This feature contains some spoilers for the featured shows (though none for Game of Thrones)
We’re fast approaching the height of wedding season, both in real life and on television, as Game of Thrones delivers rather memorable weddings two episodes in a row. So, to commemorate such significant events, let us all raise our glasses and toast ten especially funny, sweet, memorable or plain bloody weddings from the best of geek television.
Weddings are one of television’s more popular special episodes and there were a lot to choose from, so to cut it down a bit, any wedding that takes places in a dream, a vision or a future that may or may not come to pass has been excluded – so no Buffy and Angel, basically (flashbacks are fine).
10. King Arthur Pendragon and Guinevere, Merlin, The Sword in the Stone Part 2
Officiated by: We don’t actually see the wedding itself, just coronation part of the ceremony, but I like to think it was Gaius. Considering he takes on coronation duties, Arthur may have done it himself.
Big white dress? It’s purple and gold, but it’s much fancier than most of Gwen’s outfits to date, so it stands out.
Wedding vows: ‘By the sacred laws vested in me, I crown you…Guinevere…Queen of Camelot.’ We hope there were some actual wedding vows in there somewhere as well, even if we don’t get to see them.
Do They? Finally, They Do. Until death does them part? Until his death, yes.
RSVP because: After four seasons of class warfare, parental disapproval, old lovers, witches and their own stubborn personalities getting in their way, Arthur and Gwen finally tie the knot in one of fantasy television’s biggest foregone conclusions. After all that, it’s rather frustrating that we don’t get to see the wedding itself, and a bit odd that Arthur crowns his bride personally, but what the heck, we’re all just relieved it happened by this point.
9. Amy Pond and Rory Williams, Doctor Who, The Big Bang
Officiated by: An normal registered official or priest, presumably.
Big white dress? Yes, a rather nice one. It had to look like an absolutely traditional Western wedding dress so it could hang significantly on the back of Amy’s wardrobe all season.
Wedding vows: We don’t hear them, but it’s probably safe to assume something along the lines of ‘for better for worse, for richer for poorer, as human beings or plastic automatons…’
Do They? They Do. Until death does them part? Yep. Confirmed by gravestones and everything, as seen in The Angels Take Manhattan.
RSVP because: This episode, much like The Wedding of River Song, makes little sense (we realise we’re opening ourselves up to a barrage of comments explaining exactly how the universe can be remembered back into existence here but honestly, please don’t bother). The episode comes together nicely, though, because the emotional beats do work. Rory proves his love for Amy by guarding her for 2,000 years, Amy finally appreciates just how bad-ass her fiancé is, River… apparently doesn’t recognise her own father because I guess Alex Kingston hadn’t been told that bit yet. (Or because he was erased from history. It could go either way). It all leads up to a really lovely season ending, a genuinely happy occasion (it’s no wonder it turns up as Amy’s visualisation of ‘delight’ in the following season) complete with comedy dancing and giving us an exciting new vibe to the TARDIS for the following season, as the Doctor travels with a married couple for the first time. It’s also particularly appropriate for the first episode in which the Doctor and River interact more or less comfortably as a couple, even if, although she’s married to him, he’s not yet married to her… He even sort of proposes to her (accidentally) at the end.
8. Homer Simpson and Marjorie Bouvier, The Simpsons, I Married Marge
Officiated by: A casual, cynical registrar at Shotgun Pete’s Wedding Chapel, accompanied by a woman playing an electric keyboard and smoking a cigarette throughout the wedding.
Big white dress? Sort of. Since this episode was made way back in the day when you could almost believe Bart and Lisa Simpson were aging at a normal rate and had just been held back a couple of years, the wedding takes place in the early 1980s. (If the same episode were made now, Homer and Marge would be getting married in 2003 and 24-year-old Homer would be the same age as the original, 10-years-old-in-1989 Bart. Think about that next time you start to feel old). Between the period setting and the cheapness of the dress, Marge has to get married in a frilly, pink and white 1980s monstrosity. Still, at least she managed to find something to wear other than her infinite collection of identical green frocks.
Wedding vows: Do you, Marjorie Bouvier, take Homer J. Simpson to be your lawful wedded husband? (I do). Homer, same question, names reversed (I do).
