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Shotgun Wedding

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A matter of wife or death.

"I wanted to marry her when I saw the moonlight shining... off the barrel of her father's shotgun!"
Ali Hakim, Oklahoma!

Uh-oh. Did you just have a one-night stand with the Farmer's Daughter? Whoops, didn't quite turn out like you figured, eh? Her old man found out, and now you and Daisy Mae are standing before an altar in a rural church, with your petulant in-laws pointing a nice long (and loaded) shotgun at your back. There's no escape. No Big Damn Heroes are going to rush in and rescue you in a dramatic overblown fashion. You've made this bed and now you're going to lie in it. For the rest of your life.

At least Daisy Mae isn't that bad looking. I mean, she still has most of her teeth...

The traditional Shotgun Wedding (replete with gun-toting relatives) is a common staple of comedies set in rural, "hillbilly" areas. Any big-city fellers who wander into such areas had best be discreet about any "minglin'" they do with the local womenfolk, lest they find themselves being forced to stay a lot longer than they had intended. And God help them if the farmer's daughter suddenly gets knocked up in that one-night stand. They may be shot before they get dragged to the altar. Female main characters must also take care when journeying into these kinds of areas, lest an affair forces them to stay as well.

Sometimes mutual attraction isn't even required before our hero or heroine winds up frog-marched to the chapel. One of the local boys or girls may take a shine to a traveling protagonist and attempt a forced marriage at gunpoint. In cases like these, the Big Damn Heroes are much more likely to jump in and save the day. But if you got into this situation by sowing your wild oats a little too freely, then you're pretty much on your own.

Nowadays, a "shotgun wedding" seldom involves actual firearms; the phrase is a euphemistic way to refer to any couple that gets married because the girlfriend is pregnant. When characters in older media talk about "having" to get married, this is what they mean. The couple's parents may not be incensed nor the prospective groom unwilling, but there is still a sense of compulsion involved, since the couple may not have married so soon — or at all — if not for the unexpected pregnancy. In fact, if an actual shotgun is involved, the unwilling groom can have the marriage annulled by reason of duress (because "they had a gun to my head" is the textbook definition of duress). Furthermore, some religious sects forbid or at least frown upon coercive weddings such as this.

This kind of activity was a lot more common back when there was more of a stigma attached to unwed parents, especially a single mother. The biggest reason for these marriages was to preserve her virtue.note  But in this day and age, single moms are viewed much more sympathetically and it's the father who's judged as an irresponsible cad if he knocks a girl up then skips town. However, he can remain in good graces without marrying her if he's an active co-parent, and it's widely agreed today that it's better for the parents not to stay together if they're only in it for the kids and not their own relationship. However, this trope is still Truth in Television for more socially conservative parts of the world.

If the wedding effectively happened when the groom (or bride) wasn't looking, it's an Accidental Marriage.

Unsurprisingly, many an Awful Wedded Life story involves a couple that was pressured into marrying due to an unplanned pregnancy. This trope is also related to Altar the Speed (if they want to have the ceremony before the bride's pregnancy starts to show) and Honorable Marriage Proposal (if the groom is marrying her to preserve her reputation, whether he's the father or not). May end in Babies Ever After and can lead to the couple later believing they Married Too Young. Invoking this trope is usually the purpose of The Baby Trap (and frequently, by extension, a Fake Pregnancy). Also compare and contrast Captive Date, where one side of a romantic evening would rather not be there, but isn't allowed to leave. An inversion of this is Break Up Demand.

Not to be confused with the 2023 film, Shotgun Wedding.

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Shotgun weddings with actual guns:

  • An advertisement for condoms shown in a South African porn movie had a grizzled Afrikaner farmer turning up with a shotgun and a tearful Farmer's Daughter after she's been knocked up by a porn star. Presumably it was more acceptable to their audience than mentioning AIDS as a reason why you should practice safe sex.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Kamisama Kiss has Mizuki trying to do this to Nanami. He doesn't succeed and is nearly killed by Nanami's bodyguard and familiar, Tomoe.
  • In Living In This World With Cut And Paste, Myne learns that the royal family can and will decide who gets married to whom when the first princess turns up at his door and uses royal decree to have him married to both herself and her best friend and adventuring partner, Aisha, the very same receptionist who once helped him sign up at the adventurer's guild and is also a semi-retired legendary hero in her own right.
  • The trope is more universal than you'd think. One notable episode of Maison Ikkoku finds Godai (in a daydream sequence) facing the father of his sometime girlfriend Kozue over his shotgun. Granted it was a dream sequence, and he was just thinking of kissing her, and her daddy was a pretty clean cut (if overly protective) salaryman. Everything else matched.
    • This actually happens toward the end of the series as Coach Mitaka learns "she" got pregnant the night Asuna Kujou stayed at his apartment. He promises to set things right, only to learn that the "she" in question was her dog (the father being his dog, of course). They go through with the wedding anyway.
  • In Mission: Yozakura Family, Taiyo is targeted by Kyoichiro for assassination for the crime of being Mutsumi's Childhood Friend. Despite the Yozakuras' best efforts to stop Kyoichiro, Taiyo decides that the best way to protect himself and Mutsumi is to agree to marry into the family to exploit its Ape Shall Never Kill Ape rule. Kyoichiro even tries to stop them by binding Taiyo's hand with Razor Floss, only to be taken completely by surprise when he grips it in order to get Mutsumi's ring around his finger. Unlike most examples of this trope, the relationship is a happy one despite Mutsumi's hesitation over Taiyo's long-standing trauma.
  • This happens to Nagasumi in My Bride is a Mermaid, when he accidentally splashes liquid on Lunar and transforms her legs into her fish tail. He helps to dry her off, but just as he's finishing up, Lunar's papa bursts in and the only thing he sees is Nagasumi touching his daughter's butt. Before Nagasumi even gets a chance to explain, he's hauled off and forced to undergo a wedding to marry Lunar or he will be killed right on the spot. When a girl's father is the Terminator, you cannot say no.

    Collectible Card Games 
  • The image above is from the Doomtown card of the same name. (It's possible to get a divorce, though.)

    Comic Books 
  • Bat escapes from a shotgun wedding in Bat Lash #2. Apparently the father of the bride had 18 daughters and he had found husbands for all of them via his shotgun.
  • Preacher has a very dark version of this, subverted in that the couple was a happy one—it was her evil, religiously-psychotic family that forced them to get married, and kept them under lock and key.
  • In Scare Tactics (DC Comics), Jake Ketchum (a.k.a. Fang) was on the run from a shotgun wedding to a ghoul (intended to unite the two feuding clans) when he got captured by R-Complex. We later learn his fiancee committed suicide after being jilted at the altar. It turns out Jake had nothing to do with it. She was just tired of living life in the state she was in. Her suicide note made it clear he wasn't at fault.
  • The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis: The hydroponic farmer uses his shotgun to force Gil to marry his robot daughter the Crushinator.
  • As a sort of inversion, in the Superman story arc in 1998, The Dominus Effect, where he is trapped in four different realities at the same time, the Superman of the Bronze Age reality is forced to be a minister to a marriage between the Prankster and Lana Lang when he threatens her with a corsage lined with needles ready to inject a poison into her that would kill her instantly. Fortunately, with the help of Lois Lane stowing away on board a helicopter manned by the Prankster's henchmen, Superman safely removes the corsage from Lana's chest and saves her from the forced marriage.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In The Brown Bear of the Green Glen, John leaves behind a pregnant woman during his quest. She comes after him after she gives birth to a son, using magic to find the father.

    Fan Works 
  • In All sorts Hermione's father forces Harry and her into a shotgun wedding after he finds a positive pregnancy test in the bathroom and thinks it's hers.
  • In The Best Thing, Alistair is caught in Bethany's bed by her mother, her father and her two brothers. Two hours later he and Bethany were married. However, as the name of the fic implies, it turns out well.
  • While Bleach's Orihime was held captive by the Espada, she and Ulquorra gained a following due to their... "unique" dynamic. Which lead to this little number.
  • In Blood Quill Consequences Lavender Brown's father forces her and Dennis Creevey into a wandpoint wedding at the Ministry of Magic.
  • Emma's Plan features a variant where Hermione's mother tricks Harry, who loves Hermione but thinks she loves Ron, into a shotgun proposal by arranging for her husband to find them in bed together.
  • In How Molly Weasley Saved Britain Susan's aunt has her wand covertly pointed at Harry throughout his and Susan's wedding ceremony.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: Taken very literally by Pinkie Pie in A Concert For Ponyville. When she incorrectly gets the idea that Lyra can only eat sweets because she's dating Bonbon, she shows up at Bonbon's with a Wedding Shotgun (a more matrimonial version of her Party Cannon) and tries to force Bonbon and Lyra to get married so Lyra will always be able to have sweets. Luckily, Lyra is able to explain the misapprehension.
  • This is how Ron ends up married in The Thorny Rose, complete with literal shotgun.

    Films — Live Action 
  • All My Loved Ones: Hedvika who is very young gets pregnant and hastily marries her boyfriend Robert. They're in love and he's not shown to be forced to get married by her family, but the couple didn't want to marry that quickly. Robert is savvy enough to understand the Nazi threat and wants the whole family to emigrate (especially his wife) when there's still time, but her parents disagree and forbid her to leave the country because of her pregnancy.
  • Black Cat, White Cat has one with machine guns and hand grenades.
  • In Double Harness, John must marry Joan because her father found them in a compromising situation.
  • A variant happens in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Jack Sparrow is roped (literally - they put a noose around his neck, which combined with the weaponry, makes it a Flintlock and Gallows Wedding) by a pirate he conned years prior into marrying his ugly broad of a sister.
  • Pootie Tang has the title character held at gunpoint by the Sheriff for sleeping with his daughter. Trucky rescues Pootie at the wedding and the Sheriff turns his gun on Trucky.
  • In Ride 'Em Cowboy, Willoughby (Lou Costello) is on the run from Indians who want to force him into a "bow-and-arrow wedding" with an Indian maiden he had an Accidental Marriage to.
  • In the Civil War movie Ride with the Devil, the hero, Jake, saves the girlfriend of his dead best friend. They take refuge in a somewhat friendly house to recover from their wounds. When they come back, surprise! She's had a baby. Surprise number two: the rather friendly owner of the house, after some rumbling, comes back with a priest and A GUN and declares, "I won't tolerate this in my own house any longer!" Bonus point for the hero having declared more than once that he will never marry anyone.
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers ends with this being deliberately invoked by the brides. Their fathers have come to rescue them from their captors (unaware that they've fallen in love with them), and hear a baby crying in the cabin (actually the daughter of the only married couple). When asked whose the child is, all the girls respond, "Mine!"—leaving the fathers no choice but to "force" all the couples to marry.
  • Triumphantly subverted in the TV movie Something For A Lonely Man. The intended bridegroom, on being asked "Do you take this woman ...?" grabs the shotgun, throws it away, asks the minister to repeat the question, and proudly answers "I do".
  • Not a traditional one, but Honey Swanson is forced to marry gangster Tony Snow at gunpoint in A Song Is Born.
  • The 2018 TV movie Vows of Deceit (aka Deadly Matrimony) features an action-packed wedding day showdown between con artist Leo Friedman and three vengeful women he's financially ruined (or plans to). Two of them crash the event disguised as bridesmaids to his latest victim. After the trio reveal themselves, one woman aims a gun at Leo. Things get messy, which leads to Leo acquiring his own pistol and going on a murderous rampage.

