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Altar the Speed
Image from Ultimahora.

The act of moving up a wedding date due to extenuating circumstances. This is not unheard of in Real Life.

For some reason the wedding needs to occur sooner rather than later. Common versions include Elopement, when the parents oppose the marriage, and the Star-Crossed Lovers need to make it official before the parents stop them. The exact opposite justification is the Shotgun Wedding, when the parents insist on the lovers marrying, usually because "My daughter is not a slut" or even more serious, a baby is on the way. Might be considered a Dead Horse Trope in these versions nowadays.

It can also be a very moving and realistic event; either in a war movie (still a Truth in Television trope, but due to Values Dissonance between Hollywood and the Heartland, it isn't seen much anymore), or in some cases someone very close to the bride and/or groom is dying, and everyone agrees to move up the wedding so they can live to see the couple get married.

For some cases where a wedding was rushed because the couple wanted to, see My Own Private "I Do". Can lead to a Wartime Wedding.

If the actual ceremony is sped up see Skip to the End.

Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In The Secret Agreement, Kyuusai sees Iori leaving a famous tearoom with his family and fiancee and tells Yuuichi about it. When Iori turns up later the same night, he confirms it was an omiainote  and casually mentions that the wedding is the next day, and if it weren't for keeping up appearances they probably wouldn't have bothered with the omiai at all.

    Film 
  • In Dark Victory, Bette Davis, who is terminally ill with brain cancer and has less than a year to live, asks her boyfriend to marry her so she can have a wedding and some happiness before she croaks.
  • In Independence Day, Captain Hiller and his fiancee have a ceremony that takes all of about five minutes. There's a battle that could save the human race the next day.
  • The end to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers features a sextuple shotgun wedding which the brides trick the townspeople into agreeing to because both they and the brothers want to marry, but the townspeople are against it. Also applies to the stage musical adapted from it.
  • Lampshaded and averted (sadly) in Since You Went Away.
  • In A Walk to Remember, the young couple gets married after an extremely short courtship. Because he knows she's dying, and "getting married at the same church her mom did" was one of the things she wanted to do before she died. Sweet or saccharine? You decide.
  • Controversially used in one version The Count of Monte Cristo when Mercedes explains to Mondego that she only married him because she was pregnant with Dante's child.
    Mercedes: He is not your son. Why do you think I wanted to marry you so quickly?
  • This is the main plot driver of The Proposal.
  • Deep Impact, where Leo Biederman marries his girlfriend in order to get her and her family into the giant fallout shelter before the comet hits Earth.
  • In Spaceballs, Altar the Speed meets Skip to the End. The wedding ceremony has already been interrupted a couple times, and then Lone Starr shows up and reveals he's a prince to Princess Vespa before proposing to her. The priest, who's incredibly fed up by all the interruptions, proceeds thusly-
    Priest: Okay, I've had it. We're gonna do the short, short version! (to Vespa) Do you?
    Vespa: Yes.
    Priest: (to Lone Starr) Do you?
    Lone Starr: I do.
    Priest: Good! You're married! Kiss her!
  • Repeated almost verbatim in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, although it's the engaged's request to be married quickly so that they could finally get down with the consummation part.
  • In the finale of Lethal Weapon 4 Riggs and Lorna finally agree to marry when Lorna is giving birth. Lorna however insists on getting married before she gives birth, despite being in the middle of contractions. They end up bringing in a rabbi who uses a butchered and heavily abbreviated set of the vows.
  • Bend It Like Beckham: When the Beta Couple of Pinky and Teetu manage to browbeat their parents into letting them restart their marriage preparations, the wedding ends up being a lot sooner than anyone would like because the temple didn't have another opening for six months. Unfortunately, the opening they got was the same day as Jess's championship game.

