The wealth and position of the socially prominent Lord family of Philadelphia has made Tracy, the eldest daughter, into an imperious and haughty shrew. Tracy's attitude causes a marital rift with her childhood sweetheart, sportsman and recovering alcoholic C. K. Dexter Haven, leading to a divorce. Two years later, Tracy is poised to wed the pompous and politically ambitious self-made man George Kittredge when Dexter returns from an extended absence accompanied by scandal sheet reporters Macaulay "Mike" Connor and Elizabeth Imbrie. Because Sidney Kidd, the powerful publisher of the scandal magazine Spy , has embarassing information on Tracy's father Seth's affair with a dancer, Dexter agrees to allow Mike and Liz access to Tracy's wedding in exchange for not printing the story on Seth. Although Dexter introduces Mike and Liz as old friends of Tracy's brother Junius, who is living in South America, Tracy realizes that Mike and Liz are reporters. She allows them to stay, however, and puts on an exaggerated performance of a society girl for them when Dexter tells her about Kidd. Tracy is angry at Dexter for coming back after two years, but her mother Margaret and sister Dinah are delighted at his presence, complicating Tracy's attempts to have a dignified wedding. Because Tracy is angry at her father for his affair and doesn't expect him at the wedding, she pretends that her uncle Willie is her father, hoping to make Mike and Liz think that everyone is happy. Though she at first has nothing but contempt for Mike, she gradually comes to admire him when she finds a book of poetry he has written at the local public library. Mike, too, comes to admire Tracy, whom he realizes is more than just a superficial society girl. Liz, who thinks that Tracy and Dexter are still in love, begins to get jealous when she realizes that Mike is starting to fall for Tracy. When Seth unexpectedly returns home and Margaret is happy to see him, Tracy chastises them. Seth then lectures her about her heartlessness, as does Dexter, who gives her a model of the yacht they used for their honeymoon, The True Love , as a wedding present. Confused and hurt over things that Seth and Dexter have said to her, Tracy becomes very drunk at her engagement party and starts kissing Mike after a middle-of-the-night swim at home. The next morning, a very hung over Tracy doesn't seem to remember what happened the night before, but as Dinah and the others start to remind her, she becomes even more confused. When Dexter and Kittredge arrive and Kittridge's pompous reaction to Tracy's seeming indiscretion the night before is revealed, Tracy realizes that she doesn't love him, and Kittridge leaves. The guests have gathered for the wedding, however, and the entire family is waiting for Tracy to do something. As the orchestra plays the strings of the wedding march, Dexter advises Tracy on what to say to the guests and, as he feeds her the lines, she tells them that they were cheated out of seeing her marry Dexter the first time, but they will be able to see her marry him this time. Now realizing that Dexter is proposing, Tracy happily accompanies him down the aisle. Harmony seems to be restored in the Lord household until a flashbulb pops and the bride and groom are surprised by a photographer and Kidd places their picture in the next issue of Spy .