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The Conscious Bride: Women Unveil Their True Feelings about Getting Hitched
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The Conscious Bride: Women Unveil Their True Feelings about Getting Hitched

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  355 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
While family and future in-laws squabble over the menu and the table decorations, brides are supposed to sit, smile, and bask in the prospect of their happiness, even though that prospect is guaranteed to include the post-wedding depression that hits some 90 percent of women during their first year of marriage. This is a must-have book for any woman who has found the partn ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published December 7th 2000 by New Harbinger Publications (first published December 5th 2000)
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Nov 08, 2013 Traci rated it it was amazing
On the weeks leading up to my wedding I started to panic. I moved from my whole life in Texas to marry the man I love in England. It was a change to say the least. Before I moved my mother gave me this book. She gives me many psychology books, since that is her profession, and I usually ignore her psycho-bable and tell her Im not a patient. Well once I moved here wedding planing was underway, since we did it quickly (3 months). I thought I was homesick at first, which I was, but it was way more ...more
Oct 10, 2011 Allison rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Even though it's from 2000, so not THAT old, it felt unbelievably dated. Plus I cannot roll my eyes hard enough at the woo-woo sisterhood/archetypes/understand your life from the perspective of Psyche and Eros stuff.

AND all the nonsense about indigenous cultures being better than Western culture at transitions and rituals. Which cultures? Indigenous to where? Of course I'm not saying Western culture is the best at everything, but just declaring that "tribal cultures" are better at, you know, stu
Aug 18, 2009 Abby rated it it was amazing
If you're a new bride (or groom) this is a must read. Ditch those lists from, the planning guides and etiquette guides from the bookstore, and before you do on ounce of wedding planning, read this book.

Sheryl Paul, using her own experience and the voices of many other brides, takes the engagement, the wedding day, and the first year of marriage and gives it all a good hard look. She carefully and thoroughly examines the psychological, emotional and spiritual transformations that take
Jun 29, 2011 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jenny by: Jane O'Sullivan
Shelves: nonfiction-read
Wow, I thought this book was fantastic and I'd recommend it to everybody. Basically it presents the perspective that engagement and marriage/commitment is a transitional life experience, and it makes sense that it would bring up feelings of grief and loss as we move from one life phase to the next. She suggests that the more open and honest we are to ourselves about what we're feeling, the smoother we'll negotiate the transition. And it's so normalizing to hear that other women were experiencing ...more
Jennifer Kronk
Dec 01, 2011 Jennifer Kronk rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone planning a wedding.
Sometimes you find exactly the book you need at exactly the time you need it. This is a great example of that. I found this at a thrift store and bought it on a whim. I have a lot of wedding books after all, what could one more do for me? Well this book answered many questions for me and, overall, made me feel better about the whole wedding process. I really needed that! I needed to know that I wasn't the only bride to feel ambivalence to my wedding dress (a dress I loved when I bought it) and t ...more
Nov 01, 2007 Jen rated it it was ok
This is basically an anecdotal compendium of confusing feelings other women have felt about the process of getting married. The author compares the engagement process to a rite of passage for women, wherein the old self (the single woman, the daughter/child) sort of dies to make room for the new identity of "wife". Since modern society doesn't allow for a safe place for the bride to mourn the loss of her old identity, some women react to the disconnect by obsessing over having the perfect weddin ...more
Oct 05, 2010 Amanda rated it really liked it
This was an awesomely thought-provoking book, examining the transformation that women go through as brides and entering into marriage, as well as looking at the ritual of marriage and what it means for brides, grooms, family, friends, and the community. It helped me normalize a lot of the emotional ups and downs during the engagement, as well as start conversations with my fiancé and my family.

I'm a big believer in healthy grieving for times and opportunities that are past, not because I long t
Jun 07, 2009 Kathryn rated it it was ok
I checked this book out from the library after starting to read The Conscious Bride Wedding Planner.

The Planner is MUCH better.

My biggest issue with the book is that it's written like a research paper. I wouldn't be surprised if the author had taken her thesis from school, tweaked it a little, and got it published.

She just rehashes the same idea over and over get the point.

In short: getting married is a rite of passage, and you have to grieve your former life before you move on to the
Sasha Korobova
Jan 03, 2017 Sasha Korobova rated it it was amazing
Parts of it are certainly cheese and a little irrelevant, but overall, I found this book very comforting as a new bride who wasn't gaga about all the wedding hoopla. I highly recommend (and it's a super quick read) for anyone who gets that getting married isn't just the wedding or that one's feelings about getting engaged are more complicated than just unbridled joy.
I got about halfway through this book and got bored. There are no jokes in it. I mean NONE! How can you write something that has no sense of humor in it at all? (Can you tell I'm unaccustomed to reading non-fiction?)

