Weddings are one of our favorite things in literature for many reasons, one being their versatility! They have the ability to be grand, bittersweet, comically horrendous, and even over the top bloody! In this compilation we’ve perfectly selected a list that displays all the different ways weddings can add drama to the next book you read! Enjoy!
1. Lamia by John Keats
In Lamia by John Keats, the Corinthian Lycius crosses paths with the beautiful and mysterious Lamia, but the day they are to be wed turns into an ominous event when it is revealed that Lycius’s bride to be is actually a shape shifting serpent in disguise. What a twist, indeed!
By her glad Lycius sitting, in chief place,
Scarce saw in all the room another face,
Till, checking his love trance, a cup he took
Full brimm’d, and opposite sent forth a look
‘Cross the broad table, to beseech a glance
From his old teacher’s wrinkled countenance,
And pledge him. The bald-head philosopher
Had fix’d his eye, without a twinkle or stir
Full on the alarmed beauty of the bride,
Brow-beating her fair form, and troubling her sweet pride.
Lycius then press’d her hand, with devout touch,
As pale it lay upon the rosy couch:
‘Twas icy, and the cold ran through his veins;
Then sudden it grew hot, and all the pains
Of an unnatural heat shot to his heart.
“Lamia, what means this? Wherefore dost thou start?
Know’st thou that man?” Poor Lamia answer’d not.
He gaz’d into her eyes, and not a jot
Own’d they the lovelorn piteous appeal:
More, more he gaz’d: his human senses reel:
Some hungry spell that loveliness absorbs;
There was no recognition in those orbs.
“Lamia!” he cried—and no soft-toned reply.
The many heard, and the loud revelry
Grew hush; the stately music no more breathes;
The myrtle sicken’d in a thousand wreaths.
By faint degrees, voice, lute, and pleasure ceased;
A deadly silence step by step increased,
Until it seem’d a horrid presence there,
And not a man but felt the terror in his hair.
“Lamia!” he shriek’d; and nothing but the shriek
With its sad echo did the silence break.
“Begone, foul dream!” he cried, gazing again
In the bride’s face, where now no azure vein
Wander’d on fair-spaced temples; no soft bloom
Misted the cheek; no passion to illume
The deep-recessed vision—all was blight;
Lamia, no longer fair, there sat a deadly white.
“Shut, shut those juggling eyes, thou ruthless man!
Turn them aside, wretch! or the righteous ban
Of all the Gods, whose dreadful images
Here represent their shadowy presences,
May pierce them on the sudden with the thorn
Of painful blindness; leaving thee forlorn,
In trembling dotage to the feeblest fright
Of conscience, for their long offended might,
For all thine impious proud-heart sophistries,
Unlawful magic, and enticing lies.
Corinthians! look upon that gray-beard wretch!
Mark how, possess’d, his lashless eyelids stretch
Around his demon eyes! Corinthians, see!
My sweet bride withers at their potency.”
2. The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud
The two lead characters in this novel wed with much pomp and fanfare and nothing can be more befitting than the author describing the ceremony by utilising phrases such as profusion of Calla lilies and seafoam chiffon, while the bride is described as having raven hair and a smile that is like the second sun in the glorious late summer noon. The overly sentimental romanticisation of the same could even make the Bard blush!
If the wedding is anything to judge by, that’s certainly true. The familiar faces of New York and Washington intelligentsia sipped champagne and nibbled at caviar blinis on the rolling lawn while a chamber ensemble played Mozart in the twilight. The tree frogs serenaded the party, too; and as night fell, the guests were ushered to splendidly decorated tables under a grand marquee. When the time came to cut the cake, Ms. Thwaite and Mr. Seeley returned to the folly where they had made their vows, and embraced in front of a cheering crowd.
It wasn’t staid elegance, however: once the dancing got underway, Ms. Thwaite kicked off her heels and spun out onto the grass, her dapper husband, his bow-tie loosened, right behind her. “It just feels incredible,” she said.
