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The New American Wedding: Ritual and Style in a Changing Culture Hardcover – November 15, 2005
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
From Publishers Weekly
Delaney explains a New American wedding this way: "[It] isn't a cookie-cutter icon-laden rehash of tradition. It expresses the union of two grown-ups in unique and honest ways and celebrates the depth of the couple's relationship as well as the breadth of their lives." The author, founder of a New York marketing agency, offers a very personal guide (brimming with anecdotes from her own nontraditional marriage, as well as those of recognized style experts) to the "new set of options" facing New American brides. The proposal chapter notwithstanding, most sections are indispensable. For example, the chapter on the bridegroom acknowledges that men will probably become involved in the challenge of logistics and advises accordingly. Among Delaney's other counsel: "commitment jewelry" need not be a diamond (indeed, it doesn't even have to be a ring); Delaney cites one couple—he's Japanese; she's Celtic—who designed a ring celebrating their mix of cultures, and another who chose a diamond bracelet. The rest of the book addresses prewedding parties, bridal registries, dresses, attendants, ceremonies, receptions and honeymoons with an equally open mind. This rather literary guide, not given to bulleted points or charts, is a refreshing handbook for contemporary brides.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Diane Meier Delaney opened her own marketing agency, MEIER, in New York City twenty-five years ago. Her work for clients such as Elizabeth Arden, Neiman Marcus, Maximilian Furs, and Esquire magazine has won her agency virtually every award in the advertising and marketing industry. She recently married BBC broadcaster and writer Frank Delaney.
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Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments, but I must say when I opened up a copy of THE NEW AMERICAN WEDDING: RITUAL AND STYLE IN A CHANGING CULTURE, my first reaction was that it would take one helluva purse to foot the bill for the first-class weddings that New York City style and marketing maven Diane Meier Delaney presents. That is, however, neither the truth (as the LIBRARY JOURNAL would have us believe) nor reason to miss this lush, lively, funny, and wise book. There's no denying, this is opulence all right, but believe it or not, it embraces the affordable.
Just read it. Amidst wedding registry gifts that include the classic vase from Tiffany's, there are tools from Sears and a request for hundreds of sets of new underwear--to be donated to the needy in San Francisco because there's a shortage of underwear in Salvation Armies and Goodwills. (Makes sense, doesn't it? Meier-Delaney points out. We donate that out-of-fashion sweater, but who would want our underpants with the failing elastic?)
On one page of NEW AMERICAN WEDDING: an out-of-this-world flaming-red-wedding gown fashioned of enormous poppies and with a train longer than not just my living room but probably my whole house (yard included). A few pages away: the simplest, white linen sundress. As for the cake: will you choose one of chocolate and orange mousse with landyfingers, fashioned by a world-class patisserie or a marshmallow and Rice Krispies creation from your own kitchen?
Ladies and gentlemen, there's an enormous range here. From the engagement to the honeymoon, Meier Delaney presents an array of choices for the bride and groom to choose from-from the most extravagant to the most simple--and I'll bet that about 99% of them you never thought of!
What if you're not a bride or groom to-be or wannabe, is there any reason to read this book? Absolutely! THE NEW AMERICAN WEDDING is an astute commentary on changing American culture and traditions, and it's also a sparkling example of out-of-the box thinking. Whether a mousetrap or a wedding, the design challenge is the same: to maintain the tradition and functionality (the trap must catch the mouse; the wedding must marry the people, the families, the values, the things) while breathing innovation into the creation. The plans and designs of many so-called out-of-the-box thinkers fail because they either stay too close to the box, like a mime in the shadows, or they venture so far outside the box that they forget all about it. The box is left out in the alley in the rain, the garbage truck is rounding the corner, and the designers are down the street doing the hokey-pokey. What Meier Delaney does is take that old traditional wedding box apart very carefully, piece by piece, then put those pieces back together into a shape that has all the qualities of a wedding but is so unique and unboxy that it appears to be something entirely different. Something more like a crystal or a Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome.
Told in a charming, sophisticated, writerly voice and with a narrative thread that reads like the kind of good book you like to curl up with, what amazes me is that Meier Delaney actually wrote this herself. It's not one of those "as told to" ghost-written deals. This woman not only has class and superb taste, confidence, and moxie, she's one heck of a writer. (Not to mention designer.) Chapter by chapter, as she chronicles the wedding decisions of a dozen recently hitched nontraditional couples, Meier Delaney weaves the story of her own mid-life engagement and marriage in 2002 to man-of-letters Frank Delaney, who many would call the BBC's answer to Dick Cavett and Charlie Rose.
Packaged as a high-end coffee-table-size book with glossy pages full of gorgeous photographs, THE NEW AMERICAN WEDDING is really a wild foray into creative thinking. Why not, as Meier Delaney suggests, have pony rides at your wedding reception? Why not a group lesson in car repair, water ballet, or tightrope walking instead of the cliché girl-in-a-cake or Chippendale pre-wedding bash? Why can't your dog be the maid-of-honor? Why not, instead of a traditional wedding dress, which Meier Delaney describes with her signature frankness as making her look like a float in a Mummer's Day Parade, wear cashmere pajamas? And is she kidding? No! According to her own story, the Meier Delaneys did have pony rides at their reception, she wore a curtain instead of a gown, and her German Short-Haired Pointer was the maid-of-honor. See what I mean when I said moxie?
The New American Wedding is a kind of wish book, a book for dreaming and finding inspiration, a book to help you identify and nurture your own style--for whatever purpose--take pride in it, and carry out your plans with abandon and aplomb. And as Meier-Delaney says, "Budgets aren`t really the deciding factor here. It's creativity and fresh thinking . . . . The thing to remember is that New American celebrations and receptions should never be done by the book."
Will Diane Meier Delaney take on the New American Divorce or maybe the New American Funeral next? I can't wait to find out.
The book contained some pictures (which I love looking at), but not that many. Most of the pages were adorned with sketches of dresses, flowers or other decorations. For someone who isn't very creative (which is why I'm reading this book in the first place), the drawings were too abstract for me to really get any ideas from. Plus, I felt like there was a lot of writing and personal story-telling, which was nice, but was a little excessive.
I think this book will appeal to some people - those looking for something truly different, but not to people looking to stay with "tradition" and add a little flavor.