Do They? They Do. Homer runs out on Marge several weeks after the wedding, but as always, he comes back again. Until death does them part? In their own special way, yes. They fight a lot and Homer gets kicked out several times. And they get divorced. And then they get married again. And then they find out that one wasn’t valid and get married again. But we think it’s safe to say they’ll be together, one way or another, until Homer’s death (he definitely has a much shorter life expectancy than Marge).
RSVP because: The Simpsons has featured many notable weddings over the years, from Selma’s marriage to Black Widower Sideshow Bob, to Mrs Bouvier and Grandpa’s The Graduate homage, to Homer and Ned’s drunken second weddings in Vegas, to Patty’s supposed-to-be-lesbian wedding. But Homer and Marge are the heart and soul of the show, and it’s their wedding that means the most. We’re also showing ourselves to be Simpsons snobs here in preferring their first, simplest wedding. The idea of Homer giving Marge the fancier wedding she’d dreamed of years later is very sweet, but sweetest of all is the cheap, smoke-filled chapel, with the bride heavily pregnant and an official who doesn’t even know the couple’s names – none of which matters because all that really matters is that they love each other and they want to be together. Soppy, but true.
7. Maryann the maenad and Dionysus (aka Bacchus, Eleutherios, Bromois, Dendrites, etc. etc. etc.), True Blood, Beyond Here Lies Nuthin’
Officiated by: Maryann herself with some help from possessed Eggs. Granted, it’s not really a wedding as such, but Maryann treats it as one and her conviction that she is finally being joined with her god is what allows Sam to kill her.
Big white dress? Yes – Maryann thoroughly ruins Sookie’s grandmother’s vintage dress.
Wedding vows: (in tone of horrified realisation) I am the one to be sacrificed. I am the vessel. I’m happy to die, I’m yours.
Do They? Dionysus is (unsurprisingly, though you never know on this show) not really there and Sam-pretending-to-be-Dionysus rips the bride’s heart out (not a metaphor) so, no. Until death does them part? Well, the whole business does end with the bride’s death…
RSVP because: We wouldn’t recommend actually attending this wedding, as there’s a high risk you’ll end up crucified and stabbed almost to death. But it’s a suitably overblown end to Maryann’s story arc, balancing out the cold, passionless marriage of Christian fundamentalists Steve and Sarah Newlin earlier in the season with Maryann’s passionate, bloody ceremony, and foreshadowing Bill’s proposal to Sookie at the end of the episode.
6. Lwaxana Troi and Third Minister Campio, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Cost of Living
Officiated by: Picard’s job is to give the bride away (though he doesn’t do much in that direction) so presumably the groom, a stickler for rules and propriety, has brought a registrar.
Big white dress? The dress designed for the wedding (by Lurch) is a rather nice silver-white shiny gown in a somewhat severe Victorian style, all high neckline and big bustle. The white wig that goes with it is an interesting choice. Ultimately, though, Lwaxana decides to stay true to her Betazoid heritage and turns up naked, prompting her horrified intended to call off the wedding.
Wedding vows: They don’t get that far.
Do They? No chance, and a lucky escape for both of them. Mrs Troi spends much of the episode playing with Worf’s son Alexander in one of Star Trek’s truly terrifying childrens’ holodeck programs (which are considerably more likely to give any children actually exposed to them nightmares than even the most terrifying episode of Doctor Who). This provides viewers with a neat summary of Lwaxana’s personality, which clashes horribly with that of her fiancée and not in a good, opposites-attract sort of way (this being 1992, and long before internet dating – or, indeed, the internet – became big business, the implication is that a computer-made match is unlikely to work). Until death does them part: No, obviously. But Majel Barret-Roddenberry as Lwaxana delivers a beautiful soliloquy earlier in the episode about why she wants to get married again even though he may not be the perfect man, about being older and alone. Given that this episode was been filmed very shortly after her real-life husband Gene Roddenberry’s death, it’s especially moving.
RSVP because: Through six television series and twelve films featuring a rich host of human characters of different backgrounds and alien characters with all manner of exotic wedding traditions, Star Trek has given us many memorable weddings over the years (hence the high proportion of Star Trek episodes on this list). The best of them marry an intriguing alien concept with some heartfelt character work, and this one does that brilliantly. The Betazoid tradition of getting married naked, introduced earlier in the series as something of a joke, is here used to show Lwaxana reclaiming herself and her heritage and demonstrating that she’d rather be alone than be with someone who won’t let her be her. Majel Barret-Roddenberry absolutely owns the scene, and it’s wonderful to see.
