Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of the Lavish Wedding

Cele C. Otnes, Elizabeth H. Pleck

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


The white wedding does more than mark a life passage. It marries two of the most sacred tenets of American culture: romantic love and excessive consumption. For anyone who has ever wondered about the meanings behind a white dress, a diamond ring, rice, and traditions such as cake cutting, bouquet tossing, and honeymooning, this book offers a look at the historical, social, and psychological strains that come together to make the lavish wedding the most important cultural ritual in contemporary consumer culture. With an emphasis on North American society, it shows how the elaborate wedding means far more than a mere triumph for the bridal industry. Through interviews, media accounts, and wide-ranging research and analysis, the book exposes the wedding's reflection—or reproduction—of fundamental aspects of popular consumer culture: its link with romantic love, its promise of magical transformation, its engendering of memories, and its legitimization of consumption as an expression of perfection. As meaningful as any prospective bride might wish, the lavish wedding emerges here as a lens that at once reveals, magnifies, and reveres some of the dearest wishes and darkest impulses at the heart of our culture.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherUniversity of California Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780520937505
ISBN (Print)9780520240087, 9780520236615
StatePublished - Oct 17 2003

Publication series

NameLife Passages


  • white wedding
  • American culture
  • romantic love
  • consumption
  • white dress
  • wedding cake
  • honeymoon
  • consumer culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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