The Romcom Wedding Scene- The Real Victims


In Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” the character, Lysandra famously says, “The course of true love never did run smooth”. The Hollywood Romantic comedy takes this statement and takes it to ridiculous extremes: A botched wedding ceremony.

The climax of most romantic comedies is the obligatory wedding scene toward the end. The music swells, the couple makes the famous march down the aisle, and the preacher/rabbi begins the familiar oath. Yet, for some reason, the film-makers inevitably take this moment to get “real” and steer the wedding violently off its tracks. The groom puts his hand up to stay “stop” andmay awkwardly confess a former infidelity, the bride may counter with a former pregnancy, or even a third party may dramatically interupt (like Patrick Dempsty did in Maid Of Honor) and gallop in on horseback to stop the wedding.

What usually follows the interuption is a series of avowals by the bride and groom, a hashing out of their true feelings toward one another, and with a few stammers or a few awkward silences later, they resolve things in perfect unity and, in the end, decide either to proceed with the wedding or to go their separate ways. This is, of course, all good for the couple…clearing the air has given them the understanding and closure they have never had before. They sigh contentedly. In complete harmony. It does, though, happen to suck for the rest of the wedding party.

The bridal party in a romcom is treated like collateral damage. (examples are:  The Wedding Crashers, The Proposal, “While You Were Sleeping”, ” 4 weddings and a funeral”, and the grandfather of all wedding interruption movies, The Graduate “Elaine!!!!” Elaine!!!) Guests must sit in the wedding hall quietly, Like stunned animals, watching helplessly as the bride and groom grapple with the supposed finality of the phrase “I Do”. But “aunt Irma” and “Cousin Jessie” probably had to take off work, buy plain tickets, hotel reservations, and expensive flatware in order to be spectators at this fiasco. They should be steaming mad. The bridal couple had all the time in the world to resolve their feelings. Nowadays with the internet, everyone is so eager to instantly express their feelings on Facebook and Twitter, Guests should be wondering why couldn’t this couple at least virtually “Get it together” before the ceremony.

Of course the romcom doesn’t deal with the emotional/financial fallout of wedding guests. That would be too time consuming and messy. it’s a film after all and the supporting players don’t really have feelings or lives. If we are lucky maybe the jilted bride or father of the bride may punch somebody in the face for putting them through the ordeal but for the rest of the 199 guests are expected to just dissapear; go back to their dreary un-cinematically interesting lives.

But where is the emotional payoff for the wedding spectator?

What I propose is turning the tables. Hold the bride and groom hostage and make them suffer through the emotional upheaval of their guests. Yes, both bride and group will pull up a comfy chair and plop themselves resignedly on the dais. Each guest, then will, in turn will confront their spouse in a highly overdramatic, yet emotionally cathartic way . Jim Soble will confront Jill Soble, his wife, and they will bare their emotional souls to each other. Jill never knew Joe resented her close bond with her brother. That made him extremely threatened. Bill Mansfield always resented rhonda Mansfield’s independence. How could he feel like a good provider then? Soon, the wedding hall will turn into an emotional free for all : Angry oaths, resentments, insecurities will fill the air like cheap wedding pasta-salad and the wedding-couple will be held hostage forced to listen.

Then the bride and groom will know what if feels like to sit through other people’s emotional baggage while you sweat through your tuxedo?

With any luck, the beleagured bride and groom will soon snap out of their own selfish emotional fog and realize that they have hijacked the lives of a room full of other people. I as a Romcom viewer have always looked forward to this kind of a moment of clarity or epiphany. If the wedding couple wont financially reimburse their guests for their time and expense, at least the maudlin duo owe them their own type of emotional closure and happily ever after.


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