In the United States, the wedding industry generates roughly 60 billion dollars a year (COVID-19, 2020 year excluded). People are, and will always be, getting married. Couples turn to all different kinds of sources for their inspiration, including movies. Over the years, the entertainment industry has done a fantastic job capitalizing on all the good, bad and the ugly that comes with planning and executing a wedding. This week I thought it would be fun to introduce a new blog series called “Friday Faves” with 5 of my top favorite wedding related movies. I have gone over this list several times… changed the order, changed out movies completely, gotten excited when I think of ones I hadn’t thought of before… but I finally narrowed it down to my finalists, complete with reasons why I chose that movie. Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up… Just a warning, if you haven’t seen the movie, there are spoilers within my reasoning paragraphs…
5. The Wedding Planner (2001)
Why I love this movie: For me, this movie is more about the over the top dramatization of not only the wedding planning profession, but also the love story underneath. When I first watched the movie after making the decision on what I wanted to do with my career I suddenly felt overwhelmed, “Oh my gosh. Is that what my life is going to be like?!” No, but I think that is part of the beauty and appreciation I have for the rom-com. Jennifer Lopez plays a very diligent wedding planner, Mary, trying to make partner within her company. She goes above and beyond for this couple she is working with, as the movie progresses you can see that they are not going to make it to the alter and in the end Matthew McConaughey’s character, Steve, and Mary fall in love. True, the underlying “I fell in love with one of my clients” storyline is a bit unrealistic, but everything that Mary does and goes through while planning their wedding is a true testament to the commitment we, as wedding planners, make to our clients and that a lot of our job duties are not ones that are written down. There are things that Mary does that I typically don’t get as involved in… attending the dance lessons, going to a floral wholesaler versus the florist or attending family activities (like the horseback riding scene in the movie), but there are other things that you didn’t think would ever be part of your job, but you end up doing… being there as a pseudo therapist, having an emergency day-of kit for absolutely anything that may arise, finding missing bridal party members, magically reading your client’s mind and having wine and a box dinner after a long day on your feet. I think that while this movie can give some couples unrealistic expectations of what a wedding planner will do or make it seem like it is too much of a “luxury” for you, it can also show the importance of having someone there outside of family to help guide you through the entire planning process.
4. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
Why I love this movie: Toula, played by Nia Vardalos, is an unmarried, 30-year-old who has a very big, very traditional Greek family. When she falls in love with Ian who is not only not Greek, but also a vegetarian she decides it is best to keep her relationship hidden from her family (mainly her father). Once her father finds out he is very upset, as you would expect with this plotline, and convinced that Toula is trying to personally hurt him by not marrying a “nice Greek boy”. One of the reasons I love this movie is because of the way John Corbett played his character, Ian. His acting was so genuine and you could truly feel that Ian would do anything he needed, including being baptized into the Greek Orthodox Church, in order to make sure that Toula’s family accepted him and their marriage. He didn’t care that her family was big and loud, a little too involved in their wedding plans and bought them a house right next door as long as it meant he got to spend the rest of life loving Toula. This movie is a good wholesome family film and although it doesn’t have a lot of what I would call “inspiration” for the actual wedding part it shows that no matter how great of a relationship you have with your partner, there will always be sacrifices and compromises, but it can all be worth it in the end. Lastly, I love that Nia Vardalos also wrote the screenplay for this film and borrowed a lot of inspiration from her real-life love story and Greek heritage. To me, that just reiterates the authenticity of the movie and the characters within it.
3. Bride Wars (2009)
Why I love this movie: First off, I am just going to say, I think this movie is way underrated by a lot of critics. Yes, it is over the top and no, most best friends would not go to these extremes to ruin each other’s weddings, but isn’t that what sells? Dramatization. I absolutely love both Anne Hathaway (Emma) and Kate Hudson (Liv) as actresses and I think it was fun to see them in these kinds of different, playful, yet cynical, roles. This movie is all about those brides who have truly been planning their weddings since they were little… they know the venue, the look, the flowers, the feel, all they need are the grooms. Once the two best friends find their grooms they get connected with the best wedding planner in town to book their dream venue and get start planning their dream day… only, due to a clerical error they end up being booked at the venue on the same day. As the movie progresses both women attempt to sabotage each other’s weddings in the most ridiculous of ways. What I do appreciate as all this chaos ensues is the way you watch the two relationships grow and strain and realize which of the two relationships is really the one you want to be in. Emma’s relationship with Fletcher, Chris Pratt’s character (who I did not like, and I don’t like not liking Chris Pratt), starts to become strained and fall apart with all the wedding stress, whereas Liv’s relationship with Daniel, Steve Howey’s character (who I can only ever see as Van from Reba), continues to grow and develop as Daniel copes with Liv’s stress better than Fletcher does. Ultimately, in the end after all the petty cat fights and arguments, Liv marries the person of her dreams and Emma realizes Fletch is not who she is meant to be with. Don’t fret, Emma does end up reconnecting with Liv’s brother, Nate, and a few months later the two best friends find out that they are both expecting and due on the same date. I love the light-heartedness of this movie as these two ladies plan their weddings, while also showing just how stressful planning a wedding can be (even if it is a little, or a lot, dramatized). I also love all the inspiration that couples can take away from this movie… the Plaza venue, the wedding dresses, the invitations, the flowers, the rings… there is so much there to look at and get ideas from!