  • An journalist is conducting an interview with a centenarian.
    "So what do you attribute your longevity to?"
    "Oh, it's no secret, my family's always been this way. My pappy's turning 120 this year, and he took up jogging just month to be in shape for the big event!"
    "What big event?"
    "My grandpappy's getting married in a few months."
    "Your grand-? But your grandmother-"
    "Oh no, he's been a widower these past 70 years. But you understand, he had to marry the girl, her father was very insistent."
  • Subverted in another joke:
    A man is driving down a country road when a farmer with a shotgun comes out of the bushes and orders him to get out of the car. The driver does so, then the farmer orders him to pull down his pants and masturbate. The driver is somewhat reluctant, but the farmer points his gun at him so he does so. The farmer tells him to do it again. And again. And again. Finally the driver simply can't take it anymore and tells the farmer to just shoot him because he's completely drained. The farmer then calls to his daughter to tell her he's found someone willing to drive her to the city.

  • One of these occurs at the end of The Blackstone Commentaries, but it's treated as a happy ending since the man wanted to be with the woman he knocked up, but after discovering she was pregnant (and not telling him), she broke up with him because she wanted to spare him this trope and because of her own commitment issues. When he encounters her, now visibly pregnant, several months later, he realizes what's going on and rushes off to tell her family, who were also unaware she was pregnant, and they show up the next morning complete with shotguns for the wedding.
  • No shotguns involved (since they didn't exist yet), but the Decameron provides an Older Than Steam example in the fourth story of the fifth day. It's a humorous/bawdy tale about two young lovers thinking up a strategy for being able to hook up (the plot involves the use of a metaphor about "caging a nightingale"). When the two are caught in bed by the girl's parents, the father tells the guy (a family friend) that he wronged him by going behind his back, and that he can make things right by marrying the daughter (but he'll kill him if he won't). Luckily, the couple are quite happy to get married, even without the death threat.
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar novel Owlsight, Darien notes that if he'd been caught in his current situation (bathing in a hot spring with a pretty girl while unchaperoned) in Valdemar, he'd have been forced into a spearpoint marriage by the girl's male relatives whether anything happened or not. But in a Tayledras Vale, nobody would care what they got up to so long as they hung up a "do not disturb" sign before doing anything particularly naughty, since both of them were of age.
    • In the Tarma and Kethry novels, Tarma bribes a nobleman with some pure-bred Shin'a'in warhorses to force a spearpoint marriage on her Abhorrent Admirer Leslac to get him out of her hair.
  • Ripper (2014): Bob and Indiana married as a result of her becoming pregnant with Amanda as a teenager. Since he was a Dumb Jock with a Hair-Trigger Temper, their marriage didn't last too long. Oddly enough, their relationship is very friendly and kind by the time the novel takes place.
  • The Secret of Santa Vittoria: Lugo, the village electrician, was apprenticing with an electrician in Switzerland before, when he came home for his father's funeral, he knocked up a girl who outright threatened to have her family kill him if he didn't come back and marry her, with his visa expiring while he was back there.
  • One occurs in the Sherlock Holmes short story "The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist". Unusually in that case it was the bride who was being forced at gunpoint - and gagged for good measure. The protagonists arrive too late to stop the wedding, but Holmes points out that the villain hired a defrocked priest to do the ceremony, and the sheer fact that the marriage was forced means it would never be recognised by English law.
  • The protagonist in Robert Louis Stevenson's short story "The Sire de Maletroit's Door" inadvertently falls into a trap meant to catch a man that the titular Sire believes has been dishonoring his niece. Despite his (and the niece's) protestations that he has never met her before, he is informed that he has the option of either marriage or death. Since the story is set before the widespread adoption of firearms he is actually threatened with being hanged from the top of a tower.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Benny Hill once did a Country & Western song parody that included the immortal lyric "The wedding wasn't legal, the shotgun wasn't loaded."
  • The Beverly Hillbillies
    • A downplayed example when Granny gets excited and starts planning a wedding because a man they've recently met accidentally caught a glimpse of Elly Mae in her nightgown. According to the "code of the hills," as Granny puts it, now he HAS to marry her.
    • It's implied in another episode where Aunt Pearl shows Jed a picture of a recent wedding. Jed observes the father of the bride has a shotgun. Pearl claims that he'd just been hunting and Jed replies "Appears he got what he was after.".
  • In Black Sails, three men with drawn swords turn up to force a merchant captain called Drummond to attend their sister's wedding. Their determination turns to fear when said captain informs them he's actually a notorious pirate by the name of Teach, whereupon he calmly shoots all three with the pistols he has strapped to his chest.
  • One episode of The Dukes of Hazzard had Daisy nearly becoming forcibly hitched in a Shotgun Wedding.
  • In an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will and Carlton spin an increasingly outrageous tale involving an assassin, Witness Protection, a trailer park, and someone's pregnant daughter. The guy says that Will needs to marry the daughter because he suspects Will got her pregnant. Will tries to explain that he wasn't even in the area when the conception occurred but the story created by Witness Protection says he was. It turns out to be a Tall Tale to distract Jazz from their card game.
  • Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley had a two-part Crossover about Richie and Fonzie facing one of these... ... and being forced to marry the titular girls!
  • In the third season The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode "The Concrete Overcoat Affair, Part I", Napoleon Solo, thinking he is being pursued by THRUSH minions, hides underneath Pia Monteri's bed. After he is discovered under the bed, Grandmomma Monteri comes into the bedroom with a shotgun, and tells Pia to go to the closet and get Grandmomma's old wedding dress, and tells Solo that she's sending for the parish priest.
  • In Married... with Children, Al Bundy's wedding to Peg was a literal shotgun wedding, with Peg's hillbilly Dad toting the gun. Followed by another literal shotgun wedding, when Al and Peg renew their vows.
    • Could be an example of a "Both" incident, since in some explanations the wedding was because Peg was pregnant with Kelly.
      • To add insult to injury during their vow renewal Peggy's dad reveals that the gun was never loaded the first time he had it at Al's back.
  • The Monkees episode Hillbilly Honeymoon involves a shotgun wedding with Davy and Ella Mae.
  • In the first-season Quantum Leap episode "Star-Crossed," Al quips, "Nice little intimate shotgun wedding — twelve-gauge, I think it was." It was in regards to the professor Sam's leaped into and the student he's involved with.
  • Formed the set-up of a prank on Scare Tactics (2003).
  • A literal version of this on Sisters. Second-oldest sister Teddy, who is not taking it well that her ex-husband is marrying youngest sister Frankie, gets drunk and show up at the wedding with the weapon in question.
  • A Tales from the Crypt episode had a man (Ed Begley, Jr.) finding himself forcibly engaged to the grotesque daughter of a creepy hillbilly clan (the daughter and the parents were played by Tim Curry).

    Live Comedy Shows 
  • Harry Enfield started one of his comedy routines as Stavros (a Greek kebab-shop owner) by telling the audience, "I just got back from a wedding," then ostentatiously putting a double-barreled twelve-bore back in its cupboard.
  • The Jeff Dunham character Bubba J got married this way.
    Jeff: So did you propose?
    Bubba J: Naw, her daddy did. I was s'ppsed to pick her up at 7. I got there at 7:30. Her dad was waiting for me on the porch... with his shotgun... and he said, "Guess who else is late!"
    (audience groans)
    Bubba J: I'm glad you all get it, someone had to explain it to me!(Beat) I still don't get it!


  • Great Big Sea's "Hit the Ground and Run" describes a young man trying to escape such circumstances.
  • "Our Shotgun Wedding Day" by the Howington Brothers and the Tennessee Haymakers.
  • Chad Morgan's aptly titled "Shotgun Wedding," as seen in the page quotes. The groom does try to run... and gets buckshot in the ass for his trouble.
  • "Deathbed" by Relient K, as seen in the page quotes.
  • Some of the more humorous versions of "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" (about a woman awaiting her lover's return) include a verse about her keeping a marriage license. Some also include a verse about what her father is doing in the meantime:
    And in the house, her father keeps a shotgun;
    He keeps it in the Springtime, and in the month of May, (Hey! Hey!)
    And if you ask him why the heck he keeps it,
    He keeps it for her lover who is far, far away...
    Far away! (Far away!) Far away! (Far away!)
    Oh, he keeps it for her lover who is far, far away.
  • There is a US Marine Corps and US Army marching cadence with a verse that goes:
    The wedding was
    a formal one
    her daddy had
    a white shotgun.
  • Oh, and there is Roy C's "Shotgun Wedding":
    Well, your father got the gun
    And there ain't no place to run
    Shotgun Wedding.

    Newspaper Comics 

  • Parodied in P.D.Q. Bach's The Abduction of Figaro, where the pistol-packing Donna Donna stalks her seducer, Donald Giovanni, trying to force him to marry her or die.
  • In Oklahoma!, Ali Hakim, the traveling salesman, gets forced into this with Ado Annie after merely flirting with her, prompting the rant of a song "It's a Scandal!". He has to work hard to get Will to take her off his hands (thanks to a previous promise made by Ado Annie's father), and then, once he's gotten himself free, he falls headlong into the trope again, and does end up married, prompting the page quote.

    Video Games 
  • Played for laughs in The Evil Within 2. Myra and Sebastian posed with guns during their wedding due to their law enforcement background. That being said, their daughter was born ten months after the wedding, so she probably wasn't actually pregnant yet.
  • In Fallout 2, in the town of Modoc, it's possible to, erm... get busy with either the daughter or the son of a farmer, regardless of gender. In either case, the father finds out and will force the player to get married to the pseudo-love interest by brandishing a shotgun. It's possible to talk your way out of a heterosexual tryst with a high enough Speech skill by claiming to be a doctor examining your lover, but a homosexual match-up guarantees a wedding. Of course, you can then turn around and sell your spouse into slavery, or, if you're particularly well connected, pimp him/her out for spare change. And if you really want to get rid of him/her, you can bribe a priest with an alcoholic beverage to get an official divorce, or sell them to the Slaver's Guild, or get a machine to suck their brain out. It's a tough post-apocalyptic world.
    • For extra cruelty, regardless of how you get rid of your spouse, you can return to your former father-in-law and claim their child has died; the shock of this news gives him a fatal heart attack.
  • Played with in Guilty Gear Xrd with Elphelt, a marriage-obsessed Love Freak: her One-Hit KO attack has her fire a magic bullet from her rifle that forces her opponent to fall in love with her. She affectionately refers to this attack as a "Magnum Wedding".
  • Hitman: Blood Money contains a level where your target is the groom and his father, and you are hired by the bride, other than all of the guards carrying shotguns around 47 can use one for the assassinations.
    • More a case of "Shotguns AT A Wedding". They were already married, the shotguns are just there for cliché reasons.

    Visual Novels 

  • Evil, Inc.: Captain Heroic assures his son Oscar that his and Miss Match's wedding did not involve a shotgun, specifically.
  • Not a gun, but in The Order of the Stick, Hilgya apparently got involved in a Crossbow Wedding, arranged with a total stranger by their respective clans. She was outraged enough by it to run off and later enact a very thorough Revenge plot against her entire clan for treating her like chattel.
  • In this one-shot Sonic comic, Sonic and Sally are forced into a shotgun wedding not because she's pregnant, but because everyone is sick of the Will They or Won't They? crap.

    Western Animation 
  • On The Fairly Oddparents, Princess Mandie finally captures Mark and forces him to marry her.
    Priest: Do you Mandie take Mark...?
    Mandie: I do! And do you Mark take me as your queen?!
    Mark: Uh... (sees ten rayguns pointed around his head) ...kinda.
  • In an episode of Family Guy, Meg tells her parents that she's pregnant, though she's wrong. Peter immediately grabs a shotgun and stalks over to her boyfriend's house to force him to marry her. In response to Meg's protests?
    Peter: I just wanna talk to him. I just wanna talk to him. I just wanna shoot him. I just wanna talk to him.
  • Looney Tunes: In the Daffy Duck cartoon, "The Stupid Cupid", Cupid (played by Elmer Fudd), is about to shoot Daffy with his arrow, but Daffy objects, pointing out that he shot him the previous year, and then shows him a photo album of the results of it. One photo has an overbearing female duck in a bridal gown clutching Daffy by the neck as her father holds a shotgun to his head.
  • Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood was going to end with a shotgun wedding of the Wolf to Grandma (officiated by a caricature Tex) followed by a house full of wolf/human kids, but Moral Guardians nixed the idea of cartoon bestiality.
  • The Simpsons episode "Simpson Tall Tales" that retold the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn parodied this trope up and down. Huck (played by Nelson) falls down and Becky (played by Lisa) helps him up, but then her father Judge Thatcher (Homer) sees them holding hands and forces Huck to marry her, at shotgunpoint of course. At the wedding, Marge talks wistfully about their shotgun wedding, at which point we hear a Dramatic Gun Cock and the camera pans over to show Grampa holding a shotgun at her back. She angrily points out that they've been married for years and he can put down the gun... and the second he does, she is out the door. There was also, in addition to the bride and groom figurines atop the cake, a father wielding a shotgun.

"Marrying the girl you knocked up":

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Kore wa Koi no Hanashi, Oogaki reveals during the middle school arc that he knocked up a woman and decided to get married to her.
  • It's implied in the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS manga that this is why Chrono and Amy got married. "We didn't have much choice." It's noted in both manga and anime that the Time/Space Administration Bureau actually encourages in-office romances leading to marriage; it results in the next generation of mages loyal to the TSAB.
  • In an example of Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends, the end of Maison Ikkoku has Mitaka discover that "she" is pregnant. After a previous drunken night with Asuna, he assumes that he got her pregnant, and vows to marry her to set things right. After he proposes and everything is set in stone, she decides on a dog's name for the new... puppy; her dog had actually been the one knocked up by his dog.
  • In Nana, the titular character marries the Bishounen band leader she had a sexual relationship with prior to being in a relationship with her new boyfriend.
  • Somewhat the case of Sand Chronicles with Ann's dad Masahiro and Kaede. After finding out she's pregnant, the latter first wants to break off their relationship so the former doesn't have to worry about them, but Ann convinces her he loves her enough to not leave her side, and so they decide to marry quickly before the child is born.
  • Discussed in Summer Wars—Natsuki told her great-grandma she had a boyfriend, so she invites her friend Kenji to a large family gathering as her "fiancé." Since they're both pretty young, one of the uncles naturally begins blatantly asking if the two have had sex, since he expects this trope to be in play.
  • The epilogue of Superior Cross opens with Lakshri and Angelica's wedding, though in this case, the child was already a few months old by the time it took place. Lakshri even tries to run off, only for Angelica's bear demon grandfather to physically drag him back.
  • A flashback in Tokyo Ghoul involves Hikari Kirishima, the deceased mother of Touka and Ayato Kirishima, informing her little brother Renji Yomo that she's pregnant with Touka. He immediately asks whether she's going to marry her boyfriend or not. They do end up getting married at some point, though other material shows that Arata had tried (and failed) to propose marriage via an outdated human custom. And like her mother, Touka ends up marrying Kaneki after he connected the dots and learned that she's pregnant.
  • In Tsukigasa extras, it's mentioned that the middle-aged Toubee will be marrying an 18-year-old girl because he got her pregnant. His son, who is older than his new mother, is particularly shocked by the news.

    Comic Books 
  • In Aquaman comics, Tempest (the hero formerly known as Aqualad) was very clear that he wasn't marrying Dolphin just because she was pregnant, but because they were in love, despite Arsenal's insistence on calling it a "harpoon-gun wedding".

    Fairy Tales 
  • Downplayed in a Hungarian The Frog Prince, where the frog is transformed merely by sleeping in the heroine's bed, and it stated that the wedding was quick to put time between it and the christening.

    Fan Works 
  • A Brief History of Equestria: Strongly implied to be the case with Hurricane and Clover, given that their firstborn foal was born remarkably healthy for being born "premature".
  • The Superjail! fanfic Extended Stay has the Warden proposing to the Mistress a mere six months after they find out she's pregnant. Two months later, they get married, only for her to go into labor just after the priest pronounces them man and wife.
  • Variation in Gold Poisons, as they're already engaged, but Jin Zixuan and Jiang Yanli will need to move their wedding up, as they've been engaging in premarital sex and she is pregnant.
  • Invoked in The Invisible Princess. Mikoto arranges for a gossipy servant to catch her in bed with her beloved, Hydra, to force Queen Arete to allow them to marry despite his status as a commoner and hers as a princess.
  • Kyon's parents in Kyon: Big Damn Hero. Not only because it was a Teen Surprise Pregnancy but, due to the circumstances of the birth (it was during the Watanagashi festival ceremony), some villagers considered Kyon as a representation of his mother's sins.
  • The Last Great Vosian Dynasty: Megatron has sex with Starscream, then forgets all about it until sometime later, when a Seeker arrives at the arena and buys him before dragging him to Vos, where he learns that Starscream is not only pregnant, but the Prince of Vos, and he is now expected to marry Starscream so that the sparkling will not be illegitimate.
  • The Total Drama story Legacy has a downplayed example. Lindsay and her longtime boyfriend Tyler had begun to discuss marriage when an unplanned pregnancy forced the issue.
  • Discussed in Love Can Surprise You At Any Time In Your Life: when Farnsworth learns Leela is pregnant, he assumes Fry is the father and plans to organize a wedding to avoid ire from the Better Business Bureau. Leela assures him that she and Fry — the prime Fry at least — hadn't had sex in a long time — her baby daddy is her late ex-fiancé.
  • Red Witch's G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero fic More Meeting Madness has Shipwreck marry the mother of his child in the delivery room for two reasons - one, once he'd recovered from a fainting spell, he was insistent that no kid of his was coming into the world without a father, and two, in a rare case where it's the bride herself who's insistent rather than any relatives, Mara "described what would happen to Shipwreck if they didn't get married in very graphic detail".
  • My Father's Son: Near the end of the story, Viserys has an affair with Talisa and gets her pregnant. In response, Rhaegar forces Viserys to marry her in order to avoid a scandal, over Viserys' firm objection. The sequel, which picks up a few years later, makes it clear that they're both miserable with the arrangement.
  • While it is never explicit in the show, fan interpretation of the relatively compressed timeline of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic sometimes comes to the conclusion that this was the case between Shining Armor and Cadence at the end of season 2. It explains how Flurry Heart is not much younger than the Cake twins, despite horse pregnancies taking a full year, but also why the wedding was such a rushed affair to begin with.
  • Queens of Mewni:
    • This was why Asteria was one of the youngest queens to be crowned: it was tradition for the heir to be crowned queen at her wedding and Asteria had to hasten her marriage to Orion because she conceived Etheria.
    • A persistent rumor was that Sideria's marriage to Patric, only two months after they announced their engagement, got turned into this. Sideria's previous reputation for promiscuity and the fact they announced she was expecting Celena only two weeks after the wedding do not help.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: In Climbing the Mountain 2, the first thing Brian does when he finds out that Caoimhe is pregnant is faint. The second thing he does is propose to her.
  • Son of the Sannin:
    • During the afterparty for the Chunin exams in chapter 31, Shizune announces that she's pregnant with Shisui's child and also reveals their engagement. The actual wedding is never shown as it happens during the Time Skip.
    • Kurenai was visibly pregnant with Mirai when she and Asuma married in chapter 65.
  • In The Test, Hisao proposes to his girlfriend Lilly a few days after she reveals she's pregnant.
  • A Thing of Vikings: When he catches them having sex, Clodgall forces Beorn to marry Lopsides and support the children he left her to raise on her own.
  • In the Gravity Falls/Fairy Tail Crossover Titania Falls, Erza Scarlet only married Alec Pines because he got her pregnant with Dipper and Mabel. They divorced twelve years later after his jealousy of Erza and the twins' ability to use magic became too much. That being said, it was unlikely the marriage would've lasted much longer anyway — Erza and Alec never really loved each other, only staying together for their children's sakes, and would've likely divorced from sheer incompatibility once Dipper and Mabel were fully grown. Once Jellal came into the picture, it would've only been a matter of time.
  • TRON-universe Fanon uses this to explain the very short period (less than 3 years) between the ending of the first film, Sam's birth, and Jordan Canas-Flynn's death, since that degree of careless behavior would be perfectly in character for Flynn Sr. prior to the coup.
  • What is a promise worth?: Daenerys Targaryen marries Theon Greyjoy after he gets her pregnant so that way her only child and heir won't be a bastard. It's noted that one of the reasons Daenerys started sleeping with him in the first place is because she thought she couldn't get pregnant. As such, she thought she didn't need the usual precautions.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Sixteen Candles: It is strongly implied that "missing her period" is the reason that the protagonist's sister Ginny is rushing to the altar with her beau, despite the two families having hilariously little in common. Of course, she gets her period on the day of the wedding.
  • Invoked in Animal House, when Clorette introduces Pinto to her father as "the boy who molested me last month", then adds "we have to get married".
  • The Five-Year Engagement: The first of many, many things that prevent Tom and Violet from getting married is Suzie and Alex hurriedly having their own wedding after Alex gets her pregnant following their one-night stand (at Tom and Violet's wedding reception, no less). Throughout the five years that the movie takes place, they still stay married and have even had a few more kids.
  • This is the main plot of Fools Rush In.
  • The Good Shepherd: Edward (Matt Damon) gets Clover (Angelina Jolie) pregnant the first time they have sex which is also the night of the day they meet. Her brother tells him "I know you will do as expected". He does, despite being in love with another woman. He then leaves a week after the wedding for six years to fight in World War II and after returning, becomes a workaholic in the newly established CIA, rarely seeing her. The marriage ends in divorce.
    • The child wasn't even his- she was a flighty socialite who got pregnant and she and her brother cooked up the scheme to have his nerdy friend sleep with her and then take the fall.
  • The Graduate: Mrs. Robinson says this is why she entered her loveless marriage.
  • Pretty heavily implied to be the reason Ruth and Bob married in She-Devil. Twist in that it was his parents that insisted.
  • Somebody I Used to Know: Modern variation. Sean and Cassidy got engaged because she had a Pregnancy Scare, and continued with the plan after she found out she wasn't pregnant. The impulsiveness of the decision is weighing on her. Still, they end up happily married.
  • The Switch ends with Cassie and Wally Happily Married after Wally is revealed to be the donor for Cassie's pregnancy.
  • Narrowly averted in Unwed Mother. Grifter Don impregnates Betty before being imprisoned for robbing a theater. When he's told that he'll be let out on probation if he marries Betty, he eagerly accepts. However, Betty quickly realizes that Don never really loved her and rejects him, and he is sent back to jail.
  • In Up the Down Staircase one of the Inner City School students couldn't finish his book and write a book report because he was getting married. He had gotten a girl pregnant and, being Catholic, married her despite not even liking her.

