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Wedding-planning lessons from our favorite wedding movies

Wedding-planning Lessons From Our Favorite Wedding Movies

This may not shock you in the least, but the Ervare Bruid (Experienced Bride) loves wedding movies! I have been binge-watching some of my favorite wedding-related movies (some of them for the umpteenth time, may I add – oh the sacrifices we make for our readers…) to evaluate the lessons to be learned from them in hindsight…the do’s and absolute don’ts! Here are the lessons we should take away from 5 of our favorite blockbusters from a wedding-planners perspective…

Warning – spoilers alert! If you haven’t watched them yet and want to be surprised stop reading!

1. The Wedding planner:

Watch the trailer.

The plot (skip this part if you’ve seen these movies a 100 times like me):

Mary (Jennifer Lopez) is married to her career as a wedding planner and hardly has time for a social life. While celebrating her newest and most lucrative account she is rescued from a near-fatal collision with a runaway dumpster by handsome pediatrician Steve Edison (Matthew McConaughey). After spending the most enchanting evening of their lives together, Mary thinks she’s finally found a reason to believe in love. What she doesn’t know is that he is engaged and the fiancé of her newest client…Hollywood gold.

The lessons:

Don’t hire an attractive wedding planner… no just kidding (maybe)…

First of all the most unrealistic part of this wedding is that most grooms are not that involved in the wedding planning, especially if they have a full-time wedding planner. So no need to worry…

The true lesson is – if both the groom and the bride are having second thoughts don’t keep planning the wedding! Have the guts to speak up. Obviously in Hollywood you need someone to change their mind on the wedding day for drama – but in real life it’s a really d**k move to keep your mouth shut and just keep going. You may lose some deposits but you will save everyone heartbreak, as soon as you have doubts it may not be a good idea to commit for life.

2. 27 Dresses

Watch the trailer.

The Plot:

Perennial bridesmaid Jane (Katherine Heigl) always puts the needs of others before her own, making her the go-to gal whenever someone needs help with wedding plans – having been a bridesmaid 27 times. So when Jane’s younger sister Tess (Malin Akerman) snags the man (Edward Burns) Jane secretly loves, Jane finds herself questioning her role as a wedding junkie for the first time in her life. Meanwhile, a handsome reporter (James Marsden) sees Jane’s unusual story as his ticket off the bridal beat…


First and foremost – when you have been a bridesmaid so many times and you feel like your turn never comes to be the bride – your turn will come when you least expect it. And one day when you are the bride all of those women will owe you one…

This movie is a reminder to all brides of how much you should value your bridesmaids because it’s not always an easy task. Not only does it give you a glimpse into the many roles bridesmaids have to take on, it exemplifies what it means to put your feelings aside to make someone you care about happy.

Of course, Tess, the bride in this movie doesn’t know anything about that. If you recognize yourself in this character – you are a bridezilla exemplified! From barking orders, to choosing bridesmaids based on size, and treating her sister like a slave, she illustrates exactly what brides should not be when planning a wedding.

3. Runaway bride

Watch the trailer.

The plot:

Having already left three grooms at the altar, Maggie Carpenter (Julia Roberts) is branded “the runaway bride” by jaded city journalist Ike Graham (Richard Gere). But, after his facts are called into question, Ike races to Maggie’s hometown to save his reputation and report on her upcoming fourth trip down the aisle to Bob– during which he’s convinced she’ll run again. Though he’s there on a mission to expose her, Ike can’t help but fall for this breathtaking heart-breaker.  During his research for the story, Ike realizes that Maggie is adjusting her interests to mimic those of her fiancés in order to please them.

At a pre-wedding celebration for her and Bob, Ike defends Maggie from the public mockery she starts receiving from her family and guests, and Maggie walks outside due to the embarrassment. Ike then confronts Maggie outside about his realization regarding her relationships.