(Viewers of Star Trek: Nemesis would later be disappointed to discover that, although Riker was apparently much more accommodating of Betazoid marriage customs, we only get to the see the Earth half of his and Deanna Troi’s wedding in the film).
5. Lt. Angela Martine and Lt. Robert Tomlinson, Star Trek, Balance of Terror
Officiated by: Captain Kirk. He starts by giving a little speech about how ship captains have had the privilege of marrying crewmembers and passengers since ‘the days of wooden ships,’ which is apparently not true, but is a vast improvement on the current sitcom staple of having close friends ‘get ordained on the internet’ and perform marriages. Anyway, Kirk’s a starship captain, not an historian, and it’s not a stretch to assume Starfleet captains are, indeed, allowed to perform weddings.
Big white dress? No – not even a dress uniform. The bride just puts a white feathery thing in her hair. But then, this is what you have to do when you apparently decide to get married while on call, on active duty, in the middle of a potentially hostile situation near a politically unstable region of space.
Wedding vows: Unfortunately, they don’t get that far.
Do They? Despite a winning smile from the bride and a lot of determination, the groom is sadly irradiated before they’re able to make it official. Until death does them part? Yes, in a way, since it’s only his death that stops them actually getting married.
RSVP because: Balance of Terror is one of Star Trek’s very best episodes, pitting Kirk against a pre-Sarek Mark Lenard in a tense submarine-warfare-based stand-off. The doomed young couple are here to remind us of the human cost of even the most successful military engagement, as the unfortunate Tomlinson is the only casualty on the Starfleet side. War is hell, Star Trek reminds us. Martine, one of very few openly religious human characters in Star Trek (alien religions abound, but the non-denominational chapel seen here is a rare glimpse at human religion in the Star Trek universe), is very philosophical about it all, but the interrupted wedding makes this death mean that much more than the average redshirt-murdered-by-killer-flowers.
4. Dave Lister and Hackhackhack ach hachhachach, Red Dwarf, Polymorph II: Emohawk
Officiated by: The bride’s father, the chief of the Kinitawowi.
Big white dress? No, though the bride does wear a veil, and Lister even finds a pretty wreath to go with his usual dirty overalls. Actually, the bride might be wearing a white dress – it’s hard to tell.
Wedding vows: Ana dok kaz, ana dok wah, hea (I do).
Do They? They Do. Though Lister runs away before the marriage can be consummated. Until death does them part? The missus comes looking for Lister in season seven’s ‘Ouroboros,’ but he manages to get away again and pursues an alternate universe version of the rather more attractive Kristine Kochanski.
RSVP because: Red Dwarf in season six was firing on all cylinders but even so, trying to repeat the success of season three’s brilliant Polymorph was risky. Luckily, although Polymorph II: Emohawk doesn’t quite hit those same heights, the return of fan favourite characters Duane Dibley and Ace Rimmer is reasonably well handled and the wedding scene adds to a brilliantly funny half hour, epitomised by Lister’s excuse to his bride on their wedding night; ‘I’m gonna slip into something more comfortable – it’s called Starbug.’
3. Howard Wolowitz and Bernadette Rostenkowski, The Big Bang Theory, The Countdown Reflection
Officiated by: Raj, Leonard, Penny, Sheldon and Amy. We blame Friends for this ridiculous notion, pervading almost every sitcom these days, that you can (very quickly) get ordained on the internet and perform your friends’ wedding ceremonies. You can have two best men if you want, another Friends innovation (and we have been to real life weddings where that happened) but the law doesn’t work that way, kids. Not that quickly, anyhow. Still, it did give Bernadette the chance to yell ‘it’s adorable!’ angrily at Howard’s mother.
Big white dress? Yep – it has to be big, so it can be seen from space for the satellite-provided wedding photo.
Wedding vows: I love you with all my heart and soul and promise to be with you forever (Bernadette). Until I met you, I couldn’t imagine spending my life with just one person. And now I can’t imagine spending one day of it without you (Howard).
(Sadly, Sheldon’s offer to perform the ceremony in Klingon was rejected and his attempt to say a few words in Klingon is equally unpopular with the bride).
Do They? They Do. Until death does them part? It depends how long the show runs for and whether the writers start running out of ideas, but I think everyone knows Howard is a much more interesting character since he got together with Bernadette, so they’re probably safe.
