Page Type: trope
Wedding Bells... for Someone Else (customized trope title)
You only have a couple of pages to finish and the book is about to end... Or there are only few minutes left from the screen time of the movie... Aw, look the guy and his crush are finally together. Their unresolved sexual tension is getting resolved. After all that Will They or Won't They? we are happy to find out that They Do after all. Or perhaps the sweethearts made up after their Second-Act Breakup. Perhaps the girl unsure about her Arranged Marriage has finally decided to go through with it.
And look, the happy couple is even tying the knot. Wedding... perfect Happily Ever After, right? Wait, what? It is not them who is getting married! These wedding bells are for somebody else.
Turns out the happy occasion is being thrown for the Beta Couple or any other couple who is close enough to the assumed love birds. They are family or friends — close enough to be their wedding guests. Who we assumed were bride and groom are only members of the wedding party, possibly best man and maid of honour or official witnesses to certify the ceremony, which explains their festive clothes or almost-bride-and-groom attire.
Simply put, viewers or readers have been tricked with a Bait-and-Switch trope. In filmed visual media, this trope will usually make use of the Reveal Shot when the camera goes slowly off the official couple, shifts the view and pans on the true bride and groom. Alternatively, the actual bride and groom will look a lot like the assumed bride and groom, so much so that they will be mistaken for them at the first glance.
Generally speaking, this trope is usually connected to the Official Couple, but it can also concern any other couple from the ensemble cast. The important part is that the audience is led to believe that somebody is about to be married, but they are not really.
Usually an Ending spoiler trope and usually played for laughs.
SPOILERS AHOY! Beware, major spoilers are unmarked.
- Bridget Jones: At the end of the second movie, Bridget asks Mark to take her back. Mark does, he proposes and she happily accepts. One of the final shots of the movie has them standing in front of the altar... Except the wedding ceremony is for Bridget's parents who are renewing their vows. At least Bridget catches the bouquet.
- At the end of Clueless, after Cher and Josh get a Relationship Upgrade, Cher's narration says that the viewer can probably guess what happened next. The scene then cuts to a wedding... it's not theirs though, it's the teachers' Cher was 'shipping at the beginning, and she berates the viewer for thinking the former.
Cher's narration: As if! I'm only 16. This is California, not Kentucky.
- The Love Bug (1997) ends with a photo shoot of bride and groom in Herbie. They vaguely resemble the main couple. At least the main couple is about to leave on a date. They don't know where they're going; Herbie will decide, just like the honeymoon at the end of the original movie.
- Summer Spent with a Cowboy (original title Leto s kovbojem): Honza proposes to Doubravka in front of her disapproving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, who all answer in turn: "Never!" — "Never." — "Never?" The bride-to-be doesn't say anything. Next shot of the film is at the wedding, Doubravka and Honza stand together side by side. She's in a white simple dress, he's in a black suit, the wedding music is playing... Turns out the groom is Honza's brother who is marrying his girlfriend. Honza and Doubravka are their witnesses.
- Saturnin: The book ends with the nameless narrator nervously asking out his crush Miss Barbora. She doesn't make it easy for him, but she accepts and he's beyond happy. All previous chapters have a summary of the chapter, in the 'In Which a Trope Is Described' style. The very last chapter is very brief (One-Paragraph Chapter brief) and resembles just the summary. The narrator says he knows that every good story needs a satisfying ending and that there is no happy ending like a wedding. Everyone expects it's him and the lovely Barbora. He's glad he will not disappoint his readers because his widowed aunt Katerina got married to a rich gentleman.
- In The Westing Game, Angela spends the book unsure about her upcoming marriage to Dr. Deere. At the end, all of the characters attend a wedding implied to be theirs until it's revealed to actually be for Otis and Crow, as Angela had called off the engagement. (It is stated that she does marry Deere later, but on her own terms.)
- In the live-action adaptation of Saturnin, Jiri Oulicky (the protagonist narrator from the book Named by the Adaptation) has a date with Barbora near the end of the TV film/miniseries, and proceeds to narrate that he knows every good story ends with a wedding. The scene is set at church, Lohengrin and Mendelssohn is playing, the camera pans to Barbora and Jiri standing before the altar... but as the first couple among the wedding guests. The bride is actually Jiri's gold-digging aunt Katerina.
- In the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue of the Dragons: Riders of Berk series finale, the riders are all attending Dagur and Mala's wedding, the framing and Hiccup's voice over implying to be his and Astrid's wedding before panning out and proving otherwise.
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III: As for the lovebirds... [Shows Hiccup and Astrid kissing with a pair of wedding rings, only to reveal Dagur and Mala putting on the rings instead] No, those lovebirds.
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