Somewhere in the details of planning a wedding, things get a little too serious. Before you start to worry that the seating chart may sound the death knell for your wedding fun, plan a cinematic escape.
And we're not just talking one movie here; it's going to take a series of viewing excursions to gain a little perspective. After all, what's better than a couple of hours of suspended disbelief?
Sure, our top five picks aren't known for their unpredictable plot lines or their literary wit. But if you're ready for a getaway with your guy, your bridesmaids or even your future in-laws, watch your way through our list.
Father of the Bride
The 1991 remake of the 1950s classic "Father of the Bride" starring Steve Martin is a comedy about a father having a hard time letting go of his little girl, played by Kimberly Williams. Half the fun is watching George (Martin) handle the stress that comes along with planning a modern, elaborate wedding. Penny-pinching, neurotic George is perfectly balanced by his level-headed wife, Nina (Diane Keaton), and Martin Short steals several scenes as the outrageous, flamboyant wedding planner Franck.
While the movie delivers countless hilarious moments, the disastrous first meeting of the parents will give you and your fiancé a good laugh -- and have you thanking your lucky stars you won't have to deal with shenanigans like these before your big day!
My Best Friend's Wedding
One wedding comedy that can't be left off our list is the 1997 hit "My Best Friend's Wedding," starring Julia Roberts. Julianne Potter (Roberts) makes a pact during college with then-boyfriend Michael O'Neil (Dermot Mulroney) that if they're still single by their 28th birthdays, they'll marry each other.
As her 28th birthday approaches, Julianne gets a disappointing phone call from Michael, who announces that he's engaged to young, beautiful Kimberly Wallace (Cameron Diaz). Comedy ensues when Julianne, still in love with Michael, flies to Chicago for the wedding only to be tapped as Kimberly's maid of honor. Julianne accepts, all the while scheming up crazy ways to keep the nuptials from happening.
Our favorite scene is when Julianne tricks Kimberly into visiting a karaoke bar after learning the bride-to-be has a terrible voice and a phobia of singing in public. That song didn't make the soundtrack, but other great tunes did, including the cast's upbeat rendition of "I Say a Little Prayer."
My Big, Fat Greek Wedding
Dowdy, plain Toula (Nia Vardalos) feels like a failure in the eyes of her traditional Greek parents. At 30, she's single and thinks she'll never find a Greek man to settle down with. "My Big, Fat Greek Wedding," released in 2002, is a charming and comedic look into Greek-American culture -- over-the-top stereotypes and all.
Toula's luck changes when she meets shy American Ian Miller (John Corbett), but it's a relationship that her parents have a hard time accepting. After Ian pops the question, Toula's large Greek family begins interfering with every last wedding detail, making the affair all about their ethnic heritage. In the end, the wedding may be big, but we can promise you that the laughs are even bigger.
The Wedding Singer
Everybody appreciates a good '80s flashback. Who doesn't like to reminisce about trends like acid wash jeans, big hair and Day-Glo sweatshirts? The 1998 comedy "The Wedding Singer" is one of the best nostalgia films dedicated to the 1980s, but it's also a classic wedding flick as well.
The year is 1985, and Robbie Hart (Adam Sandler), a wedding singer, meets sweet waitress Julia (Drew Barrymore) at one of his gigs. Both are engaged to the wrong people, and after several humorous events, including a kiss using only "church tongue," the pair discovers they're in love. The ending is one of our favorites; not only does it include a cameo by rock star Billy Idol, but who can resist singing along to Robbie's good-humored ballad "Grow Old with You"?
The 2009 comedy "Bride Wars" is a laugh-out-loud movie perfect for a girls' night with your bridesmaids.
Emma Allen (Anne Hathaway) and Liv Lerner (Kate Hudson) have been best friends since childhood, and both dream of one day walking down the aisle at the glamorous New York City Plaza Hotel. Each girl gets engaged at the same time, but trouble brews as they realize in horror that the Plaza has double-booked their weddings on the same day. Both refuse to change their wedding date, resulting in a battle of the brides so ugly that they resort to everything from hair dye to orange tanning spray as ammunition.
