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A Brief History of Film Weddings: Part 3

All mentioned films in article
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Everyone loves a good wedding, especially film-makers. Even animators Kim Burdon and Robert Chandler staged a simple outdoor ceremony at the end of their CGI adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Canterville Ghost, which is currently in cinemas. So, let's round off this tripartite Cinema Paradiso history of screen weddings, which hasn't actually turned out to be t

A still from Sex and The City: The Movie (2008)
A still from Sex and The City: The Movie (2008)

hat brief after all.

In the first part of this Cinema Paradiso survey, we covered films devoted to wedding days and those that slip in a service en passant. Then, we focussed on the funny side of marriage ceremonies and examined the role of bridesmaids and best men. We also considered coming out at weddings and the undisputed classics of the kind.

But we're not done yet. There are still plenty of nuptial comedies to discover, as well as that surprisingly large category of films dedicated to weddings at which all hell breaks loose.

Forsaking All Others

Given the independent nature of the four principals, there was no guarantee there would be any weddings in Sex and the City (1998-2004). But how could a show obsessed with fashion pass up the opportunity to parade its stars in their finery? Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) was the first to tie the knot with Trey MacDougal (Kyle MacLachlan) in Season Three. But, while it didn't work out, Charlotte was not put off by the experience and converted to Judaism in order to wed her divorce lawyer, Harry Goldenblatt (Evan Handler), in Season Six. The event didn't pass entirely without incident, but Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) and Steve Brady (David Eigenberg) decided to follow suit a few episodes later.

Matrimony is not for Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) and Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah-Jessica Parker) uses her column to explore her views on the estate throughout the series. But, after a decade of dating, she accepts the proposal of financier John Preston (Chris Noth) in Michael Patrick King's Sex and the City: The Movie (2008) and dons a Vivienne Westwood gown for the ceremony at New York Public Library. However, Big gets cold feet and a mid-street showdown ensues, in which Carrie demonstrates how to weaponise a bouquet.

Fans of the franchise will already know what happens in the end, so we shall move on to the nuptials of Stanford Blatch (Willie Garson) and Anthony Maratino (Mario Cantone) in Sex and the City 2 (2010). The setting renders OTT an inadequate description. But the happy couple pull a splendid surprise, when Liza Minnelli not only turns up to officiate, but she also delivers a showstopping rendition of 'Single Ladies'. Nice touch.

A still from Made of Honour (2008)
A still from Made of Honour (2008)

Following an unconventional meeting, Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan become best friends. When he takes her to father Sydney Pollack's sixth wedding, however, Dempsey realises he is beginning to have romantic feelings. Therefore, he is crushed when Monaghan returns from a Scottish holiday with duke Kevin McKidd on her arm and Dempsey has to face the prospect of being her attendant in Paul Welland's Made of Honor (2008). There's another awkward situation in Anne Fletcher's The Proposal (2009), as magazine editor Sandra Bullock coerces assistant Ryan Reynolds into marrying her so she can remain in Canada. However, immigration official Denis O'Hare smells a rat.

The truth also emerges in Mark Waters's Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009), a reworking of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol that sees womanising photographer Matthew McConaughey troubled by spectral visitations on the night before he stands as best man at his brother's wedding. Emma Stone, Noureen DeWulf, and Olga Maliouk play the ghosts, while Jennifer Garner is the girl who got away. Michael Douglas cameos as a troublesome uncle, but it's the fathers who threaten to spoil America Ferrera and Lance Gross's big day in Rick Famuyiwa's Our Family Wedding (2010), as neither Carlos Mencia nor Forest Whitaker is happy about the inter-racial implications of their children's union.

Kristen Bell is equally dismayed to discover that adored brother James Wolk is marrying her high school bully in Andy Fickman's You Again. Moreover, while Bell still has issues with Odette Yustman, mother Jamie Lee Curtis is dreading a reunion with her onetime bestie, Sigourney Weaver. Also released in 2010, Anand Tucker's Leap Year doesn't actually contain a wedding. But Amy Adams is so determined to marry Adam Scott that she travels from Boston to Ireland to propose to him on Bachelor's Day. The trouble is, he's in Dublin and she's in Dingle and needs grumpy innkeeper Matthew Goode to give her a cross-country lift.

