Bells are pealing! Royal wedding fever is sweeping the globe! While you’re counting down the minutes until Meghan Markle and Prince Harry say “I do,” why don’t you take a trip through pop culture history and revisit some of the best royal weddings in film?
TWO DISCLAIMERS BEFORE WE START: The Red Wedding does not appear on this list because I’m not up to speed on just how “royal” everyone was at that point in Game of Thrones. I know they were all calling Robb Stark the “King in the North,” but does that actually make him that? Nah.
I have also seen The Prince & Me II: The Royal Wedding only once, so I cannot speak to it in detail.
Onto the weddings!
Royals Involved: Princess Mia of Genovia, Prince Andrew
Normies Involved: N/A
Did They Actually Get Married? No, but Queen Clarisse and Joe did instead
How Bumpin’ Was the Wedding? Kinda stuffy and all very procedural. Mia wasn’t in love!
Princess Mia could have taken the easy way out and married a kinda cute prince to just fulfill her duty as future Queen of Genovia. But did Princess Mia do things the easy way? No! She used her wedding time to instead cement herself as a feminist icon by refusing to get married just because the law said she had to and insisting on getting crowned Queen anyways. Power move! And not just because she was holding out for Chris Pine who was doing the weirdest accent that’s ever been recorded on film. No, Mia didn’t go through with the wedding because people shouldn’t get married if they don’t want to. Ladies can rule countries on their own. The future is female! This movie was ahead of its time.
Mia also didn’t want to waste all the effort that had gone into planning and staging this wedding, so she acted as Princess Wingwoman and set up her grandma to get married instead. These Genovians, so efficient! The wedding in Princess Diaries 2 is one of the more realistic royal weddings in pop culture, exuding European style, tradition, and nobility. Shoutout to Mia for breaking glass ceilings but still managing to get a royal wedding completed, although it was not her own.
Royals Involved: Prince Humperdinck
Normies Involved: Buttercup
Did They Actually Get Married? No
How Bumpin’ Was the Wedding? Pretty stuffy
For a movie with “princess” and “bride” in the title, there was very little royal wedding ephemera in The Princess Bride. But I’m not complaining. Instead, the movie was full of action, humor, ROUSes, and commentary on historical military blunders, which is what I hope to see in most movies. The actual wedding in The Princess Bride was notable for one reason only: its officiant. You know who I’m talking about.
“Mawwage. Mawwage is what bwings us together today.” Never has a hat screamed “I’M OFFICIATING A ROYAL WEDDING” more than this guy’s. He had swagger and personality and really lightened the mood when you remembered for a second that Humperdinck was going to kill Buttercup the second the wedding ended. The Impressive Clergyman was also very memorable and clearly sentimental in the way he talked about “twuue wove.” He was passionate about what he did, and he was sure to leave an impression. When Harry and Meghan are up there in a couple of weeks, I’m going to be disappointed when whichever archbishop or whoever marrying them DOESN’T have this guy’s voice. Besides the clergyman, the failed wedding of Buttercup and Humperdinck sucked. No fun, no music, no booze—just a lot of somber standing. Let’s get to the fun ones!
Royals Involved: Princess Fiona, Lord Farquaad
Normies Involved: Shrek
Did They Actually Get Married? Yes, Shrek and Fiona get married in the swamp
How Bumpin’ Was the Wedding? Nice, but truly bumpin’ once things moved to the swamp
If you’re like me, then Fiona and Shrek became your OTP the moment Fiona made Shrek eggs from a bird she murdered with her voice. So by this point in the movie, I was a little worried that Fiona was making the wrong choice by marrying Lord Farquaad. That guy sucked, but in terms of a wedding? Pretty nice! First of all, the venue was classy. It was a little over the top. But did you see the high ceilings in that church? The stained glass windows? The stonework? This was all masterwork, and we should be honored we even got to see a LITTLE of Duloc’s finest religious building.
