Most people know Ann and Lloyd Hand as a D.C. power couple: She’s the go-to jeweler to the political elite (her Liberty Eagle pin is a favorite of Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, and more); he’s a lawyer and former Chief of Protocol. But 60 years ago, they were just two kids crazy in love.
On her first night at the University of Texas, 17-year-old Ann went to the freshman dance. A 21-year-old law student waited in line for a turn with the “really darling” girl.
“Little did I know that that dance would change my whole life,” Lloyd told their guests at their 60th wedding anniversary Thursday at Cafe Milano. “I promised the good Lord that if he would give her to me I would look after her all her life.”
The two eloped five months later, marrying at the naval chapel in Rhode Island before Lloyd shipped out for the Korean War. They came to Washington with then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson and never really left; five children, five grandchildren, and six decades later, they’re remain a popular fixture on the city’s social scene.
The restaurant was covered with pictures of their life together — including a va-voomy swimsuit shot of Ann and another photo of her in Life magazine. Still glam to this day, she greeted party guests wearing a dazzling diamond and pearl necklace. “It’s so hard to buy jewelry for a jewelry designer,” mock-sighed her husband, who surprised her with his anniversary present about an hour before the party.
The night was long on sentiment and short on speeches. “This is a night for hugging, kissing and dancing,” instructed Lloyd. The y asked the band to learn Nat King Cole’s “Too Young” (a big hit in 1951) so everyone could dance to “their” song.
But we cajoled a little happily-ever-after advice from his spouse. “You don’t have to make everything a big deal,” she said. “You don’t always have to be right. Pick your battles.” That doesn’t mean her husband always got his way. “If you’re a pushover, you cease to be interesting.”
Departing guests received a “Key to Happiness” party favor: An antique key that turns into a wine opener. “Have a sip of wine when things get rough,” said Ann with a smile.