In the tradition of beloved anthologies of women's essay writing, this collection offers twenty-six true stories from well-known writers and fresh new literary voices writing about a touchstone garment in a women’s lives--the wedding dress. These are intimate stories about relationships; not just those between men and women, but between women and their mothers, friends and children. And, of course, with their wedding attire – a relationship that is sometimes simple, sometimes complex, but always fascinating in what it tells us about individual lives and aspirations.
Some of the tales are humorous – the bride whose skin turns fuchsia on her wedding night or the woman whose shopping-savvy aunt takes her to New York’s garment district. Some are romantic – the woman who puts on her dress eight years after her wedding only to be caught by her husband when he comes home early from work or the quickie immigration wedding that turned into the real thing. Some are devastating – the bride who loses her mother to illness only days before her wedding or the woman whose mother tells of being kidnapped by her future husband. And some are revealing – the woman who wears her first wedding dress for her initiation ceremony into a convent and her second to marry her beloved; the dress that waited patiently in a shop window and then hidden in a box on a closet shelf; the same-sex wedding at age eighty; the thrift shop wedding dress that gets used for everything but a wedding. All are honest, personal and profoundly moving.
“Something Old” looks at how traditions like honouring one’s ancestors affected wedding dress choices, from a grandmother’s gift to a father’s old leather jacket, but also at how such traditions can play a role in ways you least expect. The pieces in “Something New” focus on dreams for the future, whether that means breaking away from the expectations of one’s family or choosing/creating a wedding dress (and a future) on your own. In “Something Borrowed,” writers tell of all the reasons behind borrowing (or trying to borrow!) dresses, for whatever reason, and “Something Blue . . . Or Peach . . . Or Striped . . . Or Floral . . .” looks at exactly that–the non-traditional choices women have made, and why.
These stories run the gamut of experiences connected to the iconic dress and day. If we work away at the seams, even the simplest of wedding outfits reveals all manner of memories and meanings. And whether you’ve ever worn a wedding dress or not, the stories in this collection will have you looking with new eyes on your own life, and exploring what the words “wedding dress” mean to you.
Anita Rau Badami
Anne Laurel Carter
Jessica Ruth Harris
Kathleen Boyle Hatcher
Mary T. Malone
Margaret Goudie Parsons
"The concept of women writing about their wedding dresses is enchanting, and so is this book. I sat right down and read it cover to cover. Then I had an urgent desire to write about my wedding dress. A gray flannel suit, since you asked. Wartime."
"A wedding dress is a perfect icon for an anthology for it shows us that the women's movement can come and go, our image of a housewife or marriage may change dramatically, but each generation frets over her wedding dress as did her mother and grandmother. It is the perfect symbol of hope. If you want to cut through the latest ideology and get to the heart of what beats under the tulle read this great book. I swear if I landed here from another planet nothing would tell me more about the female psyche or the role that marriage plays in their psyche than reading My Wedding Dress."
"Speaking as someone who got married in a purple suit, and then reluctantly, I can only say that the editors of this wonderful collection got it right. Their essayists have done a Martin Luther and nailed their white, beaded, silk-draped souls to the church door. Wedding dresses are the embodiment of purest happiness and deepest trauma. Some of the garments are so soaked in irony it’s a wonder the poor woman is able to stand upright. I read each story sometimes laughing and sometimes utterly aghast. A toast to the editors and their tribe of brides."
“My Wedding Dress is not just a book for brides. It is a thoughtful meditation on every aspect of the marriage ritual — tears, taffeta and all.”