Altared: Bridezillas, Bewilderment, Big Love, Breakups, and What Women Really Think About Contemporary Weddings [NOOK Book]

Overview

Original essays by Top Women Writers
Julianna Baggott _ Curtis Sittenfeld _ Catherine Ingrassia _ Elizabeth Crane 
Lara Vapnyar _ Lisa Carver _ Carina Chocano _ Rory Evans _ Jennifer Armstrong _ Elise Mac Adam _ Janelle Brown _ Daisy de Villeneuve _ Meghan Daum _ Amy Sohn _ Samina Ali _ Farah L. Miller _ Gina Zucker _ Kathleen Hughes _ Jacquelyn Mitchard _ Ruth Davis ...
See more details below
Altared: Bridezillas, Bewilderment, Big Love, Breakups, and What Women Really Think About Contemporary Weddings

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

Original essays by Top Women Writers
Julianna Baggott _ Curtis Sittenfeld _ Catherine Ingrassia _ Elizabeth Crane 
Lara Vapnyar _ Lisa Carver _ Carina Chocano _ Rory Evans _ Jennifer Armstrong _ Elise Mac Adam _ Janelle Brown _ Daisy de Villeneuve _ Meghan Daum _ Amy Sohn _ Samina Ali _ Farah L. Miller _ Gina Zucker _ Kathleen Hughes _ Jacquelyn Mitchard _ Ruth Davis Konigsberg _ Lori Leibovich _ Julie Powell _ Jill Eisenstadt _ Anne Carle _ Amanda Eyre Ward _ Amy Bloom _ Dani Shapiro

Anyone who is intimated by the prospect of planning a wedding will laugh out loud and take solace in Altared. In this unexpected, heartwarming, thought-provoking collection, more than two dozen of our most perceptive and entertaining writers offer a wide range of takes on the modern wedding.  It's all here. Fantasies. Realities. Fond memories. A few regrets. From planning it to doing it and everything in between.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Curran solicits tart tales from 27 writers, normally willful and independent women, who, for the most part, have taken reluctant swan dives into the consumerist culture of the bridal industry. Contributors including Curtis Sittenfeld, Lisa Carver and Amy Sohn never thought they'd catch the bridal bug. Still, they each get lost in the fantasy but come out the other end with a meaningful realization. The essays delve into the fraught conversations, negotiations and neuroses around wedding vows, dress shopping, etiquette, registries and budgeting. Sticker shock is a common theme, among women who subvert the wedding industry with a DIY approach (Rory Evans topped cupcakes with handmade clothespin bride-and-groom figures), and others who pay a price despite saving money. Julie Powell's entertaining experience trying "to make a meal for hundreds into an expression of who you are" illuminated an incontrovertible equation: "hundreds of guests + unreasonable expectations + catering – billions of dollars = rubber chicken." Some of the more heartfelt pieces include Jennifer Armstrong's story of how she called off her wedding, and Lara Vapnyar's poignant recollection of a $16 gown and the leap of faith that marriage entails. Brides-to-be or women who've been there will easily see themselves in these true stories. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
From the Publisher
“Darkly funny ruminations on getting hitched.” –People

“Refreshingly unsentimental.” O, The Oprah Magazine

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307481351
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/10/2008
  • Series: Vintage
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,434,678
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Colleen Curran was engaged for three years before she planned her own wedding. Fearful of the process and confused by what it meant to plan a wedding, she set out to find out how other women view weddings today. Her stories have been published in places like Jane and The Dictionary of Failed Relationships. Whores on the Hill was her debut novel and is available from Vintage Books. She married her fiancé this past summer, after beginning work on this anthology, and is now happily married in Richmond, Virginia where she lives and works.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

chapter 1

taking the vow

the child bride (and groom)

julianna baggott

Q

THE BEGINNING

I was only twenty-three years old when I got married Dave was twenty- six. By today’s standards of arrested adult development, regression, and ever-rising life expectancy rates, I was a child, and maybe Dave was, too. In any case, that’s what it felt like and, with each anniversary we celebrate, we seem to have been younger and younger way back when we got married.

I met my husband, Dave, in grad school at the very first party of the year. A month later, we were on a road trip together. We pulled off I-95 to have sex in a Red Roof Inn, midday. This is astonishing only in that we were so damn poor. Sex at a Red Roof Inn was a huge luxury. There, perhaps inspired by the grandeur, lounging under the orange comforter, he told me that he wanted to spill his guts.

I said, “Okay.”

He said, “I really like you.”

