Date of Award

4-9-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Kohlman, Marla

Abstract

I explore the ways in which the American wedding ritual is portrayed and constructed in popular media and how that representation relates to the ways in which brides think about the wedding ritual. Through content analysis and thirty primary interviews, I address the changing role of the wedding culture industry in the contemporary American wedding. I ground this project in a theoretical framework composed of critical theory, historical gender roles, feminist theory, and the wedding as performance. I consider the ultimate fairy-tale wedding experience with the case study of the Disney Fairy Tale Weddings and Honeymoons, exploring the relationship between the Disney princess films and the purchasable fairy-tale wedding offered by the Disney Corporation. I address the construction of the fairy-tale ideal as real in wedding reality television, finding that the fairy-tale wedding is related to the proper performance of the princess bride role. I also find that wedding reality television shows have a greater influence on contemporary brides‰Ûª conceptions of their weddings than bridal magazines. By exploring the ways in which bridal media informs how contemporary brides think about their weddings, I consider the changing conventions of the wedding ritual and develop a theory of the wedding culture industry.

Comments

Includes bibliographical references (p. 79-83)

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