The Best Movies To Get You Ready For Wedding Season

I love wedding movies more than I love weddings, and the reason is simple: In a movie about a wedding, you have intimate access to the emotions, resentments, and hopes that are omnipresent, but invisible, at every wedding. Essentially, you get to know how the bride really feels about her in-laws, behind her veneer of Crest-whitened smiles. When you're a guest at the wedding, all you see is the ceremony and the reception, not the drama that's been bubbling up since the engagement. But in a wedding movie, the actual wedding party is just a minor event in a larger, juicier tale.
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It's no surprise that so many movies are set around weddings. These unions are joyful, but they're also dramatic. Weddings don't just bring people together; they meld those people's world's together (see: the Royal Wedding). They're occasions for all the significant figures in a person's life to gather in one place, and bring along baggage and expectations, too. All of this is recipe for a good story.
If you've reached the point in life when every summer weekend has a wedding (or multiple), then these wedding movies will be cathartic. Plus, on the bright side, you don't have to spend lots of money and wear heels to attend a wedding movie. You just press play.
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Coming to America (1988)

The time has come for Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy), the crown prince of African country Zamunda, to get married. Only he doesn't want his parents to choose his wife. Akeem, like so many movie royals who have come before and after him, decides he has to break free from royal obligation to forge his own path — in America. Queens, to be precise. While working at a fast food restaurant, Akeem falls for the owner's daughter, Lisa (Shari Headley). The royal wedding is never far from the mind of this prince-in-disguise.
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Father of the Bride (1991)

Why do fathers of the bride play such a significant role in weddings? The answer, unsurprisingly, has everything to do with the transactional history of weddings, and women as commodities being passed from father to groom. All those discomfiting underlying dynamics aside, Father of the Bride is a lovely movie. In the movie, George Banks (Steve Martin) struggles to accept the fact that his 22-year-old daughter, Annie (Kimberly Williams) is a grown woman, ready to make her own decisions — including the decision to get married to a man she only just met. She's leaving the nest, and doing so by making out with her hot fiancé in front of him.
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The Wedding Banquet (1993)

Families come in all shapes and sizes. And according Ang Lee's The Wedding Banquet, so do marriages. Though he's in a happy relationship with his boyfriend Simon (Mitchell Lichtenstein), Wai-Tung (Winston Chao) agrees to marry a Chinese immigrant, Wei-Wei (May Chin), to placate his parents. It's supposed to be a simple wedding. Then, Wai-Tung's parents arrive from Taiwan and begin to plan a massive banquet, forcing Wai-Tung into an unbearably awkward situation. Can Wai-Tung and Simon's relationship withstand his marriage?
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Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Reach a certain age, and your summers will become a parade of wedding weekend after wedding weekend. Four Weddings and a Funeral is about friends on this wedding-centric social circuit, and the major events that happen at each one – mostly involving the floppy-haired Charlie's (Hugh Grant) pursuit of Carrie (Andie Macdowell), an American who is never quite available. Once the quintessentially British rom-com is done, you'll think of the movie's idiosyncratic cast as your friends.
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Muriel's Wedding (1995)

Muriel (Toni Collette) has the misfortune of being born into a family of cruel people in the dead-end town of Porpoise Spit, Australia. Her father likes to call her "stupid, fat, and useless." Muriel's singular life goal is to move to Sydney and have a glamorous wedding (and to think, this was before people watched Say Yes to the Dress marathons). Her new friend, Rhonda Epinstock (Rachel Griffiths), can help with the former goal – and maybe encourage Muriel to reconsider the latter.
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The Wedding Singer (1998)

It's Robbie's (Adam Sandler) job to bring people together at weddings. He is, after all, a wedding singer — the provider of the social cohesion necessary for a wedding. Robbie isn't particularly excited for one wedding. His waitress friend, Julia Sullivan (Drew Barrymore), is engaged to a business man. Robbie promises to play at her wedding, but he mostly just wants to marry her. The Wedding Singer delightfully preserves the pouffy, tulle aesthetic of weddings in New Jersey in the '80s. What would Randy of Say Yes to the Dress do with these women?
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My Best Friend's Wedding (1998)

