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One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding
     

One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding

by Rebecca Mead
 

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Astutely observed and deftly witty, One Perfect Day masterfully mixes investigative journalism and social commentary to explore the workings of the wedding industry?an industry that claims to be worth $160 billion to the U.S. economy and which has every interest in ensuring that the American wedding becomes ever more lavish and complex. Taking us inside the

Overview

Astutely observed and deftly witty, One Perfect Day masterfully mixes investigative journalism and social commentary to explore the workings of the wedding industry?an industry that claims to be worth $160 billion to the U.S. economy and which has every interest in ensuring that the American wedding becomes ever more lavish and complex. Taking us inside the workings of the wedding industry?including the swelling ranks of professional event planners, department stores with their online registries, the retailers and manufacturers of bridal gowns, and the Walt Disney Company and its Fairy Tale Weddings program?New Yorker writer Rebecca Mead skillfully holds the mirror up to the bride?s deepest hopes and fears about her wedding day, revealing that for better or worse, the way we marry is who we are.

Editorial Reviews

You could run a small country on what Americans spend each year on weddings. The statistics are staggering: The estimates run from $40 billion ($50 billion if you count honeymoons and gift registry) to $160 billion. One Perfect Day immerses you in the day-to-day workings of a vast industry that caters (sometimes literally) to brides' smallest needs. New Yorker writer Rebecca Mead registers the seismic shift that has reshaped our concept of weddings. She takes us from the squalid rooms of underpaid Chinese bridal gown factory workers to the elegant digs of elite wedding planners. Anybody contemplating that "one perfect day" or regretting what they spent on it should read this witty, alarming book.
Los Angeles Times
A sobering and sorely needed examination of how and why contemporary nuptials have turned into bank-breaking three-ring circuses.
USA Today
Bound to inspire more than a few couples to elope.
Jonathan Yardley
How all of this came to pass -- how the American wedding escalated into an "out of control" business that pumps an astonishing $161 billion dollars a year into the economy -- and what forms it takes are the subjects of One Perfect Day, a revealing and intermittently amusing piece of journalism… It is a convincing picture of one of those strange parts of the American economy that make a great deal of money for a few people while going largely unnoticed by the rest of us.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
In its nascence in the American lexicon, the term "Bridezilla" has inspired articles, reality television and watercooler tales of brides gone mad. This phenomenon piqued New Yorker staff writer Mead's interest, sending her on a three-year investigation of the current American wedding and the $161-billion industry that spawned it. "Blaming the bride," she writes, "wasn't an adequate explanation for what seemed to be underlying the concept of the Bridezilla: that weddings themselves were out of control." Interviewing wedding industry professionals and attending weddings in Las Vegas, Disney World, Aruba and a wedding town in Tennessee, Mead ventures beyond the tulle curtain to reveal moneymaking ploys designed around our most profound fears as well as our headiest happily-ever-after fantasies. Goods and services providers alter marital traditions-and even invent new ones-to feed their bottom line. Stores vie for bridal registry business in hopes of gaining lifelong customers. Women swoon for what retailers call "the "Oh, Mommy' moment" in boutique fitting rooms-an unsettling contrast to the Chinese bridal gown factory workers who make them possible, sleeping eight to a room and scraping by on 30 cents an hour. Part investigative journalism, part social commentary, Mead's wry, insightful work offers an illuminating glimpse at the ugly underbelly of our Bridezilla culture. (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143113843
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/29/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,177,496
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Eric Schlosser
Rebecca Mead's insightful, entertaining book is a fine companion to Jessica Mitford's classic, The American Way of Death. It's been said that all great stories end in death or marriage--and as Mitford and Mead have shown us, either way, in the USA, somebody stands to make a buck. (Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness)
Kurt Andersen
I guess we need smart, talented, mischievous young British women to move to America to show us what sentimental suckers we are: just as Jessica Mitford exposed the funeral industry with her American Way of Death in the 1960s, Rebecca Mead has produced the definitive deconstruction of our crazy national wedding industry. One Perfect Day is a thoroughly reported exposŽ, sure, but it's also got heart and charm and tons of laugh-out-loud funny scenes. (Kurt Andersen, author of Turn of the Century)
Laura Kipnis
Phrases like "wedding porn" and "Bridezilla syndrome" have entered the cultural vocabulary precisely because there's something out-of-control about American weddings these days, as if spending enough money on one will bring down the divorce rate, or ensure that lasting marital happiness will follow. Rebecca Mead journeys to the dark heart of the wedding industry, meets those consuming the fantasy and those profiting off it, and reports back with wit and subtlety on her findings. A harrowing and also frequently hilarious book. And the perfect wedding shower gift! (Laura Kipnis, author of Against Love: A Polemic and The Female Thing)
Pamela Paul
That a subject as gauzy and gilded as the American wedding should be matched with a writer as clear-eyed and levelheaded as Rebecca Mead is a blessing for readers. Mead takes us into a world populated by Bridezillas, ministers-for-hire, videographers, and heirloom manufacturers, exposing the forces behind the consumerist mindset of the American bride and the entrepreneurial zeal of the wedding industry that both serves and exploits her. (Pamela Paul, author of The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony)

Meet the Author

Rebecca Mead has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1997. Before that, she was a contributing editor at New York magazine and a writer for the Sunday Times of London. She received her B.A. from Oxford University and her M.A. from N.Y.U.

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