I read this book because: well, because before I do something, I like to read a lot of books about it. So I got this book about getting married (specifically, about women getting married.)

The premise seems to be this: getting married is an important and significant transition in a wo
The Joy of Booking
Mar 05, 2011 The Joy of Booking rated it it was amazing
Getting married is a complicated thing. Especially if you're a modern woman, raised with notions of how you should be able to support yourself but still want your dad to walk you down the aisle.

I read this book twice, about six years apart. The first reading I was not impressed - my mother had given it to my cousin, and I somehow came to pick it up during the days just before the wedding. It made a bad impression on me - I felt as if my mother were hinting to my cousin that she should be having
May 10, 2007 D'Anne rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
When I was planning my commitment ceremony, there weren't a lot of books out there for me and my partner. Sure, there are books about gay and lesbian love and books about gays and lesbians who live in long term committed relationships, but nothing quite like The Conscious Bride. What impressed me about this book was the fact that Sheryl Nissinen, though clearly having heterosexuals in mind for her target audience, acknowledged the existence of same sex love and marriage and invited readers to in ...more
Feb 17, 2016 Alison rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 29, 2011 Kristen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: brides to be, and newlyweds
Sheryl Paul discusses rites of passage, the wedding as a rite of passage, life transitions, and what it means to be engaged, to be a bride, and finally to be a wife. She also includes many anecdotes by women relating their personal experiences of these three phases. What these anecdotes effectively do is to normalize many of the emotions that women may feel from the time of saying yes to the proposal, to the first year of marriage. I think this is brilliant and very, very helpful. She also demon ...more
Lacey Louwagie
Aug 10, 2011 Lacey Louwagie rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lacey by: Kate Ward
This short little book took me MONTHS to finish because I refused to allow myself to read the next chapter before I'd fully answered every question at the end of the previous one. I'm glad I went through that process, even if it did feel a little bit like homework, and even if it did take forever -- because really, I should be doing my homework about a decision this big.

Although this book covers a lot of the same ground as "Emotionally Engaged" (it seems worth mentioning, though, that "The Consc
Mar 27, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
This is not the most perfectly written book - I believe that it was the result of the author's master's thesis - but the concepts are amazingly helpful to read about and I've seen nothing else like it. I referenced the book countless times during my engagement - and continue to! I had it in my "currently reading" bookshelf for most of the year even though I finished it for the first time probably months ago. I'm moving it over to "completed" now in an attempt to meet my reading challenge for the ...more
Oct 29, 2013 pianogal rated it liked it
So this would have been better if I hadn't waited until the last minute to read it. However, it was kinda helpful. I'm not "New Agey" enough to really buy in to everything it offered. LIke for instance - this book claimed that bride's should embrace chaos and let it in before the wedding so it doesn't destroy the wedding during. I get that. You gotta deal with your emotions and everything before you are standing at the altar or it will bury you. However, God is still bigger than chaos and He rem ...more
Lindsey Elizabeth
Aug 18, 2015 Lindsey Elizabeth rated it really liked it
A friend bought this book for me after she told me it was really helpful to her before she got married. Don't go into this thinking it's a wedding planning book - this is more like a collection of stories from other brides about the feelings they had before tying the knot. There was a lot of talk about feelings of loss, rites of passage, cultural traditions, etc. With it's emphasis on mythology, I kind of viewed it like a discussion akin to the 'Hero's Journey', though that may sound strange for ...more
Mar 30, 2015 Jake rated it it was ok
I read this book as a conversation-enhancer with Sophia as we get ready to be married. The book's most value comes from reading many other bride-to-be stories and understanding the complexity of emotions that sits behind that transition, and that all of that is OKAY, and yes, Pinterest has ruined our visions of what a wedding should be, much less a marriage.