“Whoever knew that getting married could feel so liberating?” “It’s all a matter of finding the right editor,” Mr. Seeley quipped, as he twirled his bride to the samba beat.
3. The Red Wedding from A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
There is no romance as such involved in this wedding scene from the third installment of George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and nobody could brace themselves for what was to come as blood was shed at the Frey castle at the wedding feast of Roslin Frey and Lord of Riverrun, Edmund Tully. If there was ever an Oscar for the bloodiest and most gory, yet most memorable wedding scene of the century, this would win it hands down…
The drums were pounding again, pounding and pounding and pounding.
Dacey Mormont, who seemed to be the only woman left in the hall besides Catelyn, stepped up behind Edwyn Frey, and touched him lightly on the arm as she said something in his ear. Edwyn wrenched himself away from her with unseemly violence. ‘‘No,’’ he said, too loudly. ‘‘I’m done with dancing for the nonce.’’ Dacey paled and turned away. Catelyn got slowly to her feet. What just happened there? Doubt gripped her heart, where an instant before had been only weariness. It is nothing, she tried to tell herself, you are seeing grumkins in the woodpile, you are become an old silly woman sick with grief and fear. But something must have shown on her face. Even Ser Wendel Manderly took note. ‘‘Is something amiss?’’ he asked, the leg of lamb in his hands.
She did not answer him. Instead she went after Edwyn Frey. The players in the gallery had finally gotten both king and queen down to their name-day suits. With scarcely a moment’s respite, they began to play a very different sort of song. No one sang the words, but Catelyn knew ‘‘The Rains of Castamere’’ when she heard it. Edwyn was hurrying toward a door. She hurried faster, driven by the music. Six quick strides and she caught him. And who are you, the proud lord said, that I must bow solow? She grabbed Edwyn by the arm to turn him and went cold all over when she felt the iron rings beneath his silken sleeve.
Catelyn slapped him so hard she broke his lip. Olyvar, she thought, and Perwyn, Alesander, all absent. And Roslin wept . . .
Edwyn Frey shoved her aside. The music drowned all other sound, echoing off the walls as if the stones themselves were playing. Robb gave Edwyn an angry look and moved to block his way… and staggered suddenly as a quarrel sprouted from his side, just beneath the shoulder. If he screamed then, the sound was swallowed by the pipes and horns and fiddles. Catelyn saw a second bolt pierce his leg, saw him fall. Up in the gallery, half the musicians had crossbows in their hands instead of drums or lutes. She ran toward her son, until something punched in the small of the back and the hard stone floor came up to slap her. ‘‘Robb!’’ she screamed. She saw Smalljon Umber wrestle a table off its trestles. Crossbow bolts thudded into the wood, one two three, as he flung it down on top of his king. Robin Flint was ringed by Freys, their daggers rising and falling. Ser Wendel Manderly rose ponderously to his feet, holding his leg of lamb. A quarrel went in his open mouth and came out the back of his neck. Ser Wendel crashed forward, knocking the table off its trestles and sending cups, flagons, trenchers, platters, turnips, beets, and wine bouncing, spilling, and sliding across the floor.
Catelyn’s back was on fire. I have to reach him. The Smalljon bludgeoned Ser Raymund Frey across the face with a leg of mutton. But when he reached for his sword belt a crossbow bolt drove him to his knees. In a coat of gold or a coat of red, a lion still has claws. She saw Lucas Blackwood cut down by Ser Hosteen Frey. One of the Vances was hamstrung by Black Walder as he was wrestling with Ser Harys Haigh. And mine are long and sharp, my lord, as long and sharp as yours. The crossbows took Donnel Locke, Owen Norrey, and half a dozen more. Young Ser Benfrey had seized Dacey Mormont by the arm, but Catelyn saw her grab up a flagon of wine with her other hand, smash it full in his face, and run for the door. It flew open before she reached it. Ser Ryman Frey pushed into the hall, clad in steel from helm to heel. A dozen Frey men-at-arms packed the door behind him. They were armed with heavy long axes.
