The Morning Joe co-hosts made it official during an intimate Saturday ceremony at the National Archives, in front of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, officiated by Rep. Elijah Cummings.
At 5:40 p.m. on Saturday evening, Mika Brzezinski hurried out of a black S.U.V. a few dozen yards from the back entrance of the National Archives. An umbrella was popped open for her, and she walked into the historic library in order to get married to her longtime Morning Joe colleague and partner, Joe Scarborough, in front of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights.
Part of the popularity of the Scarzinski relationship derives from the fact that, despite their prominent roles as hosts of perhaps the most influential news program in American politics, their romance has been handled with militant discretion. The couple, who got engaged last spring at the Hotel Du Cap in Antibes, France, never talk about their relationship on air, are seldom photographed together at social events, or spotted at restaurants, on vacation, at parties. This discipline has lent the duo an unexpected celebrity air, rendering them a sort of Branjelina of the political-media in-crowd—a credential more or less certified when Donald Trump offered to have them married at the White House during a visit in 2017. They declined the offer.
Their wedding was handled with similar secrecy. Washington was a post-Thanksgiving ghost town: Congress was out of session, the president was in Palm Beach, much of the city’s permanent class was away for the holiday or at home in suburban Maryland or Northern Virginia. Most of the people working for the vendors did not know the identity of the betrothed until Saturday evening, and many of the reservations were made under a friend’s name. The couple did not send out any formal invitations; they made about 14 phone calls to their family members and close friends, and none of the guests knew where the dinner was until Saturday evening. They chose this date because people with prying eyes would be out of town, but it would also work with their kids’ school schedules (Scarborough has four children from two previous marriages; Brzezinski has two daughters from her first marriage). “We wanted it to be really small and simple and not what you expected from Mika and Joe,” Brzezinski explained on Saturday. “Everything we do is exposed, and everything felt exposed every step of the way, so we want this to be private until it’s over. We wanted to recognize it more quietly and have the people who are most important to us around us. And you know, our show is a cocktail party every morning.”
Scarborough playfully interrupted. “Not a cocktail party. A coffee. We have three hours talking to our good friends every morning,” explaining how a rotating cast of their friends make their way onto their set from 6 to 9 a.m. each weekday to help make sense of the news (Disclosure: as an MSNBC contributor, I appear on Morning Joe to talk about my reporting for Vanity Fair). “We made the decision a year ago to dramatically change our lives and have a low-key existence,” he added. “The more time we can spend with our family, the happier we are.”
The monsoon-like weather made the secret easier to keep: the sidewalks were almost entirely clear and most people in the city were huddled inside. Brzezinski had absconded from the nearby Ritz Carlton sheathed in a bathrobe to keep dry and keep her dress hidden. The Archives, closed to the public on Saturday evening and almost entirely empty apart from security and staff, were opened to accommodate the couple and five guests, plus their children. It was the first time a wedding has ever been held there.
Brzezinski wore a stark-white, tea-length Milly dress, with delicate, polka-dotted lace sleeves that swept into a sweetheart neckline, created by her friend, designer Michelle Smith. Her shoes were custom-made by designer Layla-Joy Williams, who flew to her factory in Brazil with fabric from the dress to make sure the pointy-toed stilettos were just right. Scarborough, for his part, wore a black Zegna suit from his on-air rotation, what he called a Robert Mueller-approved white shirt, and a traditional black wedding tie. He affixed a boutonniere with a white orchid and green sprigs to his lapel.
A few minutes after 6:30 p.m., a string quartet—two of whom nearly missed the ceremony, stuck in transit—began a brief set of songs they discovered in the C.D. collection of Brzezinski’s father, Zbigniew, who passed away just before their engagement. As Handel’s “Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” began, the couple each entered from a separate end of the rotunda, walking toward each other to meet in a bronze circle in the center of the main room, with inlays that read “history,” “justice,” and detail the Ten Commandments. On the bride’s side was her mother, Emilie, and her two of her closest friends, Laura Erlacher and Susan Castallanos. On the groom’s side, two close friends of the couple, Rachel and Dr. David Campbell, who hosted the wedding and dinner for them. “We did an event there more than a year ago and we were just blown away, seeing all these documents and how we felt seeing them,” Brzezinski told me before the ceremony, explaining how they settled on the rotunda in the Archives, with its 70-foot ceilings and those three historic documents framed behind glass, as the place where they wanted to marry. “It makes sense now more than ever, given what we stand for as a couple, what we do for a living, and what we’re worried about as a country.”
They walked past the five cameras set up to capture the ceremony, and up the four steps that brought them to their officiant, Representative Elijah Cummings, who has represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the House of Representatives since 1996. Cummings started a traditional ceremony, which he and Scarborough had written together. (Along with the music and the ceremony scripting, Scarborough had a hand in planning details for the day, though he explained that he was translating Brzezinski’s wishes. “I was really Mika’s wedding planner,” he joked. “I did what she told me to do.”) The congressman talked about knowing the groom from their time together in Congress, and the bride and her family over the years in Washington. There was a reading from the Old Testament (Ruth 1:16-17), one from the New Testament (First Corinthians), the question of whether anyone objected to the union (no one did), the exchange of vows (which they each wrote themselves) and a prayer for the couple. By 6:46 p.m., Cummings pronounced them married and told Scarborough that he could kiss the bride (which he did). “My mom would always say that she loved Episcopalian services because they marry you and bury you in 15 minutes or less,” Scarborough told me earlier in the day. At that point, the couple’s children and close family came into the rotunda to greet the newlyweds and take photos. So, too, followed Brzezinski’s daughter Emilie’s little black rescue dog, Cali, who arrived on a Tiffany-colored leash (her traditional something blue).
Cummings, who has led the charge in probing President Trump as ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, also bore the weight of symbolism. “He’s a representative of the movement forward, of getting the country back,” Brzezinski said. The couple denied that the decision was intended to suggest possible presidential aspirations for Scarborough, whose name is often invoked in putative 2020 and 2024 conversations. “We didn’t think of that at all,” Brzezinski told me. “But I’m sure people will say that.”
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SOURCE: Vanity Fair – Emily Jane Fox