Planning your wedding is going to be stressful. We wish we could sugarcoat it a little, but there’s no escaping the fact that trying to balance a very real budget with the big day you’ve been dreaming of for decades causes some tension, some pressure, and can sometimes seem a little overwhelming. However, it is also a time for great love – not just on the wedding day, but during the organization too. This is a chance to spend some one-on-one time with your Maid of Honor, your bridesmaids, and even your fiancé at the end of the day. And what better way to take a much-needed time out from planning than to grab some popcorn, candy and a glass of wine (or bottle, we’re not judging!) and watch a good film…
There are a million movies out there about weddings and romance, so we’ve gotten our heads together and narrowed it down to the essential 16 that should be on your wedding watchlist. Not only will these films give you even more inspiration for your big day, but will also make you laugh, cry, and jump for joy! So take a few hours out from planning, and get one of these flicks on the TV – we promise you’ll appreciate the time off!
Mamma Mia! (2008)
“I’ve done a great job raising Soph all by myself and I will not be muscled out by an… an ejaculation!”
Not just the best wedding film of all time, but perhaps the best film *period*, Mamma Mia! is absolutely unmissable. The entire Dancing Queen scene will have you leaping around the living room singing into the remote, you’ll sob through Slipping Through My Fingers, and you won’t be able to stop laughing as Julie Walters serenades the rest of the cast with Take A Chance On Me. An entire two hours of just feel-good movie – with a stellar cast – all set on a gorgeous Greek island, and lots of reflections on what real love is, Mamma Mia! has to be first on your list.
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Sex and the City (2008)
“After 10 years of what he already put me through, he couldn’t make the effort and get out of the car. I made the effort. I put a bird on my head.”
So perhaps the chaos of Carrie and Big’s first attempt at marriage in Sex and the City isn’t what you want to be watching whilst planning a wedding, but this tale of empowered women striding around New York will make you feel on top of the world. From the independent and fighting-heartbreak Miranda to sex-positive salacious Samantha, you’re sure to empathise with at least one of these women, and watching them all absolutely own their situations makes for a fun – and really quite profound – few hours. Plus, the scene where Carrie models that season’s bridalwear is fabulous!
Muriel’s Wedding (1994)
“When I lived in Porpoise Spit, I used to sit in my room for hours and listen to ABBA songs. But since I’ve met you and moved to Sydney, I haven’t listened to one ABBA song. That’s because my life is as good as an Abba song. It’s as good as Dancing Queen.”
Another ABBA-infused movie (can you sense a theme here?), Muriel’s Wedding was an Australian sleeper-hit that became a global classic way back in the nineties. Despite the sometimes convoluted plot, and how much we all hated Muriel’s domineering dad Bill, this is a brilliant movie for your girls’ night in. Foregoing the more romantic plot elements in exchange for exploring the value of female friendship, Muriel’s Wedding is a fun – though often deeply moving – addition to your binge-watch list.
Runaway Bride (1999)
“I love Eggs Benedict, I hate every other kind. I hate big weddings with everybody staring. I’d like to get married on a weekday while everybody’s at work. And when I ride off into the sunset, I want my own horse.”
Almost a decade after they rocked the cinematic world with Pretty Woman, the dynamic duo Julia Roberts and Richard Gere returned to the silver screen to do it again with Runaway Bride. The tale of a serial bride who can’t quite make it up the aisle on 4 separate occasions will provoke real sympathy pangs amongst jittery brides out there, but the positive ending – where Roberts’ character finally gets the lowkey wedding she wanted all along – will calm your nerves entirely. Plus, the infamous banter between this pair is always worth a re-watch!
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
“I want to marry Rockefeller.”
“I don’t care.”
Amongst the oldest movies included in our top 16, How to Marry a Millionaire isn’t just fabulous for its hilarious plot (3 women conning a whole host of men until they each – accidentally and inextricably – end up with millionaires), but for the strength of its main cast. Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, and Betty Grable absolutely wow, over 60 years since the film was made – and though some of the tropes might be a little outdated, modern women will still it plenty relevant! Witty, warm and still very romantic, this is the perfect movie to enjoy with a flute of champagne.
“I’m telling you, hitting bottom is a good thing. Because there’s nowhere to go but up.”
Have any of us ever felt second-hand embarrassment as strongly as we do when Kristen Wig and Rose Byrne’s characters have a best-friend-speech face-off at Maya Rudolph’s engagement party? And the cringey happenings only seemed to begin there, with scenes including the destruction of a giant cookie and the aftermath of a dodgy South American restaurant etched into our brains permanently. But for all the mortifying moments, the message of Bridesmaids is important: love is more important than material things. If your wedding planning is stressing you out, then this is the one to watch!
The Graduate (1967)
“Oh no Mrs. Robinson, I find you very desirable. I think you are the most desirable of all my parents’ friends.”
We’ve all been there. Recently graduated. Not quite sure where to go with the rest of our lives. Having a short affair with a married woman. You know how it goes. In all seriousness, The Graduate is one of the best movies ever made, and although Dustin Hoffman was probably at his best in Kramer vs Kramer, he delights us here as the naive Benjamin Braddock who simply doesn’t understand women at all. Though the film ends with Hoffman crashing a wedding, it’s still a total classic for your bridal preparations!
“Why are you staring at me?”
“I don’t know. It’s just that… it’s like you escaped from a Hallmark card or something.”
