President Kunkel escorts his daughter Katie down the aisle.
Triple wedding at Old St. Joe’s draws national media attention
Months of planning, praying – and media exposure – paid off in the perfect triple-wedding experience for the Kunkel family.
As soon as Helen, Claire and Katie Kunkel – daughters of President Thomas Kunkel and his wife, Deb – decided that staging a triple wedding would make the most sense, media considerations became an integral part of the planning process. They soon discovered that initial interest didn’t necessarily translate into a final agreement – sometimes for the best.
Media darlings, near and far
CBS’s “The Early Show” demonstrated the most interest from a national perspective. One of the show’s producers contacted the family relatively early in the process and requested exclusivity on video of the church ceremony.
A letter from youngest sister and maid-of-honor Grace to “The Martha Stewart Show” drew some early inquiries, and producers from NBC’s “Today Show” and the Discovery Channel also showed preliminary interest.
Several other national media outlets also contacted the family at one point or another. The New York Times, for instance, wanted the story, but their request for total exclusivity would have cut the local media out of the loop “and we couldn’t promise them that,” Deb says.
Tom and Deb kicked off a week of interviews related to the wedding on the Green Bay FOX affiliate’s “Good Day Wisconsin” morning show, followed by appearances from the multitude of local vendors who provided services and products for the event. The story also received considerable play in the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
“We tried to oblige all of the local media requests as they asked for them,” Deb says.
CBSNewsOnline released a feature through YouTube and other online media channels, and the Kunkel brides and their grooms budgeted time for a dash to New York City for an appearance on “The Early Show” two days before the wedding. The slot was booked several weeks in advance, and the network took care of all travel and accommodation details.
“It gave me a day-and-a-half of peace and quiet to clean and get things done on my list,” Deb says. “I kind of liked it, because I knew that once they got back it would be constant.”
Smile for the Turba team
Jerry Turba ’74 put together a crew of six Turba Photography and Framing team members to document the big day. Cameras started clicking at 1 p.m. at the Kunkels’ home on the Fox River and at the Kress Inn, where the grooms held court.
“The couples arrived at the church at 2:45, and everyone queued up to go in and away we went,” Turba says. “I would like to have every wedding be as smooth as this one was.”
Mike Counter (Communications) coordinated a photo op for local media in front of Main Hall following the ceremony and provided CDs with a collection of Turba photos.
Turba, Mimi Schroeder ’87 and Megan Pierquet handled the photography duties; Joan Turba and Pedro Navarro took care of the video cameras; and Adam Van Fossen ’10 was the audio and media relations point person.
Turba’s crew snapped about 2,500 photos and recorded nine hours of video, meaning their work was far from finished when the night ended. The team edited video for possible use on “The Early Show” and identified the best shots and footage for the families well into the following week.
“We were burning up computer space like you can’t believe,” Turba says.
Since the big day, the Kunkel wedding story has been picked up by the Toronto Star and other media outlets. Martha Stewart Weddings magazine, and Destination Weddings and Honeymoons, are also in touch on the story.