For all the dramatic, tragic, and comic depictions of contemporary life available in the movies, TV, and music videos of our time, weddings get more than their fair share of coverage. In fact, even when a piece of pop-culture isn’t overtly about weddings, wedding-based subplots and episodes tend to appear — which can be chalked up to weddings being fairly cinematic real-life experiences that are easily grafted for our viewing pleasure. Staged and orchestrated and meticulously planned, weddings make for familiar yet surprising story lines that tend to resonate, because who hasn’t been to a wedding? (Lord knows, I have.) When we see them onscreen, they’re also often not too terribly different from the weddings we go to in actual life. Here are 20 pop-culture weddings that are just like us.
1. The one to which you are running very, very late.
In a word, fuck. But who hasn’t been precisely here, though not necessarily with the British accent?
Seen in: Four Weddings and a Funeral.
2. The epic train wreck (with power-ballad background).
When a guest jumps through a cake to escape a sudden monsoon, or when Axl is a bridegroom, hold onto your hats — things are gonna get kinda crazy in the desolate field where Slash is performing a face-melting guitar solo.
Seen in: Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain” video.
3. The *facepalm* wedding.
Something can and will go wrong at just about every wedding. One can only pray that it doesn’t involve the groom calling the bride the name of his ex-girlfriend (and still unrequited love interest) during the vows.
Seen in: Friends.
4. The surprise (but not necessarily the good kind) wedding.
It’s hard to be a single person at your friends’ weddings, sometimes. It’s even harder when they’re thrown without warning, and the bride has only recently met the groom. As Jessa puts it, “Your dreams are not what you thought they’d be.” Especially when you’re being hit by a flying garter.
Seen in: Girls.
5. The ceremony that takes too damn long.
Sometimes you need to just say “man and wife” and get it over with. After all, it’s the reception that’s the good part.
Seen in: The Princess Bride.
6. The over-compensator.
This is the wedding at which the guests can be heard whispering, out of earshot of the bride and groom, “They’ll make it 72 days.”
Seen in: Kim’s Fairytale Wedding
7. The badass wedding.
Black leather pants and a bloodied ring finger are just a few of the hardcore highlights of a ceremony by way of Billy Idol. For the record, he said this video was pure fantasy; VH1’s Pop-Up Video claimed he wrote the song to express displeasure over the man his sister married.
Seen in: Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” video.
8. The wedding at which guests behave badly.
If you’ve slept with the groom and you are not the bride, don’t announce it at the wedding, even if it was 100 years ago. And don’t wear Timberlands with your suit, even if you paint them to a more “formal” shade.
Seen in: Seinfeld.
9. The planned-to-within-an-inch-of-everyone’s-life wedding.
The cult of the wedding planner is real, whether his name is Franck Eggelhoffer or Kevin Lee.
Seen in: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Father of the Bride
10. The double-your-pleasure wedding(s).
This is when two happen the same day or weekend, and you have to choose between them, or make the greatest sacrifice of all: going to both. (Will it be Derek and Meredith’s intimate courthouse ceremony, or Callie and Arizona’s formal affair?) [
Seen in: Grey’s Anatomy.
11. The awkward-interactions wedding.
There is a Kristin Cavallari for every L.C. at a wedding, regardless of whether Spencer Pratt attends.
Seen in: The Hills.
12. The wedding under duress.
The band is rockin’, the bride is pregnant, and there is fried chicken.
Seen in: Georgia Satellites’ “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”
13. The wedding where maybe the guests aren’t quite onboard with certain traditions.
Two words: Bouquet toss.
Seen in: Sex and the City.
14. The grown-up wedding.
Sometimes it’s just time to settle down and do this thing, you know?
Seen in: Jagged Edge’s “Let’s Get Married” video; Beverly Hills 90210
15. The ones at which the bride ends up with another man.
While I’ve never witnessed this happen in real life, it’s all over the place in pop culture, so presumably it must have happened to some person outside the silver screen at some point. You know who you are.
Seen in: The Graduate, Wayne’s World 2, The Philadelphia Story.]
16. The cold-feet wedding.
Related to the Wedding Under Duress and Ones in Which the Bride Ends Up With Another Man, this is one in which the bride or groom seems to have a doubt or two, and there may or may not be zombies present at the ceremony.
Seen in: Greg Kihn Band’s “Jeopardy”
17. The ultimate revenge-by-wedding.
Only Beyoncé could make telling the guy who let her get away exactly what he’s missing out on a perfectly legitimate part of a wedding-day repertoire.
Seen in: Beyoncé’s “Best Thing I Never Had”
18. The TMI wedding.
This is the one at which guests find out something they certainly didn’t need to be aware of about the bride, groom, or a person of importance at a wedding. Valuable side tip: Don’t take muscle relaxers before walking down the aisle.
Seen in: Sixteen Candles
19. The friend love-fest.
Love is not just confined to the marrying couple at a wedding, nosireebob, it is for everyone.
Seen in: I Love You, Man
20. The wedding to which a guest brings his or her feelings and releases them upon the unsuspecting crowd, to most people’s dismay.
See: “love stinks.” See also: It happens.
Seen in: The Wedding Singer
Jen Doll is the author of Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest.