When women think about getting married, one of the things at the top of the list is the wedding dress. Jeffrey Zaslow, captures the mystique of the wedding dress in his new book, â€œThe Magic Room,â€ but goes well beyond the dress as he follows real brides through their journeys to the altar.
There are tales of sorrow, lost loves, broken dreams, injuries and even some deaths catalogued among the stories.Â Each bride featured in the book has an interesting story about her family and her road to the bridal shop. Zaslow follows each bride and how she chooses her gown.
The subtitle, â€œA story about the love we wish for our daughtersâ€ doesnâ€™t really say enough. The book is more about insights into marriage rather than stories about the dresses brides wear on their sacred day. Youâ€™ll read about several different woman, from one young woman who is not only waiting for marriage to have sex, but is waiting for marriage to have her first kiss to a 40-year-old never married woman and how she finally met Mr. Right.
The magic room comes into play at Beckerâ€™s Bridal shop, in the small town of Fowler, Michigan. â€œA town of 1,100 residents and 2,500 wedding dresses.â€œ Women try on several gowns and choose one to wear upstairs in the magic room where they will walk on emerald green carpet to the pedestal to see themselves among several mirrors and soft light. Itâ€™s where brides can see themselves in THE dress.
The shop is owned by Shelley Becker Mueller; third generation owner. Zaslow intertwines the brideâ€™s stories with Shelleyâ€™s story of how she became a business woman and what itâ€™s cost her to continue to run the store. Shelleyâ€™s worked at the shop since she was a young girl, leaving only for a few months to prove a point to her parents. There are great insights into American small businesses and what it takes to be successful â€“ financial as well as work/life balance issues come into play in Shelleyâ€™s story.
The bridal stories arenâ€™t just stories about giddy women who are head over heals in love and buying a wedding dress. There are lessons here.
The bride who is saving her kiss â€¦ her father took her on a trip for her sixteenth birthday where he asked her to think about her future husband. â€œWhat qualities do you think are nonnegotiable?â€ he asks. He gets his daughter to write down 10 traits, â€œbeyond tall, dark and handsome.â€ This is an interesting idea that many parents could consider doing with their teenagers to help guide them toward someone who brings out the best in them
A favorite lessons from the book is from one mother who, â€œwhen her daughters bickered â€¦ wouldnâ€™t send them to separate corners. Sheâ€™d make them stand, face-to-face, their noses touching. In a minute or two, theyâ€™d be laughing, almost like teammates, and everything was better.â€
The biggest lesson from â€œThe Magic Roomâ€ is that itâ€™s not about the dress, itâ€™s not about the wedding. Shelley talks about how todayâ€™s bride walks â€œaround with thick â€˜wedding notebooksâ€™ crammed with names, phone numbers, menus, gift registries. No one walks around with a thick notebook about how to prepare for a meaningful marriage.â€ So true.
Disclosure: This review is part of the BlogHer Book Club and I received compensation for this review.