"The concept of women writing about their wedding dresses is enchanting, and so is this book. I sat right down and read it cover to cover. Then I had an urgent desire to write about my wedding dress. A gray flannel suit, since you asked. Wartime."
"A wedding dress is a perfect icon for an anthology for it shows us that the women's movement can come and go, our image of a housewife or marriage may change dramatically, but each generation frets over her wedding dress as did her mother and grandmother. It is the perfect symbol of hope. If you want to cut through the latest ideology and get to the heart of what beats under the tulle read this great book. I swear if I landed here from another planet nothing would tell me more about the female psyche or the role that marriage plays in their psyche than reading My Wedding Dress."
"Speaking as someone who got married in a purple suit, and then reluctantly, I can only say that the editors of this wonderful collection got it right. Their essayists have done a Martin Luther and nailed their white, beaded, silk-draped souls to the church door. Wedding dresses are the embodiment of purest happiness and deepest trauma. Some of the garments are so soaked in irony it’s a wonder the poor woman is able to stand upright. I read each story sometimes laughing and sometimes utterly aghast. A toast to the editors and their tribe of brides."
“My Wedding Dress is not just a book for brides. It is a thoughtful meditation on every aspect of the marriage ritual — tears, taffeta and all.”
Both Anne Laurel Carter and Susan Whelehan are experienced authors and educators, and seeing this project come to fruition has been a thrill for them both. The genesis of the idea for My Wedding Dress occurred six years ago at Whelehan’s home, where a group of friends, including Carter, had gathered for an afternoon of writing. The project was this: topics would be called out by different women, and everyone would write on each topic for fifteen to twenty minutes without stopping. Once the time was up, they would all read their pieces aloud to the group. As Whelehan writes in her introduction, the insight and emotions that pour out during activities like this are phenomenal: “There is a place where you go when you put pen to paper and write without pausing… It is not the place you would go if you were to call out a subject and then have a conversation. Oh no. Some say the truths of the heart flow down the arm and out the pen.”
On one particular evening the topic was “your wedding dress,” and all of the writers were surprised at the diversity and intensity of the pieces. The subject was so well-received that Whelehan later used it with another group of women, none of whom were used to writing, and it was a hit again. Right away she knew it would be a great idea for a book, but left it at that. Then, a couple of years later, Anne Carter called, full of memories of that night of writing and enthusiasm for the project of this anthology. So they set about making it a reality: drawing up lists of potential contributors, reading the many pieces sent in by women across the country, making difficult choices about what to include, and finally pulling the great variety of voices together into this anthology.
My Wedding Dress is the first of this sort of project for both of its editors, although both have made a career of the writing life. Anne Laurel Carter’s novel Last Chance Bay won the CLA Best Book of the Year Award while Under a Prairie Sky won the Mr. Christie Award for the Best Picture Book in Canada. The author of fourteen books, she has also been nominated for OLA awards. She lives in Toronto with her husband and four teens. Susan Whelehan works mornings teaching six- and seven-year-old children how to read so that they will some day enjoy the books she writes in the afternoons. She has written sixteen picture books for young readers, poetry for young and old, and co-authored Meditating Mamas: A Spiritual Resource for New Mothers with Rebecca Cunningham. She is currently writing for the award-winning children’s television show The Big Comfy Couch. Her husband and two sons help her with her garden in Toronto. Her wedding earrings still fit.