Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Wayne Wheeler

Second Advisor

Richard Butler

Third Advisor

William Clute


The wedding as a rite of passage plays an important part in contemporary American society. The planning, staging, and recording phases of a formal wedding directly involve a number of people. The research for this thesis focuses on four of the occupational groups— bridal consultants, formal wear consultants, florists, and photographers— normally involved in the three phases of a formal wedding. Utilizing participant observation and interview techniques I gathered data relating to the duties, training, and regulation of each occupational group as well as the attitudes of representative members of each group toward their work, other members of their own occupation, the bridal couple, and each of the other occupational groups studied.

This research has two goals. The first is to describe the social organization resulting when the four occupational groups and the bride and groom come together in the wedding complex. The second is to analyze each occupational group for characteristics of a profession and, as a consequence, to determine whether any of the groups are professions or are becoming professionalized.

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