Weddings in the United States are often extravagant, highly ritualized, and costly affairs. In this book, Beth Montemurro takes a fresh look at the wedding process, offering a perspective not likely to be found in the many planning books and magazines readily available to the modern bride. Montemurro draws upon years of ethnographic research to explore what prenuptial events mean to women participants and what they tell us about the complexity and ambiguity of gender roles. Through the bachelorette party and the bridal shower, the bride-to-be is initiated into the role of wife by her friends and family, who present elaborate scenarios that demonstrate both what she is sacrificing and what she is gaining.
Montemurro argues that American society at the turn of the twenty-first century is still married to traditional conceptions of masculinity and femininity and that prenuptial rituals contribute to the stabilization of gender inequalities