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Altared: Bridezillas, Bewilderment, Big Love, Breakups, and What Women Really Think About Contemporary Weddings
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Altared: Bridezillas, Bewilderment, Big Love, Breakups, and What Women Really Think About Contemporary Weddings

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  324 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Anyone who is intimated by the prospect of planning a wedding will laugh out loud and take solace in Altared. In this unexpected, heartwarming, thought-provoking collection, more than two dozen of our most perceptive and entertaining writers offer a wide range of takes on the modern wedding. It's all here. Fantasies. Realities. Fond memories. A few regrets. From planning i ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 8th 2007 by Vintage (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  324 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Aug 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone planning to get married
"The overt messsage in the bridal industry is that your wedding is the most important day of your life."

Altared, edited by Colleen Curran, is a collection of essays by strong female writers about their weddings. They are the type of women who for the most part didn't have the princess dream wedding as little girls and either found themselves surprisingly swept up in the fantasy or rebelling against it furiously.

I loved it. Of course, it validated my belief that the wedding is just one day and t
Sep 04, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a great collection of short stories by female authors who talk frankly about weddings. Vows, the dress, etiquette, what it's like to go to weddings as a single girl, dealing with family, etc. There's a great one by Julie Powell (of Julie & Julia fame) which I loved, most likely because I have a girl crush on her. I also loved this passage from Elizabeth Crane's story:

"This marriage makes me feel that it's OK to be me. Not that I ever had a choice, but God knows I tried, for the sake of m
Sep 19, 2007 rated it liked it
A good book, however it'd be better for a gift purchase for a new bride rather than a check out at the library. It struck me as a read that would be better enjoyed prolonged over time....a story here, a story there: Perhaps bridal bathroom reading. Reading the entire book at once left me with a lack of respectful attitude for the stories toward the end, as I struggled against the "I'm tired of bridal stories" attitude.

So...a good gift, but not something to read all at once. And be prepared to sk
Jennifer Armstrong
Jun 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who thinks they might ever get married
I'm saying little, because I'm in this ... but please do check it out for the other gals' essays. Great, funny, insightful reads from really cool writers like Juliana Baggott. I was shocked by how much I cried reading these, and even more shocked by how hopeful it made me, even--especially--as a single girl
Melissa Cavanaugh
Sep 06, 2007 rated it liked it
With the wedding 10 days out, I would guess this will be the last of the bridal genre to crop up on my list. It's a good one, though. Some wonderful writers contributed (Meghan Daum, Curtis Sittenfeld) and I liked that they discussed weddings from a variety of perspectives - brides, almost brides, moms, guests. Probably for someone with a vested interest in weddings rather than the general public, but a good read nonetheless.
May 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: women (especially married women)
I laughed, I cried, and I thoroughly enjoyed these essays. The subtitle doesn't do this book justice--it is such a wide range of women and their comments about their own weddings as well as weddings that they have attended.

Really fun and enjoyable.
May 29, 2007 rated it liked it
Altared is group therapy for would-be brides.
Jul 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Great, fun read ... not your typical bridal book. I enjoyed and related to the very real stories- no fluffy, 'this-is-the-best-day-of-your-life' propaganda here.
Jan 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
An interesting set of perspectives on wedding hoopla. Validated a lot of the variety of emotions I've experienced while planning my own wedding.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading the book! I read each essay by different professional writers little by little at my bedside before sleep so I was able to savor each story. Because they are all written by professional writers, each story is so moving yet funny. Each story is really powerful because it is non-fiction. Though this book did not lessen my stress on wedding planning, I got more perspectives on wedding and marriage and I am so glad that I found this book. It looks like this book is not read ...more
I have a morbid fascination with how weddings have blown up in the last decade or so. Were reception dresses even a thing in the 90’s? This book did and didn’t meet my desire to dissect contemporary wedding culture. The personal narratives didn’t have the cultural critique I was hoping for but it did make the different scenarios more relatable.

I liked the variety of voices. Most of the voices were from married women but we heard from divorced women, single women, women who married while pregnan
Mar 01, 2012 rated it liked it
This book of essays was what I chose to read in between Water for Elephants and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - I figured it was something I could drop at a moment's notice if I had to, since it's not a narrative. It was a good choice in that respect.

It's also an enjoyable read for any woman who has planned a wedding, or thinks that she probably will at some point. It's not practical advice, but it is thoughtful, reflective, amusing, and honest writing by women who've been through it. Som
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: want-to-own
I happen to love collections of short stories from authors I already love, so this book was an easy one to pick up. But this collection of several women's views on weddings and marriage was surprisingly heartfelt, perceptive and helpful. I'm about to enter into the engagement/wedding phase of my life (thank the good Lord!), and I've begun to dip my toe into the waters of wedding planning, so this was the perfect book to help me remember what's important about a wedding and all the festivities th ...more
Kristen Northrup
A nice balance of scenarios by some very entertaining writers. A pretty safe book as a gift for the newly-engaged, in that it's all happy endings. Even the person who calls off the wedding seemed to do it for the right reasons and now be at peace with it. One writer wasn't particularly likable and things were going badly, but that appeared to be how she prefers things. Janelle Brown's piece on the wedding registry made me laugh out loud (and cringe with recognition) several times. I would have p ...more
Feb 08, 2013 rated it liked it
While the book isn't exactly revelatory, it was worth a read. In particular, these two quotes really resonated with me:

"I felt too old for the optimism that the part seemed to require, too self-conscious for the self-involvement, too broke for the expense, too jaded, in general, to put myself at the center of a tradition so thoroughly hijacked by commercial interests it made the contemporary consumerist Christmas look like a ritual of self-abnegation." - Carina Chocano

