I’m a huge sucker for anything with a seasonal theme. For roughly six months of the year, I can easily resist a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, but once they start rolling out the holiday shapes, a chocolate-peanut butter egg is suddenly the most delicious thing I can imagine. I once ate an Oreo (okay, an entire pack of Oreos) filled with pop rocks-speckled cream because it was packaged as 4th-of-July-themed. They were truly disgusting, but I powered through in the name of seasonal novelty.
My affinity for all things festive isn’t limited to seasonal snacking, it also extends to seasonal programming. Just like the holidays, wedding season has a full slate of TV specials, however sadly under-represented. (Who can I talk to at Freeform about starting a 25 Days of Wedding Season marathon?) Whether you’re planning your own nuptials or just collecting save the dates, 'tis the season to get in the spirit with a little wedding-themed Netflix binge. From timeless classics to ill-fated reality throwbacks (looking at you Kim and Kris), these are the best episodes to stream while you’re addressing invitations or swiping for a plus-one.
Spoiler alert: Literally everything. This whole article is one big spoiler. Most of these episodes are fairly old, but you’re still advised to tread with caution.
Sex and the City
Season 3, Episode 12: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
This list is in no particular order, but it’s definitely no coincidence this episode landed the top slot. Not only is Charlotte’s wedding to Trey one of the most iconic episodes in the TV wedding canon, but I would also argue that this episode is among the best in SATC history. Charlotte prepares to marry the WASP of her dreams, only to discover her perfect-on-paper husband leaves something to be desired between the sheets. Meanwhile, Carrie inexplicably decides to tell Aidan about her affair with Big literal moments before Charlotte walks down the aisle, which results in a tearful breakup scene and an even more tear-inducing Carrie voiceover about friendship and unconditional love.
This is also the episode where Miranda famously lies about being a stewardess in order to get a wedding date (with a man who ultimately turns out to be lying about being a doctor). Samantha is definitely resigned to the D-plot of this episode, but she still manages to dole out some quality advice (which my adolescent brain filed away and has yet to put to good use) about using low-fat Cool Whip instead of whipped cream during sex: “Less sticky.”
Season 5, Episode 1: “Wedding Day”
Where to Stream: Amazon (with HBO subscription), Hulu (with HBO add-on), HBOGo
Often equated to Sex and the City’s quirky millennial sister, Girls unsurprisingly nails its corresponding wedding episode. Marnie, the show’s Charlotte-in-residence, also has a whirlwind romance that ends in a similarly short-lived marriage. But first, she has an extravagantly ill-fated wedding. Unlike Charlotte, however, who marries a wealthy mama’s boy in a lavish cathedral wedding complete with a $14,000 dress, Marnie weds her folk-singing husband-to-be in an artsy, flower child, outdoor ceremony in the middle of nowhere—and if you’ve ever been dragged out to a rustic wedding with no escape, you’ll sympathize.
Also, every time someone I know considers getting convertible bridesmaids’ dresses, I bring up the fact that in this episode, Hannah is wearing her dress differently (and wrongly) in every scene, and then someone gives me their unsolicited opinion on Lena Dunham. I will continue having this conversation over and over again for the rest of my life.
Jane the Virgin
Season 2, Episode 22: “Chapter Forty-Four”
Where to Stream: Netflix
At long last, Jane is wedded and prepared to be bedded. But, of course, just when the virgin bride (and mother) is about to consummate her marriage, calamity intervenes in true telenovela fashion. New husband and soon-to-be virginity-taker Michael decides to make a pre-sex trip to fill the ice bucket, as one does, only to get shot in the hallway. It’s the kind of drama only Jane the Virgin can deliver, and the aftermath of that wedding night catastrophe is still unfolding two seasons later.
Game of Thrones
Season 3, Episode 9: “The Rains of Castamere”
Where to Stream: Amazon (with HBO subscription) Hulu (with HBO add-on), HBOGo**
I’ll be honest, I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, but I have been on enough bad Tinder dates over the years to have had almost every season explained to me in depth, against my will. Without having ever seen it, I can still say it doesn’t get much more iconic than the Red Wedding, and I would be remiss not to include it here.
Keeping Up With the Kardashians
Season 6, Episode 16: “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding”
Where to Stream: Hulu
Someday, our children will ask us where we were when Kim Kardashian announced she was ending her marriage to Kris Humphries a mere 72 days after their wedding. I was a freshman in high school who, along with about 4 million other viewers, had just watched the wedding special—a two-part, 4-hour “Kardashian Event”—when it aired only three weeks before. Until recently, that was the last time I had watched the episode, as I’m pretty sure E! pulled it from syndication shortly after the divorce was announced.
