If you’re a writer, then it’s bound to happen sometime. It’s definitely happened to me. It can happen to you. You can’t escape it. A time may come, in writing your story, you may have to write, the “big wedding scene.” But why are weddings so popular? Why do so many movies, novels, and soap operas feature at some time or another, “the big wedding?”
A few reasons.
A wedding is a monumental event in almost every person's life. We can all relate and identify with the key players. If you don’t get married, someone you love probably has...or will. A wedding connects us to what is deemed to be a joyous event. It grounds us, bringing us back to our roots. It brings us back to family and friends and their dynamic relationships, volatile or otherwise. Heck, even The Godfather opened with a joyous wedding scene, offering a wonderful juxtaposition to what was happening behind closed doors.
A wedding often reminds us that love can conquer all. That there’s a special someone out there for each of us. No matter size, age, nationality, ability or disability. Love is an equal opportunity matchmaker.
It can be a time to meet hot guys and hook up with hot chicks, as in the Wedding Crashers.
It’s a time to let loose, sing, and dance, even if it’s just the chicken dance.
It’s a reminder of the joys of life, the promise of starting fresh and new. It offers both a happy ending and a promise of a new beginning.
And weddings make great fodder for stories.
Who doesn’t love a good wedding? Oh they’re out there. Some see a wedding as boring. You’ve seen one wedding, you’ve seen them all. To them, weddings do the same thing over and over again. But these naysayers are missing the point. It’s really about expectation and tradition.
Expectation. We have it in life. We have it in our books. Even if a genre appears to do the same thing over and over, we still love those stories and continue to read them.
Can you imagine reading a romance novel where the couple doesn’t get together in the end?
Or a mystery where the sleuth can't solve the crime and evil prevails?
Or the thriller where the hero fails to save the world and it’s annihilated, leaving nothing but desolation?
Perish the thought!
Yes, we may know the ending, but really, we are reading for the journey. How is this person, with all her strengths and foibles, going to handle the obstacles thrown her way as she fights to achieve her goals? From Muriel’s Wedding, to Terms of Endearment, to My Best Friend’s Wedding, to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, to 27 Dresses, and Enchanted, we love to see how it will all turn out in the end.
We Americans love our happy endings. They validate our core values and beliefs in humanity. Love conquers all. Justice will prevail. Good triumphs over evil. In real life, we may not always get the happy ending every time, but activities like reading our favorite stories or attending a wedding of a loved one reminds us of the promise of one. Here’s to happily ever after.