    Literature 
  • In the Little House on the Prairie series, Laura and Almanzo have to get married quickly because his sister wants to come out and help plan a big wedding neither of them can afford. (Counts as a Real Life example too.)
  • Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens features the somber and rushed marriage of Eugene and Lizzie. The ceremony takes place sooner rather than later because the groom is believed to be dying from injuries inflicted by the bride's Stalker with a Crush.
  • Teresa Edgerton's second Celydonn series features this.
    • The Castle of the Silver Wheel: Tryffin hadn't planned on courting, let alone marrying, his cousin Gwenlliant for years, since she was only twelve years old. When her father planned an Arranged Marriage for her with a man known to have killed three wives and several mistresses with bad treatment, however, Tryffin stepped in at the last minute, claiming a Childhood Marriage Promise with Gwenlliant's help.
    • The Moon and the Thorn: Mahaffy's Arranged Marriage was moved up due to war - in case Mahaffy died in battle, the girl's father, Lord Macsen, wanted to ensure that his daughter would have the legal rights of a widow. Since Lord Macsen's troops were vital, Mahaffy had no choice but to agree.
  • George MacDonald Fraser's first Flashman book - Flashman seduces the daughter of his Scottish host, who finds out and insists they get married. When Flashman initially refuses, the host's son threatens to duel him; Flashman and Elspeth are duly wed. It is a surprisingly successful marriage - those two deserve each other.
  • In the first book of Robin Hobb's The Soldier Son trilogy, Gord and his betrothed do this in face of the encroaching plague, as well as Epiny and Spink, after she ran away from home and spend the night with him, ruining her reputation.
  • Used in the Inheritance Cycle before Roran went off to battle, and because Katrina was pregnant.
  • From: the Deryni works by Katherine Kurtz: Duncan McLain and Maryse MacArdry fell in love in April 1107 and planned to ask their parents' permission to marry at the end of the summer. A McLain man killed Maryse's eldest berother, and the clan chiefs decided to separate their clans to avoid a full-on blood feud. The night before Caulay MacArdry was to leave Culdi, Duncan and Maryse secretly wed in the castle's chapel, then consummated their union in the stable loft.
  • Used rather tragically in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Charlotte Lucas marries Mr. Collins shortly after meeting him because she knows she is infected with the zombie plague and wants her last months of actual life to be happy.
  • Bella and Edward have a very quick wedding in Breaking Dawn so that Bella can be turned into a vampire before she is too much older than Edward is.
    • In case you wonder why they have to be married to turn her into vampire: Bella wants to have sex with Edward as an human once before doing it as vampire. And Edward is against sex before marriage.
  • In the second Codex Alera book Academs Fury, Bernard and Amara are trapped in a cave the Zer...er, the Vord, and don't expect to survive battle the next day, so they have a quiet conversation about Bernard's earlier offer of marriage.
    Bernard: But if this is to be my last night as a man, I would have it be as your man.
    Amara: I never thought anyone would want me, Bernard. Much less someone like you. I would be proud to be your wife.
    Doroga (Having been standing there unnoticed): Well, good enough for me. I now pronounce you man and wife.
    Amara: What?
  • In Orson Scott Card's Harmony books, the main character and his three brothers get quickie weddings with women they barely know so that they'll have someone to repopulate the Earth with. Somewhat justified in that, in their culture, marriages usually last for one year with the option to renew, meaning that most of the parties involved are accustomed to a pretty cavalier attitude toward the whole thing.
  • In William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Lord Capulet - seeing Juliet's repentance - moves the date of Juliet's wedding to Paris up a day, from Thursday to Wednesday.
  • In I Shall Wear Midnight, there is a lot of magical power in a wedding. Tiffany needs an enormous amount of power to defeat the Big Bad, so she marries Roland to Leticia the night before the scheduled ceremony in order to harvest this power.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Mad King, the American hero is visiting his mother's native land, which
    Neither his mother nor his father had ever returned to the little country since the day, thirty years before, that the big American had literally stolen his bride away, escaping across the border but a scant half-hour ahead of the pursuing troop of Luthanian cavalry.
  • In L. M. Montgomery's Rilla of Ingleside, Rilla's friend Miranda and her sweetheart Joe have a rushed wedding because Joe is about to ship out for World War I and Miranda's father doesn't approve of the marriage.
    • This happens hilariously in Anne of Windy Poplars. Anne facilitates a hasty elopment for two young people, Dovie and Jarvis, who have been engaged for over a year but were unable to get married because Dovie's father did not approve. So, they elope and Anne is left with the task of telling Dovie's notoriously temperamental father. She goes to break the news ...only for Dovie's father to announce with relief that it's about time. He'd picked out Jarvis for his daughter when they were children and had only pretended to not like the relationship so Jarvis would hang around more!
    • This is inverted with Anne and Gilbert, however. They wait three years to get married, since Gilbert wanted to wait until he was finished medical school.
  • An attempt to do this in Around the World in Eighty Days inadvertently saves the day when the happy couple discovers that a minister can't be retained because it's Sunday, not Monday, meaning there's still time to win the eponymous race.
  • In Harry Potter, Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks are married after a relatively short courtship because of the war. The marriage nearly disintegrates when Tonks becomes pregnant, prompting Remus to panic and attempt to pull an I Want My Beloved to Be Happy bailing on her (he's afraid their child will be, one way or another, a victim of his "affliction"). Harry, who has some experience with losing parents and parent figures, rightly calls him on his B.S.
    • Apparently a common occurance during the wars against Voldemort. Molly and Arthur rushed their marriage the first time, and Bill and Fleur the second.
