War is a brutal, tragic thing. Expect plenty of Cruel And Unusual Deaths
and Tear Jerkers
. The atmosphere of a lot of war stories is generally saddening and depressing, if not outright horrifying and peppered with Nightmare Fuel
. That said, when a writer thinks that enough is enough and that these poor characters need a bit of happiness in their lives without deviating from the somber war genre, then what better way to show that than to have two characters get married?
The Wartime Wedding
is a great way to put a Hope Spot
in the middle of a story in order to lighten the mood, considering that among other things, a marriage symbolizes love and unity, reminding the characters in the universe that things such as happiness still exist.
This can come in three types (but is not limited to them):
- Weddings right prior to war breaking out or right in the beginning of it: These marriages are usually rushed and can represent calm before the storm. It can be particularly ominous Foreshadowing. Often ends in the fresh husband going off to war. These bridegrooms seem to have a fairly low chance of survival.
- Weddings during war: Most commonly used as a Hope Spot, especially when characters are "tired of all the fighting." This can also be done before the Final Battle, as one last "I love you," and to ensure that the now-wife will be compensated if the hero dies in battle. In this case, his odds of survival are about 50/50.
- Weddings right after war: When the wartime sweethearts have Hooked Up Afterwards, they're very likely to get married to show that, somehow, the characters are moving on with their lives. This type of wartime wedding generally symbolizes the beginning of recovery. Oftentimes used as a Bittersweet Ending.
The Starcrossed Lovers
are subject to this a lot of the time in war stories. Expect the couple to Altar the Speed
. Compare Married at Sea
. Beware the possibly unmarked spoilers!
Anime and Manga
- Susan Bones and Ernie Macmillan in Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness. Professor McGonagall also told a backstory about herself marrying a wizard who joined the Muggle RAF in WWII and died shortly afterward.
- Buttercup and Ace have one in Pipeline. Kevin the Unreliable Narrator muses that they're too young and desperate. Soon after, Buttercup gets pregnant, and they live happily for a bit. Eventually, Buttercup experiences Death by Childbirth as a result of fusion poisoning, and everyone wishes that "young and desperate" was half of their problems as more and more people die in battle.
- Type II for Jazz and Prowl in Things We Don't Tell Humans. Interesting because of the chances of survival element: Jazz has already died once.
- Captain Thomas Lynley and his first officer Commander Barbara Havers in the Fusion Fic And All The Stars Burned Bright take advantage of their ship needing serious repairs to get married in the middle of the Dominion War, because they don't know if they'll be coming home alive and dammit, they want to marry each other. It's a small ceremony on the beach with only their senior staff. They later have a more formal wedding in a chapel with the rest of their friends and family as well, but only after they've won the war.
- Jerin's grandmothers and grandfather marry shortly after the war in A Brother's Price. This is the reason why the bridegroom's ancestry is not mentioned in the papers, and only few know that he was actually a prince of the realm
- Happens to Finnick and Annie in the third book of The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay. They get married during the middle of the war, and the rebels broadcast it as propaganda, to show that they're not worried and in high spirits.
- Harry Potter:
- Bill's and Fleur's wedding in the seventh book.
- Molly and Arthur Weasley got married during Voldemort's first reign of terror. This is brought up as Hypocritical Humor after Molly decries the tendency of the young to rush into marriage during his second reign of terror.
- There's a villainous twist to this in Phoenix and Ashes. Alison intends to bespell Reggie into a Wartime Wedding to one of her daughters, magically ensure that an heir is conceived, then get Reggie back to the front to be killed, leaving Alison controlling the Fenyx estate and its wealth through her daughter.
- Gone with the Wind has quite a lot of engagements and weddings going on before, during, and after the war. It averts all three above.
- Ashley Wilkes and Melanie Hamilton are engaged during the very beginning of war. He ultimately survives the war, but refuses to be called a hero, depressed by the war horrors.
- Angry and humiliated with this (she had confessed to Ashley after hearing of the engagement plans), Scarlett married young Charles Hamilton a little later. He dies an unheroic death from measles a few weeks later, leaving Scarlett pregnant.
- Later on, Scarlett seduces her sister's fiancé Frank Kennedy for his money to be able to pay Tara's taxes. She gives birth to his daughter, and soon he's shot during a Ku Klux Klan raid.
- Roran and Katrina in the Inheritance Cycle. They were already engaged before the war came to their home village, though.
- In Rilla of Ingleside, Rilla's friend Miranda gets married to her fiancé Joe before the latter has to ship out in World War One.
- This is part of Lori's backstory in the Aunt Dimity series: her parents married during WWII. It's also averted by Dimity, who broke off her engagement to Bobby MacLaren. Curiously, both couple's actions were prompted by the same risk of death due to the war.
- In Deep Love Granny and her husband married during WW2. Their marriage lasted one night.
- In The Emperors Winding Sheet by Jill Paton Walsh the last Byzantine Emperor visits a wedding party held during while the city is under siege. When one of his courtiers asks if this is the proper time, The Emperor says "Tomorrow may be too late".
- If you count the seven-year Tribulation period as being a war, then the few weddings that took place during it of Tribulation Force members Rayford Steele and Amanda White, Buck Williams and Chloe Steele, and Ming Toy and Ree Woo would count in the Left Behind series. (Judd Thompson Jr. and Vicki Byrnes of the Young Tribulation Force would also count.) Rayford's marriage to Amanda lasts for about three months at the most, as Amanda died in a plane crash during the Wrath Of The Lamb earthquake, and Buck's marriage to Chloe lasts until a year before Jesus Christ's glorious appearing at the Battle of Armageddon, when she is captured and put to death by the Global Community. The only bright spot of Buck and Chloe's wedding is that they have produced a son, Kenny Bruce, during the years they were married.