Now this didn’t strike me as spilled guts. We’d been inseparable since we first met. He’d just taken me to a family reunion and, on the way, he’d met my parents. We’d pretty much covered the liking, even the really liking. I said, “I don’t think that constitutes having spilled your guts.”

“How about this?” He paused and then said, “I’m in love with you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Now this, this was spilled guts. It was completely courageous and elegant—even amid the Red Roof Inn decor with its paintings bolted to the walls. I took it as a proposal. I said, “Yes,” as in I accept, as in I do. “I love you too.”

I should stop right here and say that everything from here on out in this essay is foofaraw. This is the essential moment that Dave and I consider to be the start of our marriage—not the wedding itself. Embedded in every marriage, there is a true moment when your hearts sign on for good. It doesn’t necessarily happen when the guy mows Will you marry me? into your lawn or trains a puppy to bring you a velvet box. It doesn’t necessarily happen in the white hoop gown or because some exhausted justice of the peace says so. It usually happens in some quiet moment, one that often goes unregistered. It can happen while you’re brushing your teeth together or sitting in a broken-down car in the rain. Some unplanned, unscripted moment.

But when people ask about your wedding day, they want a grand story. Not something that ends with stealing mini hotel soaps and shampoo bottles from a Red Roof Inn.

And so we make up another story. We create a grand affair.

A GENERATIONAL FOOTNOTE

We announced our engagement two months after the Red Roof Inn affair, and it’s surprising now how unsurprised everyone was. It seemed like such a normal thing to do at the time—to fall in love, get engaged in three months, and get married in less than a year—at age twenty- three. And yet now, a decade and a half later, this seems like a terrible idea—a choice that only the destitute would make in a time of crisis.

But this was all happening right on the cusp of a new generation of women. The generation that had gone before us and tested the you-can- have-it-all notion had come back and written up a sobering memo: Balancing family and work was much harder than they’d thought.

My friends evidently were digesting the news. They started in on careers first. Their marriages, if they came at all, came late. Many have just gotten married in the last two to three years and now in their late thirties are starting to have their first children.

All that needs to be said here is this: I missed the memo completely. Was I out drinking? Was I too distracted writing poems on cocktail napkins? Was I already in a Red Roof Inn having sex off I-95? Hard to say.

THE PREPARATION

I had no real wedding plans in mind. I’d never dreamed about my wedding day. I knew girls were supposed to. I knew women were likely to have planned it many times over before the day actually arrived. But I hadn’t. I was in graduate school. I loved graduate school. I’d still be there if they’d have let me stay on. Dave felt the same way. We were only interested in the ceremony’s readings and in writing our vows—we were in graduate school for such things. Basically, we wanted in on the word action, but everything else, well, we didn’t much care.

When people would say, “Your big day is coming up,” I’d cringe. I didn’t want to shove myself into the gown and get dolled up. I didn’t want to have to accept the heavy weight of marital advice—from the blissful hand graspers to the depressives explaining, through gusty sighs, that marriage constitutes a life sentence of hard labor. I wanted bigger days to look forward to—maybe quieter but bigger in their own ways.

Our rings are a good example of our lack of interest. My great- grandfather had found a diamond brooch in a lump of tar while cleaning out a ladies’ room some decades earlier, and the diamonds had found their way into a number of rings throughout the family. We used some of these from a ring that my grandmother had given me, then got a plain white gold band and a gold ring for Dave, both purchased through the strip-mall chain Van Scoy. The total cost: $239.99.

My mother was going to make my gown, but in the first store we visited to look for ideas, I found a dress on sale. I said, “Close enough.” It cost $79.99.

My parents, who have four kids, have a system for weddings. They give each of us a set figure. One: You can elope and take it all in a lump sum. Two: Use all of it and then some of your own to throw a huge bash. Or, three: Our choice, throw a low-budget affair and pocket as much of the leftover as possible.

As I mentioned above, we were in grad school for poetry and fiction. This was, quite possibly, going to be the largest chunk of change we’d ever see in our entire lives.

We chose to have the wedding in my childhood church. It is one of the ugliest churches in America. When they do the photography art book of ugly churches, you’ll find it right up front on page two—if not the cover.

It’s a squat cinder-block number with a few stained-glass triangles in the concrete facade. The plastic chairs are mismatched—various shades of green, orange, and yellow. The art in the church was done solely by parishioners. The Stations of the Cross were abstract—black felt spiderlike things on purple felt backgrounds. The Jesus on the Cross was, well, how do I put this? Big-boned? Heavyset? He was fat. His loincloth was skimpy, and, because he was lifted high above us, you felt pervy when you raised your eyes to him—as if you were trying to catch a glimpse up his skirt.

