It seemed like a return to a happier past. Joan and Ted Kennedy danced and talked the afternoon away. ABC sportscaster Frank Gifford and his ex-wife, Maxine, chatted cheerfully as his second wife, Astrid, mixed with the guests. The occasion wasn't a mass reconciliation, though. It was a new Kennedy union—the marriage of Michael Kennedy, 23, RFK's lookalike fourth son, to Frank and Maxine's daughter, Vicki, 24. The day was marked by the usual Kennedy panoply, with more than 200 pals on hand, 16 ushers, seven bridesmaids and a remarkable wealth of goodwill. Said the Rev. Gerald Creedon, the Jesuit who performed the ceremony at St. Ignatius Loyola in Manhattan: "This marriage is a happy celebration of love."

Also of friendship. Among those attending were Andy Warhol (who gave Michael's brother Max a signed drawing on a napkin), Howard Cosell, Pete Rozelle, Roone Arledge and Art Buchwald. "We Trojans are delighted," said the columnist, who, like the former NFL halfback, is a USC alum.

The ceremony itself was as conventional as Monday night football. A nervous Giff led Vicki down the aisle, then committed a rare fumble by trying to kiss her through her illusion veil. It took Father Creedon to conjure up the spirit of Camelot in his benediction: "Together they will search and seek out that pure world that Michael's father sought." After that, the single-ring ceremony exploded in exuberance, and a gaggle of Kennedy kids cheered.

At the rooftop reception in the St. Regis Hotel, the newlyweds used a saber to cut a wedding cake adorned with a waterfall and raft in tribute to their favorite sport. The groom, who aspires to a legal career (he has an A.B. in history from Harvard), toasted his bride, a 1980 Boston College grad, with the loving cup that Ethel and Bobby used at their 1950 nuptials. Then the family patriarch concluded with a reminder of what Kennedys are all about. "I know you're going on an extended honeymoon [to Sun Valley and Tahiti]" said Ted, "but I hope you'll soon be back in Massachusetts, where you're really needed"—presumably for his next campaign.