  • Paul Sinclair, hero of John Hemry's Against All Enemies (and three previous books), was planning to get married shortly after transferring off USS Michaelson. But Paul's made some powerful enemies in the earlier books, and someone arranged for his orders to be changed: now he's going on a four-year posting to Mars. Two days after leaving the Michaelson. It's practically a miracle that his fiancee manages to get short-notice access to the chapel.
  • In X-Wing: The Bacta War, Corran Horn and Mirax Terrik become engaged partway through the novel. When Mirax's father Booster finds out about this later, he strongly objects (understandably, as Corran was the son of the policeman who caught him and sent him to Kessel for five years). He's called away on business, but fully intends to "discuss" things with them once he's finished. To avoid this, they have a brief marriage ceremony aboard Lusankya (with Commander Antilles, temporary captain of the ship, in the role of "priest", and a few droids as witnesses). Booster takes this surprisingly well, though he loses a bet with fellow smuggler Talon Karrde because of this - Karrde had bet that they would do exactly this.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Ramsay Snow kidnaps the recently widowed Lady Hornwood (her only son had also recently died). Immediately after doing so, marries her and then rapes her in front of witnesses in order to make clear that they are married and the marriage is consummated, so he can claim her lands. He then locks her in a tower where she chews off her own fingers before starving to death.
  • Played for Laughs in 1632. After discovering that Alex Mackay got his fiancee, Julie Sims, pregnant, Gustavus Adolphus himself marches them down to the bridal shop to ensure they're married before the birth so the child isn't a bastard in the genealogical sense, and even serves in the bridal party.
    "Won't tolerate such behavior on the part of one of my officers," gruffed Gustav, in blithe disregard of his own not-entirely-reputable history. "Bastardy is a shame before God!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Charmed, Piper and Leo have to get married quickly before the Elders split them up. They end up getting split up anyway, but eventually they're able to get married.
  • Malcolm in the Middle, Hal and Lois's wedding. Lois is going into labor during the ceremony.
  • In an episode of Titus, Titus and Erin decide to have a quickie wedding, without their families. Guess who shows up. Then they try to speed it up, before something bad happens, especially with Titus's insane mother, and her abusive husband there. Guess what happens.
  • In the My Hero Wedding seen here (5:00 -> 6:11), the wedding is literally sped up without dropping anything.
  • Played straight then averted on an episode of The Steve Harvey Show when Romeo and his Girl of the Week decide to go to Missouri to elope. Butt Monkey Lydia spills the beans to Steve and Regina. They arrive just in time to stop the couple from getting married. Of course, the girl is never seen or mentioned again.
  • A mix of this and Citizenship Marriage happens on What's Happening!!. Rerun tries to do this with a girl named Maria played by Irene Cara who needs a green card so that she can stay in the US. The judge realizes that in addition to them getting married just for a green card, they know nothing about each other. The judge stops the ceremony just as Raj, Dwayne, and Shirley come to courthouse to try to stop them.
  • On The Parkers Kim and Jerel go to Las Vegas to elope. Nikki and The Professor try to stop them, but they are too late. The marriage is annulled when Jerel's mom reveals that he is only 17 and not 19 like he told Kim.
  • On Downton Abbey, deconstructed, somewhat; Daisy feels pressured into going through with the wedding due to William's impending death, and subsequently feels that the whole thing was a lie.
  • In Kamen Rider Kabuto's movie God Speed Love, an AU to the TV series, Hiyori and Kagami hastily marry in hospital because Hiyori is dying.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Howard and Bernadette moved up their Wedding Day so that they would already be married by the time Howard was sent into space. After failing to find anyone willing to conduct the ceremony at short notice, all of their friends got ordained as ministers on-line (Sheldon apparently got ordained twice, once by the State of California and once by the Klingon High Council) and conducted the ceremony as a team. On the roof of Leonard and Sheldon's apartment, just as the Google Earth satellite was photographing the area. They timed it so that the photo was taken just as the newlyweds kissed.
  • On The West Wing, Ellie Bartlet and Vic Faison ("The Fruit Fly Guy," as the President calls him) can't wait until Christmas to get married because Ellie's pregnant.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Liz and Anthony's wedding in For Better or for Worse was put on the fast track in order to allow her ailing grandfather to witness the event before passing on. Gramps ended up getting rushed to the hospital the day of the wedding, and still managed to hang on until after Liz's first kid was born.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, after Eva Ushiromiya noticed that her father Kinzo was upset that Natsuhi and Krauss were having trouble having a child, she decided to convince her then-boyfriend Hideyoshi to marry her quickly so that they could have a child who could be usurp the place that Jessica would eventually have in the succession. Hideyoshi, who had already lost his relatives and was eager to start a family of his own, agreed. Despite Eva's motives, the two are quite Happily Married and actually the most stable of the married couples.

    Webcomics 
  • Done in Kevin & Kell. Lindesfarne wanted to wait until she finished getting her bachelor's degree before getting married. She had expected to need another year to finish, but a new ruling decreed that the AP Foraging credits she had earned as a herbivore (before officially changing her diet to insectivore) do count on her transcript, meaning Lindesfarne could graduate in May. She kept her promise to Fenton to go ahead and marry.
    • And her future mother-in-law had been trying to invoke this trope. Why she did so was only found out the day before the wedding: Desdemona is really a vampire bat, and she was afraid once Lindesfarne found out, she would call off the wedding.

     Western Animation 
  • On Phineas and Ferb, Tiana and Bob get married the same day he proposes, because they have a trip planned right after and Tiana's niece, Candace, wanted to be a bridesmaid at their wedding.


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