During the wedding rehearsal, Bob tries to quell Maggie’s wedding anxieties by walking her down the aisle. Ike is standing in at the altar, playing the groom. After Bob gets her to the altar, Ike and Maggie share a passionate kiss and admit to each other their feelings. Bob is chagrined, becomes jealous and punches Ike in the face before he storms out of the church. In the aftermath, Ike proposes that he and Maggie get married since the wedding is arranged. At the altar, Maggie gets cold feet and flees. Ike pursues her but she hitches a ride away on a Fedex truck. But luckily it doesn’t end there…

The lessons:

From a wedding planning perspective this movie is a great example of why you should plan a wedding according to what you feel comfortable with, instead of what people want or expect. The big indoor weddings were causing Maggie even more anxiety, whereas the small outdoor wedding that actually stuck was perfect for her.

The biggest lesson here is if you pretend to be someone else, how can you expect someone to love the real you? And also – if you keep pretending to be someone else for long enough – you will lose sight of who you are. Being single for a while before getting into a relationship is so important because you need to get to know yourself!

4. Father of the bride:

Watch the trailer.

The Plot:

George Banks (Steve Martin) and his wife, Nina (Diane Keaton), are the proud parents of Annie (Kimberly Williams), but when she returns from studying abroad and announces that she’s engaged, their whole world turns upside down, especially that of overprotective George. From meeting the in-laws to wedding plans with an over-the-top consultant (Martin Short) and his flamboyant assistant (B.D. Wong), it seems as if the troubles never end….

The lesson:

Planning a wedding in 5 months will be stressful as all hell… don’t do that to yourself unless you’re keeping it really simple and small.

Also an honorable mention – a real wedding coordinator who have planned events for countless celebrities was the inspiration behind the character Frank: Read his story here. Wedding coordinators are what keeps a wedding running smoothly – if you cannot afford one, at least pick a friend to mimic the role on the wedding day – this keeps problems on the day from falling on either you or the groom.

Also – remind your dad that he is still your hero – he may not be as crazy as Steve Martin, but some of those feelings could be present.

5. Wedding crashers:

Watch the trailer.


Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) and John (Owen Wilson) are divorce mediators who spend their free time crashing wedding receptions. For the irrepressible duo, there are few better ways to drink for free and bed vulnerable women. So when Secretary of the Treasury William Cleary (Christopher Walken) announces the wedding of his daughter, the pair make it their mission to crash the high-profile event. But their game hits a bump in the road when John locks eyes with bridesmaid Claire (Rachel McAdams)…

The lesson:

Most important lesson of this movie: keep a close eye on your guest list and hire a bouncer or find a way to have some control over who enters the venue. You may think wedding crashing only happens in movies, but think again! My own wedding had people show up who were not invited, my cousin had people show up with plus ones who were not given one and did not RSVP for one… it happens! Make sure you have a list provided to security and if you get last-minute cancellations keep those seats just in case someone shows up uninvited and you want to avoid a scene.Also if someone does not get a plus one – make it clear that plus-ones are invitation only.

An important wedding toast lesson – when it comes natural and from the heart it’s way better than when you’re trying to be funny or meaningful…

(to see the speech skip to 2:40 in this video)

On a side note – a good song can really get the party started at a wedding (in this movie it was ‘Shout’)

This post would be way too long if I discussed every wedding-related movie I love, but here are some lessons and movies worth at least an honorable mention…


Careful what you eat before your bridal fittings (or any wedding-related event for that matter)

Love Actually: 

Be wary of enlisting friends as your wedding photographer or videographer.

The Hangover:

Make sure your groom’s bachelor party takes place at least a few weeks in advance of the wedding.

My Best Friend’s Wedding :

Never, ever invite an ex to the wedding. You never know what stunt they could pull…

License to wed:

Make sure you are both comfortable with your officiant (and every other aspect of the wedding for that matter – two people are getting married here!). And despite what this movie shows, premarital courses are truly a good idea if your officiant isn’t nuts.

Sweet Home Alabama:

Oh no, rain on your wedding day? Don’t fret — it’s so romantic!

Bride wars:

If you are meant to be together wedding planning should bring you closer together – not push each other further away. Also – friendship – you cannot live without it even if you have your man…


If you can win over your mother-in-law’s heart you can handle anything!

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