That said, it fell real flat when trying to look toward what that vision of marriage should be. I was able to somewhat appreciate her take
Dec 02, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it
Designed to help future wives (or husbands more in touch with their feminine sides, queer couples not excluded) transform from singletons into marrieds, Paul uses Jungian archetypes to explain the bridal (or groomal) rite of passage and the periods of liminality brides (or grooms) can expect to encounter. In addition to including quotes from various brides who went through the experience themselves, she also adds helpful questions for you to ask yourself at the end of each chapter and some usefu ...more
Jul 07, 2008 Amanda rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: brides who need to chill
Recommended to Amanda by: Nancy & Katie
Erg. Getting married means reading non-fiction. I had this book checked out for two months from the library. Two friends who had already trekked to the altar recommended it, and I found it a little reassuring but not life-changing. It basically allows women to think more clearly about the many life changes and psychological processes that occur during the process of getting hitched. I've been thinking about these so much that I was not particularly enlightened by the book -- but was reassured, I ...more
Jan 01, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jennifer by: Kitri
Many thanks to my dearest Kitri-lein for passing this book along to me. It's almost as if the author knew exactly what some of my thoughts have been in recent months as I've prepared for my wedding. No matter what anyone says, planning for the actual "big day" is not as important as planning for the future and all the changes, particularly emotional, women experience as they marry. This book brings those ideas to the forefront and shares excerpts from how many brides have dealt with the new expe ...more
Michelle Plass
Mar 04, 2010 Michelle Plass rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was a refreshingly honest look at being engaged, getting married, and staying married. The book addresses the idea that not every single moment from engagement throughout marriage is blissfully happy. There are struggles along the way and it's very natural to feel stressed or confused at times. The comments from other women and the realistic tone of the book was very thought-provoking and insightful. At times, the style of the writing would get on my nerves, as wou ...more
Ashley (cnthrdlywt2bwz)
Aug 13, 2008 Ashley (cnthrdlywt2bwz) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Any engaged woman
Recommended to Ashley (cnthrdlywt2bwz) by: saw it on amazon
Although I wasn't experiencing a lot of the things that the author described about about-to-be-brides, it did give an insightful look at what I could experience leading up to the wedding and afterwards. Just being aware of the fact that I may feel upset, nervous, confused, etc. before and after the actual marriage ceremony helped me attack those feelings and emotions prior and it felt really good to do that. This is not a self-help book or anything, just a narrative of lots of engaged and marrie ...more
✿ ♥  Heather ♥ ✿
Jul 25, 2011 ✿ ♥ Heather ♥ ✿ rated it it was amazing
This was a great read for me - a little out there - but helped me a lot. I can't just read the wedding mags and wedding planners, I like to know how this huge event/transition may affect me emotionally. Initially I thought I needed to read something to help prevent overwhelm, but now I know that overwhelm is healthy and part of the process. Definitely worth the read for anyone getting married who likes to understand themselves better.
Mar 06, 2012 Cora rated it did not like it
Ugh. This book read like it was written in the 1960's rather than 2000. The brides that were interviewed for the book seemed incredibly unhappy to be getting married... someone should have advised them that, if they are balling their eyes out and freaking out over bridesmaid dresses, maybe they weren't ready to get married. There were so many lines that made me cringe within the first 10 pages-I just don't have the patience to finish it. Gag me with a spoon.
Aug 19, 2009 Lena rated it it was amazing
I think any woman who is planning on getting married, just wed, or has been married for 10 years should read this book. It puts so many fears and questions at ease! There are so many myths about how a wedding "should" be, but no one talks about how it actually is. Many brides are set up for disappointment before they even meet their husband. I found this book to be very informative, and I am so glad I found it.
Julie - Book Hooked Blog
Aug 15, 2008 Julie - Book Hooked Blog rated it it was ok
Shelves: marriage
I wanted to like this book and think it had some great things to say about not trying to force perfection onto the wedding day and accepting your emotions as they come. The author's writing just cracked me up though. I never once considered my veil to be an amulet symbolic of separating me from my father and husband for one last moment or whatever else. The writing comes across as kind of nuts, but over all I recommend it, even if the only reason is for a good laugh
Aug 25, 2008 Margaret rated it it was amazing
i'm so happy to have found this book. as our wedding is just over 10 months away it is very helpful for me to be learning more about this rite of passage that i am in the middle of.

i've now finished this book. i whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone getting married. i think it could even be good for married folks to read. seth is reading it now. we'll see if he enjoys it as much as i did!
Oct 21, 2009 Lisa rated it really liked it
Getting married isn't only a time to celebrate, but sometimes a time to grieve as well: loss of singlehood and changes in relationships with family and friends. Can be helpful to take time during the engagement and wedding planning to check-in with yourself and others. Not doing this could be a reason some brides become bridezillas, only focusing on details of a wedding and not all the emotion and changes involved in such a rite of passage.
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