  • Subverted in an Evil Lawyer Joke - the lawyer wants to do the proper thing and marry the girl he knocked up, but she rebuffs him. Of course, he asks her for an explanation, and she answers that she had a talk with her parents and they agreed that they'd rather have a bastard in the family than a lawyer.

  • In Patricia C. Wrede's Thirteenth Child, Eff later deduces why her sister Rennie had eloped just before her sister Diana's wedding, despite all the distress around — because she worked out when Rennie's first child was born.
  • In 1634: The Baltic War, Eddie Cantrell (USE native) has fallen in love with Anne Cathrine, the King of Denmark's daughter. They have several days of mutually pleasurable sexual relations. He is terrified when he is re-captured and read a long list of charges for his sexual relations with her. However, he is overjoyed when he finds this trope applies, because she also loves him, and, in fact, the "shotgun wedding" was the desired outcome from Anne, the King, the King's sons, and pretty much the entire Danish royal family.
  • As I Lay Dying has this idea Played With. Dewey Dell is faced with this prospect, due to being a 17-year-old girl in the Great Depression, and 17 years old. She spends the entire journey attempting to find an abortion doctor, but the majority of them tell her to go home and marry the boy who impregnated her or, in the case of MacGowan, tried to rape her. However, due to the Unreliable Narrator theme of the story, it is debatable if Dewey Dell is even pregnant to begin with, due to growing up in the South during the Great Depression, being mostly ignored by her siblings and parents, and naive and immature. If true, this would count as Truth in Television, as women who grow up with low nutritional standards tend to skip their menstrual cycles, but still get all the symptoms of a period, which is already similar to a pregnancy.
  • An episode in the Icelandic Book Of Settlements: Spending a winter in the house of Leidolf of Skogarhverfi, Uni Gardarson falls in love with Leidolf's daughter Thorunn, and "by spring she was carrying a child". Uni and his companions try to leave secretly, but Leidolf catches them and fights them until several of Uni's companions are dead and Uni agrees to go back with Leidolf, "because Leidolf wanted him to marry the girl, settle down there and take the inheritance after him". Uni tries to run away a second time; Leidolf again overtakes them and, now extremely angry, kills Uni and all his companions.
  • Inverted in what we hear about Josiah's and Eliza's courtship in The Comfortable Courtesan — Eliza's father didn't think that Josiah was rich enough for his daughter, so the two of them deliberately anticipated the wedding and got her knocked up to force him to give his consent and avoid a scandal.
  • Earth's Children: This situation occurs in The Shelters of Stone (though as it's set in the Ice Age, shotguns haven't yet been invented). A teenage boy named Peridal and his mother are reluctant for him to mate his girlfriend Janida because he's so young (nearly fourteen years old), and his mother thinks Janida is an unsuitable mate because she didn't wait to have sex (even though Peridal had talked her into it). However, both Janida, her mother and the zelandonia (their society's religious organisation) have put pressure on him to mate her and help provide for her coming child, seeing as he's partially responsible for the situation.
  • Mentioned in Earth (The Book). At first, the book goes into the details of how a human male proposes to a human female (usually on a big screen during a major sporting event), then it mentions that, in a rare case of a woman proposing to a man, she pees on a stick and shows it to him.
  • Amusingly inverted in Empire of Ivory: Captain Thomas Reily, upon discovering he has got a woman of reasonably good family with child, promptly tried to insist on 'Making Things Right', being an Officer and a Gentleman from the Napoleonic-Era Royal Navy and all. Captain Catherine Harcourt (Aerial Corps), for her part, turned the initial offer down flat and only consented after getting fed a sob story about entailed properties leaving the guy's nieces impoverished without a close male right-born heir to inherit. Of course Reily's original expectation that Harcourt would resign her commission and abandon Lily probably did not help.
  • Variant: Flashman didn't impregnate his wife-to-be, but he did take her virginity. This being Victorian England Scotland, that was more than enough.
    • Could be an example of both, as her uncle threatened Flashman with a duel, then proposed whipping him down the high street if he refused, which would have meant Harry's total social disgrace.
  • Ambiguous example in Harry Potter: Tonks and Lupin have a Relationship Upgrade around June (apparently after drawn-out romantic tension off-screen), get married rather suddenly in July and have a son in April. That might be too early to even realize if Tonks was pregnant, but it was either this or Teddy must have been conceived on their wedding night. Didn't matter too much in the end, both Tonks and Lupin died before Teddy was even one year old.
  • Jude Fawley in Jude the Obscure marries the girl he didn't knock up but thought he did. He later divorces her. And then he marries her again because he'd promised (possibly - she'd got him to be very drunk.)
  • The novel Kéraban le têtu by Jules Verne also has something like this: Kéraban marries a girl just to pacify his family, thinking that the marriage would be invalid anyway since he already has a wife.
  • KonoSuba: Discussed in Novel 12 when Megumin and Kazuma are hashing out details of their "more than friends, less than lovers" Relationship Upgrade. When they realise that Megumin wanted to go out on a date while Kazuma wanted to go straight to baby-making, a flustered Megumin admits that them getting caught up in their passions and doing something stupid, and then having to get married after (i.e. Kazuma getting her pregnant) definitely sounds like the kind of thing they'd do. Most notably, Megumin implies she isn't against such a scenario, but she'd rather take things a bit slower.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Lords and Ladies, in the Back Story, part of the reason Nanny Ogg was nervous at her first wedding was that there was a chance Jason (her eldest) might be a guest.
  • Subverted in The Masterharper of Pern, Robinton impregnates Silvina and offers to espouse her. She turns him down.
  • Charles Stross's The Merchant Princes Series: A man in the Gruinmarkt who rapes a widow or a wife will hang. However, a man who rapes a virgin (meaning a never-married woman), and who can then pay the bride price to her father, is instead required to marry the woman. The woman has no say in this, which becomes relevant to one plot where someone sends a hired rapist after Olga as part of The Plan.
  • Alan from Naked Came the Stranger lost his virginity to Gerda, a girl who helped him through medical school. The condom failed, and they were married ten weeks into the resulting pregnancy. Alan performs illegal abortions partly to save other men from the same fate.
  • A modern implied variant in One Day where Dex and Sylvie only really seem to get married because she is pregnant.
  • In Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike the protagonist Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom considers his college-age son Nelson's marriage to a pregnant girlfriend a shotgun wedding, though it isn't literally one. It's also strongly implied that Harry married his wife Janice only because she was pregnant with Nelson.
  • In Stephen King's novella, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption Red did that, then killed his wife; that's why he was imprisoned.
  • The Maeve Binchy book Silver Wedding was about the life of a couple whose 25th anniversary was approaching. Flashbacks to their younger days revealed that everyone assumed their wedding was one of these, given that they had not been dating long and the ceremony was very rapidly planned and carried out. However, the trope appeared to be averted when the woman did not give birth 9 months after the wedding, and their behavior was attributed to simply being madly in love and wanting to marry as soon as possible. Until a family friend recalled trying to visit the couple shortly after their wedding and being turned away because the wife wasn't feeling well. She suddenly realizes that the woman must have miscarried, meaning that the trope was played straight after all.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Robb Stark ends up sleeping with Jeyne Westerling in a moment of weakness. Because she is the daughter of a minor noble, and in Westerosi culture, a girl who is not a virgin is considered unmarriable, he marries her to preserve her honour. Problem is, he's already betrothed to another woman, and this decision ends up being his Tragic Mistake.
    • Inverted in one case for the Targaryens. King Aegon V married his wife out of love (no one objected since he was really far down the line of succession at the time), but he arranged marriages for all of his children who would have preferred to emulate their parents in this area. His second son Jaehaerys and older daughter Shaera were in love with each other despite being promised to others. They forced a priest to marry them and consummated the marriage that night. Their father was not happy with this but had to accept it as his daughter would otherwise be Defiled Forever.
  • In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Francie is aware that one of the women who throws stones at unwed mother Johanna gave birth three months after her wedding. She saw the wedding party head for the church with the bride's father holding tight to the groom's arm. She figures that Johanna's problem was not having any male relatives who could force the boy to marry her. The omniscient narrator reveals that the boy did want to marry Johanna, but his parents told him not to.
  • This is what happened to Anatole in War and Peace: While travelling, he had something going on with a Polish farmer girl, which her father found out about, and there went his freedom. Well, technically anyways.
  • World War: This is the reason why Barabara Larssen and Sam Yeager stay married when she found out her husband wasn't actually dead.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Absolutely Fabulous, Saffy's father pretty much admits this was why he married Eddie. He later turned out to be gay.
  • The Big Bang Theory had this in an Imagine Spot. Penny sees herself marrying Leonard and when asked "do you take this man" responds "it's too late to say no so..." with The Reveal that she's heavily pregnant. Once the daydream is over, she muses she has to stop at the drugstore.
    • This is apparently relatively common in her family, when she and Leonard actually do get engaged she mentions that not being pregnant is a first for her family.
    • The Spin-Off Young Sheldon confirms that this is why George and Mary Cooper got married. While their marriage worked out fine for the most part, Mary has a lot of resentment over the circumstances and the parent show confirms that their marriage ultimately takes a turn for the worst, resulting in George having an affair.
  • Subverted in Bones. In Booth's Backstory, he tried to do this with the girl he got pregnant but she turned him down.
  • Bosch: In season 3, recently divorced Chief of Police Irvin Irving becomes attracted to Jun Park, a Korean translator and trauma counselor, after he meets her while she's consoling the family of the Koreatown Killer's latest victim. By the end of the season, they're in a relationship, but they don't tie the knot until season 6, shortly after Jun finds out she's pregnant.
  • In The Carol Burnett Show "Family" sketch "The Flashback" Eunice reveals to her mother that this was the reason she and her doofus husband Ed got married.
    Eunice: Just tell her what happened that night she drove me out of my own home and into your arms ... just tell her what happened that night, when I went with you, and then later on we had to get married.
    Mama: I get your drift Eunice. Welcome to the club.
  • On Cheers, this is why Carla married Nick...and Eddie. In the final season, Carla's daughter ends up marrying her ex-cop boyfriend for the same reason. It's also revealed this is why Norm and Vera got married, but she was lying and didn't tell him the truth until afterward.
  • Occurs in an episode of The Cosby Show when Denise plans a bridal shower for a girlfriend. Unusually, it turns out that the couple deliberately invoked this on themselves—they wanted to marry, but their parents were insisting that they finish college first. They didn't want to wait and decided that getting pregnant would be the best way to quickly get their permission.
