To Have and To Hook ’em

Longhorn weddings are serious business. At The Alcalde, we’re consistently inspired by the creative ways Texas Exes incorporate their alma mater into their matrimony—from burnt-orange proposals to giant Tower cakes to at least one martini-dispensing Longhorn ice sculpture.

But showing school pride on your big day doesn’t always require planning or expense, as this snapshot from the Sept. 17 wedding of Denise Halpin Gold, BS ’06, and Jeffrey Gold proves. Though Jeffrey is an Indiana Hoosier, he was excited to join his bride’s diehard Longhorn family. So just before he and Denise said their vows, he flashed the Hook ’em Horns sign at his new father-in-law. That gesture said more about familial love and pride than any vow ever could. Here’s how they each remember it:

The rabbi (Ken Chasen): “I’ve officiated more than 100 weddings. When this photo was taken, I was feeling pure, unbridled joy. I loved the intimacy that Jeff introduced into that moment, which could have been heavy or solemn. Instead, it was playful and sweet, in part because of that one little gesture.”

The groom (Jeffrey Gold): “The decision to do the Hook ’em Horns at my wedding was about 85 percent spontaneous, 15 percent planned. I did it right after Denise and her parents walked down the aisle. I thought her father would like it, and sure enough, he had this huge grin. And the whole crowd laughed. I went to Indiana University—but I’m an honorary Longhorn.”

The bride (Denise Halpin Gold, BS ’06, Life Member): “Jeff is my best friend, so walking down the aisle to him was incredibly special. He’s also a total jokester, so I knew he would do something. When he threw up the Hook ’em Horns, it was a really sweet moment between Jeff and my dad. A lot of people are very serious in that moment—and it shows what kind of person my husband is that he had fun with it.”

The mother of the bride (Dee Dee Halpin, BS ’75, Life Member): “I didn’t see Jeff actually gesture. I was walking away. But I just wanted to be present in the moment and soak in everyone’s happiness. I turned to Jeff and Bob and saw them embrace. There’s another photo that was taken right after this one, and it shows everyone beaming.”

The father of the bride (Bob Halpin, BA ’75, Life Member): “Dee Dee and I walked down the aisle with Denise, and we each gave her a kiss. Then I offered my hand to Jeff so he could shake it—and he did, but not until after he did the Hook ’em. And then we hugged. That was when it hit me that the wedding was really happening. [The Hook ’em] was just a small thing, but it showed a lot of respect and love.”

Photo by Rebecca Rotenberg of Rebecca Adler Photography, courtesy Dee Dee Halpin.


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