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'I Do': Onscreen Weddings We Love to Watch

| June 13, 2023 | By

Traditionally, the month of June has been considered good luck for weddings. As audiences, we love to watch our heroes and heroines get married, and, the more extravagant the ceremony, the better.

Maria and Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music

In the 1965 musical, when Maria decided to follow her heart -- as she was directed to do so by the Reverend Mother -- the ex-novice wed widowed father Captain Von Trapp.

As she slowly walked down the aisle with her future husband, and with the Von Trapp family in front of her, Maria was leaving her former life in the Abbey.

The nuns watched her take these steps toward her new life as a wife and mother.

The scene was filmed in the town of Mondsee, Austria, in the Basilika St. Michael, which continues to be a location where tourists gather to reminisce about the iconic wedding.

It is on The Sound of Music tour in Austria, where travelers are taken to various locations where the movie was filmed.

For audiences around the world, Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer exemplified the perfect couple.

And to answer the nuns’ question, that is how you solve a problem like Maria.


Tzietl and Motel in Fiddler on the Roof

Breaking with tradition, Motel the tailor and Tevya’s oldest daughter, Tzietl, made their match themselves.

Other than that one aspect, they had the traditional Jewish wedding under a Chuppah (canopy), drank wine from the traditional Kiddush cup (chalice), and the groom broke the glass, signifying the end to their past and the beginning of their new life together.

Many interpret this act as symbolizing the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

The wedding scene is an emotional part of the story, as the break with tradition of being set up by a matchmaker is upsetting to some but admired by others.

For Tzietl and Motel, theirs is a true love match. With the music playing as the ceremony progresses, audiences see the love these two characters share.


Maggie Carpenter and Ike Graham in Runaway Bride

After the 1990 success of Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts and Richard Gere teamed up again in 1999 for Runaway Bride.

This is the story of Maggie Carpenter, who loves getting engaged but fears getting married. She had several “close calls” even while walking down the aisle.

Writing about her phobia, journalist Ike Graham shadows her, to her chagrin, while she prepares for her latest wedding which, as always, doesn’t come to fruition.

Maggie then gets engaged to Ike. These former foes are now in love. But just like always, Maggie cannot seal the deal.

Her wedding phobia once again takes over, leaving Ike at the altar.

It isn’t until the very end of the film when Maggie finally says, “I do.”

Unlike all the previous times when she planned elaborate weddings, the one that she ultimately completed was outside, in a park, with very little preparation.

(Here's to hoping Ike and Maggie sealed their union in a church later on.)


A "Slight Hitch" in the Proceedings in The Philadelphia Story

When you have stars like Katharine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant, director George Cukor, and a sparkling, witty script, it's easy to understand why 1940's The Philadelphia Story is a classic.

It's also about three weddings -- an elopement that happened earlier, one that's about to happen, and the one that finally does happen.

Hepburn plays Tracy Lord, eldest daughter of a wealthy Philadelphia family. She married and divorced yacht designer C.K. Dexter (Grant), who didn't quite live up to her high standards.

Now, she's about to marry a respectable, newly-rich man from humble beginnings.

On site at the Lord mansion is New York reporter Mike Connor (Stewart) who's talked himself inside to witness the event -- with Dexter's help.

But when Dexter and Tracy come back together, sparks begin to fly in all directions.

In the end, vows are exchanged -- again.


Charles and Diana: The Prince and Princess of Wales

Anyone who's read the original versions of beloved fairy tales knows that they're not all the sugar and spice that animated movies have made them out to be.

When Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles at St. Paul’s Cathedral on July 29, 1981, it was considered “the wedding of the century.”

Anglican Archbishop Robert Runcie performed the ceremony and stated, “Here is the stuff of which fairy tales are made -- the prince and princess on their wedding day.”

Little did he -- or anyone -- know that this was not a “happily ever after” fairy tale.

Yet, on that day, 750 million people in 74 countries tuned in to watch this stunning event. According to Nielsen, 22.7 million of those viewers were Americans.

In her Cinderella-style wedding dress, albeit crumpled from the coach ride to the Cathedral, Diana was resplendent in ivory, with the Spencer tiara atop her head.

Being escorted down the long aisle by her father, Earl Spencer, the sight of father and daughter in this regal setting took viewers’ breaths away.

It was a beautiful scene and ceremony, and even in hindsight, it remains a memorable and historic occasion.


Catherine Middleton and Prince William

On April 29, 2011, Catherine Middleton, a commoner, married her love, Prince William, son of Charles (now King Charles III) and Diana.

When Catherine stepped out of the car, the public got their first glimpse of her delicate, stylish, and sophisticated dress. Catherine and her father walked through Westminster Abbey toward the waiting Prince.

This time, it looks as if "they lived happily ever after" just might happen.

Watching Catherine, in her dress, standing next to William, in his bright red uniform, represented to viewers around the world the culmination of their long courtship.

Having been together for many years before tying the knot, these two were very well acquainted, unlike his parents who only saw each other a handful of times before they were married.

Thus, the union of the now-Prince and Princess of Wales was a celebration their fans love to watch over and over again

An estimated 22.8 million viewers tuned in to watch this event live, and anyone can watch the entire ceremony on YouTube anytime they want.


The Joy of True Union and New Beginnings

Weddings bring joy, love and hope for the future. The marriage of two people, whether real or fictional, has always garnered the attention of the masses.

In this month of weddings, it is perhaps a good time to reflect on all the ceremonies we have witnessed and all the memories that come from them.

Image:  Adobe Stock

Francine Brokaw is a longtime journalist, covering entertainment, product reviews and travel, and is the host of Beyond the Red Carpet on Village Television and YouTube.

Keep up with Family Theater Productions on FacebookTwitter,  Instagram and YouTube.

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