The bride who decides: Feminine rituals of bridal gown purchase as a rite of passage

Katherine Sykes, Jan Brace-Govan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


For contemporary Western women, many of whom cohabit for extended periods, the selection of a wedding date initiates the liminal bride-to-be identity. Choosing her central wedding artefact, the bridal gown, is not only an important first step in organising her wedding, but it is also a rite of passage. Within the setting of the Australian bespoke bridal boutique a feminine ritual is enacted. Here brides-to-be reconcile, sometimes competing, cultural and personal scripts about brides through the discovery of the bridal gown that is perfect for them. Accompanied by close friends and her mother, these actors in the ritual support the bride-to-be and reflect an imagined wedding audience, but it is the mother of the bride-to-be who is given licence to be honest. The mother s frankness provides a counterbalance to the frivolity of friends that assists in the reconciliation of the divergent scripts and the personalisation of this important artefact. The retailer stage-manages the spectacle of presenting the bride-to-be to her chosen audience and, at this moment of revelation, brides-to-be transition into the identity of bride. Different from other research, Australian brides-to-be rely on bespoke bridal boutique retailers for their knowledge of contemporary trends, and mothers play a significant role in this feminine shopping ritual.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277 - 285
Number of pages9
JournalAustralasian Marketing Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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