The church was quite elegant, however, in comparison to the place we chose for the reception: the Sangerbund.

It’s a German beer hall. This wasn’t a nostalgic choice about our forebears and our mother country: Neither Dave nor I is German. Neither was it a style choice. Germans aren’t known for their gracious hospitality, decor, or food quality. They are known for their beer quality, however, and this seemed to outweigh the other factors at the time.

That and the price. The Sangerbund was, by far, the cheapest per square foot and per meal. The meal would be something sauerkraut-ish, heavy on the gravy. And it would be served by women in lace-up tops—à la St. Pauli Girl—except the women would all be quite stout and aged.

Perfecto!

THE BLURRY DAY ITSELF

Because weddings are sociological in scope, not psychological, I had the sense throughout it all that Dave and I barely existed. We were already married, in our own way, at the Red Roof Inn off I-95. This was the communal manifestation. This was an adaptation of some sort, something that was only loosely based on us.

I’ll spare you the battling bridesmaids and my brother-in-law’s last minute decision not to sing our wedding song because he doesn’t like to sing except when there’s a real focus on him and the beauty shop that gave one of my bridesmaids a satellite dish hairdo, and get right to the event itself.

Dave and I were kept in the church basement right before the wedding in two separate rooms, like holding pens. There was a door between us. I opened it and saw him across the room. He was wearing a rented tuxedo and a red bow tie and cummerbund. He was pacing, hands in his pockets. I whispered his name and he looked up.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hi.”

“I’m getting married,” I said.

“Me, too!” he said, as if this were the strangest thing. And it did seem like a giant coincidence. Sometimes, still, one of us will say, “I love you” and the other will say it back—but in total amazement. “I love you too!” And sometimes we’ll admit to how odd it is. “What are the chances? I love you and you love me.”

I didn’t tear up at this point. I wasn’t yet sentimental about Dave. We were both too new to each other. This was more like a weird movie we’d both been chosen to star in. Soon enough it would be over and the paparazzi would ease up and we’d be back to our normal lives. This was something to endure.

And so when people asked me if I thought I was going to cry at the wedding, I’d shrug. “I don’t know.” I can be so unsentimental in so many ways. The traditional wedding—with all of its awwwing and honeyed adoration and cloying sweetness and condescension—well, I couldn’t stomach it. I wasn’t the type to go soft at flowers and candy. Pity the boyfriend who bought me a stuffed animal for a birthday gift.

But I didn’t realize that the wedding wasn’t only about becoming something new. It was also about leaving some other part of myself behind.

And so my father was the one who started me crying. And he’ll always get me. I can’t even begin to talk about him here. My God, this man’s sweetness and brilliance and his philosophies on life . . . I can’t begin. Here’s a quick description: He has, more than once, walked a stranger’s baby up and down the aisle of an airplane so that the single mother, traveling alone, could rest a minute.

He took my arm. We walked into the church and everyone stood up. It was this, too, that got me—this standing up, the formality of it, the respectfulness. The fact that people had come from such distances to be here for this.

I lost it. I bawled. People had to pass me tissues at the altar. There was a lot of snot. It was ugly.

But the priest, a true intellectual, a man of great wit and humility, gave an inspired homily. And although I can’t begin to understand how they fit together, I remember he quoted Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange) and Erma Bombeck and plenty in between. He calmed me down. Dave and I said our homemade vows, which, for all of our wanting in on the words, ended up being very traditional and simple and vowlike.

Then it was over. We were married.

And we were loved unsparingly. In fact, we were pressed with so much love that we felt like flowers being flattened—wedding-dress bustle and all—into a precious-memories book.

From here on out, we got lucky. There were some wedding guests who needed a careful eye, but everyone was on their best behavior. A brief accounting:

Dave’s people were also a source of prewedding anxiety. My parental in-laws-to-be, especially. There are three of them—Dave’s mother, Dave’s father, and Dave’s father’s wife. I hadn’t yet figured out the meaning of the cliché about marrying the whole family. That would take years to decode. And because the in-laws were, by and large, WASPs, their passive aggression was so subtle that I just thought they were all sweet as pie.

I was nervous about my oldest sister. Kate is nine years older than I am and was living in New York, working as a director/producer, and unmarried. She had, in fact, just broken things off with a man she was about to move in with. The Triple Asshole, my mother had dubbed him. Kate’s happiness was of great concern, and there was a strict rule against making any allusions to The Taming of the Shrew in front of her. She did show up (fresh from an impromptu fling in Mexico). At the reception, she took to introducing Dave to people as such: “This is Dave. Julie’s first husband.” This was funny, of course. And every time she did it, I actually felt relieved. (My sister is unwieldy and wonderful and bitchy and hilarious and incredibly generous and kind and vicious, etc. . . .)

