Wedding Season

Wedding Season

by Darcy Cosper

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Seventeen weddings. Six months. Only the strong survive.

Joy Silverman and her boyfriend, Gabriel Winslow, seem perfect for each other. Living together in New York City, they have everything they want and everything in common--most important, that neither one wants to get married. Ever.

But when Joy finds herself obligated to attend seventeen weddings in six months (including those of her father, mother, younger brother, and five of her closest girlfriends), the couple is forced to take a new look at why they're so opposed to marriage when the rest of the world can't wait to walk down the aisle. As the season heats up and the pressure mounts, Joy must confront what it means -- and what it costs -- to be true to one's self.

A witty, wicked comedy of manners in the satirical tradition of Jane Austen and Evelyn Waugh, Wedding Season is an intelligent, laugh-out-loud funny examination of friendship, faith, integrity, and the ideas and institutions that bind us together, shape our lives, and define who we are.

"If Jane Austen and Candace Bushnell were to meet for a long drink in a downtown bar, the delightful result might be a contemporary comedy of manners with a decidedly old-fashioned feel. Darcy Cosper has given us just that: a sweet and sharply funny concoction that will have bridesmaids everywhere nodding their heads in recognition." -- Dani Shapiro, author of Family History

"Wonderful....Wedding Season is social comedy on a grand scale. A hilarious and urbane primer on getting hitched-or not-in the twenty-first century." -- Gary Shteyngart, author of The Russian Debutante's Handbook

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307549105
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 03/31/2010
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 974,875
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Darcy Cosper is a writer and book reviewer. Her work has appeared in many publications, including The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, the Village Voice, Nerve, and GQ, and in the anthologies Full Frontal Fiction and the forthcoming Sex & Sensibility. She lives in Los Angeles and New York. This is her first novel.

Read an Excerpt

Sunday, April 1, 200-

This can't be true.

But, of course, it is. And I am, therefore, by various connections, alliances, and accidents, happy and not, for one reason or another, hereby obligated to attend seventeen weddings in the next six months.

How I've managed to avoid confronting such a state of affairs, what with save-the-date cards and engagement party announcements and solicitations for bridal shower gifts fluttering down on me for months, a blizzard of tastefully engraved handmade paper collecting in heavy cream-colored drifts around the apartment--well, it's a testament to something. My capacity for denial, probably.

See, most rituals I hate. Which is not to say that I'm not a creature of habit, because I am, in the most profound of ways; I am a walking antonym for spontaneity. This, however, should not be confused with an affection for ceremony, and particularly not for the wedding ceremony.

This afternoon was given over to one of the few rituals I don't mind: the biannual transfer of my upcoming social and professional appointments from many, many small scraps of paper to the laminated six-month calendar that I keep on the wall above my desk at work, and which I have dragged home for this purpose. It usually gives me a sort of thrill, a bracing sense of victory over the forces of chaos. Not today, though. Today my study became the site of a psychic massacre, as I plucked wedding invitation after wedding invitation from the piles of paper around my desk, and felt my anxiety mount in spectacularly direct proportion to the number of ceremonies I have promised to attend.

"Goddamn," I tell the air around my desk.

"Goddamn," I tell Francis, the elderly and long-suffering dachshund asleep on my left foot.

"Goddamn, goddamn, goddamn," I tell the nearby photographs of my mother, my father, and my younger brother, Josh, whose third, second, and first marriages, respectively, are among those requiring my attendance. I blow a kiss at the photo of my elder brother, James, who in addition to being gay is also a certified, off-the-chart commitment-phobe, and unlikely to get hitched any time soon. I'm very fond of James.

"Goddamn," I add one more time, loudly, for good measure.

"Oh, don't stop." Gabriel pokes his head into the study. "I love it when you talk dirty, Joy. Don't stop." He has smudges on his face and a feather duster in his back pocket.

