Interview with Professor Andrew Ward

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Andrew Ward, professor of Psychology at the College, is now a popular writer. With the publication of “The Bargaining Bride” this month, Ward has identified a host of like minded romantics, looking to score the great wedding as well as the slightly shorter receipt. With tips such as how to find the right cake, or bargain the best price on wedding rentals, this negotiation-minded psychologist combines his scholarly skills with real world savvy to navigate the harsh realities of a wedding event, with the help of co-author Shirit Kronzon. His previous work has been featured in such mainstream magazines as Redbook and Allure as well as a host of academic journals.

Daily Gazette: First of all, you mention “corkage” as a hidden wedding cost that can sink newlyweds even before the honeymoon. What exactly is corkage?
Andrew Ward: Corkage is the fees for bringing alcohol from places other than the reception site. It’s the same with cake-cutting fees. The sites want you to use their services, which can be overpriced.

DG: How does one avoid them?
AW: Simply unpack charges. The sites will give you a grand total. Preparation in this case is key.

DG: The press release mentions the authors have advice on how to handle nearly everything wedding related, including the music. I’m guessing no wedding singer? What’s your feeling on this?
AW: I actually have sung at many weddings, even for members of this department, so I do have personal experience. The trick in this case is “bait-and-switch,” you can be lured into one group of musicians, and they can cancel at the last moment or even send others in their place who carry the same name.

DG: I had no idea!
AW: It’s been eye-opening for me as well.

DG: Is this book specific to, well, women waiting to wed? Could I still enjoy this book as a single college student?
AW: The wedding book also offers the basics of negotiation, like the first chapter, how to handle the wedding negotiations. So, it’s for everyone.

DG: Your book, “The Bargaining Bride” will be followed soon by something about “the role of narrowed attention in prosocial behaviors,” which I guess will be published in an eminent academic journal. How do you reconcile these two disparate publications?
AW: One uniting theme to my work is conflict. This is even potential conflictÑbetween the bride and the service provider, or even internal conflict. For example, there are forces preventing us from being more social. It all comes down to conflict. IÕve written quite a bit on negotiations and bargaining. Some self.

DG: How did you like college, and how did you find psychology? Some students have trouble finding their wayÉ
AW: I should’ve come to Swarthmore! I was accepted, and I took the tour and some students told me, “It’s so hard here” so I was scared away. It’s a very special place for undergraduates; the amount of contact between professors and students is just incredible.

DG: And as for psychology?
AW: I actually came to that late in my undergraduate career, I was a Biology major! But I took some classes in psychology and I fell in love with it. And I haven’t regretted it, either!


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