‘‘Mercy!’’ Catelyn cried, but horns and drums and the clash of steel smothered her plea. Ser Ryman buried the head of his axe in Dacey’s stomach. By then men were pouring in the other doors as well, mailed men in shaggy fur cloaks with steel in their hands. Northmen! She took them for rescue for half a heartbeat, till one of them struck the Smalljon’s head off with two huge blows of his axe. Hope blew out like a candle in a storm.
In the midst of slaughter, the Lord of the Crossing sat on his carved oaken throne, watching greedily.
4. Claudio and Hero from Much Ado about Nothing by William Shakespeare
After an unsuccessful wedding that ends in heartbreak and betrayal, it is inevitable that the star-crossed lovers should reunite once more. And reunite, they shall! When a distraught Claudio is forced to marry a mysterious veiled woman, he is taken aback by the realisation that it is but his sweet Hero whom he had thought long dead. And unlike the Bard’s other works, this one doesn’t end in tragedy. Phew!
(to HERO) Give me your hand before this holy friar.
I am your husband, if you like of me.
(to HERO) Give me your hand. With the friar as my witness, I am your husband, if you want me.
And when I lived, I was your other wife,
And when you loved, you were my other husband.
And when I lived, I was your other wife. And when you loved me, you were my other husband.(she removes her mask)
It’s another Hero!
One Hero died defiled, but I do live,
And surely as I live, I am a maid.
Exactly right. One Hero died when she was slandered, but I am alive. And as surely as I am alive, I am a virgin.
The former Hero! Hero that is dead!
It’s the former Hero! The Hero that died!
She died, my lord, but whiles her slander lived.
She was only dead, my lord, as long as her slander lived.
All this amazement can I qualify
When after that the holy rites are ended
I’ll tell you largely of fair Hero’s death.
Meantime let wonder seem familiar,
And to the chapel let us presently.
I can confirm that all these shocking things are true. After the wedding ceremony, I’ll tell you all about beautiful Hero’s “death.” In the meantime, just accept all these wonderful things, and let’s head to the chapel.
5. Anne’s House of Dreams by LM Montgomery
Anne and Gilbert bury the hatchet to their love-hate relationship by walking down the aisle. Their wedding is literally a path strewn with roses with love’s sweet scent hanging in the air as they gaze into each other’s mesmerising eyes and promise to have and to hold.
Anne wakened on the morning of her wedding day to find the sunshine winking in at the window of the little porch gable and a September breeze frolicking with her curtains.
“I’m so glad the sun will shine on me,” she thought happily.
She recalled the first morning she had wakened in that little porch room, when the sunshine had crept in on her through the blossom- drift of the old Snow Queen. That had not been a happy wakening, for it brought with it the bitter disappointment of the preceding night. But since then the little room had been endeared and consecrated by years of happy childhood dreams and maiden visions. To it she had come back joyfully after all her absences; at its window she had knelt through that night of bitter agony when she believed Gilbert dying, and by it she had sat in speechless happiness the night of her betrothal. Many vigils of joy and some of sorrow had been kept there; and today she must leave it forever. Henceforth it would be hers no more; fifteen-year-old Dora was to inherit it when she had gone. Nor did Anne wish it otherwise; the little room was sacred to youth and girlhood–to the past that was to close today before the chapter of wifehood opened.
6. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
More of a silly and hilarious scene inserted for comic effect, this wedding has everything from a priest with a speech impediment to a forlorn princess awaiting the return of her beloved Prince to rescue her from the clutches of a lustful groom-to-be who doesn’t quite understand how consent works. This parody of the run of the mill fairytale makes mincemeat of the traditional mawage…ahem, marriage scene!
MAWAGE is wot bwings us togeder tooday.
MAWAGE, that bwessed awangment,
that dweam wifin a dweam…
And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva…
So tweasure your wuv
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