"Are you aware that we have seventeen weddings to go to between now and mid-September?" I wave a handful of the offending invitations at him.

"I hadn't counted, but it makes sense." Gabe slouches against the door frame.

"Beg to differ. It's totally senseless."

"Probably just a by-product of everyone you know turning thirty. Same thing happened to me a couple of years ago."

"To this extent?"

"Well, no. Seventeen? No." Gabe shrugs. "Something like five in a year. Guess that's not quite the same, is it?"

"Not quite."

"Hey, maybe someone dosed the national water supply." He laughs. "A nation of brides. You remember that Cheever story where there's a costume party, and people are supposed to dress as they wish they were, and all the women come in their wedding dresses, and all the men come in their old football uniforms?"

"Gabe, I'm going to throw up."

"Don't do that. The bathroom is spotless." He assumes the Olympic victory pose, chest thrust out, arms raised above his head. "And the kitchen. I even defrosted the freezer."

"Truly uncommon valor. May I take you out for dinner?"

"Hero sandwiches? Veal medallions? Army bratwurst?" Gabe has an unredeemable fondness for puns, and the more like blunt instruments they are, the more pleased with himself he becomes.

"Not if you keep that up."

"Anyway, it's Girls' Night," he says. On cue, the phone rings, and I pick up.

"Hello, Henry," I say into the receiver.

"Hello, smartass," she answers. Henry is my best friend. By the grace of whatever forces govern student housing, she was assigned as my roommate freshman year at college, and my life hasn't been the same since. Henry, or Hank, if you prefer, is short and shorter for Henrietta, god forgive her parents, who must have named her with some kind of eerie prescience about and totem against her magnificent beauty--though ostensibly it was after a great-grandmother. Henry: six feet, one inch in stockings, with a body that would make Sports Illustrated swimsuit models gnash their little capped teeth in envy. Bales of blonde hair, Aegean eyes, an elegant nose, just slightly and winsomely too small for her face. A faint Louisiana accent, which she trots out at full strength for special occasions. Et cetera. And, to the everlasting chagrin of red-blooded boys worldwide, she's a lesbian.

"Want to meet me early for a drink?" Henry asks.


"That's my girl!" she yells.

"I'll be there in half an hour." I hold the phone away from my ear.

"Give Pretty Boy my best," Henry says, and hangs up. Really, she likes Gabe well enough. And it's a fact that Gabe is possessed of those fine-boned, patrician good looks only minutely removed from overt prettiness by a square jaw and a jaunty, assured, I-just-finished-my-rowing-practice glow of testosterone. However, the first time we met, Hank introduced herself to me as, quote, swamp trash hauled dripping from the Louisiana bayou by a state scholarship fund and the kindness of strangers, unquote. So it's not a wild leap to say that class resentment may be the basis of a tiny grudge she bears my boyfriend, whose family, through absolutely no fault of his own, is listed in the Social Register.

"Hank sends her love," I tell Gabe, who is perched on the edge of my desk, flipping through the stack of invitations. "This is going to be a season in hell."

"Nah, it'll be fine." He looks at my calendar. "Inconvenient, is all."

"And annoying. And expensive."

"Don't worry about that, Red. You can leave the wedding gifts to me. Just think of the dancing. We haven't gone dancing for months."

"Think of all the people asking when we plan to tie the knot."

"Opportunity for witty remarks." Gabe pushes his hair out of his eyes, languid and unperturbed. "Bon mot body building. We'll find so many different variations on 'when hell freezes over'."

"Thereby exposing ourselves to impertinent personal questions, peer pressure, and misguided ridicule."

"You're funny. Hey, I know what." Gabe snaps his fingers. "We'll make a documentary out of it."

"Lifestyles of the White and Foolish?"

"A sort of Wildlife Safari nature special. Mating Rituals of the American Upper-Middle Class. You can be the fearless anthropologist, and I'll be the trusty cinematographer." He hoists an imaginary camera onto his shoulder and zooms in on my face. "Here we see the intrepid Adventurer Silverman approaching that most dangerous of all connubial creatures, the mother of the bride. She's made contact! Note the Adventurer's mode of engagement here: downcast eyes, limp-wristed handshake, demure manner, all deployed to communicate passive acceptance of authority and avoid being set up with one of the bride's horrible medical student cousins." Gabe sets down the invisible camera. "In the end, I'll be attacked and devoured by a rabid band of bridesmaids and you'll have to forge on bravely without me. Ah, look at that. I got a smile."

"Gabe, you're an angel."

"I love you, too." He assumes the Olympic victory pose again. "So, will you do that swearing thing some more when you get back from dinner?"

Gabe and I met, as it happens, at a wedding.

It was the first I'd attended for one of my peers, and I went not so much out of affection for the couple as out of a slightly morbid curiosity. The invitation, issued by a semi-friend of mine from college, was printed in an ersatz Art Deco typeface; guests were instructed to dress for the occasion in "croquet formal." Thus I found myself, along with Henry and our friend Joan, on a brilliant afternoon in mid-September, in the nether regions of Long Island. We had traveled by rental car, getting lost twice, to an estate landscaped within an inch of its green life and featuring a built-to-order, very loosely Tudor-esque mansion. There we joined the crowds strewn across these rolling acres--several hundred guests attired in white and off-white and ivory, adorned with straw hats and fedoras and cunning chapeaux with little veils, endlessly refilling fluted glasses at the champagne fountains and picking over mile-long buffet tables. To me we looked like nothing so much as a herd of escapees from an insane asylum with a semiformal dress code.

In a show of good sportsmanship, my friends and I had bent to the sartorial dictates and arrayed ourselves in white tea dresses; bonhomie ended when the bride, who had majored in theater, attempted to recruit us for the post-ceremony croquet tournament. We retreated to a small table in the dappled shade of several old trees, where we had an excellent view of an eighteen-piece swing band performing under a white-canopied tent the size of a city block.

"We are one giant fashion faux pas," Joan said, sighing. "Three weeks past Labor Day, and nothing but white shoes as far as the eye can see."

"Sweetheart, you can hardly see the end of your cigarette." Henry patted Joan's shoulder. "There are champagne bubbles coming out your ears." Joan gave her a wicked grin, peered at the few drops of champagne remaining in her glass, and emptied them onto Henry's blonde coiffure. I heard a loud crack and watched a croquet ball roll by us.

"What country, friends, is this?" I asked.

"Who cares? Get a load of the natives." Joan nodded in the direction of the tent. "Hunk of burning love at twenty paces."

We looked. Walking toward us was a tall, slender man in a pale linen suit, carrying a pair of empty champagne glasses. His nearly black hair curled in a forelock that fell across long-lashed, dark blue eyes. His mouth looked like an overripe valentine. As he passed near our table, he saw the three of us staring and paused.

"A little more champagne?" The vision gathered up our glasses and headed off without waiting for an answer. We stared after him.

"Good God." Joan shook her head. "I could impale myself on those cheekbones and die happy."

"He's a prop," I told them. "He came with the floral arrangements."

"You really think a boy in a three-piece suit is playing for your team?" Henry asked. "That hunk of burning love is pure, one hundred percent USDA fairy. Big fag. Bet you money."

"He just hasn't found the right woman yet." Joan mock-sobbed, dabbing at her eyes with the hem of her dress.

"Nice undies," Henry said; Joan lifted her skirt higher, swishing it back and forth like a Moulin Rouge dancer.

"Steady, there," I told her. "The cheekbones are back."

The vision was nearing our table, managing five full champagne glasses with remarkable grace.

"Well, thanks." Henry's bayou accent made a surprise guest appearance. "That was sure nice of you."

