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on October 27, 2017
Clearly extensive research and reporting went into this book. I appreciate that, and many fascinating details were included. But I find it disappointing that the author displayed such contempt for her subjects.
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on October 2, 2012
Rebecca Mead does not step delicately around issues surrounding modern American weddings in One Perfect Day -- rather, she tackles them head-on with class and wit. Her examination of the extravagance and opulence expected from modern-day weddings makes for a exhilarating ride. Going beyond just the statistics, she talks with photographers, planners, and vendors to get their inside view to the world of weddings.

My own perspective on the world of weddings is highly colored by my own experiences planning my wedding (which took place last May). Did we have a great, elegant, classy celebration? Yes (or at least, I hope so). Was it pricey? Yes. Did we do everything that people expect these days or make it an astonishingly unique display of our interests and passions? No.

I don't take any issues with Mead's lack of discussion of the actual point of a wedding, the marriage itself -- I have A Practical Wedding [...] for that -- but I would love to see a longer examination from her about a more reasonable wedding approach, like the one she took.

This is a great book for anyone planning a wedding, to provide a dose of sanity, or for anyone who is astonished at the current state of affairs for weddings.
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on March 18, 2013
While this seemed to be a book on the level of The American way of Death, it very much wasn't. There was a lot of interesting insights on the Wedding industry and I read it very quickly, the information was well set out, but also there was a lack of it. The premise was interesting, I loved it, but I kept on wanting more, was there no more information, or stories that the author could have gotten out of a trip to China to look at how the dresses were made? No real information on the moral issues regarding the labor force, or even anything about blood diamonds? The only other issue was that the chapters were a little jumpy, I really, really enjoyed this book and would suggest anyone who wants to learn about weddings and the complex surrounding them reads it, I don't think it will change how you view weddings though. Or how you might plan your own.
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on March 6, 2014
One Perfect Day explores the commercial mechanics behind the showy expensive weddings. The book also explores the societal pressures that affect brides and lead to the so called "Bridezilla". Rebecca Mead does an excellent job of making the book easy to read, interesting and easy to relate to. It's a quick read and has many amusing moments, it's easy to forget that you are learning while you are reading the book. In the midst of planning my own wedding I enjoyed a sane look at the commercialization of weddings and it made it easier to let go of some of the so called "traditions" in favor of less expensive alternatives.
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on May 14, 2007
I'm not married but I've been to 5-6 weddings a year the past few years and am in 2 this June. I have been totally flabbergasted that so many of my friends -- very thoughtful and unconventional in every other aspect -- swallow the most meaningless consumerist drivel when it comes to their weddings. I'm a professional designer and out of all those weddings, I can't remember a single bridesmaid's hairstyle, a single centerpiece, or what any of the cakes looked or tasted like. I'll never eat a wedding dinner that's as well-prepared as any of the San Francisco restaurants that I frequent, and some of the best wedding food I've had was mostly purchased from the Whole Foods deli -- around $1,000 instead of $10,000. What I remember and enjoy is the ceremony and the symbolism of two people getting married, and the fun of celebrating afterwards with friends and family. The fact that my girlfriends spend months and tens of thousands of dollars agonizing over useless stuff completely astounds me. I don't understand why everyone gets so neurotic about it!

What I liked about Mead's book is that she does not seem to be writing from within the dominant paradigm: she doesn't take it for granted that a meaningful wedding requires matching bridesmaid hairstyles or that it's a daring, hand-wringing proposition to (gasp!) let members of the wedding party choose their own shoes. I suppose that I find so much of what brides worry about to be utter nonsense, and I wish there were more voices (besides from the fabulously stodgy Miss Manners) that did not assume that the only way to properly symbolize a marriage is with $10,000 of floral arrangements.

