collection wedding dress exhibit. It's May 10th, 2013. And we started this interview at about 8:35 and we're doing this via skype.
Anna: Yes, through skype.
Emily: I guess just moving on a little bit to the actual dress, do you remember where you bought it?
Anna: I can't remember the place or the name of the place, but it's somewhere outside of Boston and it's one of those discount places, which is great, that takes all of these designer dresses that were kind of the samples or something and then you can buy them yourself. But my mom and I had been to many, many wedding dress stores. I think she tried to keep tabs on how many dresses I had tried on, and I think we were passed 40 or 50. I don't know, I tried on a lot of different dresses. I was maybe a little too picky. But it ended up being just the right dress and it was great. It ended up being really special because my mom, my sister, and one of my best friends who was a bridesmaid in the wedding just ended up being able to come that day and I was kind of like in my head as we were going thinking I had tried on so many wedding dresses it is just time to make a decision. I have to find something today and I tried that one on and kind of thought "oh okay this would be nice" tried on a whole bunch of other ones and went back to that one and was just kind of like okay this is it. Let's do it. Done and done. So it was good, yeah.
Emily: Was there any other reasons? I mean other than just having to pick one. What did you like about this particular dress?
Anna: Good question. I think when I imagined my wedding dress it is not at all what I ended up choosing, which is kind of funny. I think I imagined something a little bit sleeker, a little less princess-y or something. But when I put this one on, it just fit me really well. It had a funky top with all of the folds and the pattern which reminded me of waves, which I really like--ocean waves. So it had something a little bit funky but it also felt very classic and I think that's the kind of mix that I tend to go for. It's kind of my personality. When I put it on I kept trying to think "oh maybe I have to wear something else with it. Do I have to put some sort of funky belt on? Do I have to do something kind of unusual to make it different" and then I realized that the dress itself was so unique that I didn't have to do anything with it and that's always the best way to go anyway.
Emily:Do you think you identify...well the question is do you identify at all with the pop culture of the time. So...
Anna: For me, compared to everyone else (laughter) I suppose. I mean, you know, it's always funny. You always think you want to be original and different and everything but I think I certainly, you know I read lots of wedding blogs and looked at lots of pictures and talked to my friends and all sorts of things and that kind of wedding culture at the moment all about that bit of do it yourself but also kind of classic. That whole mix, I had a few friends who got married last year and I think we all pretty much fit a similar mold. You know, in different ways, but I think we were certainly all part of the giant wave of wedding maniac moment. That's for sure.
Emily: That's great. And then, why did you chose to loan your dress to the shop for the exhibit?
Anna: Well, really because of, you know, the legacy that we have at Vassar. I remember my Aunt Ellen and my grandmother being really excited about donating their own dresses and my great grandmother's dress to the collection. I forget when that was, maybe a few years ago. And I remember Ellen looking for, like a missing shoe I believe. There's one of my great grandmother's shoes, I believe, but not the other one. So I remember them talking about â€˜Oh where could this shoe be? maybe it's stuck in the attic somewhere. we really need to find itâ€™ and it's just a really neat way of lending our family's tradition to Vassar's tradition and being the most recent one to have gotten married. I'm the first grandchild in a very long string of grandchildren that my grandmother has to actually get married. So it's always kind of fun to contribute to that and knowing that I'm the beginning of a new generation. And now my sister is going, so we're going to have to get her to loan her dress to the next show whenever that happens.
Emily: That's wonderful so just going back, how old were you when you got married?
Anna: So I was...how old am I now? I was 27.
Emily: And I'm assuming you're still married because it was last year. How long have you been married?
Anna: So it will have been a year in June. But, like I said we met in 2002, so we've been together for 10 years. But we were not living together for the past 2 years. My husband, Sebastian, has been in England and I was in New York, so one of the big things that happened after we got married is we took a very long honeymoon, which was awesome because we hadn't seen each other in a long time, and then I moved to England, so it's been really nice. We've been finally getting to live together and see each other everyday since we've been married, which was kind of the deal. The deal was, we get married and we get to see each other everyday, which is great.
