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I Do But I Don't: Why the Way We Marry Matters
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I Do But I Don't: Why the Way We Marry Matters

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  162 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Why is the traditional image of the bride before her wedding day that of a stressed and overly emotional woman, snapping at everyone in sight? And how, over the last decade, has the wedding industry exploded into a hundred-billion-dollar-a-year industry that sends increasing numbers of newly married couples into debt? A Los Angeles Times bestseller in hardcover, I Do But I ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 7th 2007 by Da Capo Press (first published May 7th 2006)
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Aug 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
i think this is an important book for engaged people to read. and i'm conflicted about it.

on the one hand, i can understand the reviews that slam wicoff for having her her cake and eating it too (i.e., espousing all this "feminist"/anti-materialist stuff, and while at the same time having all the traditional patriarchal-capitalist trappings at her own wedding). i am sympathetic to reviewers who find this frustrating and, perhaps, self-serving.

however, i think she is clear from the outset that sh
Jan 29, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
Before getting to the content, I have to say that I think this book was horribly marketed. The subtitle "walking down the aisle without losing your mind" conjures up the idea of a "how-to" type guide, when in reality this book is much more about examining social and personal expectations surrounding weddings, and how to reconcile feminist beliefs with tradition.

I really wanted to like this book. It really is terrible, though. The author attempts to dissect traditions from an intellectual standpo
Nov 30, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is perhaps one of the most poisonous bride-to-be books I've come across. Having got rid of every book in my house that had the phrase "perfect day" or "of your dreams" on the cover, I chose this as an alternative, hoping that Wicoff would provide some perspective on my situation: a feminist bride-to-be trying to reconcile her feminism with her engagement. However, Wicoff can't escape the very system she's supposedly writing against. For 20 pages, I was with her, in complete agreement. ...more
Feb 04, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Academics who are getting married.
Recommended to Michelle by:
I had high hopes for this one, but it's mostly just a WASP-y girl being apologetic and "conflicted" about buying the Vera Wang gown, having 9 bridesmaids, etc...and then analyzing it to death. All while quoting Jaclyn Geller's "Here Comes the Bride" and random women. It reads like a college essay (where are the footnotes?) and doesn't do much to challenge the reader--I felt like I had to drag myself to finish it.
Oct 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
After planning her wedding, sociologist Kamy Wicoff was so fed up with the whole thing that she decided to throw her very own version of a temper tantrum: I Do But I Don't, a heated, thought-provoking and funny memoir/expose of the American wedding planning process. How, she asks, are women of our generation, educated women raised by second-wave feminists, handling wedding planning? How do we feel about the crushing expectations of femininity and normality, the shockingly immediate division of l ...more
Destinee Sutton
I have a lot of the same problems with weddings as the author. Namely:

1. When I knew I wanted to marry my boyfriend, why did I feel the need to sit around and wait to be asked for my hand? Aren't we equals?

2. Re: #1, why then did I enjoy my boyfriend's proposal SO MUCH (and SUPER LOVE my engagement ring when I never wear jewelry)?

3. How can I have a beautiful wedding all my friends and family will enjoy without getting sucked into the monster that is the Wedding Industrial Complex?