"You're welcome." He had a furry, warm, tenor voice, and very white, slightly crooked teeth. I don't generally have an irrational weakness for male beauty, but the total effect of this young man made me want to wrap my arms around a stack of school books, swing back and forth, and dig the dainty toe of one saddle shoe into the gravel of a high school parking lot.

"And you are?" Joan raised her glass unsteadily.

"Gabe. Gabriel Winslow."

"Of course he is," Joan murmured to me.

"Charmed." Henry kicked Joan under the table. "I'm Hank, and this is Joan. And Joy."

Gabe nodded to them, and turned to me.


"Gesundheit," I told him, extending a cocktail napkin.

"Listen," Gabe said. "I have to deliver a glass of this swill to the mother of the groom. But I'll lose my mind if I have to hear any more stories about her brilliant son, so I need an alibi. That's where you come in."

Joan and Henry were grinning and bobbing like toy ducks in a carnival shooting gallery.

"You're taking the fate of your feet into your own hands," I said. Gabe laughed and offered me his arm.

"I promise to have her back before midnight." He gave the girls a little bow. As we walked toward the tent, I looked back over my shoulder and saw them doing their best Lenny and Squiggy impression: pelvis-thrusting, wrist-biting shimmies around the table.

Some of my friends say you can tell everything you need to know about a prospective beau from a kiss. I say dance with him. Gabriel deeply endeared himself to me in this way: After a couple of not too awkward turns around the floor, he stopped and smiled at me. I'm on the tall side, so our eyes were almost level.

"I think I know what our problem is." He pulled my right hand around to the small of his back. "You should be leading. I'll follow you."

Now let me be clear. This was not about gender politics, per se. What I liked about Gabe's gesture had to do with how it was unconscious, not a showy inversion of roles intended as comment on my character, or a demonstration of how profoundly comfortable he was with his masculinity. It simply meant nothing to him one way or another who did the leading, so long as the dancing was good. And as it happens, the dancing was good.

As the festivities drew to a close, Gabriel and I sat alone at a table under the big top, picking over the remains of what had been a very large slice of chocolate wedding cake and watching girls gather for the ceremonial toss of the bridal bouquet.

"Aren't you going to go fight the good fight?" Gabe nodded toward the lacy white mob knotting together on the dance floor.

"I'm allergic."

"To flowers?"

"To marriage."

"Ah," Gabe said. "You don't want to get married?" A funny half-smile dimpled his face.

"No. And specifically, no." I eyed him with suspicion, bracing myself for the usual queries, the predictable patient scorn, but they were not forthcoming.

"Never cared much for weddings myself." Gabe leaned back in his chair and looked intently at me. "Never saw the point of marriage, really."

Now, this exchange may not strike the average Jane as the quintessence of romance, but it was an aphrodisiac for me. Gabe and I stared at each other for a few long moments, during which I felt as though my chest were filling with helium. It was terribly cinematic. There was a thud behind us, and we turned to see that the bouquet had hit the floor. Several women dove for it. Gabe stood and held his hand out to me.

"Would you like to take a turn around the grounds and discuss the possibility of forming an allergen-free colony with me?"

"That sounds like an excellent idea," I told him, and put my hand in his.

And it was.

