From Publishers Weekly
Love may be the catalyst for the American white wedding, but hosting an elaborate celebration also demonstrates a family's prosperity and material success, argues Jellison in her compelling economic and social history of how this ritual survived despite the major cultural and political changes of the 1960s and beyond. Jellison, an associate professor of history at Ohio University, argues that while the white wedding of the 1940s may have celebrated youth, virginity and a patriarchal family structure, Americans have reinterpreted the symbolism of satin and lace: the 21st-century bride evokes the tradition of female-focused celebration and uses the elaborate and costly event as a display of her professional and social success as she marks a life transition. With chapters on celebrity nuptials, silver-screen I-dos and the latest batch of reality TV brides, Jellison demonstrates how advertisers, media and brides themselves slowly reshaped the white wedding into an act of organized feminism. This book is in the same genre as Rebecca Mead's 2006 One Perfect Day
and will attract both academic and lay readers. The well-footnoted prose is accessible, and the 50 photographs and advertisements vividly demonstrate the changing trends Jellison outlines. (Mar.)
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"Jellison's fascinating and well-written account of Americans' love affair with the lavish white wedding reveals how popular culture has both mirrored and encouraged the hopes and desires of those about to many." Vicki Howard, author of Brides, Inc.: American Weddings and the Business of Tradition "Should appeal to scholars and general readers alike for its clear prose, perceptive analysis, and captivating anecdotes drawn from wedding industry insiders, magazines, movies and television, and brides, as well as brides-to-be." Jessica Weiss, author of To Have and to Hold: Marriage, the Baby Boom, and Social Change "Illuminates the American way of wedding - with all its tensions and diverse impulses." Beth Bailey, author of From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in Twentieth-Century America"