However, in the name of journalism, I revisited all 4 hours of “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding,” and oh my foreshadowing. How were we even a little bit surprised this marriage didn’t last after watching this? At the rehearsal dinner, Kim literally says, “I don’t want to do this” and runs away. Meanwhile, Kourtney politely offers to pour her drink over Kris Humphries’ head on at least two separate occasions, and Khloe says, “She’ll thank us later,” after checking in with Mama Kris to make sure Kim’s prenup is ironclad.
Season 5, Episode 23: “The Wedding”
Where to Stream: Amazon
The episode where Cam and Mitch finally tie the knot; this one has everything old-school-sitcom wedding specials have come to be known for, including two parts and plenty of calamity. Before they make it down the aisle, the grooms have to figure out how to free a tux from a closed dry cleaners', their officiant goes into labor, and a rapidly approaching wildfire forces them to vacate their venue. Meanwhile, father of the groom Jay grapples with his homophobia, but comes around in time to save the day by getting his country club to host the wedding at the last minute. It’s cute, it’s corny, and it’s the long-overdue queer sitcom wedding the '90s never gave us.
Season 2, Episode 4: “I Don’t”
Where to Stream: Hulu
The wedding special that gave life to wedding skeptics everywhere. In this episode, Daria and her younger sister Quinn are bridesmaids in their older cousin Erin’s wedding, much to Daria’s chagrin and Quinn’s delight. Daria finds herself bundled into a frilly tablecloth of a dress so ill-fitting that she is repeatedly asked why she “didn’t get the same dress as the other bridesmaids.” (The dress looks perfect on Quinn, naturally.)
While Daria’s monotone speaks to the cynical adolescent in all of us, this episode also paints an apt, if exaggerated, portrait of the complex family politics that often come to a head amid major milestones like weddings. Daria’s mom bickers. then later brawls with her sister, resentful that their mother is paying for Erin’s wedding. Meanwhile, their third sister, the calm and cool Aunt Amy, turns out to be where Daria gets her Darianess from (and, apparently, her bad eyesight).
Season 7, Episode 23: “The One with Monica and Chandler’s Wedding”
Where to Stream: Netflix
One of my favorite ways to alienate people is to tell them I’ve never watched Friends. However, my own personal tastes aside, I knew I couldn’t in good conscience write a list of iconic TV episodes and not include at least one entry from Friends. So, for the sake of this article, I decided to brave the laugh track and see what all the fuss is about.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t help but notice that this episode is extremely transphobic... I literally didn’t even watch the whole thing. I gave up after the third tasteless trans joke about Chandler’s dad, which was roughly 15 minutes in. Look, I know it was a different time, but it was also a much worse one, and maybe we should leave reminders of it in the past where they belong. Anyway, I left this entry on here in part to appease the still strong army of Friends fans, but also to encourage you to rewatch it with a sharper eye to the blatantly transphobic “humor” that seems to be pretty heavily sprinkled throughout.
Season 6, Episode 4: “Niagara”
Where to Stream: Netflix
While this may seem like an obvious choice, I was actually very torn between Jim and Pam and Dwight and Angela when it came to choosing an Office wedding episode. Sure, Jim and Pam got the two-parter—the obvious marker of a show’s signature wedding episode—but Dwight and Angela literally stand in each other’s graves, which is pretty damn iconic. Anyway, Jim and Pam won out in the end due to my commitment to catering to popular opinion and also the fact that Dwight and Angela had to share their nuptials with the show’s finale, which is kind of a bigger deal, but I welcome debate. Please @ me.
Season 6, Episode 12: “Familia Supra Gallegorious Omnia!”
Where to Stream: Netflix
In the Season 6 finale of the dysfunctional adventures of the Gallagher family, Fiona prepares to wed diner owner and NA mentor Sean, while Frank prepares to do what he does best: ruin it. Before Frank works his magic, however, the lovebirds seem set for happily-ever-after, exchanging antique rose-gold rings purchased at a pawn shop and dancing around in the kitchen the night before they’re supposed to swap vows.
Unfortunately, after getting conned out of a thousand dollars trying to arrange a hit on Sean, Frank takes matters into his own hands, revealing Sean’s drug problem in front of the entire wedding party just as the couple is about to say “I do.” By the end of the episode, Fiona is left smoking a cigarette alone outside the church wearing her mother’s wedding dress, and Frank gets hurled off a bridge. May your wedding be far less catastrophic than a TV special, especially one from Shameless.