Revisiting the Collective: 10 Unforgettable Weddings in Pop Culture


(CS: I was working away on a way-overdue review, but the delightful distractions that is family being home on the weekend kept slamming against me. I'm now contemplating if I try to write three separate reviews for the movies that I've now seen a week or more ago, or just package them into one article and move on with my life. For now, in order to keep posting something every day, here is another Collective Publishing pop culture column that has a home again, along with a few modern thoughts. Originally posted in June of 2013.)

This past weekend was my fifth wedding anniversary and my brother got married, so weddings are a bit on the brain at the moment. (CS: This June will be our 14th wedding anniversary.) Luckily, weddings are a pretty major thing in pop culture. Here are 10 of the most memorable weddings. 

1. Prince Charles & Diana Spencer (July 29, 1981): It was a massive media event when Kate Middleton and Prince William got married in 2011, but it wasn’t ever labelled “The Wedding of the Century” like this monumental occasion. The event was witnessed by 750 million TV viewers worldwide and was one of the ultimate “Where were you?” spectacles of the ‘80s. (CS: I was probably in the other room playing with my Masters of the Universe toys.)  It was a real life fairy tale wedding with Diana pulling a Cinderella by being the first ever “commoner” to marry English royalty and Charles was dressed up to evoke memories of Prince Charming. 

2. Jim Halpert & Pam Beesley (The Office/October 8, 2009): The Office fans had to endure a roller coaster ride in order to finally see the pair become one of TV’s favourite couples. It was extra satisfying when the writers stopped playing with our hearts and elevated them to married status. The wedding was done in the classic style of the series with a perfect combination of sweet, awkward, and funny. The actual ceremony ended up being interrupted by the couple’s work colleagues breaking into an aisle dance to Chris Brown’s “Forever”, but then we discover Jim and Pam already had a more intimate and touching ceremony by the Niagara Falls. (CS: This probably should have been the series finale, as this was the peak of the series and the writers never really figured out what to do with Jim and Pam after this.)  

3. Liza Minnelli & David Gest (March 16, 2002): Minnelli is known as a flamboyant singer and actress, and so no one was shocked when her fourth wedding was more extravagant than most awards shows. The guest list of 850 read like one for an awards show with celebrities like Kirk and Michael Douglas, Donald Trump, Mia Farrow, and Diana Ross. You may have thought your wedding was expensive, but this one had a $3.5 million price tag, which paid for a 60-piece orchestra, a 12-tier wedding cake, and personalized party favours encased in satin covered candy boxes. To top it off, the Best Man was Michael Jackson and the Maid of Honour was Elizabeth Taylor, but being backed by such star power still wasn’t enough for the marriage to survive past a year. (CS: Reading Minelli's name reminds me of the real highlight of the past Oscars where Lady Gaga showed such grace, humility and kindness when presenting the Best Picture award along with the entertainment legend.)   

4. Carrie Bradshaw & Mr. Big (Sex and the City/May 30, 2008): Until today, I always thought Mr. Big was a delicious chocolate bar rather than Sarah Jessica Parker’s love interest. As far as I could tell from the occasional commercials and clips I saw, this was a series designed to fool thousands of would-be-writers into thinking the profession consists of drinking coffee with friends and then remembering to spill out a few hundred words before the end of the week. I do remember an entire month where I was constantly attacked by screams and squeals about this marriage, so apparently it was a big deal. It also will be notoriously remembered for being responsible for the nightmare inducing sequel. (CS: It is kind of odd that I mixed fictional and real weddings into this list. No idea what my reasoning was for that.)

5. Elizabeth Taylor & Larry Fortensky (October 31, 1996): It’s memorable for being Taylor’s 8th and final wedding. This isn’t your typical celebrity wedding since Fortensky was actually a construction worker that Taylor met during her stay at the Betty Ford Clinic. Things like the $2 million price tag, the massive celebrity guest list ranging from Nancy Reagan to Eddie Murphy, and the twenty year age difference would normally be the things to make the event memorable, but I’d vote the presence of animals like zebra and giraffes being the stand-out memory. (CS: When I say memory, I mean a tidbit I read while doing research for this article, as I sure didn't watch it at the time.)

6. Doug Billings & Tracy Garner (The Hangover/June 5, 2009): Okay, I admit this wedding wasn’t actually all that memorable, except for the very public break-up between Stu and his girlfriend that occurred during the reception. The fact the groom and his groomsmen could stand up at the altar after their two day adventure should be considered a major event on its own. This film was a perfect cautionary tale for why guys shouldn’t have the bachelor party right before the actual wedding. (CS: Does anyone have their bachelor party the day before the wedding, or is that a pure Hollywood thing to have contrived conflict and obstacles?)

7. Luke Spencer & Laura Webber (General Hospital/November 16 & 17, 1981): The most watched wedding in daytime television history, which may be less impressive in modern terms when most people now probably think a soap opera is hitting a high note in the shower. I also must confess I never witnessed this famous wedding, because I was too busy being four years old. For those who bemoan the apparent moral decay of modern culture, I’m sure you miss early ‘80s TV like this when a rapist married one of his former victims. (CS: You just need to watch movies that were considered family entertainment in the 1980s to see that things have become less risqué and provocative.)

8. Elvis Presley & Priscilla Beaulieu (May 1, 1967): This wedding wasn’t as extravagant or grand as most of the others on this list. It was a quick civil union in Las Vegas with a breakfast reception for just 100 close friends and family. So, why mention this wedding? Because Elvis is one of the most iconic rock stars of all time and defined an entire generation with his music and celebrity. It probably broke many young hearts when he made things official with Priscilla. The wedding was the culmination of an 8 year courtship, which actually started when Priscilla was only 14 years old. (CS: Who is excited about the Baz Luhrmann Elvis movie this summer?) 

9. Leon Carp & Scott (Roseanne/December 12, 1995): A televised gay wedding that ABC was so scared about that they pushed the shows airing from the normal 8:00pm time slot to 9:30pm. It was also a pretty funny wedding with Roseanne going way too far by filling the hall with male strippers, drag queens, and pink triangles. Leon freaks out that he isn’t gay because he hates Barbara Streisand, is a Republican, and despises shopping. Roseanne convinces him with her strong argument of, “But do you like to sleep with men? GAY!” (CS: Back when Roseanne Barr was part of something progressive.)

10. Chandler Bing & Monica Geller (Friends/May 17, 2001): Friends was a series that the ‘90s generation grew up with, and so many of the characters were seen as. . . well, friends. The Chandler and Monica wedding was one many were eagerly looking forward to seeing, because it was like watching two of your best friends tie the knot. Also before this wedding, many famous TV series weddings ended with the two characters getting cold feet or some major complication arising, so it was extra satisfying watching the beloved characters unite without a hitch. (CS: Well, the whole two-part episode was about Chandler getting cold feet and disappearing on his big day. I think, my point was that they actually did get married at the end.)

 What do you think are some of the most unforgettable pop culture weddings?