Stand by for a dozen slices of the most romantic, heartfelt, hilarious, or just plain weird weddings to ever have graced the silver screen. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find inspiration for the direction you’d like to take your own celebration.
Love Actually (2003)
Long before civilization collapsed The Walking Dead’s Rick Grimes was one of the greatest Best Men to ever be asked to not do anything unexpected at a wedding, and go ahead and do something anyway. Admittedly, we’re still not quite sure how he managed to get everyone to take part in this moving rendition of a Beatles classic without ruining the surprise. Did he promise them all extra tinned food and shotgun shells? It’s best not to ask too many questions and instead enjoy a scene from this romantic comedy that, surprisingly, wasn’t made as an advert for the British Tourist Board.
Father of the Bride (1991)
Although initially notable for the moment around 0:32 when Diane Keaton picks up a haunted ventriloquist dummy for no conceivable reason, this scene is all about Steve Martin and his fatherly concerns. Of course it is. He’s the “father of the bride”, and since he only realizes that his little girl isn’t a girl anymore the moment she’s walking down the aisle you have to wonder whether or not he’s wonderfully innocent, or just impossibly naive. It’s all very sweet and teary - until you consider that he might have been totally ignoring her for the last five years.
For many brides their wedding day is the first time they get to meet and greet their new extended family, which is just as well as they’ll at least be wearing their best dress - and be mildly drunk. With so many people to encounter and so many names to remember it can still all become one long blizzard of confusion, so it certainly also helps if all the men are called Peter or Paul, most of the women are Maries, and the videographer is Martin Scorsese.
We’ve seen a wedding from the perspective of the nervous father of the bride, but what about the groom and his anxieties? Enter Michael Keaton as the much misunderstood demon of misrule, Betelgeuse, who’s waited centuries for his special day only for it to be utterly ruined by his ungrateful wedding guests. It’s a common fear shared by many men, though it’s fair to suggest that, for most grooms, the chance of being devoured by a giant sandworm from another dimension that’s being ridden by a ghost are reliably slim. Don’t worry. You’ll do fine.
The Princess Bride (1987)
Tradition dictates that a royal wedding should be a grand affair of drawn-out theatre and so should be expected to go on, and on, and on... But what if you’re a prince who is in a hurry because you need your princess bride to say “I do!” before one of her peasant suitors has arrived outside (with Andre the Giant) to whisk her away to a life of love, happiness and adventure? In that case the marriage (“That bwessed awwangement, that dream wivvin a dweam,”) better get a move on. Just make sure she says those magic words or the ceremony won’t count for squat.
My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
If your best friend is Cameron Diaz you’d have to be senseless (or Julia Roberts) to even think that you could do anything to stop her wedding from taking place, just so you can claim her groom for yourself. You could, however, still give a wedding speech that brings tears to mostly your eyes before you stare unblinking at the happy couple, as bridesmaids sing a delightful version of “The Way You Look Tonight”, and they dance their first dance together. You’d just still look a bit crazy, though, especially with that tune playing. Best go fix your face in the restroom honey.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011)
What woman wouldn’t want to marry a guy who’ll stay young forever as they grow old and wrinkled and eventually die? Not Kristen Stewart, whose ‘beautiful’ resting face says it all in this scene in which she marries an immortal man who wears the sort of make-up normally seen on silent movie stars, and who will one day get to change her adult diapers. Or at least he would if (silly plot spoiler) she didn’t go on to not die during childbirth only because he turns her into a vampire. It says a lot about all the other young men in her local area, really. They must have been awful. Still, what a beautiful location!
Marriage isn’t just about a very special day. It’s about a life spent together with the one you love, and you’ll find no deeper, more heartfelt and emotionally moving portrayal of such a life than in a movie built using cold and calculating computers. Beginning with the humble wedding of Carl and Ellie, this totally unexpectedly powerful montage follows the highs and eventual lows of their union, and by its conclusion (that we’ve purposely avoided showing) it’s easy to see why one day he’ll want to tie 20,000 helium balloons to his house and just fly, fly away.
It’s testament to Will Smith’s acting skills that he’s able to be cast as an easy going, smooth-talking and impressively confident man who can easily take charge of any situation as well as roles in which he’s required to do much the same, but while flying an alien spaceship. Hitch is all about him helping others to be more like himself while he learns some home truths along the way, and (genuinely) highly enjoyable it is too. Concluding with a scene where he and his friends shake their wild legs to Now That We’ve Found Love by Heavy D and the Boyz, it also ends on one heck of a high note.
The Godfather (1972)
At every wedding there’s a danger that you’ll find yourself sat with that one person who will engage you in casual conversation before revealing something personal and upsetting about their family. In this case that person is a young Al Pachino, who seems to take some pleasure from informing an otherwise happy young woman that the wedding singer they’re listening to was only available because his father made his agent an offer he couldn’t refuse. It’s a classic scene from a classic movie, but it also explains why method actor Al spent much of the 1970s uninvited to many such celebrations.
The Graduate (1967)
If you don’t want to watch Dustin Hoffman drive his car and then run about a bit then skip to 1:17 where you’ll find that the inclusion of this classic clip makes a lot more sense. See, he’s on his way to a wedding! Not his, of course, but rather the one he eventually ruins by stealing away the bride and assaulting many of the guests. Katherine Ross doesn’t seem to mind, but if you watch her and Hoffman’s faces during the final few seconds of their escape you’ll see them both consider the enormity of their actions as well as their joy at finally being together. Elaine! Elaine! Elaine! Amazing.
Was it, as many have claimed, really just a female version of The Hangover? According to film critic Roger Ebert Bridesmaids definitely proved that “women are the equal of men in vulgarity, sexual frankness, lust, vulnerability, over-drinking and insecurity,” which certainly explains why our choice of suitably clean and family-friendly clips was limited. We’d say it’s also a much better movie that, with a final wedding scene that involves everyone lip-synching to a live performance from Wilson Phillips of their 1990 hit Hold On, ends on one fantastic high.