In the end, friendship wins, and the lesson is clear: Even though you're getting married, always value your friendships and keep girlfriends close!
Father of the Bride (original)
This cinematic charmer is one even your in-laws are sure to love. The original 1950s-era "Father of the Bride" is full of maudlin moments from a seemingly simpler time, but it's Spencer Tracy's refreshing snarkiness as the father of the bride that we love. We giggled at some of the movie's outdated sentiments ("From now on, your only function is to pay the bills," a partygoer tells Tracy). The overall appeal, however, is clear: A wedding's more than gowns and guest lists; it's a time to share your feelings with those you love.
The Wedding Date
"The Wedding Date," released in 2005, gets a top spot for an inside look at family dynamics during an extended wedding weekend. Debra Messing (of "Will and Grace" sitcom fame) pretends a male escort is her loving boyfriend as part of a ploy to make her ex-fiance jealous. Somewhat predictably, Messing's character falls for her paid muse. We, however, favor the subplots that provide a delicious peek at the sometimes-twisted love and loyalty sisters exhibit under pressure. Plus, the scenic al fresco dinners and lovely English lanes put us in a marrying mood.
Wedding crashing in real-life is not such a fetching idea, but this movie's fictional account is something we'd recommend watching more than once. "Wedding Crashers" makes our top five because we can view it with our best girlfriends -- or our entire wedding party -- and laugh off a few prenuptial jitters. The 2005 comedy stars cuties Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as womanizers dedicated to their craft; they make sneaking into weddings an almost-adorable pastime. It got us thinking: If uninvited guests livened up our reception with the same flair, it might not be so bad.
The Princess Bride
An '80s classic, "The Princess Bride" has sweet Westley uttering, "As you wish" to his beloved Buttercup with great regularity. It is, in fact, all he ever says to the object of his affection. Lest you begin to think this is just a "kissing movie," there is plenty of action, too. Fencing, torture, giants, chases, revenge and a monster or two keep the story moving in a Homer's "Odyssey" kind of way -- which is why it's great for date night with your beau.
If your impending nuptials have left you in need of a good laugh, press play for "The Hangover." We know you've probably already seen the 2009 comedy, but it's worth a second sit-through for the belly laughs alone. There's just something so right about losing your soon-to-wed friend during a night of partying in Vegas. Plus, everything turns out OK in the end, which is really the moral of any good wedding movie.
Some wedding traditions are lovely and others don't make much sense. Test your knowledge of wedding traditions with our HowStuffWorks quiz.
- Ebert, Roger. "My Best Friend's Wedding." Chicago Sun-Times. June 27, 1997. (Oct. 3, 2010).http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19970627/REVIEWS/706270303/1023
- FilmSite. "The Father of the Bride (1950)." FilmSite.org. (Aug. 20, 2010)http://www.filmsite.org/fath.html
- Gustafson, Donna. "Father of the Bride." Parent Previews. Dec. 31, 1993. (Oct. 1, 2010).http://www.parentpreviews.com/movie-reviews/father-of-the-bride/#review-wrapper
- IMDB. "The Princess Bride." IMDB.com. (Aug. 20, 2010)http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093779/
- Kehr, Dave. "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." The New York Times. (Oct. 1, 2010).http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/261239/My-Big-Fat-Greek-Wedding/overview
- Newline Cinema. "The Wedding Crashers." Newline.com. (Aug. 20, 2010)http://www.newline.com/properties/weddingcrashers.html
- The Internet Movie Database. "Bride Wars." (Oct. 2, 2010).http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0901476/
- The Internet Movie Database. "The Wedding Singer." (Oct. 2, 2010).http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120888/
- Warner Bros. "The Hangover." WarnerBros.com. (Aug. 20, 2010)http://hangovermovie.warnerbros.com/
- Universal Studios. "The Wedding Date." UniversalStudiosEntertainment.com. (Aug. 20, 2010)http://www.universalstudiosentertainment.com/the-wedding-date/