Released on May 20, 2022, A New Era and its lavish Downton Abbey-style wedding was just in time to spark ideas for June weddings. With Nia Vardalos’ My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 in theaters on September 8 and the bachelorette party adventure, Book Club: The Next Chapter, in theaters and on demand now, we’re celebrating wedding season by showcasing four opulent, cinematic ceremonies.
Downton Abbey: A New Era
Downton Abbey: A New Era begins with the manor and village coming out to celebrate the marriage of Tom Branson (Allen Leech) and Lucy Smith (Tuppence Middleton). Branson entered Downton Abbey as a chauffeur who ruffled a few aristocratic feathers by marrying Sybil Crawley. After his wife died unexpectedly, Tom continued as a single father for years until he met Smith in the Downton Abbey film. For Vogue, “Downton Abbey: A New Era is a joyous family affair, and the jewel in the Crawleys’ tiara is the society wedding that takes place in the film.” In a series with a tradition of palatial weddings, the celebration in A New Era marked both a return to the past and a nod to the future. In creating Lucy’s gown, costume designer Anna Robbins said in W Magazine, “She's still one foot in one world and one foot in the other. I wanted it to hit so many notes and it needed to do so much as one costume, which makes it challenging.”
Book Club: The Next Chapter
In Bill Holderman and Erin Simms' Book Club: The Next Chapter, the four ladies from the original hit film—Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen—fly off to Italy for a hysterical, wine-fueled bachelorette party for Vivian (Fonda). During a surprise visit to a wedding boutique, the ladies sip prosecco as they help the bride-to-be find her dream gown. "That whole set was beautiful," Steenburgen says of the scene in The Knot. "There were all these beautiful clippings of fabric and paper dresses, and the ancient building had such high ceilings.” For Fonda, getting hitched in the film was a special treat. “I'm 85," Fonda told The Knot. "The idea of stepping into the bride role at this age seemed cool to me.”
Autumn de Wilde’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s masterpiece, EMMA., begins and ends with a wedding. After her companion, Miss Taylor (Gemma Whelan), gets married, Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) compensates for her friend’s absence by taking up matchmaking. Much to her surprise, Emma is the one who falls in love with Mr. Knightley (Johnny Flynn). Their scrumptious wedding at the film’s end is the icing on what IndieWire calls “a delicious wedding cake of a romantic comedy.” Even costume designer Alexandra Byrne, who was nominated for an Academy Award® for her work, saved the best for last. “The wedding is the summation of her story…and the bonnet is like the halo…it was so translucent,” Byrne told Indiewire. Yet the wedding frocks and fanfare are only part of the story. “Marriage, in Austen’s work, has always been a weighty matter underneath the talk of love and character, as much an economic proposition as an emotional one,” writes Vulture.
In Nida Manzoor’s Polite Society, the best ending to a comedy is not marriage, but the utter annihilation of a wedding. When Lena Khan (Ritu Arya) is swept off her feet by the suave Salim (Akshay Khanna), Lena’s sister, Ria (Priya Kansara), marshals her school friends and knowledge of martial arts to hijack the wedding and save her sister from certain unhappiness. Part of the fun of Polite Society is the sheer fantasy of Manzoor’s high-octane screenplay. “Like, who doesn’t want to fight somebody at a Desi wedding? Haven’t we all wanted to kick an aunty in the face at one point?” Kansara told The Guardian.