The Best Wedding Scenes from Oscar-Nominated Movies
There's nothing quite like a movie wedding! Some of our favorite bridal moments have come from the silver screen—Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Sound of Music, Runaway Bride, and The Wedding Planner, just to name a few. But rom-coms aren't the only ones that get all the love; plenty of Oscar-nominated films have had their fair share of wedding magic. Here, we narrow down some of our favorite wedding scenes from best picture winners and nominees.
It Happened One Night 1934
Call it the original romantic comedy, It Happened One Night tells the story of high-strung socialite Ellie (Claudette Colbert) who falls for roguish reporter Peter (Clark Gable) while running away from her father who wants her marriage to a fortune-hunter annulled. It's a tale as old as time. Through twists and turns—and a rather classic hitchhiking scene—Ellie makes it to the altar only to realize she's really in love with Peter, prompting her to leave the wedding ceremony, but not before donning a gorgeous white dress. It Happened One Night swept the 1934 Oscars, taking home the five major awards—Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Screenplay.
Gone With the Wind, 1939
Best Picture winner *Gone With the Wind'*s wedding scene is a classic. Scarlett O'Hara rushes into marriage with Charles Hamilton before he leaves for war. Scarlett wears her mother's wedding dress—a silk satin creation complete with leg-of-mutton sleeves and vine embroidery.
The Philadelphia Story, 1940
A high society wedding turns scandalous when Katherine Hepburn's Tracy Lord rekindles her flame with ex-husband C.K. Dexter Haven, played by Cary Grant. Tracy is preparing to marry a wealthy aspiring politician, but suave Spy magazine reporter Mike Connor, Jimmy Stewart, jumps into the mix and complicates everything. Tracy and Dexter's walk down memory lane culminates with her calling off the wedding and running into the arms of her ex-husband. Of course, she's wearing the ideal dress for a second wedding and it just so happens to be pink.
Father of the Bride, 1950
All About Eve took home the Best Picture prize that year, but Father of the Bride certainly stole the public's hearts. Spencer Tracy's Stanley Banks tries to cope with wedding planning (don't we all) as his daughter Kay's (Elizabeth Taylor) wedding spirals out of control. The wedding dress, designed by Helen Rose, proved an inspiration to the young Elizabeth Taylor, who would famously be married a total of eight times—Helen Rose would design two of Taylor's dresses.
West Side Story, 1961
Tony and Maria never make it down the aisle, but in this modern day (well, 1961) retelling of Romeo and Juliet, the characters only dream of their wedding day before their romance ends in tragedy. Natalie Wood's Maria, in a sweet and demure quarter-length sleeved white dress and short veil, is an inspiration for minimalist brides the world over.
The Sound of Music, 1965
Is there a more classic wedding scene than Maria (Julie Andrews) finally marrying Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer)? We don't think so either and we're pretty sure this scene served as inspiration for countless brides from 1965 on.
The Graduate, 1967
If not one of our favorite wedding scenes (cute little chapel, 1960s mod-inspired lace dress, and a dramatic getaway!), the end of The Graduate also serves as one of the most infamous "leave your fiancé at the altar" scenes of all time. And running away on a bus makes for a pretty dramatic wedding exit.
Romeo & Juliet, 1968
Nominated for Best Picture in 1968, Romeo and Juliet was a quintessential telling of the quintessential love story. So the couple's wedding scene played out accordingly.
The Godfather, 1972
The Godfather opens with a big traditional Sicilian wedding! Setting the tone for the classic film, Connie Corleone's wedding is a splashy scene that brings you right into the politics of this complicated family. Comparatively, Michael Corleone's wedding in Italy to Apollonia is traditional and simple—but not without a gorgeous long-sleeved white lace gown and veil.
Four Weddings and a Funeral, 1994
It's absolutely impossible to select a favorite wedding scene from the four! Angus and Laura, Bernard and Lydia, Carrie and Hamish, or Charles and "Duckface"? We'll take the nonproposal in the rain any day!
Forrest Gump, 1994
Lifelong friends Forrest and Jenny made it official in a sweet southern backyard ceremony. Jenny's flower crown and bohemian bridal look would serve as a role model for hippie brides for years!
"I will love you my whole life, and no other." William Wallace defied the powers that be and married his true love Murron MacClannough in a secret nighttime Celtic ceremony—couldn't risk those British finding out and taking his bride. Things don't end well for the couple but the wedding vows are so simple, yet touching.
Sense and Sensibility, 1996
Marianne Dashwood and Colonel Brandon finally get together in a perfectly Jane Austen way, a double wedding ceremony with her sister Elinor and Edward.
Jerry Maguire, 1997
Jerry Maguire had Dorothy Boyd at hello, as evidenced by their rush down the aisle in this '90s classic. The wedding comes about halfway through the movie and is full of sweetly sentimental moments. For one thing, it takes place in their backyard, surrounded by their closest friends and family. There's also a tiny Ray as his mom's mischievous ring bearer, Jerry and Dorothy unable to keep their eyes off each other, and Rod Tidwell, Jerry's star client, belting out Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?" Sure, things soon go downhill for the couple, but it's nothing that a grand romantic gesture and the declaration that "you complete me" can't fix.
This tense thriller weaves together stories across the U.S., Mexico, Morocco, and Japan, and shows how a single action can spark a chain of disastrous events across the globe—but the wedding scene may be one of the few times in the movie the audience can actually breathe. It's a purely joyous celebration of love in a Mexican village, where seemingly every friend, family member, and neighbor has shown up to celebrate the happy couple, and a mother is finally reunited with her son on his wedding day.
Those first 10 minutes of Up have often been referred to as the saddest in movie history, as they show the entire trajectory of Carl and Ellie's relationship, from being childhood sweethearts to Ellie's tragic death. But that devastating intro is interspersed with some of the sweetest moments in movie history, including the pair's traditional wedding, in which the energetic Ellie leaps into her shy new husband's arms. It's adorable and heartfelt and, yes, makes the conclusion of her story that much more painful.
Les Misérables, 2013
After more than two hours of death, war, tragedy, and—you guessed it—misery, the ending of this classic tale takes a much happier turn. Marius and Cosette have finally reunited and can't resist twirling their way around their grand manor, dressed in gorgeous 18th-century wedding finery. Even when those dastardly Thénardiers (aka Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter in hilariously ridiculous face paint) crash the wedding, the lovebirds can't be swayed—perhaps the greatest wedding gift of all was the chance to kick the villainous couple out of their lives once and for all.
A Star Is Born, 2019
After Jackson proposes to Ally under the dinner table with a ring he constructed on the spot from a cut guitar string, the couple just can't wait to get married, so they grab a white dress and a suit, and get to the chapel as fast as they possibly can. They're crying, we're crying, Lady Gaga is singing "I Don't Know What Love Is," and now we're wondering just how many couples have been inspired to do a spur-of-the-moment wedding since seeing this heartbreaking film.