Love and Marriage…Or At Least, Weddings

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We’re well into wedding season, and it’s come to my attention that there are a lot of romance novels in which there’s a wedding. And I don’t mean just couple falls in love, there’s a wedding, they finally get to have sex. That’s so 1994. Sure, some of the important weddings in romance novels are the ones that require the presence of our protagonists, but sometimes, they take a different role in the way the story plays out.

Weddings are a fun feature in romance novels, because they can offer up so many different situations to throw romance protagonists into. My cousin is having a wedding? I need a date. My cousin is having a wedding? I need a fake date. My cousin is getting married to the man I’ve loved for years? I need to go on an epic road trip with the person I hate the most to break them up. My expected future spouse dumped me at the altar? Guess I’ll just go on my honeymoon alone, then.

And so on, and so forth.

A wedding can be a catalyst, a featured centerpiece, or a conclusion for a romance novel. But no matter what, they can certainly make things interesting! Let’s talk about the ways weddings make an appearance.

Wedding As Place

Sometimes a wedding can act as a setting and can be the complete background for a relationship to develop, a place for it to start, or a place to bring people back together.

new cover of American Sweethearts by Adriana Herrera

American Sweethearts by Adriana Herrera

Juan Pablo and Priscilla are childhood friends who have been known to bang. And maybe date? Really, they’ve loved each other for as long as they can remember, but love isn’t all that you need in a relationship, and the times they’ve tried in the past haven’t been successful. When they’re stuck together for a lengthy destination wedding celebration on the Dominican Republic, though, maybe the pair can see what growth has done in both of their favors.

cover of the wedding date disaster

The Wedding Date Disaster by Avery Flynn

When Hadley has to go back to her midwestern family ranch for her sister’s wedding, she invites the only man she trusts, her best friend. But instead, he claims illness and sends his twin brother in his place — the twin brother that she really can’t stand. The pair have chemistry, there’s no seeing through that. But what they also have is a long-standing hatred for each other that could burn the ranch down. And now, they’re stuck together.

cover of The Bollywood Bride

The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev

When Bollywood princess Ria has a bit of a meltdown, going back to Chicago for a family wedding might help cool off her image and the press’s interest in it. But going to Chicago brings back other issues — mainly, her childhood love, Vikram. The thing that tore them apart might not be an issue anymore, but they’ve still got lots of stuff to work through for each of their own personal reasons if they’ve got any chance of building love again.

cover of The Wedding Bait

The Wedding Bait by Adele Buck

In a spin on a familiar story, Tove needs a date to her daughter’s wedding. It’s last minute, because she’s only bringing someone as a buffer from her ex, who she hadn’t intended to see there. Enter Patrick, a retired escort who dusts off his dancing shoes to play as a date to the gorgeous, statuesque blonde whose model mother he admired when he was younger. He’s the smiling Ted Lasso to her Rebecca, and nobody can tell me any different.

cover of The Five Day Reunion

The Five-Day Reunion by Mona Shroff

While a couple of Mona Shroff’s books include weddings, this one is very much set at one! Anita and Nikhil are very much divorced…but his extended family doesn’t know that. When he asks her to pretend to still be married just to get through his sister’s wedding celebration, she reluctantly agrees. Now the pair, thrown together for an extended amount of time, might be able to figure out what went wrong and maybe how to make things right between them.

cover of Not another Family Wedding by Jackie Lau

Not Another Family Wedding by Jackie Lau

Natalie is not looking forward to her sister’s wedding. She knows, as an older woman with only career goals in mind, that her family will accost her about her single, childless status. Needing a friendly face in her corner, she invites her friend Connor, who unbeknownst to her carries a bit of a torch. More than the bouquet is going to be flung at this wedding.

The Singles Table by Sara Desai book cover

The Singles Table by Sara Desai

Zara and Jay are seated together at the singles’ table at a friend’s wedding. They’re the ultimate opposites, but get to know each other as the wedding season continues. In addition to being a professional lawyer, she’s also a busybody matchmaker, and she decides she’s going to help Jay find the love of his life…if he puts her in the way of some of his celebrity clients.

Wedding As Plan

Okay so that context doesn’t really work but sometimes a story is all about people planning a wedding; they’re either the couple intending to get married or their close friends (or even — gasp — a wedding planner). They are around each other a lot, and have to deal with a lot of clashing attitudes, desires, and stories.

D'Vaughn & Kris Plan a Wedding Cover

D’vaughn and Kris Plan A Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins

Instant I Do is a reality show that offers a prize to the (fake) couple who can most successfully fool their friends and family into believing that they’re a real, engaged couple who intend to get married. When D’Vaughn and Kris are placed together for the show, it’s almost too easy to fall into the role.

Delilah Green Doesn't Care Book Cover

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake

No, really. Delilah Green really doesn’t care. She doesn’t even really care about her estranged stepsister, who invites her to photograph her wedding, paid, of course. She takes advantage of a return to her hated hometown to maybe mess around with Claire, a sort of childhood nemesis. They definitely don’t start off on a good foot, but maybe the time they end up spending together will bring something new to their relationship.

cover of The Wedding Party by jasmine Guillory

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

As best friends of the bride, Maddie and Theo have a lot of duties before Alexa’s wedding. They have a significant amount of contentious history, including a kiss they both regret. But all that time together might reveal something between them.

Wedding as Scene

Sometimes a wedding — while still a place — is more of a thing that catalyzes the story. It’s where one or both of the characters go to start the story…and often includes at least one person crashing or running off.

the cover of Running Away with the Bride

Running Away With The Bride by Sophia Singh Sasson

When a billionaire crashes a wedding expecting to stop his ex from getting married, he finds himself at the wrong wedding with the wrong bride. But Divya isn’t particularly interested in being married and pretends that she is the woman Ethan has come to stop. What follows is a trek from one side of the country to the other and back again as both people figure out what they want from their lives and how best to get it.

Book cover of The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa

The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa

When Solange is corralled into helping out her wedding planner cousin, the last thing she expects to do is crash the wedding. But the couple doesn’t belong together, and she has to do something about it. When the groom needs her to pretend to be his significant other, though, Solange can’t do anything else but play along.

Cover of Stolen in her Wedding Gown

Stolen In Her Wedding Gown by Amanda Cinelli

Priya is about to get married. It’s not like she loves her fiance, but they’ve got a business deal. So when Eros arrives and reveals a secret about the man she’s about to marry, she runs off with him instead. Eros has to stay married for a year to inherit his father’s business, and who better to marry than the woman his brother intended?

cover of Island Fling With The Tycoon

Island Fling with the Tycoon by Therese Beharrie

Piper and Caleb meet on the way to a wedding and sparks fly. But everything changes when the wedding turns into a disaster, and Piper and Caleb set out on a journey to find the groom, Piper’s brother. The bond they form is like nothing either has ever experienced, but all the drama of the wedding is definitely bound to get in the way.

Wedding As Plot

And then, of course, there are the times we’re reading a book and — surprise! — the characters are getting married. Doesn’t matter if it’s a fake wedding or something makes it impossible to move forward without getting married. These are weddings that don’t begin the story, but definitely push it forward.

I feel like telling you about those would be spoilers, though. So just… think about it when it happens, and consider why there is a wedding right there. And enjoy it! With the historicals, in particular, that means the couple is more likely to figure out their hangups with physical intimacy and use it to further the emotional kind.

This is the tip of the iceberg as far as weddings are concerned, especially if you look at how weddings work in historical romance. Old school romances, for instance, often showed characters having to get married before they can have sex. I’m sure there are other ways weddings make themselves known in romance, whether they’re on the side, in the background, or front and center to the story.