A still from The Decoy Bride (2011)
A still from The Decoy Bride (2011)

The scene shifts to the fictional Outer Hebridean island of Hegg for Sheree Folkson's The Decoy Bride, as Hollywood star Alice Eve pays recently jilted local Kelly Macdonald to don a wedding dress in order to throw paparazzo Federico Castelluccio off the scent while she marries author David Tennant. Pet photographer Dave Annable finds himself watching the birdie when he is forced to marry Russian mobster's daughter Katharine McPhee in Rob Heddon's You May Not Kiss the Bride (both 2011). Unfortunately, dumped beau Vinnie Jones doesn't know about the green card arrangement and follows the newlyweds to Tahiti with malice aforethought.

San Francisco sous-chef Jason Segel and doctoral student Emily Blunt are happily drifting towards marriage in Nicholas Stoller's The Five-Year Engagement (2012). But her sister (Alison Brie) beats her to the altar when she gets pregnant by his best friend (Chris Pratt). But things keep getting in the way of Segel and Blunt's plans and she finally hits upon an ingenious way of wedding planning in a denouement that will have even the sourest cynic cracking a smile. Director Stoller clearly likes a wedding, as Will Ferrell and Reese Witherspoon will soon be locking horns in You're Cordially Invited (2023), which sees the father of bride Geraldine Viswanathan go to war with the wedding planner who has double-booked a prized venue for her sister, Meredith Hagner.

Furious with financier Laurent Lafitte for blowing his company's pension fund, Pierce Brosnan joins forces with ex-wife Emma Thompson in Joel Hopkins's The Love Punch (2013) in order to sneak into his wedding in the South of France and steal a diamond of commensurate value. Pals Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall join the conspiracy, which gets an unexpected boost when Thompson befriends wavering bride-to-be, Louise Bourgoin.

A still from The Big Wedding (2013) With Robert De Niro
A still from The Big Wedding (2013) With Robert De Niro

Alyson Fyhrie also has second thoughts on the night before she marries Philip Quinaz in Victor Quinaz's Breakup At a Wedding. She agrees to go through with a sham ceremony to spare him the humiliation of being jilted. But he has hopes that a surprise gift will make his fiancée re-change her mind. Diane Keaton realises how glad she is that she divorced Robert De Niro when she walks in on him and girlfriend Susan Sarandon in flagrante in Justin Zackham's The Big Wedding (2013). However, they have to put on a united face, as the Catholic mother of their adopted Colombian son is coming to his wedding in this Hollywood remake of Jean-Stéphane Bron's hit Swiss comedy, My Brother Is Getting Married (2006).

Directing himself, Chris Rock plays a comedian being interviewed by journalist Rosario Dawson prior to his wedding to reality star Gabrielle Union in the star-studded dramedy, Top Five. Rappers feature prominently, but it's 1980s British pop that provides the soundtrack to Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini's Walking on Sunshine, as Hannah Arterton heads to Apulia for best friend Annabel Scholey's wedding, only to discover that the groom is onetime holiday romance, Giulio Berruti. The music stops at the wedding of Thomas Middleditch and Shannon Woodward in Scot Armstrong's Search Party (all 2014), when the bride overhears best man T.J. Miller telling the groom to do a bunk. Woodward goes to their Mexican honeymoon location alone, but Middleditch runs into all sorts of trouble when he attempts to follow her.

Not to be confused with Don Hartman and Rudolph Maté's Hollywood romcom, It Had to Be You (1947), or Maurice Li and Andrew Loo's Hong Kong comedy, It Had to Be You! (2006), Sasha Gordon's directorial debut, It Had to Be You (2015), follows Cristin Milioti and Dan Soder to the wedding of mutual friends Halley Feiffer and Mark Gessner three weeks after Milioti had turned down Soder's proposal. Nothing goes smoothly, as is the case when Josh Gad hires Kevin Hart to find him seven groomsmen to match the number of Kaley Cuoco's bridesmaids in Jeremy Garelick's The Wedding Ringer (2015). However, rounding up that many good men in such a short time leaves Hart with no option but to make some unconventional choices.

