Four Times Karen Darling Got Married (And the One Time She Didn't)
Karen was 31 when Tripp walked her down the aisle for the fourth time. She was wearing a dress by a designer no one had heard of and her wedding photos barely sold for a quarter million dollars.
Spoilers through "The Wedding."
The first time Karen Darling got married, it was because of expectations. Patrick married a mousy little woman—Karen was next in line. She met Alejandro de la Huerta while she was traveling through Europe after college. She liked him because he knew what it was like to grow up with money. Karen married Alejandro because his hair was dark and his eyes were brown. She married him because she could close her eyes and pretend she was marrying Nick after all.
Karen was 22 when Tripp walked her down the aisle. He stumbled a little from her new father-in-law's tequila. Karen wore Vera Wang and her father glowed as he gave her away. "Be kind," he whispered in her ear. "Be fair, be true, and be patient."
She danced with Nick at the reception, holding him closer than Alejandro preferred. She laid her head on his shoulder, breathed in his cologne and tried not to cry. She drank too much too fast and spent her wedding night passed out in a hotel suite.
After a year and a half, two affairs, and five fights involving smashed china, Karen burst into Dutch's office. "I want a divorce."
The second time Karen Darling got married, it was because of boredom. Max—a model-slash-wannabe-actor caught her eye at a premier party in Cannes. Karen married Max because his hair wasn't dark and his eyes were blue, not brown, and they sparkled with mischief.
Karen was 25 when Tripp walked her down the aisle the second time, wearing Vera Wang again. "Be kind," he murmured and she wrinkled her nose at the smell of tequila. "Be fair, be true, and be patient."
Nick wasn't at the reception because he was studying for his finals at law school. Karen danced with her father and with her second husband, grabbing flutes of champagne as they passed. She spent her wedding night making love to Max, biting her tongue to keep from crying Nick's name.
Max the model-slash-wannabe-actor only lasted 10 months.
The third time Karen Darling got married, it was because of status. She was Karen Darling: if she should marry anyone, it should be People's Sexiest Man Alive (in the anthropology category). Karen married Sebastian because he was smart, but he didn't make her feel stupid. He had dark hair and brown eyes, but his cheeks were scruffy and his grin was crooked.
Karen was 28 when Tripp walked her down the aisle for the third time. She wore Oscar de la Renta and there was a bidding war for her wedding photos. "Be kind," her father said, wobbling from the tequila that seemed to have become a strange tradition. "Be fair, be true, and be patient."
Nick didn't even RSVP for her third wedding, so Karen spent the evening sharing shots of tequila with her father. The liquor loosened her reservations and she did the chicken dance with Sebastian. A couple of days later pictures of her dancing showed up on the cover of a tabloid, but Karen, flushed with love (or lust) laughed it away.
Sebastian lasted longer than her other husbands, but they wound up in Dutch's office in the end.
The fourth time Karen got married, it was because of loneliness. Freddy was cute—in an annoying way—and he didn't have money of his own. Karen reasoned that as long as she had money, Freddy would be with her. She was afraid to add another divorce to her resume. She was afraid of dying alone.
Karen was 31 when Tripp walked her down the aisle for the fourth time. She was wearing a dress by some up-and-coming Russian designer no one had heard of and, unbeknownst to Karen, her wedding photos barely scraped up a quarter of a million dollars. Tripp forgot the second half of his customary speech, but he kissed her cheek anyway and told her she was beautiful.
They might even have lasted, if Freddy hadn't declared his love for her. Karen made sure her fourth marriage didn't last beyond the reception. "I want a divorce, now," Karen murmured in Nick's ear, smiling sweetly and moving down the receiving line. She didn't want Freddy to love her—loving her money was good enough.
The first time Karen Darling didn't get married, it was because of Nick. She was nineteen when he proposed. They were on the beach in Italy, drunk from grappa and kisses. He breathed it so softly Karen thought she had misheard him. "What?" She whispered, pulling away.
"Marry me," he said, grinning widely. His gaze—soft and brown—disconcerted her. He leaned in to kiss her again, but she stood, brushing the sand from her skirt.
"I can't marry you, Nick," she said. "We live in different worlds." She was Karen Darling, for God's sake. She should marry American royalty, a model, or a movie star. She deserved someone ranked in a magazine for his chiseled good looks—not her dad's lawyer's son. There were expectations! There were standards.
Karen grabbed the empty bottle of wine and tottered toward the road. "I'm sorry, Nick, I really am." She said, swaying on her feet. "But that's the way life goes."