Ten Movie Lessons For Will And Kate

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As you may have heard, there’s a slightly well known wedding coming up this week. Anyway, we thought we’d offer up some top tips to ensure the big day goes by without a hitch (except the expected one) by taking the example of ten cine-nuptials that didn't run quite as smoothly...

If the bride-to-be (or even the groom) wants a huge wedding with hundreds of guests and a lavish ceremony/reception, figuring out all those logistics can make it seem less like a blessed union and more like Operation Odyssey Dawn. So while some choose to go it alone or rope in a willing parent to help, the bigger wedding parties opt for a planner. Your best bet is someone like Franck Eggelhoffer (Martin Short) from Father Of The Bride (the 1991 Steve Martin-starring remake, at least). Sure, he may seem annoying with his OTT flamboyance and mad phrases, but he gets the job done eventually. Avoid people such as Jennifer Lopez’s Mary Fiore from The Wedding Planner (2001), though. She might be efficient and sexy, but she could also run off with the groom. Think of all the presents you’ll have to return! Also, the heartbreak.

This is something you want to think about ahead of time, long before you get as far as the church (unless you’re a Britney Spears type, who marries people within hours or even minutes of meeting them when drunk). But what if you fall head over heels for that perfect soulmate and yet their parents/family are a living nightmare? In the case of The Godfather, you might turn it to your advantage, especially if you have enemies you need sorting. It’s worse if, say, you’re Michael Vartan’s Kevin in love with the gorgeous Charlotte (Jennifer Lopez) but your mother (Jane Fonda) is the archetypal bad parent-in-law. In 2005’s Monster-in-Law, the solution is to talk it out and set boundaries. Good advice for any couple sporting familial baggage with a “caution” label.

Yes, cold feet, collywobbles and pre-nuptial nerves are a part of the package. But if you’ve got as far as dropping half a year’s salary on the various elements, do make sure that your intended isn’t having massive second thoughts about the whole wedded bliss idea. What did The Graduate teach us? It’s that the bit where anyone can pipe up with a reason why you shouldn’t get hitched is a minefield of disappointment. Perhaps you should find a location without a handy, dramatic viewing gallery. Oh, and if you’re the one having the second thoughts, like Hugh Grant’s Charles in Four Weddings And A Funeral (1994), you might want to skip out the back way – unless you want a fist in the eye from Duckface.

At the other end of the love spectrum we have the seemingly perfect partner who is so very much into marrying you. And though for some unions that would ideal, in movieland it's also a cause for alarm. And we mean an actual alarm: smoke, fire, carbon monoxide... And as soon as they invent one that warns you the person beside you in bed is hefting a knife above your neck, buy that too. Take the example of So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993). Not only does Charlie Mackenzie find a seemingly perfect bride in Nancy Travis’ Harriet, she also likes his crazy Scots family. But the commitment-phobic Charlie soon gets clues that she’s a classic Black Widow. And ladies, while the bad boys can seem like dream men at first, they’re not usually marriage material, as Enough (2002) proves. You might want to have people get you kickboxing lessons as your big present.

Sometimes you’re forced to go with unsavoury bezzie mates as your maids/groomsmen, so make sure you have some good, reliable backup. Four Weddings’ Charles is not a good example. He's often late, is sweary in church and prone to mislaying the wedding bands, leading to hilarious skull/gem encounters. True, your day will be memorable, but not for the right reasons. And if it’s a marriage between wealthy families who can afford to have you go bye-bye without too many questions, be even more careful who stands with you. Also take a lesson from King Arthur in First Knight (1995): try to find trusted aides who won’t sneak off behind your back to snog your new wife.

If all the other details are sorted out, the last thing you want is for it all to go tits up by picking the wrong minister/rabbi/guru to carry out the service. Do interview whoever you’re considering first – or you could end up with someone like Peter Cook’s slightly doddery, hilariously speech-impeded minister in 1986’s The Princess Bride. He’s listed in the credits as “Impressive Clergyman,” but chances are you’ll spend the ceremony listening to he crowd snigger as he keeps saying “Mawwiage.” And think of the DVD!

You know what it’s like – you’re having enough trouble keeping drunk uncle Geoff from leching at the waiting staff and the bridesmaids, but then your problems are doubled when some party-hungry idiots turn up and try to seduce anything with a pulse. Just witness Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers (2005). They’re usually as welcome as a dog fart in a locked car. Still, it could be worse. Your uninvited guests could have more than carousing on their mind, such as the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad in Kill Bill (2003) who chuck bullets around instead of rice. Word to the wise – if you have issues with exes, bodyguards are not just for the royal family.

Take Kim (Anne Hathaway) from Rachel Getting Married (2008). Though she’s the bride’s sister, it probably wasn’t a good idea to let her get the microphone, even if it is just the rehearsal dinner. “I’m Shiva the Destroyer and your harbinger of doom for this evening,” is not really the sentiment you want when you’re on the verge of a life commitment. Especially when she has drink and drug issues and a history of wild behaviour. Oh, and remember when we said be choosy with your best man? This is another reason to exercise caution. You might end up with Steve Buscemi’s Dave Veltri from The Wedding Singer (1998). Seething sibling rivalry plus a free bar do not a killer combo make. “Remember that time in Puerto Rico when we picked up those two... Well, I guess they were prostitutes, but I don’t remember paying...”

The wedding “breakfast” is a vitally important meal and a big part of the reception. And locking down the ideal company/person to cater it is key to keeping the guests and, more importantly, the couple, happy. You might want to avoid asking Louison (Dominique Pinon from Delicatessen) to do you a solid by cooking for you. Unless you do have problems with crashers and need to think of a way to get rid of them permanently.

It’s all very well if you’re loaded like Wills and have celebrity types falling over themselves to rewrite their hits for the happy couple, but what if your budget for entertainment is roughly the same as one of the ribbons on the princess-to-be’s dress? You’ll need to think creatively. You’d better hope you have a pal like George (Rupert Everett) in My Best Friend’s Wedding, who can get the whole wedding party singing gratis. All together now: “Say a little prayer for youuuu….” Maybe you could mix things up, as in 1989’s Licence To Kill, where Felix Leiter and best man Bond skydive in after snagging a drug kingpin. Either that, or find a rapping granny like Ellen Dow from The Wedding Singer.