RSVP because: Howard Wolowitz started out as the most annoying character on The Big Bang Theory, a sleazy, slimy predator (albeit not a very successful one). Ever since he met Bernadette, however, his character has become more and more likeable, and has matured into the most grounded character on the show – a position ironically cemented by having him flung into space in this episode. Howard’s exciting but somewhat dangerous achievement brings all his friends closer together; Bernadette taking Raj’s hand as they watch him go up is lovely, and Sheldon not only takes Amy’s, but actually says something sincere to Howard (not that Howard can hear him). This was the perfect way to approach Howard and Bernadette’s wedding, confirming that the character has really grown up and giving them a simple and sweet ceremony that even their friends’ bickering and self-obsession couldn’t spoil.
2. Aeryn Sun and John Crichton, Farscape, The Peacekeeper Wars Part 2
Officiated by: Stark, since poor Zhaan is long gone. In the middle of a siege. Bring Your Own Weapons.
Big white dress? Definitely not. Not only is Aeryn dressed in her usual black leather, half the bottom part has been cut off due to her being in labour throughout the ceremony.
Wedding vows: You two love each other? (Yes). Enough to be married forever? (Yes). Then you are. Congratulations.
Do They? They Do. Once they’ve got Stark to come up with some appropriate words for a wedding, and not a funeral rite or a puberty ritual. Until death does them part? Presumably. We don’t see these two breaking up any time soon.
RSVP because: Trust Crichton and Aeryn to get married sitting in a fountain, in the middle of a battle, while Aeryn gives birth to their son. It’s hard to say what’s more likely to disrupt the ceremony, the birth or their untimely deaths. But they make it work as only Crichton and Aeryn can, showing once again just how awesome they are. Only on Farscape…
1. Worf, son of Mogh, and Jadzia Dax, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, You Are Cordially Invited
Officiated by: Sirella of the House of Martok. We don’t see exactly how she was brought around to the idea of Worf marrying a non-Klingon, but presumably there was some grovelling involved on Jadzia’s part.
Big white dress? It’s not white, but Jadzia’s Klingon-style wedding dress – blood-red with some spectacular cleavage – is quite something.
Wedding vows: Does your heart beat only for this man/woman? (Yes). And will you swear to join with him/her and stand with him/her against all who oppose you? (Yes).
Do They? They both have a bit of a wobble, with first Worf calling off the wedding and then Jadzia refusing to call it back on again, but eventually They Do. Until death does them part? Until Jadzia’s untimely death only a few months later, yes. Dax moves on, but in a new host.
RSVP because: Worf and Jadzia’s is a wartime wedding, with some lovely truthful and bittersweet touches (they get married sooner than they’d planned because of the war and, it’s implied, because Jadzia is worried that Worf’s son Alexander will be killed first if they wait. As it turns out, Jadzia herself doesn’t make it to the end of the war). Klingon rituals in general can be rather boring, but Klingon mating rituals are never dull and their wedding traditions do not disappoint, with Bashir, O’Brien and Sisko forced to endure the worst stag weekend in human history while Jadzia has to undergo a series of physical challenges just to get the official to do her job. Ultimately, though, this episode is about two beloved characters coming together and it ends on a note of love (and, this being a Klingon wedding, some violence from the groomsmen). The most satisfying TV weddings are those that join two regular characters who make each other stronger together than apart, and like Howard and Bernadette, Worf and Jadzia fit those criteria rather well.
Honourable mention: We had hoped to include a non-heterosexual wedding in this list, but struggled to come up with very many. A big shout-out, then, to non-geeky but beloved sitcom Friends, which did a very nice lesbian wedding for important recurring characters Carol Willick and Susan Bunch way back in 1996, in the appropriately titled The One With the Lesbian Wedding.
Dishonourable mention for worst geek TV wedding: Alexander Harris and Anya Jenkins, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hell’s Bells. After a beautiful proposal at the end of season five, the general misery everyone went through in season six was compounded when Xander, thanks partly to an interfering demon, changed his mind on the day and left Anya at the altar, prompting her to return to being a vengeance demon. The whole plot does a great disservice to both characters, all Xander’s established maturity stripped away as he panics in the face of commitment, while Anya literally reverts back to her former state when a man does her wrong. Plus it’s just depressing.
Juliette is a part-time lecturer and full-time Trekkie. Her thoughts on what the Greeks and Romans have done for us can be found here.