4. My matr
Melissa Cavanaugh
Really just for the bridal obsessed. Wicoff's attempts at a sociological perspective on the wedding industry are too thoroughly tainted by her own recent experience. Her anecdotes lend color to the book, but she extrapolates too much from her own experience where research would have made her case stronger. And she quotes Jaclyn Geller's "Here Comes the Bride" so often that I felt like I just should have read that one.
Erin Blair
Dec 17, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: liberal women
This is a nonfiction book about the mental process of a bride, from engagement to wedding. This book was gifted to me after I got engaged last year, and I did identify with some of the author's thoughts on the wedding and marriage. However the author is really liberal, is not at all a fan of tradition - and for a conservative gal like me, I found myself shaking my head at all the feminist propaganda. However the historical background the author providse on wedding traditions was interesting and ...more
Courtney Baker
Jul 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Ms Wilcott spent more on her wedding than I will earn this year. She stands by this decision, but suggests that it may be unethical, unnecessary, sexist, and narcissistic. One would think this would kill the book, but its like a train wreck. I couldn't look away. I read story after story of Kamy acting like a spoiled teenager, spending someone else's money, then followed up with a thorough and convincing argument against her and her families actions.
Aug 27, 2007 rated it did not like it
I feel largely as if this could have been a decent essay dealing with the trappings of marriage and what they mean in today's feminist climate - however, contrary to it, it seemed as if this were merely a vehicle for the author to continually rehash her own fairly typical wedding for all the world's eyes to see. Crap, but not entirely terrible crap.
Mar 17, 2007 rated it it was ok
Never did finish this one, but I wasn't impressed by the opening chapter. Sure, the stereotype of women as marriage-hungry mantraps is awful, and sure, it creates a total mental boondoggle for independent feminist types who actually ARE hungry to get married to their reluctant boyfriends -- but do we really need a book to explain that?
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
One of about a bazillion books purporting to take a critical look at the state of American weddings, I read this book in, oh, 2008 or so, while preparing for my own wedding. While Wicoff has some good observations, I found myself rolling my eyes at her more often than not.
Mar 14, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ruhegeist by: Lisa Burgess
putting this to the side for now. tired of reading the stereotypes, drama, over-thinking, self-conscious insanity. definitely worth reading. has great food for thought, insight to society and her her own psyche but need to take it in small doses.
Miranda Sofe Nelson
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Exactly how a social science book (and any nonfiction, really) should be written. Intriguing and well researched, but still personal and connection-driven. I could use a bit more research, but based on concept this book made feminism current and personal.
Beth Gilmartin
Aug 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
An interesting critique of the gender roles dictated by modern marriage conventions.
Maura Elizabeth Cunningham
I’m probably not the usual reader of I Do But I Don’t, in that I’m single and not preparing to get married—and even if I were, the notion of a big fluffy white wedding with nine bridesmaids like the one Wicoff had makes me cringe. But, I am a 33-year-old woman with lots of friends who are getting married in that style, so reading I Do But I Don’t was helpful in that it gave me some insight into why so many women who otherwise reject traditions and assert their individuality turn into Brides seem ...more
Lacey Louwagie
Back when Katrina was dating Chris, she said that she'd like to find a "feminist guide to weddings." While this book isn't a "how-to" in terms of planning a feminist wedding, it definitely gives the feminist bride plenty to reflect upon.

The book is basically a memoir of Kamy's own bridal experience, from the engagement to the big day, with each chapter focused on a particular aspect of the journey (the diamond ring, the dress, the bachelorette party, etc.) In addition to sharing her own experien
I am so glad there is a book out there about how messed up the modern wedding industry is. Wicoff provides a feminist dissection of several different aspects of her wedding planning from the proposal, the dress, the bachelorette party, and the day itself.