A Disney cartoon that transformed into a real-life movie, Enchanted is one of the greatest princess musicals of all time. Not only brilliantly funny – the scene where Patrick Dempsey cluelessly questions how everyone knows the lyrics to the musical number in the park – but also very touching, the love between hardened Dempsey and the charming but totally oblivious Amy Adams is captivating to watch. A classic tale of two opposites falling for one another, Enchanted has all of the fun of a Disney romp, but also bits for the adults too. Get that popcorn in the microwave now!
The Wedding Planner (2001)
“I’m a magnet for unavailable men, and I’m sick of it.”
What kind of list would this be without the namesake The Wedding Planner, which saw J-Lo’s debut as an actress. The acting might be a little off-piste, and we’re definitely sure that it ripped off My Best Friend’s Wedding (another great one!), but The Wedding Planner is simply fun – and will also give you a lot of advice about the professional side of organizing your big day. A realistic look at how planners work (though you might be tempted to hire a man after watching it!), this film is a great one to watch with girlfriends before the big day.
“Blue flower, red thorns. Blue flower, red thorns. Blue flower, red thorns. Man, this would be so much easier if I wasn’t color-blind!”
None of us were expecting an important moral message from Shrek, and yet we got it: appearance means practically nothing compared to personality. It’s a simplistic theme, but one that still bears repeating – especially in a movie that is as entertaining as this one. Drawing inspiration from the old-fashioned fairytales and infusing them with irony, pop-culture references and dirty humour, this tale of two unlikely people falling deeply in love makes for a light-hearted evening to enjoy with family and friends.
Love, Actually (2003)
“When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”
Perfect for your upcoming Christmas wedding, the British anthology film Love, Actually might not be a fantastic source of inspiration for your wedding day (aside from that opening scene in Grosvenor’s Chapel), but it’s full of lessons about love that every one of us should know before marriage. It explores every aspect of a romantic relationship – from requited, but unfulfilled, desire, to heartbreak, to the very magic of finding that one person you truly love. It might not always be positive, but it’s always steeped in reality, and it always tugs at the heartstrings. For tears and laughter in equal measure, Love, Actually is the flick for you.
27 Dresses (2008)
“Love is patient, love is kind, love means slowly losing your mind.”
Of all the clichés and the tropes in rom-coms, the one we have to admit loving the most is the “sceptic turns believer” theme, which makes up the basis of 27 Dresses. Left feeling uninspired, disillusioned and thoroughly single after acting as a bridesmaid too many times, Katherine Heigel’s character finds a love-hate relationship with a savvy reporter who then goes behind her back and humiliates her. The true love we’ve always dreamed of! With some heart-wrenching moments, but with some fantastic comedic timing too, 27 Dresses is a fab chick flick for a night in.
Bride Wars (2009)
“A wedding marks the first day of the rest of your life. You have been dead until now. Were you aware of that? You’re dead right now.”
Another cringe-fest on a par with Bridesmaids, Bride Wars saw Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson do battle after they both try and reserve the same venue for the same date – and of course, neither want to compromise (after all – we know the importance of selecting the perfect venue!). Friends turned enemies turned absolute bridezillas, this movie taught all of us that friendship matters more than anything else – even, sometimes, a man. Full of savage one-liners and bad fake tans, Bride Wars makes this list first for its title, and then for its plot.
Swing Time (1936)
“Lucky, please don’t feel bad. You still got me. Course I ain’t a young and pretty girl. I ain’t even a girl, but I’ll stick. I’ll never leave you.”
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were perhaps the best cinematic duo of all time, starring in an unbelievable 10 movies together, and launching the Hollywood that we know today. And the best of these 10 is, without doubt, Swing Time – a dance classic that saw the engaged Astaire travel to New York to make honest money to convince his fianceé’s father to allow their marriage, but ultimately fall in love with Roger’s dancing instructor instead. With beautiful costumes, a stunning soundtrack, and a romance that will move you to tears, Swing Time is a must!
The King and I (1956)
“You are very difficult woman!”
“Perhaps so, Your Majesty.”
You probably remember the cartoon version, but the original King and I from 1956 was a feat that forever changed the movie industry – and also emboldened many of the women who saw it! Constantly standing her ground against the selfish and arrogant King of Siam, Deborah Kerr is an inspiration to women across the centuries – giving attitude, refusing to bend, and falling in love without sacrificing her sense of self and her values. Plus the set design, luxurious costumes and enchanting music will make you feel like you have been transported to Siam (now Thailand) out of your living room!
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
“Toula, on my wedding night, my mother, she said to me, ‘Greek women, we may be lambs in the kitchen, but we are tigers in the bedroom.'”
“Eww. Please let that be the end of your speech.”
And to top off our list with one of the best movies of all time, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is brilliant for its discussion of family, tradition and the generational divide. Whilst our parents might not be roasting a hog on the front lawn of their Greek-temple style home, we have all experienced overbearing relatives and the embarrassment of trying to introduce “outsiders” into our crazy families. However, this film still remains a celebration of familial relationships, and how they are equally important to our romantic ties. Hilarious and full of character, this film is a must – though maybe avoid drawing decorative inspiration from it! That dress!
We hope you can find the time to host a movie night with your gals or with your other half before the big day – and that we’ve inspired you with our selection of favorites! Get the junk food in (it’s allowed at least once!), get the wine flowing, and enjoy!