Patricia Arend is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts, whose research focuses on the relationship between gender inequality and consumer society, as well as the popularity of the white wedding in an age of growing gender equality. Her study, “Consumption as Common Sense: Heteronormative Hegemony and White Wedding Desire,” appeared in the Journal of Consumer Culture, and she is currently working on a book manuscript titled, Dream Weddings: Fantasy, Femininity and Consumer Desire.

Deborah Carr is a Professor and Chair of Sociology at Rutgers University in New Jersey, who studies marital quality and mental health, as well as widowhood. The co-author of a study titled, “Do Special Occasions Trigger Psychological Distress Among Older Bereaved Spouses? An Empirical Assessment of Clinical Wisdom,” Carr can talk about Valentine’s Day in the context of sadness. She is also the author or co-author of a number other studies including: “Happy Marriage, Happy Life? Marital Quality and Subjective Well-Being in Later Life;” “Dating After Late-Life Spousal Loss: Does it Compromise Relationships with Adult Children;” and “The Desire to Date and Remarry Among Older Widows and Widowers.”

Pepper Schwartz is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle, the Love and Relationship Ambassador for AARP, as well as an advisor and on air relationship expert on the new A&E reality show “Married at First Sight.” Previously, Schwartz was the relationship expert for for 15 years, and she has authored or co-authored more than 20 books including: The Great Sex Weekend; The Lifetime Love and Sex Quiz Book; Everything You Know About Love and Sex is Wrong; Prime: Adventures and Advice on Sex, Love, and the Sensual Years; and, most recently, Places for Passion: The 75 Most Romantic Destinations in the World—and Why Every Couple Needs to Get Away.