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From Publishers Weekly&newline;&newline;Despite rampant unemployment, financial insecurity and dizzying personal debt levels, there's still a place for purveyors of wedding gowns, flowers and multi-tiered cakes. Professors Otnes and Pleck, of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, amply explain why. Some of their observations aren't surprising, as when they posit that weddings are a way to flaunt social prowess, but other insights about the link between consumer culture and wedding bells are fresh. They also cover the trappings surrounding the wedding day, such as the engagement ring, the perception of romantic love and even the bouquet toss. Although they sometimes make lighthearted observations, Otnes and Pleck are often scholarly. They adeptly weave in anthropology and cultural commentary to sharpen their points, for instance, discussing the introduction of the &doublequote;sacred&doublequote; into the shopping process. As the bride (and it's almost always the bride instead of the groom) selects items for use during the wedding day, she tends to assign significance to them that's far weightier than the objects' usual meaning. Therefore, a silk pillow that would normally be flung onto a couch and forgotten is instead turned into a magical object because the wedding rings will be placed on it during the ceremony. The authors write, &doublequote;Such items meet the definition of sacred artifacts as described by scholars in religious studies, consumer behavior, and other disciplines.&doublequote; That's a lot of analysis for one little pillow, but almost anyone who's been a bride or gone shopping with one can see the truth of the statement. &newline;Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.&newline;--This text refers to the &newline;&newline;Hardcover&newline;edition. &newline;&newline;Book Description&newline;&newline;The fabulous gown, the multitiered cake, abundant flowers, attendants and guests in their finery. 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 an entertaining and enlightening 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. &newline;With an emphasis on North American society, Cele C. Otnes and Elizabeth H. Pleck show 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, they expose 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.