Correction to This Article
- The Feb. 4 Reliable Source column misidentified the WRC-TV (Channel 4) news anchor who dined with Laura Bush last week at Jackson 20 in Alexandria. It was Barbara Harrison, not Doreen Gentzler.

There's a Ford in Her Future: A Sweet Tea

Just like family: From left, Debbie Beard, her daughter Emily Threlkeld and future mother-in-law Dorothy Bowles Ford, at a tea party that Ford threw in honor of Threlkeld.
Just like family: From left, Debbie Beard, her daughter Emily Threlkeld and future mother-in-law Dorothy Bowles Ford, at a tea party that Ford threw in honor of Threlkeld. (Amy Argetsinger - The Washington Post)

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By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Monday, February 4, 2008

You know those nightmare stories about moms and daughters-in-law? Doesn't look like Harold Ford Jr. is going to have that problem. At the ladies' tea party she hosted in Bethesda on Saturday, Dorothy Bowles Ford, the mother of the former congressman, doted on her son's fiancee as if she were her own flesh and blood.

"My baby!" she cooed, stroking Emily Threlkeld's cheek and moving in for about the hundredth hug of the afternoon. "She's so pretty!"

For an outsider, it was a thrilling Jacqueline Bouvier-redux kind of moment -- a stylish young woman wins the heart of one of the most eligible bachelors in politics. For Mrs. Ford, the thrill was clearly more personal: "Oh, I want grandbabies!"

Saturday was a chance for Threlkeld -- a petite, blond 27-year-old who works in business development for the N.Y.C. designer Carolina Herrera -- both to meet about a dozen of Mrs. Ford's D.C. friends, and for her mom, Debbie Beard, to meet Mrs. Ford. The party was held at the home of Fannie Mae exec Stacey Stewart and her lobbyist husband, Jarvis, a friend of Ford's since both were "runny-nosed interns at the DNC," Stacey said.

"She's exactly every expectation of the woman Harold would have in his life," she said, toasting Threlkeld.

Threlkeld met Ford, 37, at her stepbrother's wedding three years ago; he then started calling and making excuses to come through New York on business. They dated through his crushing close loss in the '06 Senate race in Tennessee -- an experience that was devastating for her to watch -- and got engaged in Paris last fall.

The wedding is set for April 26 in Miami, where she went to college. She's trying to keep the guest list to 300. Threlkeld planned on six bridesmaids, but -- well, her future husband has a lot of friends, so there will be 13 attendants on each side.

As for Mrs. Ford, she compared herself to a little boy who's finally getting his trip to Disney World: "I'm too excited to go to sleep. I've wanted this to happen so bad!"

SORRY, YOU'RE NOT ON THE LIST

One in an occasional series of dispatches from parties you should have crashed.

Host: Washington Life Magazine.

Occasion: Release of the third annual list of D.C.'s under-40 social elite.

Buzz: A guest list tightly trimmed to 350, as well as various crash-proofing tactics (secret locations, ID checks), caused a frenzy on local party blogs.


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© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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