Can you blame Fiona for wanting to have an elegant affair for once? She’s mostly ogre, for crying out loud. Let her be fancy for once in her life.
Also, this wedding had guys with cue cards. As a guest, this would’ve been helpful to me since I pretty much just laugh at everything.
The wedding also got interrupted by a dragon (who ate Lord Farquaad) and a donkey. So this was probably the most exciting wedding anyone had ever attended or would ever attend. Then, the wedding moved from this baller cathedral to a party in a mother effin’ swamp! You can have it all! The best of both worlds!
Shrek and Fiona did outdoor/rustic/hipster weddings before it was cool. This wedding was well balanced and really reflected the royal bride and ogre groom’s individual personalities. I won’t even take points off for the Smash Mouth cover of “I’m a Believer;” it still ruled.
Royals Involved: Prince Eric and Ariel (Princess of the … Sea?)
Normies Involved: N/A
Did They Actually Get Married? Yes
How Bumpin’ Was the Wedding? Hope you brought your sea legs, because this wedding was ROCKIN’
This wedding was on a big ol’ ship. I think getting married on the ocean adds an element of danger that makes it cooler than getting married on land. Plus, this wedding was attended by humanfolk and merpeople alike. I don’t even want to know how crazy things got on the dance floor. Ariel and Eric also had a dog-friendly wedding but didn’t get too weird with how involved Max was in the ceremony. Respect.
I also wonder what the guests thought, as they had attended an almost-wedding with a DIFFERENT bride (Ursula in human form as Vanessa) just a day earlier. I imagine the conversation would go a little something like this:
GUEST 1: I can’t believe we have to do this again. Did you hear what they’re telling people?
GUEST 2: Yeah. So they expect us to believe that some sea witch had Eric under a spell? And this Ariel girl was the one who saved him when he fell overboard the other night?
GUEST 1: That’s the most convoluted explanation for cold feet I’ve ever heard.
GUEST 2: They probably just didn’t want to return all the gifts they got from their registry.
GUEST 1: Ugh.
Let’s not forget this wedding also had a FULL CHORUS of merpeople singing, and King Triton made a fucking rainbow appear.
I yield, Disney, you have outdone yourself with the whole “happily ever after” thing. This is the standard for all future royal weddings, fictional or otherwise. TOP THIS, MEGHAN MARKLE!
Royals Involved: Prince Charmont
Normies Involved: Ella of Frell
Did They Actually Get Married? Yes
How Bumpin’ Was the Wedding? Well, there’s a huge musical number, so EXTREMELY
The conceit of Ella Enchanted is that the film’s protagonist, Ella, was cursed with the gift of obedience. So after breaking the curse herself, in her first act of total freedom, Ella decided to fully commit herself to another person by getting married. No judgment! People make different life choices. And this wedding was a BANGER. Let’s start with Ella’s attire: she went from a classy floor-length number to a MINI SKIRT for dancing and literally let her hair down. If this isn’t wedding dress goals, I don’t know what is.
Now let’s address the fact that this wedding kicked off with a mandatory song and dance number of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” I know people do cool choreographed dances at their weddings, like the Dirty Dancing end number, but this was next level, and I respect it. EVERYONE was into it. The level of enthusiasm was incredible.
Plus, Ella and Char sealed their vows by sipping wine.
So this wedding clearly had a lot of wine on hand, and though we didn’t see it, I have to believe this wedding was open bar, AS ALL WEDDINGS SHOULD BE. Dancing, open bar, and mandatory audience participation: this is the ideal royal wedding. Ella Enchanted’s wedding honored tradition but kept things modern. And this wedding recognized that people just want to have fun. Mazel tov!
And to Meghan and Harry – congratulations and best wishes. May your wedding be as fun as the royal weddings in movies. I’m sure that, sadly, there will be 100% less choreographed musical numbers.
What fictional royal weddings did we miss? Let us know and tweet at @vailerin32 what pop culture royal wedding had the best passed hors d’oeuvres!