Curran solicits tart tales from 27 writers, normally willful and independent women, who, for the most part, have taken reluctant swan dives into the consumerist culture of the bridal industry. Contributors including Curtis Sittenfeld, Lisa Carver and Amy Sohn never thought they'd catch the bridal bug. Still, they each get lost in the fantasy but come out the other end with a meaningful realization. The essays delve into the fraught conversations, negotiations and neuroses around wedding vows, dress shopping, etiquette, registries and budgeting. Sticker shock is a common theme, among women who subvert the wedding industry with a DIY approach (Rory Evans topped cupcakes with handmade clothespin bride-and-groom figures), and others who pay a price despite saving money. Julie Powell's entertaining experience trying "to make a meal for hundreds into an expression of who you are" illuminated an incontrovertible equation: "hundreds of guests + unreasonable expectations + catering billions of dollars = rubber chicken." Some of the more heartfelt pieces include Jennifer Armstrong's story of how she called off her wedding, and Lara Vapnyar's poignant recollection of a $16 gown and the leap of faith that marriage entails. Brides-to-be or women who've been there will easily see themselves in these true stories. (May)
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