2. The Proposal (2009)
Why I love this movie: Let’s just get it out there first and foremost, you get to see Ryan Reynolds’ butt in this movie. Do I need to give you more reasons than that? No, but seriously this movie is the epitome of rom-com. Although in real life Ryan Reynolds is 12 years younger than Sandra Bullock the awkward chemistry, yet loving way that these two play their characters make you forget that part and just indulge in their love story for an hour and 45 minutes. I think the entire cast is what helped make this movie such a success… Betty White, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Oscar Nunez. All fantastic actors who portrayed such genuine characters. Sandra Bullock’s character, Margaret, learns that she is about to be deported back to Canada, so she semi blackmails her assistant Andrew, Ryan Reynold’s character, into marrying her. To keep up appearances, Andrew takes Margaret back to Alaska to meet his family (who incidentally pretty much owns the town of Sitka) and that’s where the fun begins. Over the course of the movie, Andrew and Margaret try to convince both his family and the U.S. immigration agent that their marriage is legit. Ultimately, Margaret fesses up right at the end and is informed she has 24 hours to leave for Canada, but as all good love stories, the credits don’t start rolling there. Andrew realizes he truly does love Margaret and quickly flies back to New York to tell her before it’s too late. Now they just need to convince that U.S. immigration agent that the engagement is for real this time. I love the sheer comedic relief this movie has throughout the entire script. I love that you fall in love with Andrew and Margaret’s characters and by the end are rooting for them to succeed. There isn’t too much “inspiration” to be taken away from this movie on the wedding side of things, other than the short scene of the aborted wedding in the barn on the family property, which is absolutely stunning as a venue, but I do appreciate that this is one of the few wedding related films that I believe both brides and grooms can enjoy and laugh through together.
1. Bridesmaids (2011)
Why I love this movie: Holy cow, where do I start with this one?! Again, another film made even more amazing by the cast involved… Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Ellie Kemper, Rebel Wilson, just to name a few, take a script to over the top levels that literally had me in tears the first time I saw it. Throughout the movie we follow newly engaged Annie (Maya Rudolph) as she plans her wedding with her vastly different line up of bridesmaids. It is a classic case of everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. Between the engagement party, looking for dresses, the bachelorette party, the week leading up to the wedding and the day of the wedding everything seems to fall apart and a lot of it can be put back on Kristen Wiig’s and Rose Byrne’s characters, Annie & Helen. I love and find humor in the fact that this movie, on the flip side of some of the others I’ve mentioned, can truly give brides/couples inspiration of exactly what they do NOT want at their wedding (unless you really can get Wilson Phillips to sing at your wedding, then do that!) and give comfort in those aspects that may seem small but really mean the most… like the person who you are marrying, not the show you are putting on. I love all the different storylines that are part of this movie, but that the actors and writers didn’t make it feel like it was too overwhelming, simply that you were watching several people’s crazy and ridiculous lives unfold. There are so many one-liner’s (or several-liner’s) that I will still reference with close family and friends. And if you can’t tell from the picture below, it is still one of my very favorite movies, wedding related or not. When I got engaged and started thinking about pictures I told my girls that we would be recreating the cover of this movie because why not, I am only going to be in a wedding dress once and I want this picture to look back on, dang it! I still smile every time I see it.
Other Notable Mentions:
Princess Diaries 2 (2004)
27 Dresses (2008)
Revenge of the Bridesmaids (2010)
Father of the Bride (1991)
Steel Magnolias (1989)
I could go on and on listing good wedding related movies, because as I said up top, the entertainment industry has done a great job of capitalizing on all the antics that weddings naturally have to offer. I could even break it down into rom-com, drama, thriller and even musical (like Mamma Mia!) categories, but that would create for a whole other blog series. Each of the movies I have mentioned is unique and offers something different not only for couples that are looking to get engaged or already engaged, but also for those couples that have been married a long time. They just have the advantage of watching and thinking, “thank goodness we don’t have to do all that again”. I would love to hear what your favorite wedding related movies are and why. Leave them in the comments below!
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