Even the conflicting groups—the nuns and college buddies—seemed harmonious. My mother relied on nuns throughout her life, and so more than a few showed up. One was in full regalia—the all-white habit with the enormous halolike wimple. We wanted them to be comfortable while at the same time we wanted our drunken friends to have fun— inoffensive fun.

A word on the young wedding. When you get married young, your friends are young, too. They aren’t yet worrying about a merger. They aren’t having to dodge in and out to breast-feed or check in with the sitter. They aren’t yet tied to their husbands and wives. The young wedding has a greater possibility of being a big, messy, sexy free- for-all. Dave and I still hear bits and pieces of what happened later that night.

Which brings me to later that night . . . Dave and I left the wedding as soon as we could. Someone had hunted down my grandfather’s Cadillac convertible, which had been sold after he died, and had sweet-talked the people into lending it so that it would be a surprise for us, just to drive around on our wedding day. And it was— a huge surprise, like having my grandfather there with us. We drove it to New Castle, where we had a room at the David Finny Inn. There was a celebration of Old Towne going on with fireworks. We found a window in a hallway that led to a tar roof. We climbed out the window and stood there—me in my wedding gown and him in his tux—among the humming air conditioners and watched the fireworks. The fireworks seemed personal. We took them personally—a celebration for just the two of us.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction | Colleen Curran

Taking the Vow
The Child Bride (and Groom) | Julianna Baggott
The Wedding Vow | Curtis Sittenfeld
Diana, Martha, and Me | Catherine Ingrassia

The Dress
One Day | Elizabeth Crane
The Girl, the Dress, and the Leap | Lara Vapnyar
Back in Black | Lisa Carver

Plans & Preparations
There Went the Bride | Carina Chocano
My Bridal Meltdown | Rory Evans
The Best-Laid Wedding Plans | Jennifer Armstrong

Etiquette & Registry
Manners and the Marrying Girl | Elise Mac Adam
The Registry Strikes Back | Janelle Brown

Weddings & the Single Girl
It All Started with Princess Di | Daisy de Villeneuve
The Honor of My Presence | Meghan Daum

Family & Budget
Parental Control | Amy Sohn
My Perfect Wedding | Samina Ali
Going Bridal | Farah L. Miller
My Mother’s Wedding, Myself | Gina Zucker
Father of the Bride | Kathleen Hughes

Getting Hitched
First, Reader, I Made Him Up, and Then I Married Him | Jacquelyn Mitchard
The Second Trimester | Ruth Davis Konigsberg
My So-Called Indie Wedding | Lori Leibovich
Weddings Aren’t Just for Straight People Anymore | Anne Carle
Rubber Chicken | Julie Powell
To Have or Have Not: Sex on the Wedding Night | Jill Eisenstadt

For Better or for Worse?
Survivor Honeymoon | Amanda Eyre Ward
Weddings for Everyone | Amy Bloom
Happily Ever After | Dani Shapiro

Contributors
Acknowledgments

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    So refreshing!

    It's nice to hear about how others navigate waters some of us have never ventured into, or who made the voyage in a completely different time and way than we plan to now. What a lovely book with honest stories about real women and how they managed to marry despite all of those hideous books that tell us, and frankly every other woman who may be involved in helping us, exactly how it "should" all be done.
    Enough of the shoulds, oughts, and downright gotta craziness. A model for how to do things is exactly that: a model. Some basic platform from which to craft one's own masterpiece. The most basic model is that two people commit to a life together, do it in a way that is meaningful to them and their culture (defined however it may be) and likely includes family and friends (again, with definitions that run the gamut).
    This book affirms every decision we could possibly consider with the notion that it's ok to go ahead and do what has meaning to you and your beloved. What a freshing departure from all of the "how to" nonsense out there, including those that make a slight nod to tailoring choices to your own tastes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2007

    Great book for the not-so traditional bride

    I really loved this book. It's great for those of you who have a wedding in your future, but are not the 'poofy white dress, fairy-tale wedding' types. I identified with a lot of the writers. The only thing I didn't identify with was their ages. I'm in my early 20's and the majority of these essays were written by women who were in their 30's and 40's when they got married. So I kind of wish there was more of a younger bride's perspective. But all in all, it is compiled beautifully and very witty.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)