Watch enough Julia Roberts rom-coms, and you'll think you know exactly where My Best Friend's Wedding is headed — but you'd be wrong. The movie subverts rom-com tropes and ends up providing an unexpected, nuanced story about relationships. Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts) and Michael O'Neal (Dermot Mulroney) had a lifelong pact to get married if they both were single at 28. Four days before Julianne turns 28, Michael announces his wedding — to another woman. Julianne decides she wants to marry him.
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The Best Man (1999)

Harper Stewart (Taye Diggs) is a writer who's finally on the cusp of his big break, but the timing couldn't be worse. The semi-autobiographical novel, which fictionalizes him and his friend's sexual exploits, is coming out the weekend of his best friend's (Morris Chestnut) wedding. Secrets don't just come out of the woodwork; they fly.
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Monsoon Wedding (2001)

Need a retreat from the world for two and a half hours? The answer is probably yes. Monsoon Wedding is — and I stand by this — the perfect escapist movie. Aditi's (Vasundhara Das) massive family gathers for her upcoming arranged marriage to Hemant Rai (Parvin Dabas), a man she only just met. With so many people in one setting, many storylines unfurl. Monsoon Wedding is a beautiful celebration of weddings and their symbolic importance.
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My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

Perhaps I'm biased, but I think this is the most iconic wedding movie of all time. It's not just about a wedding, of course — it's about a woman finally coming into her own, years after she probably should have. Toula's (Nia Vardalos) relationship with the dashing Ian Miller (John Corbett) spurs her must-needed rebellion from her loving, but definitely controlling, Greek parents. She blossoms personally and professionally. When they eventually get married, she's her full self.
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Wedding Crashers (2005)

Have you ever tried to crash a wedding? It's usually a bit more awkward and a lot less fun than Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) and John (Owen Wilson) make it seem in Wedding Crashers. They're divorce lawyers whose side hobby is charming strangers at weddings and seducing bridesmaids. Everything changes when they attend the wedding of a daughter of the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury (Christopher Walken) and meet his two other daughters, Gloria (Isla Fisher) and Claire (Rachel McAdams). You can see where this is heading, but it's a raunchy blast along the way.
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After the Wedding (2006)

Though romantic life gets all the attention and bouquets, many kinds of love are on display at a wedding. After the Wedding contains one of the most remarkable, generous displays of selfless – and not wholly romantic — love I've ever seen depicted in a movie, though you'll have to wait until the end to see why. The movie begins when Jacob Petersen (Mads Mikkelson), the founder of a charity in India, is informed a Danish millionaire (Rolf Lassgård) wants to supply his charity with much-needed funds, on the condition that Jacob travel to Denmark to meet him. While there, Jacob is invited to the CEO's daughter's wedding. It turns out there's a reason behind this entire invitation.
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Mamma Mia (2008)

After watching Mamma Mia, you might want to consider a decree that all weddings should be musicals set to the sweet, sweet tunes of ABBA. Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is planning on marrying her boyfriend in a big fat Greek island wedding. She invites her mother's three ex-boyfriends — and her three potential fathers — to the wedding proceedings, causing more than a bit of drama. Mamma Mia is a polarizing movie, mostly due to Pierce Brosnan's voice. Sure, the singing is bad, but the movie is an undeniably fun exploration of the issues of parentage and identity that are present at every wedding.
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Melancholia (2011)

Melancholia features one wedding you might not actually want to attend. We're always talking about it being the end of the world; in Melancholia, it actually is the end of the world. A rogue planet called Melancholia is off its orbit, and headed on a collision course to earth. In these strange final hours, a couple, played by Kirsten Dunst and Alexander Skarsgard, sees their carefully planned wedding reception go devastatingly awry. Melancholia is a stark look about what we can and should expect from our time on earth, what comforts our relationships can ultimately bring us. A wedding at the end of the world might not be pleasant, but it's certainly fascinating.
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