Invited to the wedding of best friends Chris Pang and Sonoya Mizuno, Henry Golding asks girlfriend Constance Wu to travel with him from New York to Singapore in Jon M. Chu's Crazy Rich Asians (2018). What he hasn't told her, however, is that he's from one of the Lion City's richest families and mother Michelle Yeoh is dead against her son proposing to a social inferior. Akwafina co-stars as Wu's close friend and she's on equally fine form en route to winning the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her performance in Lulu Wong's The Farewell (2019). Angry with her parents for leaving her in New York because she can't be trusted not to tell beloved grandmother Zhao Shu-zhen that she's dying, Akwafina flies to China anyway, where her family is using a Japanese cousin's wedding as a pretext to say their goodbyes.

A family do in Paso Robles, California causes Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves to sit next to each other on an eight-seater plane in Victor Levin's Destination Wedding (2018). It's clear from the outset that they don't like each other, as the groom is his half-brother and her ex. But they put up with each other on the flight and throughout the weekend's activities until Ryder realises they're made for each other. Amusingly, this two-hander would have suited the title to Claire Scanlon's The People We Hate at the Wedding (2022), in which siblings Kristen Bell and Ben Platt make it clear that they resent having to schlepp to a remote part of the English countryside because mother Allison Janney wants them at the wedding of their half-sister, Cynthia Addai-Robinson.

A still from Marry Me (2022)
A still from Marry Me (2022)

This isn't currently available to rent, while we'll have to bide our time for Kristin Scott Thomas's forthcoming drama, North Star (2023), in which the first-time director plays a two-time widow about to marry for the third time and hoping to patch things up with her daughters, Royal Navy captain Scarlett Johansson, actress Sienna Miller, and palliative nurse, Emily Beecham. While we wait, might we suggest Kat Coiro's Marry Me (2022), which stars Jennifer Lopez as a pop star who plays to marry Maluma in a live stream after they have a hit single. On the day of the ceremony, however, Lopez discovers that her fiancé has been having a fling with her assistant. So, she plucks maths teacher Owen Wilson out of the concert audience because he's holding a sign that reads...well, we'll leave you to get clicking and find out for yourselves.

All Hell...

We are accustomed to weddings being part of a film's happy ending. Sometimes, however, they are a catalyst for chaos. Screenwriters use them as an excuse for bringing lots of people together in a confined space and unleashing all sorts of discord and even disaster. They also make handy harbingers for the misfortunes that are about to be piled upon the characters.

In Tod Browning's controversial Freaks (1932), trapeze artist Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova) marries sideshow dwarf Hans (Harry Earles) for his money. However, when she drunkenly kisses Hercules the strongman (Henry Victor) at the reception, Hans's friends rally round him and start up an ominous chant of 'We accept her, one of us. Gooble-gobble, gooble-gobble.' The homunculi created by Dr Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger) intrigue Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) in James Whale's Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and he reluctantly agrees to give his Creature (Boris Karloff) a mate. When the baron has misgivings, however, Pretorius orders the Creature to abduct his new wife, Elizabeth (Valerie Hobson), on her wedding day. Unfortunately, the reanimated Bride (Elsa Lanchester) proves far from enamoured of her prospective partner and hisses at him, prompting the wounded groom to embark upon a laboratory rampage.

If this non-wedding goes with a bang, it's nothing compared to the fireworks that follow the brief ceremony uniting Charlie Allnut (Humphrey Bogart) and Rose Sayer (Katharine Hepburn) in John Huston's The African Queen (1951). Who can forget the touching words of the captain (Peter Bull) of the German ship, Louisa: 'By the authority vested in me by Kaiser Wilhelm II, I pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution.'

All seems calm at 10:35am in Hadleyville, as Judge Percy Mettrick (Otto Kruger) pronounces retiring marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) and Quaker Amy Fowler (Grace Kelly) to be husband and wife. Within minutes, however, Kane has been informed that outlaw Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald) is heading to town to exact his revenge for being jailed in Fred Zinnemann's High Noon (1952), whose five Academy Awards included those for Best Picture, Actor, and Director.

John Wayne never forgave Coop for throwing his badge away at the end of the film. But he's got troubles of his own as boxer Sean Thornton in John Ford's Best Picture gem, The Quiet Man (1952), as new bride Mary Kate (Maureen O'Hara) refuses to consummate the wedding until he reclaims her dowry from her squire brother, Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen), and it will take an epic donnybrook before peace returns to Inisfree. However, Republic Pictures censored the last line of the wedding blessing, 'May their days be long and full of happiness. May their children be many and full of health. And may they live in peace and national freedom,' by removing the penultimate word to avoid offending viewers in Northern Ireland.

The wedding day tragedy that drives the action in François Truffaut's The Bride Wore Black (1968) is shown in flashback halfway through. By which time, Jeanne Moreau has killed two of the five men who were responsible for the accidental shooting of her husband on the steps of the church. A degree of overlap can be felt with Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003) and Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004), although the director has claimed that his primary inspiration came from Toshiya Fujita's Lady Snowblood (1973). Nevertheless, Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) is sufficiently furious with Bill (David Carradine) and the members of his Deadly Viper Assassination Squad for killing groom-to-be Tommy Plympton (Christopher Allen Nelson) and all the other guests at the rehearsal at the Two Pines Chapel in El Paso, Texas that she vows vengeance after emerging from a coma four years later.

At least James Bond (George Lazenby) and Countess Tracy di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg) got to exchange vows in front of M (Bernard Lee), Q (Desmond Llewellyn), and Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) in Peter R. Hunt's On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). But they've barely left the lavish garden reception before Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas) and Irma Bunt (Ilse Steppat) catch up with 007's flower-strewn Aston Martin on a remote Portuguese road. Weddings rarely go to plan in Bond movies, with every bride's nightmare happening in Guy Hamilton's Live and Let Die (1973), when Bond (Roger Moore) smashes into the wedding cake and the booze tent after his speedboat runs ashore during a bayou chase. Timothy Dalton's Bond demonstrates superior wedding etiquette, however, when he skydives groom Felix Leiter (David Hedison) into his union with Della Churchill (Priscilla Barnes) in John Glen's Licence to Kill (1989). But drug baron Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) has no intention of letting the couple enjoy themselves, even during an impromptu visit to the local aquarium.

A still from The Godfather (1972)
A still from The Godfather (1972)

As Sicilians are not permitted to refuse a request on their daughter's wedding day, Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), has a lot on his plate when Connie (Talia Shire) marries Carlo (Gianni Russo) in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather (1972). Having danced with wife Carmela (Morgana King), he sets up court (and the rest of the film), while son Michael (Al Pacino) tells date Kay (Diane Keaton) about how his father had once made an offer he couldn't refuse to the bandleader who was holding godson crooner Johnny Fontane (Al Martino) to an unwanted contract. This opulent event contrasts with the simplicity of Michael's traditional Sicilian wedding to Apollonia Vitelli (Simonetta Stefanelli), with their procession through the small town of Corleone recalling Jean (Jean Dasté) and Juliette (Dita Parlo) striding out towards their barge in the opening sequence of Jean Vigo's L'Atalante (1934).

Two French films share the title, Les Noces rouges, although their English translations differ. There isn't actually a marriage ceremony in Claude Chabrol's Wedding in Blood (1973), although mayor's wife Stéphane Audran and deputy mayor Michel Piccoli clearly intend to wed after disposing of their respective spouses. Joyce Bibring and Guillaume Duhesme do get to celebrate in Marwen Abdallah's Crimson Wedding (2018), only for the bride to end her wedding night at the foot of a cliff. What a shame this teasing thriller isn't currently on disc.

Unfortunate events occur either side of the nuptials in William Fruet's Wedding in White (1972), a drama set in wartime Ontario that follows the decision of Donald Pleasence and Doris Petrie to marry pregnant teenage daughter Carol Kane to 60 year-old Leo Phillips after she's raped by her brother's army buddy. The circumstances are less gruesome at Denton Episcopal Church, where Betty Munroe (Hilary Farr) weds Ralph Hapschatt (Jeremy Newson) and Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) is so impressed by the way that Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) catches the bouquet that he pops the question ('Dammit Janet') in Jim Sharman's The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975).

Jack Watson's none too pleased to read about the upcoming marriage of ice skater Lynne Frederick and businessman John Leyton in Pete Walker's Schizo (1976) and things soon start to get gory after Stephanie Beacham snaps the happy couple outside the Hampstead registry office. But who's doing all the killing? Only one person has murder in mind in Carlos Saura's dazzling flamenco adaptation of Federico García Lorca's play, Blood Wedding (1981), as Leonardo (Antonio Gades) is dead against his old flame (Cristina Hoyos) marrying her groom (Juan Antonio Jiménez).

Further proof that no one can resist hitting the dance floor at a wedding comes when a small community in Western Pennsylvania celebrates the marriage of Steve Pushkov (John Savage) and Angela Ludhjduravic (Rutanya Alda) in Michael Cimino's Best Picture winner, The Deer Hunter (1978). Emboldened by the ambience, Nick Chevotarevich (Christopher Walken) steals a march on buddy Mike Vronsky (Robert DeNiro) and proposes to Linda (Meryl Streep) in the exuberant Russian Orthodox wedding sequence. Everyone has a ball. But with the friends about to leave for Vietnam, the bad omen of the bride spilling a drop of red wine on her dress doesn't go unnoticed.

The white wedding of Tony Montana (Al Pacino) and Elvira Hancock (Michelle Pfeiffer) takes place during a montage played out to 'Push It to the Limit' in Brian De Palma's Scarface (1983). And, as if to live up to the lyrics, the newlyweds bound down the garden to show their guests their new tiger enclosure. Elvira comes to regret her decision, but Lydia Deetz (Winona Ryder) knows from the off that she doesn't want to don a red dress and marry bio-exorcist Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton). However, father Charles (Jeffrey Jones) and stepmother Delia (Catherine O'Hara) are powerless to intervene and it's up to the newly deceased Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis) to put on their wedding togs and save the day mid-ceremony in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice (1988).

A still from Goodfellas (1990) With Ray Liotta And Lorraine Bracco
A still from Goodfellas (1990) With Ray Liotta And Lorraine Bracco

Once Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and Karen Friedman (Lorraine Bracco) have stepped on the glass during their traditional Jewish wedding in Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas (1990), 'Life Is But a Dream' by The Harptones plays over the reception sequence, which Karen narrates to recall her amusement at the number of Peters, Pauls, and Marias among the guests and how worried she had been that someone might steal the numerous gift envelopes that they had received. By contrast, the bride and groom are the centre of attention for the wrong reasons in George P. Cosmatos's Tombstone (1993), as Curly Bill Brocius (Powers Boothe) rides into a Mexican town in 1879 to avenge the loss of two of The Cowboys by murdering the policemen responsible, including the groom, who is shot in the leg as he leaves the church to bring him to his knees.

Harry Connick, Jr. is spotted on one knee in the locker room with the dolphin wedding ring that USAF pilot Will Smith has dropped. However, it finds its way on to the third finger left hand of Viveca A. Fox before Smith goes alien hunting in Roland Emmerich's Independence Day (1996). Sweetness is in shorter supply as bride Paula Marshall is dismayed by the nuclear capability bickering of long-divorced parents Bette Midler and Dennis Farina in Carl Reiner's That Old Feeling (1997). However, when the old spark rekindles the flame and the pair run away together, Marshall comes to rethink the whole marriage business, especially when she discovers that her new husband has slept with her stepmother.

...Breaks Loose

When it comes to bedtime stories, the one retired agent Ingrid Cortez (Carla Gugino) tells to children Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni (Daryl Sabara) in Robert Rodriguez's Spy Kids (2001) is pretty hard to beat. The details of her illicit romance with rival Gregorio (Antonio Banderas) are cool enough, but who else gets to escape from circling aircraft by heart-shaped parachute to a waiting speedboat after saying those dangerous words, 'I do', at a wedding where neither ice sculptures nor cakes are safe? The scene is less action-packed in Ted Demme's Blow (2001), but the meeting at the wedding of former cellmate Diego Delgado (Jordi Molla) of aspiring drug baron George Jung (Johnny Depp) and Mirtha (Penélope Cruz), the fiancée of a leading Colombian cartel oppo has combustible repercussions.

A still from Monsoon Wedding (2001)
A still from Monsoon Wedding (2001)

The wedding in Mira Nair's Mississippi Masala (1991) is merely a pretext for Ugandan Asian Mina (Sarita Choudhury) to change from traditional Indian dress into something she can dance in at the disco where she meets African American Demetrius Williams (Denzel Washington). But Nair made markedly more dramatic use of the nuptials between Punjabi Hindu Aditi Verma (Vasundhara Das) and her Desi groom, Hemant Rai (Parvin Dabas), in Monsoon Wedding (2001). As relations fly in from all four corners, however, Aditi's parents begin to worry they've overfaced themselves, while cousin Ria (Shefali Shah) has concerns about the activities of uncle, Tej Puri (Rajat Kapoor). There's drama aplenty in the run up to the big day, but revelations start to tumble in the rain, as wedding planner P.K. Dubey (Vijay Raaz) and family maid Alice (Tillotama Shome) slip away for a quiet ceremony of their own.

Like Thomas Vinterberg's Festen (1998) with a Bollywood backbeat, this complex and compelling classic ranks among the finest films in this three-part Cinema Paradiso survey of screen weddings. But we have to say that the wedding sequence in Gore Verbinski's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) is pretty unique. As the crews of The Black Pearl and The Flying Dutchman draw their swords for an epic skirmish, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) proposes to Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) marries them from high up in the rigging.

Admittedly, the meteorite in Conrad Vernon and Rob Letterman's Monsters vs Aliens (2009) comes from somewhere a little higher. But its impact on bride Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) as she ties the knot with local weatherman Derek Dietl (Paul Rudd) is rather unexpected to say the least, as the radiation from the rock turns her hair whiter than her dress and causes her to glow green while transforming into all 50 feet and 11.5 inches of Ginormica. The best-laid plans also gang aft agley in David Yates's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010), as Death Eaters invade the wedding of Bill Weasley (Domhnall Gleeson) and Fleur Delacour (Clémence Poésy) after Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) leads a coup at the Ministry of Magic.

Nipping back to 2003, there are so many reasons to cringe at the wedding sequence in Todd Phillips's Old School. Initially, there's Beanie (Vince Vaughn) waiting until they're lined up on the altar steps before trying to talk Frank (Will Ferrell) out of marrying Marissa (Perrey Reeves). Then, a melancholic Mitch (Luke Wilson) follows up a rambling speech with some inappropriate behaviour with school crush Nicole (Ellen Pompoeo). But there's still time for Dan Finnerty and The Dan Band's unsuitable version of 'Total Eclipse of the Heart'. No doubt the cast of Matthew Parkhill's Dot the i (both 2003) would fit right in, as things spiral out of control after Natalia Verbeke kisses stranger Gael García Bernal as a good luck gesture during her hen party and wishes she was no longer due to marry James D'Arcy the following day.

Neither groom's heart is in it, when Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) marries Alma Beers (Michelle Williams) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) weds Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway) in Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain (2005) and minds are also heading elsewhere following the nuptials in Susanne Bier's After the Wedding (2006) and Bart Freundlich's remake, After the Wedding (2019). In the Oscar-nominated former, Mads Mikkelsen returns to Denmark from the Indian orphanage he runs to discover that bride Stine Fischer Christensen is his daughter with old flame Sidse Babett Knudsen, while the latter sees Michelle Williams return to New York from Tamil Nadu to learn that teenage boyfriend Billy Crudup has raised the daughter she gave up for adoption with his wealthy wife, Julianne Moore.

Every head turns in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (2006), as the 15 year-old Austrian princess (Kirsten Dunst) walks down the aisle towards her groom, Louis-Auguste (Jason Schwartzman). Silence reigns, as he places a ring on her finger and the entire court looks on as they dance before fireworks erupt over Versailles. However, having climbed into bed in view of the king and his courtiers, there is no spark in the royal bedroom, as Louis XV (Rip Torn) is informed the following morning. The pressure is also on as Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffud) and Susan Storm (Jessica Alba) come together for their big day in Tim Story's Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), as a mysterious entity hurtles towards their New York City rooftop venue and the bride has to use her superpower to prevent a helicopter from ploughing into her guests.

A terrible secret hangs over the wedding of Lola Quincey (Juno Temple) and Paul Marshall (Benedict Cumberbatch) in Joe Wright's adaptation of Ian McEwan's Atonement (2007). But it's only during the ceremony that Briony Tallis (Romola Garai) realises that she made a terrible mistake five years earlier when she accused housekeeper's son Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) of a terrible crime. The Cambridge connection continues in Julian Doyle's Chemical Wedding (2008), as Professor Oliver Haddo (Simon Callow) is possessed by the spirit of occultist Aleister Crowley and seeks to marry red-haired reporter Lia Robinson (Lucy Cudden), as he needs a 'scarlet bride' for a power-giving ritual.

Frustratingly, Horatiu Malaele's Silent Wedding (2008) is not currently available on disc, as this fact-based tale about a Romanian village couple who decide to hold their feast in silence after learning of the demise of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in March 1953 is devastatingly brilliant. Moreover, it would make a biting double bill with Armando Iannucci's The Death of Stalin (2017). But Cinema Paradiso users can watch Oscar nominees Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling exchange vows before a justice of the peace to the melodic strains of 'Shift' by Grizzly Bear in Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine (2010).

A still from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1 (2011)
A still from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1 (2011)

Having watched nemesis Dieter von Cunth (Val Kilmer) kill fiancée Casey Fitzpatrick (Maya Rudolph) on their wedding day, former Green Beret, Navy SEAL, and Army Ranger MacGruber (Will Forte) is ready for trouble when Vicki St Elmo (Kristen Wiig) comes down the aisle in Jorma Taccone's Saturday Night Live spin-off, MacGruber (2010). There's also tension in the woodland air, as werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) is unimpressed when best friend Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) informs him that she intends to consummate her marriage to vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) while still human in Bill Condon's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (2011).

Although things get rough for Bella and Edward, they make it through their wedding day. Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgård) find it harder to navigate onrushing events in the first part of Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011), which takes place in the castle owned by John (Kiefer Sutherland), the husband of Justine's sister, Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg). If the narrowness of the roads for a stretch limo and the incessant squabbling of parents Dexter (John Hurt) and Gaby (Charlotte Rampling) weren't bad enough, Justine can't resist adulterous temptation in a bunker on the golf course. And, then, there's the appearance in the sky of a rogue planet on a collision course with Earth.

An end of days aura also courses through Paco Plaza's [•REC]³: Génesis (2012), which serves as a prequel to Jaume Balagueró's [•REC] (2007), [•REC]² (2009), and [•REC] 4: Apocalypse (2014). Clara (Leticia Dolera) and Koldo (Diego Martín) have splashed out on a country mansion for their wedding day and all goes well, as the groom serenades his bride. But things take a downturn when an uncle who has been bitten by a rabid dog plunges off a balcony and figures in hazmat suits fail to stem the zombie tide heading towards what they hope will be a wedding feast. However, they reckon without Clara and her trusty chainsaw.

Another bride refuses to be spurned in the 'Hasta que la muerte nos separe' episode of Damián Szifrón's Wild Tales (2014). Having discovered that groom Ariel (Diego Gentile) has slept with one of the guests at their Jewish wedding, Romina (Érica Rivas) struts off and has sex with a kitchen worker before slamming her husband's lover into a mirror and humiliating her mother-in-law on the wedding video. They don't cover this kind of eventuality in those glossy bridal magazines.

Bizarrely, there's also plenty of dancing and a happy ending in this violent vignette that makes Game of Thrones (2011-19) look like The Great British Bake Off. Fans of the former will recall the infamous 'red wedding' between Edmure Tully, Lord of Riverrun (Tobias Menzies) and Roslin Frey (Alexandra Dowling) that caused ructions during the War of the Five Kings. But Cinema Paradiso urges members to take a look at the mock pagan wedding staged at a Renaissance fayre in Anna Biller's The Love Witch (2016), which forges a marriage of convenience between Elaine Parks (Samantha Robinson) and Griff Meadows (Gian Keys), the police officer investigating a spate of unfortunate deaths.

A dual wedding causes heartache for one of the brides in Deniz Gamze Ergüven's Mustang (2015), as Turkish sisters Tugba Sunguroglu and Ilayda Akdogan are married off by fiercely protective grandmother, Nihal Koldas. However, younger siblings Günes Sensoy and Doga Doguslu learn a lesson and barricade themselves inside the house when the wedding party comes calling. Sadly, Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Jeter (Ruth Negga) also have to take evasive action in Jeff Nichols's Loving (2016), as their 1958 nuptials in Washington, D.C. are against Virginia's Racial Integrity Act and they have to fight their bigoted neighbours in order to stay together.

Fact and fiction get blurred in Jake Szymanski's Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, as liquor-selling siblings Mike (Adam DeVine) and Dave Stangle (Zac Efron) place an advert on Craigslist for partners to take to their younger sister's Hawaiian wedding and slacker waitresses Tatiana Darcy (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice Davis (Anna Kendrick) apply for the roles. Recently released from an Irish prison for assault, Mary McArdle (Seána Kerslake) also needs a plus one to attend the wedding of erstwhile best friend Charlene (Charleigh Bailey) and photographer Jess (Tara Lee) emerges as an unlikely candidate in Darren Thornton's A Date For Mad Mary (both 2016).

Completing the 2016 triptych is Shane Black's The Nice Guys, which sees 1970s private eye Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) and unwanted sidekick Holland March (Ryan Gosling) dump an inconvenient corpse over a fence and into an unsuspecting wedding party. Dev Patel similarly finds himself on a thankless mission when he flies to Pakistan to kidnap Radhike Apte from her arranged marriage in Michael Winterbottom's The Wedding Guest (2018). The seizure causes such adverse publicity, however, that Apte's boyfriend, Jim Sarbh, loses his nerve. But that's the least of Patel's problems.

Spare a thought for bride Samara Weaving, who meets husband Mark O'Brien's family for the first time on her wedding day. However, he's forgotten to mention the curse hanging over them and the fact that their survival depends on her losing a murderous game of hide and seek in Matt Bettinelli-Opin's Ready or Not (2019). Andie MacDowell didn't get up to anything like this in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) !

Only the third wedding in all three articles to be officiated by a woman comes to an abrupt end in Emerald Fennell's Oscar-winning debut, Promising Young Woman (2020), as Ryan Cooper (Bo Burnham) receives a series of unexpected text messages from Cassie Thomas (Carey Mulligan) while groom Al Monroe (Chris Lowell) poses for photos beside the cake with his bride, Anastasia (Austin Talynn Carpenter). A bleak secret also comes into the open in Jessica M. Thompson's The Invitation (2022), an updating of Bram Stoker's Dracula that sees Nathaniel Emmanuel discover a new family when she attends a wedding in Whitby at which she is to be the bride.

A still from Til Death Do Us Part (2023)
A still from Til Death Do Us Part (2023)

This isn't currently on disc. Nor are Jason Moore's Shotgun Wedding (2022), which requires bride Jennifer Lopez and groom Josh Duhamel to rescue their kidnapped relatives, or Timothy Woodward, Jr.'s Til Death Do Us Part (2023), in which reluctant bride Natalie Burn has to fight off jilted beau Ser'Danius Blain and his seven angry groomsmen. But we couldn't end with something you couldn't rent from Cinema Paradiso. So, let us point you in the direction of Jeff Fowler's Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022), which sees Sonic (Ben Schwartz) being teleported to Hawaii for the wedding of Rachel (Natasha Rothwell) and Randall Handel (Shemar Moore), only to land in a trap set by the Guardian Units of Nations. Isn't it always the way?

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