Emily: That is great. How did you, and obviously you said it was at Vassar, but how did you actually meet your husband?
Anna: Well it's funny. We met on move in day. We lived across the hall from each other in Davison. So my parents remember this, everyone remembers it differently obviously. But basically I think I was really nervous and kind of moving in my stuff into my dorm room and trying to get settled and Sebastian is much more social than I am so he went around and introduced himself to everybody and shook everyone's hands and apparently introduced himself to my parents, but I had my back turned because I was so nervous, and he didn't actually introduce himself to me until later. So my parents say that they actually met him before I met him. Yeah, so we met our first day moving in and we had a couple of classes together first semester and started dating basically within a few weeks of meeting each other--we've been together ever since.0:15:00.6
Emily: That's great. That's a really awesome story. So at the time of your wedding, you know a very short time ago, how important did you think it was for you to get married?
Anna: Yeah, I mean I think especially our generation, right, it's a little bit different when you decide to get married. For example my grandmother or even my mom or something like that. I think really that starts with the decision to get engaged, which is when...we got engaged three years ago as of yesterday (which I forgot but my husband remembered). So when we got engaged we were living in Texas and we had both decided to go back to graduate school in different countries--so I decided to go to graduate school in New York, and he decided to come to England. It was one of those okay well we know we're definitely going to be apart for the next two years, let's do something symbolic that kind of proves to us that it will only be for two years and we'll be able to do something at the end of it that means we'll always be together. So I think it was, looking at it was like the precipice of being apart for a long time. Being engaged was a really nice way of saying we're still committed to each other and see this thing through. And then, like I said, when we got married, it was a really nice way of marking the end of being apart. You know, I had finished graduate school, and he's finishing this year and kind of saying okay it's a new chapter of our current life--because you know being together 10 years is a long time. It's the idea of okay well we're finally getting into our careers, we finally want to settle down, maybe not settle down but at least settle together.
Emily: Do you think your marriage has changed at all in the past year?
Anna: I don't know. You'll have to ask me that in a little bit. I think at the moment, it's interesting because we have been together for so long but at the same time things feel new because we hadn't been together, we had been having a long distance relationship. So I think my idea of marriage was being together and being able to make decisions, and have breakfast together on the weekends and things like that. And so far so good! So that has not changed yet, but I think you should ask me that in a few years and I'll probably change.0:17:41.3
Emily: That's great. So, a couple of other quick questions, do you remember what your spouse wore to the wedding?
Anna: Yes, actually he's wearing it today for a job interview! Sebastian cares very much about his clothes, so I think he obsessed over his outfit as much as I obsessed over mine. So it was equal.
Emily: Do you remember what it was?
Anna: Yeah so it's a gray suit with a kind of blue and white striped tie and this tie, he found this department store or something and decided he wanted his groomsmen to wear the same tie, which we then had to search every like Macy's and Bloomingdales between New York and Boston trying to find four more of the same tie, which ended up being a major hunt. But we managed to pull it off. There you go, I will always look at those ties and kind of hate them because I kept going to department stores looking for this very specific striped tie.
Emily: Wonderful. Do you remember what your bridesmaids wore? Did you have bridesmaids?
Anna: Yeah I had a few bridesmaids and they wore bright blue dresses from JCrew, made it pretty easy.
Emily: And I guess, that's about it. My last question for you is just if you'll tell me a little bit more about yourself. Obviously you went to Vassar, but what years were you there? What was your major? What careers have you had since then?