  • Subverted in CSI: NY. Danny gets Lindsay pregnant and offers to marry her. She declines, stating that she won't marry him yet because 1. she wants to marry him for the right reason and 2. being wheeled up the aisle looks spectacularly bad.
    • Double-subverted when he takes her to the city clerk's office for a surprise wedding and she accepts there.
  • Danger: UXB. One of the sappers marries a Really Gets Around girl when he gets her pregnant. Unfortunately an earlier occasion involves a couple who hadn't had time to get married; when the sapper is killed she's stuck with pregnancy and has no chance of getting government benefits to support herself.
  • Daredevil (2015): Although Sister Maggie didn't marry Jack Murdock like in the comics, she did leave the church to be with him as soon as she became pregnant with Matt.
  • This, as it turns out, is why Frank and Marie Barone got married in the backstory of Everybody Loves Raymond. When Robert found out, it became another point of contention against his younger brother Ray: "You were conceived legitimately. You win again."
  • Frasier: Martin eventually admits that the first time he proposed to Hester she turned him down and only changed her mind when she discovered she was pregnant with Frasier. As she and Martin were together until her death they were clearly happy about the situation, but Martin does laugh at the memory of her "waddling down the aisle" because she was so far along. Frasier's main concern is that this means he's a year older than he thought he was, but Martin assures him that his birthdate is correct and the wedding date was fudged so nobody would notice.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: In "Mama's Baby, Carlton's Maybe", Carlton tries to have one with Cindy, his old flame who left him childless but came back after having a baby which Carlton swears up and down is his. Seriously, the chapel they attend has all the efficiency of a short-order restaurant, complete with a "Now Serving" counter! It gets called off when she tells her parents what she's doing, and they, having kicked her out for having a baby, take her back before she can get married. It then turns out Carlton never slept with her and knew all along it wasn't his kid because he was afraid to admit two things - one, she'd moved on after dumping him and even slept with someone else while Carlton's always been in love with her, and he's an ambitious virgin determined to turn in his V-card... but still hasn't done so.
  • Friends: Subverted with Ross and Rachel, who refuse to get married after Rachel got pregnant with Emma. However, since they got back together in the Series Finale, this trope was finally played straight.
    • In one episode, Rachel meets Joey's sister Dina, who, like Rachel, got pregnant while unmarried. When Joey finds out, he kidnaps the guy who knocked up his sister and tries to marry them.
  • Defied in Gilmore Girls when Lorelai refuses to marry Christopher after getting pregnant with Rory, despite the insistence of both their parents. It becomes a recurring argument between Lorelai and her parents well into Rory's young adulthood.
    • Played straight when Christopher marries Sherry, though it doesn't last.
    • Subverted in the "A Year in the Life" when Rory leaves Logan (who is engaged to another woman) after finding out that she is pregnant.
  • The Golden Girls had this happen to Dorothy in her Backstory - she got pregnant in high school after a fling with her yutz of a boyfriend Stan, which led to an Awful Wedded Life until he cheated on her and they divorced. The pilot had this exchange between her and Rose:
    Rose: You had a blowgun wedding!?!
    Dorothy: If you live in the Amazon, Rose. In Queens, it's called shotgun.
  • Averted in the Backstory to Grounded for Life: it's revealed that the parents got married only after the birth of their first child, apparently to make the point that they didn't have to marry.
  • Played with on Happy Days: When Chachi asks for Mrs. Cunningham's permission to ask Joanie to marry him, he says "I have to marry her.' Mrs. C freaks out, taking "have to" in the traditional way; but Chachi explains he "has to" because he loves her so much.
  • In the third season finale of Happy Endings, Jane and Alex's older sister Brooke (who had never been seen before this episode) is getting married, and everyone remarks on how soon it is. While it seems clear that Elliot and Brooke do actually love each other, it comes out at the wedding that Brooke is pregnant, and wanted to get married before that was obvious. She even refers to it as 'my shotgun wedding.'
  • Hell on Wheels: In season 3, Cullen Bohannon has sex with a Mormon girl while visiting their family, whose property is an obstacle to the railroad project. Toward the end of the season, Cullen is kidnapped by the Mormon settlers and finds that the girl is pregnant. Her father, who initially wanted to hang Bohannon as revenge for hanging his oldest son (legitimately; the boy shot the Sheriff), agrees to forego such punishment when Bohannon does the honorable thing by converting and marrying her.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: in a flashback to Hal and Lois's wedding, it's revealed that Lois went into labour during the ceremony and refused to let Hal take her to the hospital until the vows had been said, insisting that she would not allow her child to be born out of wedlock.
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Played for drama in season 2. Midge's coworker Mary is getting married and wants Midge to help out with the wedding plans. During the reception, Midge makes a toast that starts with light jabs but becomes getting incredibly uncomfortable as Midge makes tone-deaf jokes about sex and the Catholic priest to a group of Catholics, and then jokes that it must be a shotgun wedding given the quick turnaround from Mary's engagement to her wedding...only to realize mid-sentence, that's exactly what it is.
  • On My Name Is Earl, Earl recalls how he (then about 12-14 years old) had a crush on his babysitter, but she had a boyfriend closer to her own age. Earl was jealous, and while the two of them had sex, he went through the boyfriend's pants pocket and found his wallet. Earl was just going to take money out, but found a condom and poked holes in it instead. As per the Law of Inverse Fertility, the babysitter became pregnant. She married her boyfriend and gave birth right at the wedding reception. They are still together some 20 years later, and Earl decides that the way to make up for what he did is to help their Manchild son grow up and get his act together.
  • The Backstory to One Tree Hill: after impregnating first Karen and then Deb, Dan married the latter.
  • Played with on Parks and Recreation: Ann is trying to get pregnant, and eventually does with Chris as the father of the baby. The two of them consider getting married and go to a jewelry store to look at rings. The store owner assumes it's a shotgun wedding, which they deny, though they Lampshade it by noting that their situation has all the characteristics of a shotgun wedding. They end up not going through with it, though they do move in together, raise their child together, and eventually have another.
    • Somewhat similarly, once Diane reveals she's pregnant Ron decides to move the proposal to right then and there (he planned on doing that on a canoe trip and built a canoe for that explicit purpose). The wedding that follows may or may not have been equally as fast either way, but they decide to get married that exact hour with absolutely zero ceremony other than what Leslie could improvise in about two literal minutes; being in a government building, the whole affair is done in about five minutes, or one Cold Open. This is less because it's unwanted and more because Diane and Ron just stopped caring about actual weddings, if they ever did.
  • Averted in the pilot of Providence, where the main character is called back home to Rhode Island to attend her pregnant sister's wedding. But the wedding doesn't happen because the mom dies instead. And then comes back as a ghost to hold conversations with Sydney. However, this happens to the younger sister for a second time with another boyfriend, only for a series of calamities to interrupt each time, capped off with her having a Convenient Miscarriage when they decide to elope.
  • The Punisher (2017): Frank Castle married Maria because he knocked her up and she didn’t want to get an abortion.
  • On Raising Hope Burt purposely got his high-school girlfriend Virginia pregnant, so that she would stay with him. They got married down at the courthouse, and though they are Happily Married, Virginia sometimes wishes she could have had the fairytale wedding (complete with Princess Diana's iconic dress) that she dreamed about since she was a little girl. To make her happy, Burt "steals" her Jerkass cousin Delilah's wedding for her (they repeat their vows quietly during the ceremony, and do the cake cutting from the back of Delilah's cake), and in the Series Finale, Virginia finally gets her dream wedding, courtesy of her father.
    • In an earlier episode, Lucy forces Jimmy into one of these, while she is in Prison.
  • Roseanne:
    • Inverted—Darlene proposes to her boyfriend David and only tells him she's pregnant after he says yes.
    • In one episode, it comes out that Bev was already pregnant with Roseanne when she got married; she and Roseanne's father had always lied about their anniversary, and Bev was hurt and ashamed when the truth came out.
    • While never directly stated, it's heavily implied that Roseanne herself was pregnant with Becky when she married Dan, hence why they tied the knot at 18. This would also explain why she often urges her children to get out and see the world and not be trapped in rural Illinois like she was.
    • During Darlene's wedding, someone quips that shotgun weddings have become something of a family tradition.
  • A somewhat unusual example in The Secret Life of the American Teenager: Ben and Amy, who get married with fake IDs, even though Ben isn't the father of the baby and no one thinks they have to get married. Of course, since it was with fake IDs, the marriage is invalid. A more typical example is used with Ben and Adrian, though neither felt "forced" into it... at the time.
  • The West Wing: A downplayed example with Jed Bartlet's daughter Ellie who agrees to a big White House wedding, even though she's always been a Shrinking Violet who avoided the media, because she's already pregnant and this will help avoid any scandals about the timing. Just before the wedding, Jed sits the groom down and asks if he only proposed because Ellie was pregnant. The groom reveals he'd been planning to propose for a year, the pregnancy just sped things up.
  • In The Wire, this is part of Jimmy McNulty's backstory: he dropped out of college and married his girlfriend Elena when she got pregnant.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • In The Bible, if a man slept with a woman who was not betrothed to someone else, and someone found out, he legally was required to pay her father (or nearest male relative if her father was dead) the customary bride price and take her as his wife. He could not divorce her, no matter what. This also applied to some cases where the woman was raped, not seduced. This was to provide for any child they may have conceived (a very real possibility in an era with no condoms, Pill, diaphragms, etc.) and to protect the reputation of the woman's family (it also protected the woman, who would be considered Defiled Forever, ensuring that someone would be able to support her). This law bound only the man; the woman could refuse to marry him.
    • Not made clear in the Bible, but supported by documentation of the era: The "brideprice" belonged to the woman in case of her husband's death or divorce. Her father kept it for her, to keep it out of the hands of her in-laws. In this case, the brideprice was roughly five years' worth of a middle-class income, and, yes, she could still refuse to marry the man. The only situation when the father could spend the brideprice was if the woman was 'sold as a slave' and, in fact, that's what 'selling her as a slave' meant; the husband was then not allowed to divorce her, because she had no money or property to fall back upon. Earlier in the Bible, Rachel and Leah claim that their father Laban 'sold them into slavery' because he had consumed their brideprices (years of work done for him by their husband).
  • In the Iranian epic Shahnameh, prince Zaal falls in love with princess Rudabah and she becomes pregnant. Her father is understandably furious and declares war on Zaal's father. Zaal approaches the emperor and proves his worth to him, so the emperor orders both belligerents to stand down and celebrate the marriage. Zaal and Rudabah have a son named Rostam, who became one of the greatest Iranian heroes.