- A B-plot in the Gaunt's Ghosts novel Salvation's Reach involves the marriage of Captain Ban Daur and his girlfriend Elodie Dutana. At first, she thinks he is having second thoughts because of a new arrival, an officer from his homeworld of Verghast that he knew once upon a time. When confronted, he explains that he never felt anything for the other officer, aside from reminisces about his old home, but he was hesitant to go through with it because "a Guardsman who gets married before a mission only does it for one reason" (to provide for his wife in case he dies by ensuring she gets his pension) and he didn't want her to think that he wasn't coming back. He realizes he could just explain that, and they are married on the troopship by Gaunt, with the entire regiment as witnesses. During the mission to Salvation's Reach, Daur is seriously wounded, but recovers.
- In Kate Seredy's The Singing Tree, they are at a wedding when the news of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria reaches them; the child's point-of-view doesn't even grasp its full significance but the reader knows World War I is coming.
- Discussed and executed in Cryptonomicon. Notable because everyone is aware that love isn't exactly the reason for the union, and the resulting citizenship is an added perk.
- In Poul Anderson's Silent Victory, when a Martian and two Earthlings, a man and a woman, are awaiting a final attack, the Martian genially informs the couple that with his office, he is authorized to perform wedding ceremonies. This reflects not only that the couple have fallen in love, but their friendship with the Martian.
- In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet series, when they face a Last Stand, Captain Desjani leaves the bridge for a time. When she returns, she explains she was performing six weddings, probably breaking a lot of regulations in the process.
- A Song of Fire and Ice: So much. Considering that pretty much the whole story is set in war, it makes sense.
- The Red Wedding
- The Purple Wedding
- Tommen and Margaery's wedding
- Daenerys and Hizdahr's wedding
- Going back a generation and war, Ned-and-Catelyn and Jon-and-Lysa's double wedding
- Happened a time or two in Mash. One time it was a couple of Koreans getting married, and Father Mulcahey narrated the wedding for the benefit of those watching who weren't familiar with Korean wedding rites.
- Worf and Dax got married during the Dominion War in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- Rom and Leeta have a first type wedding, immediately before the outbreak of the Dominion War.
- Danger: UXB: The protagonist and his Love Interest get married despite him being a bomb disposal officer (he does survive the war, though in a psychologically damaged condition).
- There are several examples in Downton Abbey, which takes place in part during WWI:
- Matthew and Lavinia planned to marry once he came home from the war, but after he comes back crippled he decides that he isn't good enough for her anymore. Ultimately, he renews the engagement at her insistence when he is found to be miraculously healed, but she dies of the Spanish flu just days before the wedding, in what's implied to be a Death by Despair since she has just learned his heart now belongs to Mary.
- Before William leaves to fight in the trenches, he asks Daisy, whom he has always loved, to marry him. She wants to turn him down because she doesn't love him in the same way (or at least she thinks she doesn't; Mrs Patmore, Mrs Hughes, and later the Dowager Countess are convinced that she didn't know what she felt was real love), but eventually accepts so he won't have to go to war heartbroken, intending to break off the engagement after it becomes appropriate. However, after he is mortally wounded and brought back home, he insists that they marry before he dies so she can have a widow's pension. She concedes, and they are married for a few hours, but it takes her a while to come to terms with the shame she feels in believing she lied to him about her feelings.
- When Branson proposes to Sibyl, she initially resists due to the fact that he is of a different social class and she would have to give up her lifestyle to be with him. However, she learns during the course of the war that she wants to do something different with her life, and tells him that she'll reconsider, but only after the war is over. They eventually marry.
- Hikaru and Urara in Mahou Sentai Magiranger, though the "war" is between the Magirangers and the Infershia.
- Magnificent Century: When Süleyman invades Hungary.
- In Fiorello!, Thea agrees to marry Fiorello as soon as he returns from World War I.
- Miss Saigon. During the last days of The Vietnam War, Chris and Kim fall madly in love after one night and quickly move in together. They celebrate with an unofficial wedding, with him making it clear that they will make it official once they return to the US. Unfortunately, they are separated during the chaos of the fall of Saigon. He's forced to leave without her, while she's left behind to give birth to their son.
- A staple in the Fire Emblem games of all continuities, and specially important in Fire Emblem Jugdral (as it secures the appearance of the second generation characters who lead the second part's plot) and Fire Emblem Awakening (because as soon as the first generation female characters plus Chrom and/or the Avatar of either gender marry, this unlocks the appearance of the Kids From The Bad Future.)
- The Baby Boom in all countries after World War II was basically the result of this. American GIs were getting married and having kids because they were happy to be home after all those years; Europeans and Japanese were simply happy to be alive. Also, a not-insignificant number of Americans of several ethnicities contributed to the European boom, electing to stay there rather than return (this was particularly common for black troops, who preferred the casual unofficial racism of Europe to the more virulent and structured Jim Crow).
- The inverse was also true with American GIs marrying foriegn women and bringing them back to the US with them.
- In addition, World War II refugee camps apparently had the highest marriage rate of any place in the world at that time.
- A less heartwarming one: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun, Berlin, 1945.
- When the US still had a draft married men would be moved at the bottom of the preference list just above married men with children. When this policy was about to be rescinded during the Vietnam War there was a large rush of couples marrying at the last minute.