Very few movie themes are as touching and poignant as a wedding, the happiest day of a woman’s life, but one that generally causes months of stress. Hollywood has put its particular spin on the process of tying the knot, but does the cinematic fantasy stack up to reality?
“Father of the Bride” (1950 – Spencer Tracy and 1991- Steve Martin)
The Fiscal Fantasy: In both the original and the contemporary remake, a devoted father must deal with the dual losses of his daughter and much of his bank account as he tries to pay for an elaborate wedding. As the costs go up, his patience goes bankrupt.
The Financial Reality: Counting everything from the invitations to the reception, an average wedding costs $28,732, which could pay for a new car or a down payment on a home. Many couples are opting for a “destination wedding,” also known as a “weddingmoon,” which combines the wedding and honeymoon in one neat, less expensive package.
“Sixteen Candles” (1984)
The Cramped Fantasy: Molly Ringwald plays Sam, an insecure teenage girl who finds her 16th birthday overshadowed by the wedding of her sister to a guy her father calls a “bohunk.” To make room for her grandparents, Sam has to give up her room and also spend time with “Long Duck Dong,” a foreign exchange student.
The Logistical Reality: Trying to accommodate relatives on the happy day can be more trouble than it’s worth. Instead of cramming everyone under one roof, talk to a nearby hotel to see if you can reserve a block of rooms for out-of-town relatives. Your family and your nerves will thank you.
“Honeymoon in Vegas” (1992)
The High-Flying Fantasy: Las Vegas, one of the most popular wedding destinations in the world, serves as the backdrop for this romantic comedy. Nicolas Cage plays Jack, a man who, despite a promise to his mother to stay single, proposes to his girlfriend Betsy, played by Sarah Jessica Parker. After traveling to Las Vegas for the ceremony, Jack gets sidetracked by gangster James Caan who has his eye on Betsy. With the help of some skydivers, The Flying Elvises – Utah Chapter, however, Betsy and Jack finally get married at one of the popular Las Vegas wedding chapels.
The Sin City Reality: The Little White Wedding Chapel on the Las Vegas Strip hosts couples who plan their weddings in advance and lots of spur-of-the-moment nuptials. It’s possible to use the “Tunnel of Love” drive-thru window for the ultimate in marital convenience, but you can opt for a more elaborate, traditional wedding inside, as well.
“In & Out” (1997)
The Big Screen Fantasy: St. Louis native Kevin Kline plays Howard, a popular schoolteacher who is “outed” by a former student on national television. Engaged to be married to another teacher named Emily (Joan Cusack), Howard finds himself struggling with his own feelings and the stress of planning a traditional wedding.
The Closeted Reality: The television show “Seinfeld” popularized the term “beard,” which generally means a woman who poses as a romantic interest for a homosexual friend. In the 1950s, actor Rock Hudson married Phyllis Gates in an effort to hide his true sexual orientation.