I’m getting married in less than a month, which has got me thinking about my favourite weddings in literature. It turns out that authors don’t usually write about perfect weddings and marriages. After all, that would just be boring! So this post won’t be brimming with romance. Also, please read with caution, as there will be spoilers…
*** Spoilers Alert ***
Miss Havisham – Great Expectations
Let’s start with my all time favourite fictional bride. Dickens is famous for his bizarre characters but Miss Havisham is on another level. When Pip meets her, years after she was left at the alter, she is still wearing her wedding dress – has never taken it off, in fact – and her rotting wedding cake is still in the dining room, infested with bugs. *Shudder*
The Lammles – Our Mutual Friend
Another Dickens’, and another unhappy bride, but this time the groom is disappointed too. Meeting through mutual friends and each mistakenly thinking they are marrying into money, the Lammles are horrified to discover that they have hardly a penny between them! But don’t feel sorry for them, they are both schemers and fully deserve each other.
The Red Wedding – A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire Series)
A union between the Freys and the Tullys? What could possibly go wrong? I don’t think there’s ever been a more disagreeable wedding in literature. I mean you can’t really get much worse than half your guests lying on the floor in pools of their own blood.
Newlyweds Florence and Edward – On Chesil Beach
Ian McEwan’s excellent novella may be slim, but it really packs a punch. Centred around the doomed wedding night of two newlyweds in the early sixties, this tale is both deeply sad and excruciatingly awkward. Naïve Florence is not ready for the sexual intimacy that Edward so desperately wants and it turns out that young love is not enough to pull them through.
Mr. Darcy’s Proposal – Pride and Prejudice
Mr. Darcy’s first proposal to Lizzie is brilliant on so many levels. At first it appears to be romantic, until your realise that he’s actually insulting her whole family! And Lizzie’s response is priceless – it always makes me think ‘you go, girl!’ when reading or watching the scene.
Levin and Kitty – Anna Karenina
These two are my new favourite couple. And what I love most is the honesty in which Tolstoy tells their story. Levin’s intense joy before their wedding is so adorable, but he sets up an impossibly perfect image of marriage. In the end he learns to appreciate his new complicated life. It’s this fictional relationship, more any other in literature, that gives me hope for my own married future.