"Weddings are not marriages
Oct 07, 2009 rated it liked it
"Here is what I know, and it may be all I know on the subject of being a bride: The ring, the dress, the proposal, the place cards and flowers, the music, the minister or rabbi or justice of the peace-it will all add up to exactly nothing. There will be a moment when it's all over. A moment when, in a hungover, happy, bleary state you roll over and look at the guynext to you and think, my husband for the very first time. My husband. The words will roll over and over in your mouth, in your mind-u ...more
Aug 03, 2010 added it
To love weddings or to hate weddings? That is the question that this collection of stories brought to mind. A traditionalist myself, I expected to find some jaded and negative views, but not to feel that the traditional wedding was dissed throughout. Isn't it a common theme that the present day wedding can be a unique celebration of love, with the rituals of the past selected by the bride and groom? Though the writing was, for the most part, great I got the feeling that each seemed to say "my we ...more
Kate Irwin-smiler
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the book I meant to get instead of Nash's Altared States (above). This is a book of essays by various women, describing, in essense, what being engaged made them do - examining aspect of all the insanity that came with planning their wedding. It ranged from weird behaviors they noticed in themselves, to family relationships, and tribulations that cropped up in their planning. Most of these women were conscious of creating a ceremony or reception that was tailored to them; no one seemed t ...more
Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: engaged friends
Shelves: essays
The Best. Engagement. Present. Ever.

Whether you're getting married, recently got married, or even (like me) 100% committed to "shacking up" without the whole wedding folderol, it's a great book about all the decisions women make when they become part of a couple. From the traditional Big Expensive White Wedding to the funky older couple getting married in the back yard, this book includes stories from women at all points in their lives and with a wide range of expectations are included. A great
Stephanie Rose
Nov 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
This one took me a while to read as I needed to take a break from the wedding-ness of it. (Which sounds silly since I did know it was a book of Wedding related essays). But despite putting it down momentarily I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am no where near, (if ever), getting hitched, but it certainly made me think about what I would want/what is really important when planning and considering your big day. Which is really all it is; one day. It's the rest of your lives together, that's what really m ...more
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm not the kind of girl who dreams of her big day but I picked up this book because I was curious about the experiences of others. (Also the book was free, I should admit, I wouldn't have bought it.) I found that it was an interesting mixture of traditional and non-traditional stories. The Indian bride who had had an arranged marriage that failed, then a traditional marriage that failed as well was perhaps one of the most thought-provoking essays in the book. Gay marriage is represented also.

Mar 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: brides, wives and those who love them.
I stumbled upon this book in a bookstore, and I'm glad that I did. I thought maybe I was only enjoying this book because I was deep in the throes of planning a wedding, but my future mother in law picked it up-and then proceeded to laugh out loud, just as I had. It's a rare anthology that doesn't have a clunker in the bunch, but "Altered" succeeds on every level. It's got a diverse group of viewpoints, from gay women to divorcees ruminating on multiple previous marriages. Nothing redundant, no e ...more
Sep 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
The collection of essays were interesting. I was given the book to help deal with my up coming nuptials and the perceived loss of my individuality. The essays were good, though I couldn't really relate to any of them. None of the writers were "normal, typical" brides. It seemed that most were off-beat brides or those with an interesting, unique story. I was just your average, traditional bride and had trouble relating. Though I enjoyed the stories.
Quynh E
Mar 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a really lovely collection of prose written by great authors that I read in the midst of wedding planning. It provided lots of comic relief and sense of understanding and belonging to me and helped me to maintain my sanity amidst all of the ridiculous wedding drama. Intelligently written and edited!
Apr 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: brides, wedding fanatics
Recommended to Laurie by: Entertainment Weekly
I liked the essays in this book. Obviously, the ones written by former brides are the ones I enjoyed the most simply because they gave me hope that not all weddings have to go in a traditional cookie cutter format and also because a wedding day does not have to be the best day of your life b/c if it is, then what does that say about all the other days that come after????
Megan Tyson
Aug 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ladies who are just starting wedding planning.
Loved this book. Definitely a great way to learn that it's completely normal to NOT be crazy about all things wedding. Great thoughts and perspectives from some great female writers. Passed this on to one of my close friends getting married and we're hoping to just keep passing it on to our other friends.
Aug 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who have been married awhile and would like to reflect
Recommended to Kristen by: Abby Parker
Interesting stories, though many from a perspective of 30 and 40-somethings who are on second (or third, or fourth) marriages, or waited until later in life to get married. I think it is a better read as a married person, than as a to-be-married person. It was entertaining, and sometimes touching.
Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wedding
I'm really enjoying this book! It has many different perspectives and experiences to do with weddings, and confirms to me that many women feel odd in their new role. There are funny stories and touching ones, and what-I-would-do-differently ones. A satisfying read, if you are particularly interested in weddings.
Mar 03, 2009 rated it liked it
This has been a pleasure to read during the wedding planning process. Each chapter is an essay by a different writer, and there is a perspective for every bride somewhere in the mix. It's an escape from stereotyping. Crazy brides are an easy target, but these reflections are more complex than that. Thank goodness.
Jan 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary, wedding
This collection of essays was thoroughly enjoyable. It has something that most of the other books about weddings sitting in a box in my house lack: good writing. The voices, all women (an interesting choice), are distinct, and often funny and sad in the same sentence. It's nice to read a book that recognizes that a perfect (or close) wedding is not necessarily the precursor to a perfect marriage.
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I'm the author of the novel "Whores on the Hill."
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