Who is getting married? Look around. It could be the mother of two, marrying the father of four and inventing a ceremony that blends their families. It could be an African-American Catholic marrying a Japanese Buddhist, creating a ritual that elevates the blending of their cultures. It could be a young doctor and a lawyer who's just made partner, staging a celebration that could never be confused with their mother's wedding. And it could be one of their mothers—sophisticated, powerful, marrying for the third time and forthright in her joy.
The New American Wedding sets a high bar for style books in blending cultural anthropology, direction and inspiration in a vividly designed book of insight, wit, interpretation and new thinking.
Diane Meier Delaney sees a new kind of wedding happening all over America—a celebration that is at once more real-life and more high-style than the traditional prescribed event might have been just a generation ago. As couples marry later or marry for a second time, blend families and cultures or manage public and private personas, she has found a desire for a more personally expressive ritual.
Our research tells us:
- Approximately 2.5 - 2.6 million weddings are registered each year. It is a number that has remained virtually static for decades.
- Just under 40% of all first marriages end in divorce.
- Depending on whose statistics you follow, between 85- 90% of all divorced men remarry and between 65 and 85% of all divorced women remarry.
- About 70% of all individuals who remarry have children.
- Thereis a trend, especially in the affluent sector,for first marriages to occur at a later age, when education and careers are more solidly established. As a note,the average age of a bride and groom is almost seven years older than it was thirty years ago.
- 70% of all couples living together for more than five years will eventually marry;a statistic that didn't even appear on the boards twenty years ago.*
- Only 25% of all marriages are paid for by the bride's parents—a complete reversal of what was seen as a cultural norm just a generation ago.
Can you look at these figures and assume that the marriage of a virginal young girl, dressed in white, "given away" by her father to an apple cheeked groom to confront adulthood together, is the "typical" ritual in this day and age?
The wedding industry is a 70+ billion dollar a year business—more than the sale of all new cars in any given year. And yet, not one book on the market (until now) addresses the phenomenon of social and cultural change America has experienced in the last twenty-five years.
Is this sea change a reason to celebrate? We believe it is. We believe these trends actually herald Good News. Finding a way to celebrate joy should always be encouraged.
The New American Wedding is about renovating rituals that haven't kept pace with our culture. It encourages couples to find more authentic ways to celebrate their joy and the unique truths of their lives, rather than shoehorn themselves into ceremonies, dresses or promises that don't really fit their own realities.
This book manages The New with such a high degree of style, even the "traditional bride" might want to take a few notes!
Here are some of the issues we address:
When a couple brings together two good lives and two houses full of goods, are there more creative ways they might approach the Bridal Registry?
If a bride does not wear a traditional "meringue" of a white bridal gown, how do we recognize her as The Bride?
Does a groom of some position have issues of status tied up in the choice of an engagement ring? How do two people of strength negotiate the issues of style, status and value when it comes to a piece of jewelry that is supposed to represent commitment and love?
In this more expressive wedding and all that surrounds it, is the groom a greater influence than ever before?
In blending religions and cultures, how can couples create new rituals and pageants of marriage that are an inclusive and generous weave of the Old with the New and design ceremonies that unite families, rather than divide them?
How might couples incorporate children or relatives from past marriages or relationships into pageants that encompass, create and welcome a larger family?
The New American Wedding answers all of these questions and more—with style and wit, statistics, humor, interviews, glorious pictures, fanciful illustrations, advice, direction and full disclosure about who is doing what—how, where, why and when!
This is a book that celebrates facing up to the reality of our lives and expressing joy in the discovery and presentation of who and what we are—the essence of why we are loved and why we love.
Incorporating the inspiring wedding stories of New American Brides and Grooms and advice from style gurus—Tiffany & Co., Ralph Rucci, Zac Posen and Maggie Norris, Allen Flusser—caterers, cooks and planners such as Robert Isabell, Preston Bailey, Andrea Giardino, Sylvia Weinstock and Ann Warren of the Cup Cake Cafe-photographers John Dolan and Roxanne Lowit, and the "wedding-painter" Anne Watkins—The New American Wedding may prove, perhaps for the first time in print, that authenticity is not the antithesis of style.
*US Census Bureau, National Center for Health Statistics, Americans for Divorce Reform
New York, NY