Since the time of Shakespeare, matrimony has been a major plot point in many pieces of storytelling. Luckily, this lends itself today to some of the best wedding dresses in movies. Yes, marriage is about the joining of two people, but no matter how nice a tux is, it's usually the wedding dress that steals the show.
Whether you're watching a film in which it took the bride the whole movie to get married or one in which the wedding is about leaving behind the past and starting anew, the circumstances of a film marriage usually relate to the features of the wedding dress.
For instance, Carrie Bradshaw was literally playing dress-up before her wedding to Mr. Big. Hence why the classic, grown-up suit took the prize out of all the fancy couture in the Sex And The City movie. In Gone With The Wind, Scarlett O’Hara’s first marriage occurs right before her world ends and the Civil War begins. The dress is over the top and luxurious, like her beloved Old South.
Movie marriages are especially effective at creating that whole “happily ever after” ending, but not always! Weddings can also lend themselves to an escape. Here are some of the most unforgettable wedding dresses in movies that have facilitated both for the characters wearing 'em.
1. The Sex And The City Movie
Many Sex And The City fans followed Carrie from her first interaction with Mr. Big on television all the way to the big screen. Clearly not wanting to disappoint its fans, the film included a montage of enviable wedding dresses from Vera Wang to Dior.
Still, as beautiful as Carrie’s Vivienne Westwood dress was, it’s her vintage suit that actually sees her down the aisle. It was her first choice... until others suggested it wasn’t glamorous enough. Since Carrie and Big are meant to be writing their own rules for marriage, her vintage suit is perfect.
2. Gone With The Wind
Scarlett O’Hara’s first wedding dress is quite a sight. The floor-length gown features incredibly intricate embroidery on the gigot sleeves all the way down to the edge of the dress. She even wears long, white gloves to make matters more formal. Even though Scarlett’s heart is not in this marriage, the dress represents the pomp and luxury of her antebellum life.
3. Father Of The Bride
The original Father Of The Bride stars Elizabeth Taylor as Kay and Spencer Tracy as her father Stanley. In the movie, Kay walks down the aisle in an incredibly regal dress designed by Helen Rose. From the gorgeous layering to the lace neckline, the dress is unforgettable. In a perfect instance of life mirroring art, only a month after the movie premiered, Taylor married Nicky Hilton in a dress by Helen Rose again.
4. The Princess Bride
The title of this classic suggests there will be one hell of a wedding. One of the best parts of Buttercup’s dress is the color: Baby blue. Her empire waist, embroidered gown is definitely fit for a queen, but the dramatic effect of the dress is not nearly as theatrical as her rushed nuptials and daring escape with her true love Westley.
5. Kill Bill: Volume 2
The bloody sequel to Kill Bill offers audiences a flashback to the ill-fated wedding of Beatrix Kiddo. To the bride, this wedding is a means of escaping from her life as an assassin in order to be a good mother. Her look is simple: A white dress, sandals, and a bow in her hair. Most importantly, her dress provides room for her growing belly. However, director Quentin Tarantino obviously cannot film an ordinary wedding, so this one ends in a brutal attack on the wedding party, turning the cliché white dress into a potential funeral gown.
6. The Godfather
Both the wedding scenes in The Godfather contain memorable dresses. In the first, Connie wears a traditional dress, but, like in Gone With the Wind, the marriage is far from ideal. The event itself is meant to contrast the dichotomous lives of the Corleones. During a wholesome event like a wedding, Don is still conducting his (often brutal) business.
During the second wedding between Michael and Apollonia in Sicily, Apollonia's gown is lacy but still simple because the ceremony is very religious. Her incredible up-do and veil really steal the show, which is great because the wedding involves a no-doubt traditional procession through the whole town.
It was cringe-worthy watching these hilarious bridesmaids get terribly sick from food poisoning while trying on the fanciest of wedding ensembles. The bride ultimately selects a ridiculous French wedding getup that comes to symbolize the toll of her wedding planning mania. Instead of listening to her best friend and maid of honor Annie, the bride Lillian takes the advice of her prissy new friend Helen and ends up with a mess of fabric. Luckily, Annie saves the day by fixing the dress, and the wedding goes on.
8. The Sound Of Music
Isn't it visually interesting that the wardrobe transition from nun to bride wasn't all that different here? Dressed in an elegant and traditional white gown, Maria wears a veil that almost mirrors the habits of the nuns. With her old friends watching and her new children helping, her wedding suggests she is leaving her past behind and embarking on something new.
9. The Graduate
The Graduate disproves the cliche that ending a movie with a wedding equals happily ever after. In one of the most infamous cinema weddings, Elaine leaves her very new husband to jump on a bus with her former boyfriend Ben. The film explores the conflicting values between the parents' generation and the kids', which makes the wedding one big statement about leaving tradition behind. Even if Elaine looks the part of the typical young bride, she is definitely not that.
10. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Toula is a woman who is constantly towing the line between her own desires and those of her very traditional Greek parents. Thus, it is no surprise that her wedding is the peak of this conflict. Her dress is big and white and her wedding involves a lot of hilarious family members.
Clearly movie wedding gowns can be dramatic, hilarious, or incredibly romantic, just like the films themselves.
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Images: New Line Cinema; MGM (2); 20th Century Fox (2); Miramax; Paramount Pictures; Universal Pictures; United Artists; IFC Films