Wicoff talks about things so many of us notice but never address. Why can’t women propose? Why is it expected a woman will change her name? Why do so many place price gouge the second you say wedding? Why are you sized up by your ring? She talks
Jan 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Loved it! The wedding industry is not thinking of you when they put out all these glossy magazines to help you plan your wedding, it's their own purses that concern them. It's true that women are made to feel guilty if they do not plan the perfect wedding and Kamy points out that this guilt is not extended to the grooms. I've always put a lot of thought into why people do what they do. It's sometimes hard to do it your own way, but I've never taken "that's way it's done" as a reason for anything ...more
This book was a feminist/sociological examination of what it means for a woman to be engaged, planning a wedding, and getting married.  It balances a memoir-type description of the author’s experiences doing all of those things, with sociological commentary about these events.  I thought this book was very thought provoking.  I’m not sure I would have gotten as into it if I weren’t engaged myself, but as it is a lot of the book resonated for me, such as the fact that I expected my fiancé to be a ...more
Laura Adams
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was uniquely brilliant as it enabled me to sort out my own thoughts on marriage and other rituals, and for the most part I agreed with everything Kamy had to say about "sandwiched women". It was, however, very confronting, as I like to have a positive outlook on society. I also had to really take a look at myself as a large part of me wanted to close the book and pretend I had never read it, despite the fact that I take pride in thinking deeply about those things that are uncomfortable ...more
Emily Turner
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
I found it incredibly useful for someone to write down their personal conflicts with the current state of engagements and proposals. There seems to be more written for the actual wedding. While Kamy initially felt that she had fallen for the usual customs and mindless consumerism of the wedding industrial complex, she was able to really evaluate her experience. Her insight has made me question things that I never even thought of questioning before. For example, I was never one to dream of marria ...more
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
It made me feel less alone. For those who have questioned the heavy importance weddings have taken in our culture, the symbolism of traditional wedding practices, and how this relates to one's life as a woman, this book may also, for you, be much like holding up a mirror. As the other readers suggest, it presents a strong point of view that may not be everyone' cup of tea, and the "sociological" and "personal narrative" shifts can be slightly jarring at times, but personally, as a woman planning ...more
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book I really loved. People think wrongly that the more money you throw at a wedding the happier a couple will be. That is so not true. Wedding are super expensive and they try to talk you into stuff you do not even want. I did a $200 wedding in Las Vegas with 8 friends in a lovely chapel and then we stayed there for our honeymoon. The wedding chapel did all the work. I am still married no for 36 years. A wedding lasts such a short time, but brides keep believing in the fairy tale wedding a ...more
Jun 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone even vaguely considering matrimony
look, i think this should be required reading for all engaged couples. if it was, all of us would attend fewer lame cookie-cutter weddings and things would be more meaningful for those making the choice to get hitched. wicoff's writing is so pleasing, and she demystifies so very many of the stupid and meaningless traditions we have come to associate with weddings in the U.S. i'd already planned most of my wedding before i read this book, but i still thank her for reinforcing my love of pink enga ...more
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be very though provoking and asked many of the same questions I had been asking myself and just sweeping under the rug because I thought I was just being silly or because when I asked them they were never answered and I was ridiculed for even wondering such things.

I do however feel that she does over-think at times and push concepts to a point that is much uglier than what is really there.

Overall, I would certainly recommend this to any one who is engaged or to anyone who is
Sarah Pascarella
I try never to abandon books, but this author just didn't gel with me, and I had to give up a few chapters in. Her breathless rehashing of her own wedding's stressors stressed me out more than my own wedding preparations did! I appreciate how she tried to bring a critical eye to the current madness of wedding planning today, but her perspective was so self-centered that I found her off-putting. I wish this had been billed as a straight memoir rather than part memoir/part sociological critical an ...more
May 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who are getting married or imagine they might be, one day
This book definitely has its limitations: it's particular to only a small subsection of the population (middle & upper class meritocratic WASPS) and Ms. Wicoff seems a little too enamored with reliving the details of her own engagement and marriage. However, I still though it was a fascinating and meaningful exploration of the ritual of marriage in American culture. It raises important questions about what the symbols and meanings attached to marriage implicitly and explicitly communicate ab ...more
Mar 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book tries to be a thoughtful critique of wedding culture in the U.S. But I couldn't help reading it as a fruitless struggle. The author agonizes over everything, from waiting for her boyfriend to propose, to wearing a large diamond ring, to a designer wedding dress and wedding weight loss -- and then does the expected thing every time, justifying it to herself in various ways.

I'm not criticizing her for making the traditional choices. But I would have liked to see more discussion of what i
Jun 13, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This turned out to be pretty interesting. There are certainly dimensions to be critical of, but I think she tries to examine wedding rituals and their significance in the context of gender roles in marriage and society more broadly effectively. It could be useful for anyone who felt very conflicted about planning a wedding, particularly due to the wedding industry and the overwhelming expectations of others, and also for anyone who will plan a wedding and will inevitably confront the "wedding-in ...more
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