Anna: Yeah, sure I'll give you a little bit of an overview. So I was at Vassar 2002-2006, so both Sebastian and I graduated in 06. And I'll send you my actual, I changed my name, so my maiden name is Kitchorowsky. I don't know if you have that yet, which was very exciting forme to get rid of Kitchorowsky because no one ever knew how to say it. So when I got married, I thought not quite the feminist thing to do, to change my last name, but at the same time Kitchorowsky is a majorly long and difficult name to have. Langdell is much easier, which is fun. And being in England I seem to fit in, because it's a British name. So it's kind of nice. So I was there from 02 to 06 and I ended up majoring in American Culture with a minor in French. In my American Culture major I specialized in Sociology and Art History. For my senior project, I did a documentary photography project and exhibition on different communities in Poughkeepsie, which I really enjoyed--got to know Poughkeepsie a lot better than you normally do when you're on campus during my senior year. So that was really great. After college, I went to France to teach English for a year and that's where I really got fluent in French, which was also awesome. Definitely a skill I've been using since then. And then I went to Austin, Texas and worked in an art museum managing education projects for children and families for a couple of years and I had interned in museums during college and things. So I really liked museum education and art education for a while. And then I decided I wanted to work internationally. I had travelled a lot when I was studying French, I had studied abroad, and I missed that part of my life. So I decided to go to graduate school and get a master's in public administration, an MPA, and focusing on international development and cultural policy. So I went to New York University, to the Wagner School, for that. That was between 2010-2012, yeah so I graduated last May. So I graduated from school, moved out of my apartment in New York, and got married within a month of each other, which made it really crazy! I'm looking back, and that was just about a year ago, and I can't believe I was doing all of that. That was kind of insane! But I survived, and a lot happened in a very short period of time. And it was all good things at least, so that's a good thing. During my time in graduate school I did some really great internships in New York City, I ended up working for a documentary film maker, doing some cool international documentary films--things like that. So I kind of have switched careers a little bit. I work for the British Council now in London, managing research projects on international education and cultural programs--things like that, which is neat. So I keep getting to do the education stuff, but I'm doing it internationally and I still have a bit of a culture and an arts slant to what I'm doing, which is what I really like to do as well. So, I was actually thinking, I'm doing a research project on art and social change, which I need to write Marque Miringoff in the Sociology department because I took her seminar, junior or senior year, and now I'm doing something almost exactly the same as I did with her--it opened my eyes to all sorts of stuff. So it's kind of a nice way of coming full circle, I was just thinking about that this week.
Emily: That's really wonderful. Well that's all the official questions that I have for you, but if you have anything else that you'd like to add just about your wedding, your wedding dress, your life in general.
Anna: Um...No, I mean I think you pretty much covered it. It's fun to think back on my time at Vassar and everything like that and then thinking through everything that's happened in the past 10 years. Having just gotten married the last year you know things are, i'm still in a kind of transition, but things are looking a little more clear to me. I'm married, I know that Sebastian will always be by my side, which is really nice and starting a really interesting career. It's great and the Vassar connection will always be there. I joked that I grew up eating off of the Vassar college plates for every holiday meal, like looking at Main Building on the plate with my Turkey and things on Thanksgiving. At first that made me not want to go to Vassar because I already knew it and I thought I wouldn't like it. I thought it would be anything interesting or new and I'm so glad that I decided to go. And my sister just had that same exact decision process and realizing that it's actually a really great place! I suppose if I hadn't gone I wouldn't have met my husband, so it's a good thing I went. And it's still helping me in my career today--what I studied at college. I'm jealous that you're still there!
Emily: You're still having a good time. Well that's about it. Thanks so much for talking to me today, this has been really great.
Anna: Yeah, no problem! Thanks for doing this. Oh and one thing actually I didn't want to say, I never checked because we got my dress cleaned and it got put in the box and I never looked at it again, and I'm sure it's pretty dirty actually. that's because we were in an outdoor wedding walking through mud and everything. But in the inside lining, there should be my great grandmother's handkerchief, pinned to the inside, which was the old thing that my grandma gave me to have at my wedding as something old. So you'll have to check to see if you can find it, because I didn't make sure to see if it was still there. But that's kind of a nice little thing, that family history that was with me on my wedding day. I believe it was with my grandma on her wedding day as well. That's the story.
Emily: That's so exciting!
Anna: Yeah, so let me know, take a look! Poke around in all of those folds and see if it's there.
Emily: I'll definitely look for it.