  • Alluded to in the country hit "I Don't Want To Have To Marry You", performed by Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius.
  • One Mint Julep- Whether it was sung by The Clovers, Ray Charles, Ray Ellington or the various other people that performed it (and inverted in the case of a woman singing the song), the song tells about how one mint julep lead to this, egged on by the girl's father!
  • The Dixie Chicks lampshaded the stereotypes of their people in their humorous song "White Trash Wedding," with the refrain "I shouldn't be wearin' white and you can't afford no ring" concluding with "Say 'I do' and kiss me quick, baby's on its way!"
  • Billy Idol's song "White Wedding" was reportedly written to show his displeasure at his sister for having married the man who impregnated her (although he denies this, saying it was the inspiration, but he wasn't upset). Ironically, the sister and her husband are still happily married, whereas Idol and his then-girlfriend (who starred with him as the "bride" in the video), broke up in 1990.
    Hey, little sister, what have you done?
    Hey, little sister, who's the only one? ...
    Hey, little sister, shotgun.
    It's a nice day to start again.
    It's a nice day for a white wedding.
  • The traditional Scottish folksong "The Royal Forester" is a pretty horrible one. The girl was raped, and when she reports it to the King, his ruling is "Now if he be a married man, then hanged he shall be/And if he be a single man, he shall marry thee". And then the final verse tells us "This couple they got married, they live in Huntly town/She's the Earl of Airdie's daughter, and he's the blacksmith's son". How to get ahead in society?
  • Bruce Springsteen's "The River": Then I got Mary pregnant, and man, that was all she wrote...
  • The Who's "A Legal Matter" is about a guy who refuses to do this.

  • In If/Then, after Liz tells Josh she's pregnant, he proposes to her, seeing it as a potential sign. Lucas does the same to Beth in the alternate timeline when he learns he got her pregnant, but she turns him down and ends up aborting the baby, a fact that distresses him greatly.
  • Kiss Me, Kate: Implied by the original lyrics to "I Hate Men", in which Katherine admits "Of course, I'm awfully glad that Mother had to marry Father, but I hate men". Bowdlerized for the movie.
  • Subverted with Mamma Mia! as Donna never tells Harry, Bill, or Sam that she is pregnant and her mother disowns her but doesn't force her to marry.
  • Sir Harry and Lady Larkin in Once Upon a Mattress want to get married before she starts showing (or so the song "In A Little While" implies). Of course, as no one can marry before the prince finds a bride, Hilarity Ensues.
  • In Vanities, Kathy's boyfriend Gary cheats on her and ends up impregnating and marrying that girl.
  • Frank does this himself in The Witch of Edmonton, marrying Winifred because she is pregnant, and he believes that he is the father. However, Sawyer implies that it might actually be Clarington who is the father...

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Defied in Baby Bump. After Clint learns about Jen's One-Night-Stand Pregnancy, he proposes to her in the driveway. She refuses for eight possible reasons, including "I am not having a shotgun wedding". That said, Jen can choose to romance Clint, which leads to their wedding at the end of the series.

  • A key component to the backstory of Alfie. Derik Tolman and Vera Brooker were friends of differing social classes who were *ahem* fooling around a bit (largely, at least where he was concerned, to figure out what the big deal was) before she set off on her journey to see the world. Vera returned to town about a year later with a babe in arms swearing he was the only possible father (and the kid's eyes were unmistakable even then), so he overrode his family's objections and did the Proper Thing. Bad News: Derik did find out what the big deal about sex was in the interim, with a fellow named Bernard. Worse News: Vera found out after the fact, The Hard Way. At the time the main story begins we have a bitter, frustrated middle-aged Deuteragonist trapped in a town she despises by a hollow sham of a marriage; while her 21-year-old daughter Alphanea (having never found out the details of her father's regular "fishing trips") has firmly internalized the idea that romantic commitment is a lie, a trap, or some combination thereof.
  • In Cheap Thrills, Bethany believes that her parents only got married because her dad got her mom pregnant, and one of her greatest fears is getting pregnant and winding up in a loveless marriage like theirs. Later, Erik decides that he should marry Pam after he gets her pregnant.
  • In the comic Critters Online, a monthly comic, Frieda McVixen finds out she is pregnant. Near the end of the storyline, her boyfriend, Fred 'WANTS'' to marry Frieda despite the fact it was stress that caused her false pregnancy.
  • In The Order of the Stick Kazumi and Daigo have Durkon officiate their wedding, even though they follow different pantheons because the alternative would be a paladin who would not look kindly at Kazumi already being eight weeks pregnant. On the other hand, Thor understands these things.
  • In Sabrina Online, this was Thomas's plan after he finds out that Amy is pregnant. He really does propose and they're looking forward to it, but forget to actually get married before she has the baby. They go through with it after the baby is born.
  • In Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal one little girl whose parents told her that only "loving, married couples can make babies" did some math.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Choices", a series of silent flashbacks show Nicole and Richard finding out that she's pregnant with their first child, having an Oh, Crap! moment, and then getting married. It's also made clear that even though Nicole and Richard each have their own flaws, they've genuinely loved each other since they were kids, and had already been living together for years.
  • BoJack Horseman: The titular horse was conceived when young socialite Beatrice Sugarman ditched her debutante party to have a one-night stand with aspiring novelist, working-class Butterscotch Horseman. While she was quite content to let it just be one night of fun, and she really started to hit it off well with the man her father wanted her to marry for good business, she unfortunately discovers she is pregnant. Given that this happens in 1963, she and Butterscotch decide to get married and run away to California when she decides she doesn't want to get an abortion. Both she and Butterscotch come to spend every day of their lives regretting this decision, both resenting each other and their son, and it ultimately leads to them raising BoJack to become the messed up individual he is today.
    • When she was younger, Princess Carolyn almost entered one when she got knocked up by the son of a wealthy family that she and her mother worked for. It didn't go through since she miscarried.
  • Played with in the Canadian cartoon Kevin Spencer when the title character's parents voluntarily decide to get married after Kevin is conceived, mostly to get additional welfare benefits. This doesn't stop them from cheating on each other throughout their marriage.
  • Rick and Morty: Jerry and Beth got married after conceiving Summer when they were in high school. In an alternate timeline where Beth got an abortion, they were never married but then ended up getting together years later. This is the biggest reason Beth's father Rick hates Jerry: he views Jerry as having manipulated Beth's pity to pressure her into a marriage that ruined her life.
  • In The Simpsons, Homer and Marge (who was in a very pregnant state) were married in a chapel named "Shotgun Pete's".
  • Wakfu: Strangely, Saldygrove and Evangelyne's marriage was delayed several years by the latter announcing she was pregnant, as it was one of numerous things that interrupted the former's attempts at proposing.

