In One Perfect Day Rebecca Mead takes an in-depth look at the American wedding industry, trying to figure out how the Bridezilla phenomenon has come to the forefront as a more or less acceptable approach to weddings. Given that I’m in the midst of planning my own wedding, I thought this would be an insightful read. It was definitely interesting and I learned a lot. Even though it’s a given that the wedding industry knows they can take advantage of the bride who wants it all, Mead’s investigative journalism provides direct quotes from industry journals and message boards attesting to the fact. The goal of any and all people involved in the wedding industry is to get as much money as possible by trying to convince the bride they can provide her with the innumerable things she needs in order to have the “perfect” wedding.
Mead walks the reader through every possible aspect of the wedding: wedding planners, the dress, registering, officiants, wedding venues, religious vs. non-religious ceremonies, honeymoons. . . I walked away from the book feeling like I had thrown a bunch of money to the wind based on the plans I’d already made for my own wedding. But it offered a great deal of insight into how I can approach things from now on. The epilogue summarizes a conversation Mead had with a group of New York brides, all of whom said the same thing: they’d never planned on becoming THAT bride. And yet they all got sucked into the wedding whirlwind because the wedding industry knows how to play off the emotions of brides and they really have ultimate control over what we have come to believe weddings should be.
I’d definitely recommend this for anyone with an interest in weddings or anyone who might be getting married in the near future. It puts things in perspective and helps get you out of the wedding planning haze you so quickly fall into. The American wedding industry is worth about $160 billion per year. The bride is told (by way of wedding magazines) that the average wedding costs $28,000. With this figure in mind many brides are convinced that they need to spend this amount, whether they (or their parents) can afford to, or not. The wedding industry is about making money – Mead makes you stop to take this all in and then reflect on what weddings are actually supposed to mean for those participating in them.