One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding (Rebecca Mead, 2007) wasn't a perfect book, but I was surprised by how many one- and two-star reviews it got at Amazon.com...until I saw how many of them came from wedding industry professionals. Hits a little close to home, I suppose.
It's not that the book is that much of an expose. (BTW, I don't know how to put in accent marks on Blogger.) It's sort of journalism with a touch of sociology. Mead's theory is that since wedding is no longer the transition to adulthood--few brides and grooms are virgin, even fewer have no experience living and working away from their parents' homes--couples are anxious to make this ancient tradition into SOME kind of rite of passage, and the wedding industry has happily stepped in to make lots of bucks by making in a transition to a new level of consumerdom. (Sure, you were getting by before, but now that you're 26 and getting married, don't you need matching Calphalon cookware? And don't you want every detail of your wedding to simultaneously declare your individuality while expressing some kind of ersatz traditionalism? And don't you above all deserve to be a princess on your wedding day, even if that means getting married at DisneyWorld and riding in Cinderella's carriage?)