To my horror, I’ve seen in myself a decided resemblance to Mrs Bennet. This month I have a daughter getting married. My adored Elinor Elizabeth (named of course for two Jane Austen heroines) will be marrying her fabulous fiancé, Craig. And I seem to be growing more like Mrs Bennet by the day – “such flutterings all over me, such spasms, such beatings at heart…” etc.
With weddings very much on my mind, I’ve been reflecting on literary weddings. Most novels end with the hero and heroine about to go to the altar and remarkably few books actually describe weddings. Those which do feature scenes at the altar seem to focus on things going wrong, like the famous wedding in Jane Eyre when Mr Rochester is only just stopped from committing bigamy. Or Claudio and Hero’s wedding in Much Ado about Nothing or Sergeant Troy waiting for Fanny Robin at the altar in Far from the Madding Crowd. Or there’s the wedding in Mary Grant Bruce’s Billabong novels where Norah and Wally end up in the pond when they should be getting dressed in their finery. We don’t get Miss Havisham‘s aborted wedding described by Dickens, but there she still sits in her finery, cake being eaten away by mice in one of literature’s great portraits of a jilted bride. I just hope my daughter’s wedding resembles none of the above!
I’d like it to be like the moment in L.M. Montgomery’s Anne’s House of Dreams when Anne comes down the stairs to marry Gilbert in the Green Gables parlour: “it was a happy and beautiful bride who came down the old, homespun-carpeted stairs that September noon – the first bride of Green Gables, slender and shining-eyed, in the mist of her maiden veil, with her arms full of roses. Gilbert, waiting for her in the hall below, looked up at her with adoring eyes. She was his at last, this evasive, long-sought Anne, won after years of patient waiting … Was he worthy of her? Could he make her as happy as he hoped?… then, as she held out her hand, their eyes met and all doubt was swept away in a glad certainty.” See a beautiful photoshoot of how Anne’s wedding may have looked here.
Do you have a favourite literary wedding? Do send me suggestions of ones I’ve failed to remember or might not know. And think of me (and Mrs Bennet) on 17 December as I watch my wonderful daughter getting married. Tell me about it by leaving a comment.
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