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Altared: Bridezillas, Bewilderment, Big Love, Breakups, and What Women Really Think About Contemporary Weddings Paperback – May 8, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Curran solicits tart tales from 27 writers, normally willful and independent women, who, for the most part, have taken reluctant swan dives into the consumerist culture of the bridal industry. Contributors including Curtis Sittenfeld, Lisa Carver and Amy Sohn never thought they'd catch the bridal bug. Still, they each get lost in the fantasy but come out the other end with a meaningful realization. The essays delve into the fraught conversations, negotiations and neuroses around wedding vows, dress shopping, etiquette, registries and budgeting. Sticker shock is a common theme, among women who subvert the wedding industry with a DIY approach (Rory Evans topped cupcakes with handmade clothespin bride-and-groom figures), and others who pay a price despite saving money. Julie Powell's entertaining experience trying "to make a meal for hundreds into an expression of who you are" illuminated an incontrovertible equation: "hundreds of guests + unreasonable expectations + catering – billions of dollars = rubber chicken." Some of the more heartfelt pieces include Jennifer Armstrong's story of how she called off her wedding, and Lara Vapnyar's poignant recollection of a $16 gown and the leap of faith that marriage entails. Brides-to-be or women who've been there will easily see themselves in these true stories. (May)
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Review

“Darkly funny ruminations on getting hitched.” –People

“Refreshingly unsentimental.” O, The Oprah Magazine
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (May 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307277631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307277633
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,063,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Altared is a fanciful journey down the aisle of matrimony, ushered in with smiles, laughter and poignant moments. It is a compilation of wedding stories, edited by Colleen Curran, where each of the 27 authors artfully recalls a wedding experience from a personal perspective. This bouquet of witty, wedding tales is told in charming, eloquent writing.

We shop with Martha Stewart and recall Princess Diana's beautiful mega-wedding. Wedding cash outlay is debated and often shelled out in the thousands of dollars, for that dream that seems to be as much a part of our lives as other inevitable events. It is a glamour moment in fine satin, but also that real moment of sought-after harmony, a harmony often achieved, but also caught in the struggle of conflicting tastes, ideas and expectations.

The journey will not soon be forgotten and the reader may join in with fond memories or future inspiration. It is a reminder that although expensive elegance may be important, equally important is the handmade contribution and the kindness, love and adventure that touches each story.

Butter cream is blended with bitter chocolate and makes this a fun, fast read. It's about lives "altared," and in a good way.

Colleen Curran, who edited these stories, has just published a first novel, Whores on the Hill--an unabashedly sexual and mesmerizing read.

Armchair Interviews says this is bound to entertain anyone who has ever fallen in love or attended a wedding.
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Format: Paperback
I got engaged a month ago and found this book to be a great bus read. I’m a first-time bride at 38 and I’m still getting used to this idea of ‘wedding’: a big, white, millennia-old tradition that I truthfully have never given much thought.

All of these authors, without exception, are terrific and vivid writers. My favorites were the stories by Julianna Baggott, who writes sweetly about getting married at 23; Lara Vapnyar, who writes about her Russian "War and Peace" wedding fantasy; Catherine Ingrassia's empirical data about the wedding industry; and Kathleen Hughes' touching story of getting married months after her dad died. The stories that stayed with me the most were Samina Ali’s beautiful recounting of her arranged Indian marriage and subsequent re-marriage against her family’s wishes; Amy Sohn’s nightmare of dealing with divorced parents who hated each other; Jacquelyn Mitchard’s silly but cute tale of finding love again after widowhood; Lori Leibovich’s Jewish wedding at a hipster hotel in the Berkshires; and Julie Powell’s catering disaster. I also adored Amanda Eyre Ward’s description of her backpacking honeymoon, because several years ago (as a single person) I did a backpacking trip through Belize and Guatemala that was startlingly similar to hers.

Some of the quirks on display in these stories are loveable, like Rory Evans' dedication to hand-making 200 cupcake toppers. There are the usual cold-feet suspects: Jennifer Armstrong was engaged for over a decade but called it off (though she doesn’t clearly explain why!). Janelle Brown and Elise MacAdam allowed their mothers and MILs to choose their wedding invitations, their registries, and even their dresses. GROW A SPINE, ladies!

Be warned: Many of the authors in this collection are mentally ill.
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Format: Paperback
I swear I have a hundred female friends who are getting married in the next year (or hoping to!), and now I've found the perfect gift to give to all of them for their bridal showers (real or imaginary).

Every experience a you could have as a past, present, or future bride is well documented here with wit and grace from an amazing collection of writers.

After reading a few essays, you begin to see quite clearly why the process of getting married makes us crazy. But more importantly, and this seems to be the overall message of the book, however insane your wedding may make you feel, you aren't alone! Countless brides before you have experienced the same trials and tribulations, joys, disappointments, and blessings you will.

For brides-to-be, Altared is like a reassuring best-friend, who happens to tell stories both hilarious and heart-wrenching.
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Format: Paperback
I'm not part of the target demographic for Altared, since I've never dreamed of "the big day" or really imagined I'd ever get married. So I'm not really sure what drove me to pick it up save for the names of some of my favorite writers, like Lisa Carver. What I liked most about Altared is that it's not just anti-bridal industry or full of horror stories, but features women grappling with both their weddings and the countless issues weddings make us question. Even when the bulk of the essay is about the actual wedding day, the authors manage to say something more profound as well. The authors certainly don't escape their own barbs or criticism, but they are ultimately hopeful and humorous (of her gay wedding, Anne Carle writs: "What I remember is panic, worry, cold feet, and sometimes total and utter numbness. A coworker asked whether I felt like Bridezilla...but I actually felt more like Groomzilla.")

Jill Eisenstadt's "To Have or Have Not: Sex on the Wedding Night" looks at a topic I'd never have thought was a question and humorously breaks down the myth that wedding night sex is a triumphant celebration. Even though there's a little bit of repetition about the evils of Bridezilla-mania, wedding magazines, and the like sprinkled throughout the anthology, those pale in comparison to the many diverse and touching stories here, from Anne Carle's "Weddings Aren't Just for Straight People Anymore" to Gina Zucker's tale of crashing her mother's wedding and Samina Ali's tale of two weddings, one arranged marriage, one chosen.
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