Hijinks ensue, but like all movies with the word “wedding” in the title, audiences don’t buy a ticket for the shenanigans, they go to see the ceremony. Anything that happens before the walk down the aisle is window dressing, the journey that gets the audience where they really want to be, at the altar.
The famous wedding scene in The Godfather—including the much-quoted Luca Brasi line, “Don Corleone, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your home on the wedding day of your daughter. And may their first child be a masculine child.”—featured many Staten Island Italian-Americans as extras. They were invited to the set to enjoy homemade wine, traditional Italian food and enjoy themselves as though it were a real wedding.
Inspiration for the film Four Weddings and a Funeral came when writer Richard Curtis realized he had been to 72 weddings in 10 years. The movie, about a confirmed bachelor who discovers love, made an international star of Hugh Grant, who won the role after auditioning with a tape from when he was best man at his brother’s wedding.
Both those films, plus others like Wedding Crashers, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Fiddler on the Roof feature wonderful wedding scenes, but what about when nuptials turn nasty?
Who could forget Mr. Robinson howling, “You punk! You crazy punk! I’ll kill you!” at The Graduate’s Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) after he interrupted the wedding of Elaine Robinson (Katharine Ross) to another man? Elaine leaves her intended at the altar, running off with Ben to an uncertain future, creating one of the classic endings in movie history.
In Runaway Bride Richard Gere plays a reporter investigating the story of Maggie Carpenter, a serial bride who has had multiple disastrous weddings, leaving three men at the altar. “Always a bride,” she says, “never a bridesmaid!”
The biggest bummer wedding in movie history has to be in Kill Bill Vol. 2. “How it happened, who was there, how many got killed and who killed them, changes depending on who’s telling the story,” says The Bride (Uma Thurman). “In actual fact, the massacre didn’t happen during a wedding at all. It was a wedding rehearsal.”