Involving both:

    Comic Books 
  • In one story in the 2007 revival of Tales from the Crypt, a traveling salesman woos a southern lady who he believes to be an heiress, only to dump her when he discovers that her family lives in a trailer park. The girl's grandmother, furious that he used her granddaughter and abandoned her while she was pregnant, lures him back and gets the rest of the family to force him to marry her. The twist is that the man died just prior to the wedding and the grandmother used magic to keep him alive. As he goes to confront her, we get all sorts of fun descriptions of what happens to his body as it rots. Oh, and it's fine because the girl drowned herself in the lake, so he gets to marry her zombified corpse.

  • In The Stainless Steel Rat series the protagonist's fiancee threatens him with a Hand Cannon — while on her last trimester. A bit of explanation: Angelina was a homicidal sociopath whom Jim tracked down and caught. She was then "re-socialized", her sociopathic tendencies were removed, and Jim started dating her. However, get her agitated enough, and they resurface. Plus all the hormones that go with being pregnant (with twins). Of course, both of them are criminals, so as soon as their names are entered into the database, they have to run as every single cop on their planet is after them. Hmm, maybe they should have waited after all.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Hill Street Blues has one of each type (kinda) in a single episode. Andy Renko spends most of the episode angsting about the fact that his girlfriend -who he hadn't been seeing all that long- has just found out she's pregnant, which neither of them is really dealing with too well, especially because she's given him an ultimatum; if he can't or won't take her as his wife, she's having an abortion. He's still chewing on that when he ends up responding to a shots-fired call to the headquarters of Los Diabolos, the gang led by Captain Furillo's Friendly Enemy Jesus Martinez. The perpetrator turns out to be Martinez's heavily pregnant girlfriend, who would like him to quit procrastinating about fulfilling his promise to offer her honourable marriage. The judge who's supposed to be trying her for a firearms offence ends up conducting a civil wedding in his office... with Renko loaning Martinez a ring for the purpose! You might well ask if this is really the basis for a stable and happy relationship, but the next time Jesus shows up at Hill Street Station, he's resigned from the gang, enrolled in night school, and is making an honest effort to go straight.

  • The video for the Georgia Satellites' "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" concludes with a shot of the lead singer marrying a very pregnant woman at gunpoint.
  • The Russell Crowe/Great Big Sea song "Hit the Ground and Run" is all about this trope, complete with a stereotypical hillbilly family and a drunken one-night stand.
  • The Wurzels' song "Twice Daily" is all about this, with the narrator marrying his pregnant girlfriend after her shotgun-wielding father tells him to do so. In a rather sweet twist on the genre, the final chorus reveals that they had several more children and remain happily married (and sexually active) in their old age.

    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in King of the Hill. The men in Lucky's family line make a vow to themselves that they won't marry unless they get a high school degree, so Lucky asks Peggy to tutor him. Seeing a perfect way to sink their relationship, Peggy purposefully teaches him the wrong answers to the exam to ensure his failure. Her plan succeeds, only for her to have a change of heart when she finds out Luanne is pregnant. Despite knowing that he was tricked, Lucky still believes himself unworthy to marry Luanne. This prompts Hank to wonder how Lucky could even be born if none of his ancestors ever actually got a degree. Lucky responds that they were all shotgun weddings, which they then use as an excuse to have Lucky propose to Luanne (though Hank insists that the gun remain unloaded, with the safety on).
    • In another episode, an Escalating War between Bobby and Luanne leads to Luanne convincing Bobby that he got her pregnant when he messed with her birth control pills; Hank (who's in on the prank) tells Bobby he has to marry her. Hank and his friends then arrange a fake wedding for Bobby and Luanne...and then prank Luanne back by claiming that they accidentally got a real minister and what do you know, legally you can't get a divorce until at least a year after the wedding.

Other shotgun weddings:

    Anime & Manga 
  • An invoked example in A Bride's Story; Pariya won't be able to marry her fiance Umar until she completes her dowry needlework, something that could take years after her family's house is destroyed in an attack on the village, forcing her to start over. Umar is fine with waiting because he likes Pariya, but she's such an Insecure Love Interest that she keeps asking him if he's really sure. So to put her at ease, Umar grabs her and kisses her, then boldly declares he will take full responsibility for doing so- nobody witnesses him doing it, but it's such a shocking thing to do in their culture that if Pariya told anyone then he'd be forced to marry her, and he knows it. Basically, he's holding the shotgun to his own head to prove his commitment.
  • In the Studio Ghibli film The Cat Returns, Haru saves the life of the crown prince of the Cat Kingdom, Prince Lune, and the rest of the court decides to offer the prince's hand (paw?) in marriage... and it turns out they won't take no for an answer!
  • Miia's mother in Monster Musume tries to force Kimihito into one with her daughter so they can take him back to her village and become the communal husband.
  • The foundation of My Bride is a Mermaid. Since Sun broke the mermaid code of secrecy by rescuing a drowning Nagasumi, which is punishable by death (the human's or the mermaid's), Sun uses the loophole that there's no problem if he's family and gets informally engaged. Played like a traditional Shotgun Wedding at first, with Sun showing up and asking Nagasumi to "take responsibility for what happened..."
    • It nearly happens again later on, when a Not What It Looks Like moment causes Lunar's father to think that she and Nagasumi have been getting it on.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Negi has a Heroic BSoD after Nodoka confesses to him. He starts thinking "If this goes beyond just a confession, as a British gentleman, I'd have to take responsibility!" Cue Imagine Spot of their wedding.
  • When Ranma from Ranma ½ mistakenly believes that Akane has been turned into a duck, he's forced into marrying this duck by Akane's family. They proceed with the ceremony until the real Akane shows up, seconds before it was finalized.
    • They try again at the very end of the manga, although by then both sides were far more willing to let it happen. Then the Status Quo reasserted its divinity one last time.
  • Valvrave the Liberator has this suggested after Haruto loses control and, under extreme influence from the Valvrave, rapes Saki. He proposes marriage in order to "take responsibility" for what he did, a significant gesture considering his obvious feelings for Shoko. Saki turns him down, despite her own feelings for him.

    Comic Books 
  • Narrowly averted in one Archie comic (seen here): Betty's father finds out that she and Archie are at a motel together, and walks in on them when Betty is wearing nothing but a blanket. It was actually an example of Hanging Our Clothes to Dry, but Betty's father was more than willing to drag them off to a wedding chapel before it gets straightened out.
  • The Avengers: The Eternals visit the Avengers, and Sersi tells Ikaris not to threaten the Black Knight because she wants him to be her "Gann Josin". Meaning, her husband under Eternal laws, and that includes a permanent telepathic link between them, so both share the other's thoughts as in a single mind. Angered by his discussion with the Avengers, Ikaris turns the Black Knight into Sersi's Gann Josin right away. And the Black Knight? Fine, thanks for asking. Nobody ever asked him if he wanted that, and he certainly didn't.

    Fan Works 
  • A variation of this trope is found in the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Papa Smurf & Mama Smurfette", in that Papa Smurf forces his little Smurfs to marry him to Smurfette under the threat of being exiled from the Smurf Village.
    Papa Smurf: May I remind every single one of you, including Empath, that I am still the leader of the Smurf Village, and that what I say still goes for every Smurf to obey. If any of you wish to smurf otherwise, Polaris Psyche will make smurftain that you will not forget your place in the Smurf Village, and any further violations will have you forever smurfed from the Smurf Village.
  • This and Arranged Marriage, occurs in Kiryuuin Chronicles with Ragyou's marriage to her abusive husband, while she was pregnant (by someone else) with Satsuki, which would make this a "cover up the shame" marriage.
  • Another variation occurs in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fic No Nose Knows. Baked Bean accidentally bumps noses with Princess Celestia, triggering a curse she placed on herself millennia ago for political reasons and forgot to undo afterwards:
    Luna: ...we are gathered here on this fantastically fabulous Friday to join this earth stallion and this Alicorn princess together in the bonds of matrimony because my forgetful sister didn.t listen to me, the younger, more beautiful, and more beloved Princess of the Night and she forgot to repeal her own silly law.
    Luna: All right, here we go. Baked Bean, do you take this mare to be your lawfully wedded wife, even though you really don't have a say in the matter?
    Baked Bean: I guess I do.
    Luna: Smart move. Celestia, Princess of the Sun, do you take this stallion to be your lawfully wedded husband since you got all nosey with him?
    Celestia: (darkly) Loving every moment of this, aren't you? (Luna nods, smiling widely) Yes. I do.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Subverted in The Philadelphia Story. Mike tries to pull one of these, but Tracy turns him down.
  • Zelary: An unusual spin on this trope. Eliska is forced to marry Joza immediately, but not because she is pregnant. It's because she needs a place to hide from the Gestapo (this being occupied Czechoslovakia in 1943), and there is no other way that the citizens of Joza's village will accept her.

