As Long as We Both Shall Love: The White Wedding in Postwar America

By Karen M. Dunak | Go to book overview

1
“Linking the Past
with the Future”
ORIGINS OF
THE POSTWAR
WHITE WEDDING

In the midst of the planning for Kay Banks’s 1948 wedding, her father Stanley mused to himself: “It should have been so simple. Boy and girl meet, fall in love, marry, have babies—who eventually grow up, meet other babies, fall in love, marry. Looked at from this angle, it was not only simple, it was positively monotonous. Why then must Kay’s wedding assume the organizational complexity of a major political campaign?”1 Stanley’s bewilderment at the wedding process indicated the changing nature of the celebration in post–World War II America. Edward Streeter’s Father of the Bride chronicled the events leading up to the wedding of Kay Banks and Buckley Dunstan. The book gave readers an in-depth account of a newly democratized style of wedding celebration: the increasingly typical white wedding. A national best-seller, Streeter’s 1948 novel struck such a chord among the American public that it soon became a Hollywood film starring Spencer Tracy as the ever-baffled Stanley Banks and Elizabeth Taylor as his daughter, Kay.2 Although told from a father’s perspective, Father of the Bride resonated with readers and viewers alike, regardless of previous wedding role or experience. Americans learned that in order to achieve an ideal white

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