Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of the Lavish Wedding

Front Cover
University of California Press, Oct 17, 2003 - Business & Economics - 384 pages
The fabulous gown, the multitiered cake, abundant flowers, attendants and guests in their finery. The white wedding does more than mark a life passage. It marries two of the most sacred tenets of American culture—romantic love and excessive consumption. For anyone who has ever wondered about the meanings behind a white dress, a diamond ring, rice, and traditions such as cake cutting, bouquet tossing, and honeymooning, this book offers an entertaining and enlightening look at the historical, social, and psychological strains that come together to make the lavish wedding the most important cultural ritual in contemporary consumer culture.

With an emphasis on North American society, Cele C. Otnes and Elizabeth H. Pleck show how the elaborate wedding means far more than a mere triumph for the bridal industry. Through interviews, media accounts, and wide-ranging research and analysis, they expose the wedding's reflection—or reproduction—of fundamental aspects of popular consumer culture: its link with romantic love, its promise of magical transformation, its engendering of memories, and its legitimization of consumption as an expression of perfection. As meaningful as any prospective bride might wish, the lavish wedding emerges here as a lens that at once reveals, magnifies, and reveres some of the dearest wishes and darkest impulses at the heart of our culture.
 

Contents

The Rise of the Lavish Wedding
25
The Engagement Complex
55
The Rituals of Wedding Shopping
81
The Wedding Weekend
105
From the Cabin to Cancún
134
Hollywood Hosts a Wedding
165
The Lavish Wedding Goes Global
197
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