This book is not comforting. The author's tone is dry and you can tell from the language she uses that much of the industry seems over the top to her. She doesn't seem to have a lot of sympathy for the sentimentalism of weddings -- which I think is a well-needed attitude, since so much of the uselessly expensive garbage of the wedding industry is sold using manufactured sentiment. ("But it's the MOST important DAY of your LIFE and of COURSE you NEED custom-printed M&Ms! Because how else will your friends and loved ones know what this day MEANS to you?")
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on December 11, 2007
Next to coal mining and waitressing, one of the more under valued jobs in our society is that of the intrepid, well-informed skeptic, whose role in life is to question that which the rest of us have accepted without full examination. In her new book "One Perfect Day," New Yorker writer Rebecca Mead dares to question our sense of proportion when it comes to how we marry and what it costs us. Her thin but effective book is less an expose, than a sharply written consumer digest of the people and the practices behind that "one perfect day," when bride and groom are encouraged to surrender their financial and emotional sobriety to a $161-billion a year industry. Ms. Mead has done her homework, and offers it up in entertaining bite-size portions that will supply the reader with plenty of cocktail party conversation. While one reviewer found the book "too cynical" for her taste, I believe the author wishes to be more of a consumer advocate than a romance deflator. When she briefly shares the details of her own wedding day, she does so like any bride who's happy to show you the photos. A good read from one of our most observant writers.
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on March 30, 2014
Awesome book that delves into the wedding industrial complex. This book has convinced me that eloping is the best option.
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on May 22, 2007
I read and enjoyed this book, I would have given it 4.5 if possible.

The first few chapters are entertaining and well written, but I felt like they were mainly capturing the material details of weddings and the wedding industry. The first few chapters are kind of like Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, but not quite as funny.

However, I think in the later chapters the author really gets at the heart of the matter, which is that some of the wedding culture is an attempt to substitute for a more general loss of meaning and community in an increasingly materialistic society. In that sense, I think the book has more in common with Bowling Alone : The Collapse and Revival of American Community.

In the final chapter, the author asks "What is a wedding for?" If I were planning a wedding (which I am not), I think reading this book might help me step back and come up with my own answer to that question, rather than one that was marketed to me.

If you aren't planning a wedding, the book is still an interesting snapshot of how our relationship with love, marriage, religion and community are changing.
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on July 6, 2012
The author, who herself had a simple civil ceremony followed by a small reception at her home, described herself as having "never nurtured a desire to be a bride-by-the-book." As she stated towards the end of the book, "The workings of the wedding industry confirmed me in my long-held conviction that...I wished to avoid its precepts as much as I possibly could...Whenever I tried to picture the modern American wedding, what I saw was an upscale shopping mall lined with brand name boutiques offering luxurious, market tested enticements to which I found myself immune..." For those who hold the same view, this book attempts to confirm such suspicions. Indeed, the author gives specific examples of what she finds as "luxurious market tested enticements"-- from bridal gowns, wedding planners, engagement rings to videography -- and how the same enticements have created a supposed Bridezilla wedding culture. It's a great look at the wedding industry in general and the marketing ploys which entice us to buy into it. It's also a book that seeks to confirm the author's own (somewhat cynical) biased notion that the American wedding had become like an upscale shopping mall. In some respects, it has become that. But you can't blame an entire industry which exists within a culture of self-obsession and overconsumption. The book also fails to adequately examine peer and familial influences on wedding choices. In the end, the responsibility to accept or reject enticing marketing ploys and/or cultural forces lies within the consumer. I can't help but agree with the author's sentiment though that, "It seemed to me to be a an obscenity to blow on a single day's celebration of getting married money that could very usefully be put away toward the considerable expense of being married, which is to say the expenses of ordinary life..."
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on November 3, 2007
One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding
My husband & I first heard this woman on the Dennis Praeger show. This book is an absolute necessity for a parent to read, as well as the bride & groom. Contains historical, sociological aspects of a huge industry, that is not altogether altruistic when it comes to having your precious daughter given in marriage. I highly, highly recommend this book.
Barbie Perkins
San Antonio, Tx.
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