  • Played With in 1632. Alex Mackay and Julie Sims were planning on getting married anyway, but then Alex gets Julie pregnant. They themselves seemed unsure of what to do, but fortunately Gustavus Adolphus (king of Sweden) steps in, declares that he won't tolerate bastardy among his officers, and personally marches them down to the local bridal shop. Neither of them are particularly inclined to argue with him.
  • Played With in Dead West. Arabell of Atholl and Niall MacArkill were previously engaged, but the Atholl family broke off the engagement in favour of the duke of Kensington. Arabell decided to choose love, and took off to Africa, alone, successfully finding his previous groom. To reduce the scandal, they got married, although Niall explicitly wasn't in love with the duchess at first, only had a healthy amount of respect towards her. Unique in the sense that they have to make up a story about a traditional elopement, with Niall snatching his bride with the help of his knight and a gardedame, and them traveling to Africa together, to colour the scandal more favourable for the aristocrats. It concluded with a Perfectly Arranged Marriage and Babies Ever After.
  • Harry Flashman is forced to wed Elspeth by her uncle after the dimwitted young Scotswoman blabs to her sister about what she and "dear Mr. Flashman" have been up to. To his credit, the otherwise complete cad Flashman does develop an unusual fondness for her, even before the wedding. Flashman is not the only person who wonders if Elspeth is as dumb as she looks. Maybe she leapt at her chance to catch a handsome young officer and escape from Paisley and her ghastly father? Though Elspeth's relative who came to tell Flashman to do his duty did threaten him with being a marvelous duelist.
  • Heralds of Valdemar:
    • Averted in Owlsight, when Darian muses that none of his Hawkbrother "relatives" would care what he gets up to with a new friend at a unisex hot spring because they're both of age. In his home village, even if nothing went on the girl's male relatives would be hunting him down while her mother organized the wedding.
    • Played with at the end of Oathbreakers. Tarma bribes Stefansen and Roald into forcing Leslac into a swordpoint marriage to a somewhat ditzy Valdemaran noblewoman. Tarma wins because she won't have an idiot bard trying to romance her any longer, the noblewoman wins because she won't be a target for fortune hunters any longer, Roald wins because he won't have to keep chasing off said fortune hunters, and Stefansen just sees a chance to do a favor for one of the women who saved his throne. Whether Leslac gets a win-condition out of this is left up to the reader.
  • In Honor's Paradox, book six of the Chronicles of the Kencyrath series by P.C. Hodgell, Jame and Prid are pretty much forced to marry — at least, in the "given no choice and no time to consider" kind of sense. It's not due to pregnancy (they're both women, after all).
  • One of the Jeeves and Wooster books (it was also dramatized in the TV series of the same name) had Bertie and Pauline Stoker, who was engaged to friend Chuffy, spending a night in an inn. There was no sex, and Bertie even slept in the car. However, when her father found out, he assumed that there had been sex, and decided to kidnap Bertie for a Shotgun Wedding. As always, Jeeves found a way out.
    • Stuff like this happens a lot in the Jeeves and Wooster stories. In one, Bertie plans to get out of yet another accidental engagement by pretending to be already engaged and hiring a woman to pose as his fiancee. After the first problem is taken care of the fake fiancee turns around and threatens to sue him for Breach of Promise if he doesn't marry her because that's what he just said he would do in front of witnesses. Of course it just turns out to be a scam, as she and her sleazy uncle would be "willing" to settle out of court for a few thousand pounds, just to save him the embarrassment of a trial.
  • In The King's Deryni, Princess Xenia Haldane is caught having sex with a Torenthi diplomat during Twelfth Night celebrations in Rhemuth. After Xenia is questioned and physically examined, it is decided the pair must wed. Her uncle Duke Richard tells young Alaric Morgan that her mother the queen insisted Xenia must either marry the man or take the veil (become a nun), and that Xenia chose to marry. Due to her rank, there's a large dose of Defiled Forever in this outcome; Richard says, "For royal women, there are rarely other choices."
  • In The Mill on the Floss Stephan George tries to force Maggie Tulliver to marry him by taking her against her will on an overnight boat trip. She refuses because he is engaged to her cousin, who would be crushed. Though nothing happens, Maggie's reputation is ruined. She bitterly realises that everybody would have been fine with it if she had just betrayed her cousin.
  • In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, George Wickham is forced to marry Lydia Bennet after living with her unchaperoned for two weeks. The "shotgun" in this case takes the form of a substantial bribe on the part of Wickham's Arch-Enemy Mr. Darcy, for the sake of making Lydia's sister happy. It wasn't all carrot, though; that bribe was to pay off Wickham's many debts, so it's likely that if he had tried to refuse, he would have faced a magistrate.
  • In The Soldier Son Epiny deliberately runs away in the night with Spink to force her parents' hand.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: In A Storm of Swords King Robb Stark having heard that his brothers Rickon and Bran are dead seeks comfort in his nurse Jeyne Westerling. As she is a lord's daughter and he took her maidenhead he feels obligated to marry her. Even though the two like each other, this has disastrous consequences.
  • In Warriors, Crowfeather must get his Clan to trust him again after he had a romance with a cat from a rival Clan. His solution? Sleep with a random she-cat (Nightcloud) and get a bunch of pureblood kits, of course! Fans have nicknamed this ship...Shotgunshipping.
  • A variation in A.B. Guthrie's The Way West: a married man who seduces a single girl subsequently pressures her to marry another man and pretend the baby is his. She does marry, but not until she has told the prospective groom everything and made sure he's OK with it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Farscape: in the three-part story "Look At The Princess" Crichton is forced to marry princess Katralla because he's the only man on the planet who's genetically compatiblenote , and for the princess to become the queen she must be able to produce an heir to the throne. He gets out of it by allowing them to use his DNA to artificially impregnate Katralla and then suggesting that they simply tell the people that the man she's really in love with is John Crichton since no one but the royal family knows who Crichton is anyway.
  • Father Brown: In "The Two Deaths of Hercule Flambeau", after being caught seducing the daughter of the head of Unione Corse, Flambeau says 'shotgun wedding' would be an understatement to describe the circumstances of his marriage. There may have been actual guns involved, but he does not elaborate further.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Barney once tried to marry Ted and his Girl of the Week (who is later revealed to be Barney's half-sister) after finding out about their one-night stand.
  • In From the Cold: Name-dropped by Chauncey explicitly when Jenny tells him she only married her ex-husband due to getting pregnant with Becca, though it wasn't a literal example.
  • Lexx, "White Trash": a hillbilly cannibal catches Stan in bed with his daughter, and presides over an immediate shotgun bone-that-he-clubs-people-to-death-with wedding.
  • In the British sitcom On the Buses, a flashback episode shows how Olive and Arthur met and got married. Arthur was a lodger at the house and one night after using the toilet, he took a wrong turn and accidentally climbed into bed with Olive. Her mother and brother caught him when Olive screamed and, thinking Arthur was trying something, demanded he marry her. It explains a lot, since Arthur can't stand his wife.
  • JAG: The trope is mentioned in "Wedding Bell Blues" by Bud’s father.
    Big Bud: Hey, this isn't a shotgun wedding, is it?
  • In one episode of the Canadian show The Red Green Show, as part of the Possum Lodge Word Game, Red tries to get explosives expert Edgar Montrose to guess the word "Fuse":
    Red: When you forcibly join two things together, that's...
    Edgar: A shotgun wedding! (laughs) It's kind of like an offer you can't refuse.
  • A literal version in Sisters, though the person with the gun is trying to prevent the ceremony rather than force it. Second-oldest sister Teddy isn't handling her ex-husband's plans to marry youngest sister Frankie well at all. To that end, she falls Off the Wagon and shows up at the ceremony drunk and toting the aforementioned weapon, declaring this a "shotgun wedding".

  • The Rolling Stones' "Dear Doctor" concerns a young man who's due to marry a "bow-legged sow" very much against his will. He's rescued when he finds a note from the would-be bride informing him that she's run away with someone else.
  • Panic! at the Disco. One of their songs, "Time to Dance", has these words literally in the song.
    Give me envy, give me malice, give me your attention
    Give me envy, give me malice, baby, give me a break
    When I say, "shotgun" you say, "wedding"
    "Shotgun," "wedding," "shotgun," "wedding"
  • The reggae classic "Sweet and Dandy" by Toots & The Maytals doesn't come right out and say that the wedding it depicts is a shotgun wedding, but the first two verses imply that the bride and groom might be marrying against their will (she cries, he mopes, their elders scold them).

    Video Games 
  • Early in Grandia, Feena is kidnapped by the leader of the Adventurer's Guild and is blackmailed into marrying her on the threat of being expelled from the guild. After Justin defeats Pakon's bodyguard and unties her during the wedding, she responds to his demands by resigning and going on adventures anyway, without guild sanction (something which, between Pakon's inept leadership weakening the guild and the game's adventures going to places far beyond the reach of the Adventurer's Guild anyway, means nothing).
  • Left 4 Dead 2: In The Passing, Nick may mention this if he manages to cr0wn the witch dressed up like a bride.
  • In Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, you can get the Princess Seraphine on your party if you choose to help her escape from her arranged marriage to a barbarian tribal leader. If you do so, then you later get a mission in which Seraphine is kidnapped by her father, and you have to take another mission to rescue her from being forced to go through with the marriage. A mission titled "Shotgun Wedding", to be precise.
  • The plot of Super Paper Mario is set off by one of these when Count Bleck kidnaps Princess Peach and forces her to marry Bowser. Of course, Bowser is immensely happy with this reversal of fortune, but considering that the union also triggers The End of the World as We Know It, no one else seems to be wishing them a happy honeymoon.


    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in the ChalkZone episode "My Big Fat Chalk Wedding"- Bobbie Sue, a six-year-old girl who appears to be from the south, develops a crush on Rudy after he helps her fix her art project, as they made it together "like a mommy and a daddy". When she gets to class, she starts drawing her ideal wedding to Rudy on the blackboard, drawing her, her parents, her brother, and the rest of her family. Before she can get to Rudy, her teacher comes in and erases the drawings into ChalkZone. Later, Rudy and Snap are in ChalkZone when chalk!Bobbie Sue and her family force Rudy into a shotgun wedding (without the shotgun) with Bobbie Sue because they made an art project together "like a mommy and a daddy". And her chalk!dad even asks Rudy "what his intentions were".
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Beezy has to be dragged to the altar with a ball and chain for his Arranged Marriage to the Weevil Princess, with Big Damn Heroes subverted twice. It turns out the Princess runs off with the weevil's greatest warrior at the last second.
  • Parodied on The Powerpuff Girls (1998), where Professor Utonium, through a series of misadventures, almost gets married to Fuzzy Lumpkins.
  • In one episode of The Real Ghostbusters, Egon in equal parts falls in love with and is forcibly charmed by a pretty Southern girl. When he kisses her (despite Slimer's warnings), he finds out that not only is she a ghost, but she has two very large hillbilly brothers who are determined to see a wedding between the two (it's a kid's show, so they catch them before the full seduction takes place).
  • The Tiny Toon Adventures direct-to-video How I Spent My Summer Vacation had a bit where Buster is being dragged to the altar by a trio of country-fried alligator girls who intend to have him for the wedding feast. Each of them wants him, and their father decides all three will get him. Buster protests "I can't marry all three of them, that's bigamy!" Daddy's response is: "No, that's big o' me!" Yeah, Buster uses the wrong term, but "polygamy" wouldn't have worked as well for a pun.


Video Example(s):


Homer Marries Marge

Appropriately, they got married in a place called Shotgun Pete's 24-Hour Wedding Chapel.

How well does it match the trope?

4.86 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShotgunWedding

Media sources: