Down with love? Wedding scenes on film tend to herald disaster - here are 12 of the best

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

I Give It a Year is the latest film to feature a notable wedding scene. Here the best cinematic marriages as chosen by Kaleem Aftab

When a film starts with a fine wedding scene it’s usually means that something is about to go horribly wrong.

And so it proves in Dam Mazar’s upcoming film I Give It a Year, at which everyone at the wedding, even the minister, believes that magazine editor Nat (Rose Byrne) and struggling author Josh (Rafe Spall) are destined to break up before they reach their paper anniversary.

The wedding is notable for its doubting in-laws, fraught guests and an awkward best man’s speech. What director Mazar has realised like many a director before that more often than not it’s not the romance that makes the best movie wedding scenes.

Click here or on "View Images" to launch in pictures

Here are some of the best:

The Graduate (1967)

Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) destroys Elaine Robinson’s (Katharine Ross) big day by bursting into church, fighting several guests, stealing the bride and barring the church doors with a giant cross as they run out of church, her wedding dress flying behind her. No actual marriage takes place, but it keeps to the golden rule of movie weddings, no matter what else happens, love must conquer all.


The Godfather (1972)

“No Sicilian can refuse any request on his daughter’s wedding day!”  At the start of Francis Ford Coppola’s sprawling epic, Constanzia ‘Connie’ Corleone (Talia Shire) is marrying Carlo Rizzi (Gianni Russo) but this scene is all about the father of the bride, Vito (Marlon Brando). Dad uses the occasion to conduct family business as a big Italian wedding takes place in the sunshine.

Marie Antoinette (2006)

Kristen Dunst could have got onto this list twice. She may have won the best actress prize at Cannes for her turn in Lars von Trier’s doomsday drama Melancholia, which starts with a multi-faceted and at times hilarious wedding scene, but it’s her other loveless movie marriage that really strikes a chord. Playing the titular character, her wedding to Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman) is a montage of frivolity scored by New Order song Ceremony, in which Dunst gambles while the King goes to bed. Director Sofia Coppola demonstrates that great wedding scenes are a family tradition.

The Wedding Singer (1988)

What is great about The Wedding Singer is that it shows the business side of wedding. These are the people, from the caterers to the dressmakers and of course the wedding band who see nuptials as an opportunity to make a fast buck.  Pretty soon one wedding merges into another. As such my favourite wedding scene out of the many choices sees the heart broken wedding singer (Adam Sandler) screeches Love Stinks at Cindy and Scott’s wedding.

The Princess Bride (1987)

The hilarious scene in which Buttercup (Robin Wright) appears to go through with her arranged marriage to Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) shows the importance of following marriage protocol. Humperdinck worried about the impending arrival of Buttercup’s true love Westley (Cary Elwes) tells the clergyman (a brilliant Peter Cook) to get on with the ceremony. Sadly in his rush to get to the end, he omits to get Buttercup to say ‘I do’. Perfect.

Monsoon Wedding (2001)

The whole of Mira Nair’s Golden Lion winning film takes place during a four day Indian wedding. Bollywood has often been a source of great wedding scenes, indeed many of the plot twists of classic Indian cinema revolve around the fallout of marriages.  Mira Nair brought the Indian wedding into the 21st century in this tale of a modern arranged marriage. The scene in which the bride comes clean about her romantic past is as good and more touching than as all the great dancing and singing that surrounds it.

Arthur (1981)

Dudley Moore is drunk in all the pivotal moments playing the eponymous anti-hero in this classic comedy. On his wedding day he realises that getting married to upper crust Susan (Jill Eikenberry) is too big a price to pay to abandon his true love sassy waitress Linda. (Liza Minnelli). Arthur is so drunk that he collapses on the aisle.

The Deer Hunter (1978)

There is just the barest hint of the trauma that is about to follow as a group of Pennsylvania steelworkers (including Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken at the top of their game) attend the wedding of Steven (John Savage). It’s a touching and passionate affair, a rite-of-passage before the guys take up military service and head to Vietnam. The pivotal moment comes when the happy couple have to drink wine from a goblet without spilling any, unbeknown to everyone a drop of wine spills on Angela’s wedding dress, foreshadowing the blood that is about to be spilled and the passing into adulthood. 

Wedding Crashers (2005)

Wedding Crashers could be described as the first wedding movie aimed squarely at men. What’s so great about this film is that it doesn’t forget that weddings are a great opportunity to party and have fun. They are joyous occasions.  John (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) are divorce mediators who pick up girls at weddings. It’s a series of dancing, drinking and delirium until Jeremy makes the mistake of sleeping with Gloria (Isla Fisher) the daughter of the US Secretary of the Treasury (Christopher Walken, again!) The reaction when Gloria tells Jeremy that she’s a virgin is priceless.

The African Queen (1951)

This has to be the most romantic and saddest wedding ceremony ever committed to celluloid. The wedding between Charile (Humphrey Bogart) and Rose (Katharine Hepburn) takes place at sea on a boat. It’s the most romantic setting. However they’ve both just been sentenced to death by hanging and the wedding is the last thing they will do before they die. It’s a symbolic, tear inducing moment that is unbelievably romantic.

Fidler on the Roof (!971)

There are many great weddings in musicals. The Sound of Music, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers but the stand out is the singing of Sunrise and Sunset in Fidler on the Roof. What’s so amazing is that the focus is as much on how the wedding brings the community and families together as it is about the happy couple, Motel and Tzeitel.

Four Weddings and A Funeral (1994)

Working Title are the masters of the wedding scene. As the title suggests there are four weddings to choose from, but the stand out wedding is the third between American Carrie (Andie Macdowell) and Hamish (Corin Redgrave) as our floppy-haired hero Charles (Hugh Grant) is watching the one that got away. His day does not get better.

Scott Thomas with Hugh Grant in the film that made her famous, Four Weddings and a Funeral

I Give It a Year is out February 8

This article appears in tomorrow's print edition of Radar Magazine

Arts and Entertainment
Kathy (Sally Lindsay) in Ordinary Lies
tvReview: The seemingly dull Kathy proves her life is anything but a snoozefest
Arts and Entertainment

Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boy

Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig in a scene from ‘Spectre’, released in the UK on 23 October

Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap

Arts and Entertainment

Poldark review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Brayben is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Carole King in Beautiful

Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

    War with Isis

    Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
    Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

    A spring in your step?

    Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

    Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
    Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

    Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

    For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
    Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

    Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

    As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
    The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

    UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

    Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

    Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
    Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

    Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

    If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
    10 best compact cameras

    A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

    If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
    Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

    Paul Scholes column

    Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
    Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
    Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?