Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of the Lavish Wedding

Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of the Lavish Wedding

Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of the Lavish Wedding

Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of the Lavish Wedding

Synopsis

"As Otnes and Pleck so richly detail, the contemporary wedding is at once a rite of passage, a flight of fantasy, an expression of romantic longing, and an orgy of conspicuous consumption. Most significantly, the lavish wedding has become a celebration of contemporary consumer culture and is spreading globally, despite some resistance and backlash. From Barbie's wedding dress to Hollywood films to enormously expensive Asian weddings to gay and lesbian white weddings, we sanction superfluity in weddings to a degree unparalleled in other key life events including those of birth and death. This is a compelling analysis of the past, present, and future of wedding rituals, that holds a telling mirror to contemporary culture."--Russell Belk, author of "Collecting in a Consumer Society

"Elizabeth Pleck and Cele Otnes pair their distinct talents to offer us a lavish display of the lavish wedding. In fascinating and often surprising detail--across time and place--they make sense of why we have clung toand, in fact, have radically embellished this vestige of Victorian culture."--Gary Cross, author of "An All Consuming Century: Why Commercialism Won in Modern America

Excerpt

On June 22, 2001, millions of viewers watched Good Morning America as retired firefighter and cancer survivor Lorenzo Abundiz married Peggy Beeuwsaert in the middle of New York City's Times Square. The bride and groom had won a contest, sponsored by the program, in which viewers voted for the couple they felt was most deserving of a “fairy-tale wedding. ” In the weeks leading up to the event, viewers watched as Peggy and Lorenzo selected their wedding gown, cake, flowers, and bridesmaids' dresses. After taking their vows, they were serenaded by British classical star Russell Watson, given a honeymoon to England and Ireland by ABC, and then driven away in a horse-drawn carriage down Broadway. To help create the dream wedding, ABC enlisted the help of the Web site Weddingchannel.com, wedding gown designer Amsale, specialty baker Sylvia Weinstock, jewelry designer Scott Kay, cosmetics maven Estée Lauder, and designer Ralph Lauren.

It was not the first time a television program had given away a wedding; in fact, that was the whole raison d'être of The Bride and Groom Show, which aired on NBC in the 1950s. But what has changed since that time is how pervasive weddings have become in our cultural landscape. There are television programs devoted to following wedding planning; films centered on weddings; wedding plots in soap operas, situation comedies, and dramas; an increasing number of magazines devoted to . . .

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