Customer Reviews

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Wedding Season: A Comedy of Manners, Matrimony, and Seventeen Marriages in Six Months 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
RivkaBelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was pretty disappointing ... from the blurbs, I was expecting a really cute, funny adventure: 17 weddings in 6 months? There's so much you could do with that! Unfortunately, Cosper took the easy way out, and the book is flat and disatisfying ... Not even good quality fluff! I forced myself to finish it, hoping it'd get better, but it didn't. Bleh.
KimmyDavis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It is not, in my opinion, a chick lit novel. It is not light, fluffy and a great place to get ideas for your own wedding. However, it is an excellent read, the writer uses wonderful language, and the result is an intelligent take on marriage and what it means. It is about morals and principles and how they change as we get older, and how they stay the same. If you're a little tired of the chick lit treadmill, read this! You'll enjoy the vacation!
magst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I bought this book based on the synopsis, and that it was written in the style of Jane Austen, which I now regret. As a big Austen fan I am deeply offended that this book would even be held in the same category with Pride & Prejudice. The back of the book leads the reader to believe that it will be a witty, funny, & intelligent read, but I'm here to tell you it's not!After reading this book all I felt was cheated! I wasted my precious time reading this awful book when I could've been reading the back of a cereal box instead.
rainbowdarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wedding Season was a good enough story... Engaging enough, interesting enough with a plot that moved forward fairly steadily without dwelling too long on any one issue. Other than that, there wasn't a lot to recommend it. The main character was somewhat unsympathetic. She was judgmental and often very closed-minded, but what worked about that was the reactions of the other characters. It wasn't merely tolerated by all the characters - she suffered real consequences due to her faults.All in all, I did enjoy the book. It wasn't one of the best I've ever read, but I might pick it up again someday if I'm thinking a lot about weddings. Otherwise, it's probably best suited for an on-the-plane book. Read it once and forget about it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author uses this book to show off her vocabulary and grammar... as for plot, story line or anything interesting that might go into a book... This seemed more like a dull attempt by a pseudo intellectual wanting to show off.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was a good read. I was wanting it to end a little different but all together very happy with the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book until the end. Why do writers feel they have to give the clever ending where everyone has analyzed everything to death? Why not give the reader what they're looking for which is the idea that love instead of principles conquers all? A real disappointment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Since I had to attend six weddings over the summer, I thought that this book might provide some needed amusement for a bridesmaid that also runs from the bride's bouquet. No such luck. I didn't have a problem with the ending like some readers did. I just thought the dialogue was flat and uninteresting, and the entire book left me feeling very drained. I am an avid reader, but I felt myself pushing to get to the end of the book as I hate to leave books unfinished. If you are looking for a depressing look on marriage and life in general, pick this up. If you are looking for a lighter view on bridesmaid's duty, you might try 'Always a Bridesmaid.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
i liked it was very real, a little twisty at the end but great
Guest More than 1 year ago
To dislike a book because its ending does not fit its 'genre' seems a bit silly and narrow minded. Yes, there were parts of this story that were choppy, and dialogue that maybe fell a bit flat - but overall i enjoyed it because along with the bad there was a lot of witty and original moments. the book asked a reader to think a bit and kept a nice balance between emotion and comedy, i liked the different point of view and the range of weddings and relationships - if your looking for something funny, fresh and thoughtful this is a good book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book was pretty good, a good summer read. It was nice to read a book about a girl who didn't want to get married compared to the hunderds of books of girls who are dying to wed. The reasons for the main character anti-ness made sense towards the end of the book, and I felt was a suprising twist. It did end kind of sad, but not really. It seems as if you can picture what would happen if the book were to continue on. All in all, different from what 'chick lit' is suppose to be, and a fun light read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book, and even though the critics say that her explanation at the end didn't make sense, I believe it does. Sometimes you can't go by what you would do, but rather have to empathize with Joy's feelings. For her to sell out herself would make her miserable. I think that the ending was good, even though it was sad. She didn't sell out her own beliefs, which is refreshing because every other woman in chick lit/flick ends up doing that. I liked the humor and the style of this book so I would recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't judge this book by its cover, if you're looking for cute and easy chick lit, don't read this one. This book is very funny and witty and it made me laugh outloud, but it's also smart and serious about modern women and the ways of the modern world. It also made me cry, and it made me think! I got totally caught up in the story, especially about halfway through when it got really interesting and I couldn't stop reading it! I loved the characters, and also the ending, which at first made me sad but after some thought made me appreciate the book more because it isn't what you expect.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book expecting your normal chick lit fare...and I got an unsatisfying ending as a result. This is one of the worst books that I have ever read.