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[sounds of fighting]
Prince Humperdink: [to the clergyman] Skip to the end.
[sounds of more fighting]
Prince Humperdink: Man and wife! Say man and wife!

The act of shortening a marriage ceremony due to outside circumstances.

This is when for some reason the actual ceremony has to be abbreviated or sped up, perhaps to thwart the Wedding Smashers by hitting the Wedding Deadline. It can be either for the benefit of the Heroic Official Couple, or a plot by the Big Bad involving an Arranged Marriage. Or perhaps one of the guys simply lacks patience. Whatever the reason, the ceremony needs to be sped up. A subversion can occur if the judge, priest or pastor refuses to alter the altar vows. This may become a plot point if leaving out parts of the ceremony invalidates the marriage. Occasionally, this trope happens because the priest, pastor, or master of ceremonies is annoyed about prior actual interruptions, and decides to just get the ceremony done; this version is generally Played for Laughs.

Compare with Altar the Speed, when the wedding date is moved up due to outside circumstances.


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  • Rabbi Bob Alper tells about a sweltering outdoor summer wedding, where the bride asks him to make it short. The ceremony consisted of, "Do you both want to be married?" "Yes." "You are."

  • In Just Sad Harry asks the priest to speed up his marriage to Amelia Bones when Bellatrix Lestrange and a bunch of Death Eaters crash the ceremony. Good thing too, as the poor priest dies just after pronouncing them man and wife.
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Wedding Bells For Bigmouth", Papa Smurf speeds through the wedding ceremony of Bigmouth and Bignose, seeing that they're so eager to get to the honeymoon part, and also because...well, they're Bigmouth and Bignose!

    Films — Animation 
  • Shrek: Fiona asks the vicar to cut straight to the "I do"s so that she can be kissed by Lord Farquaad before the sun sets and so break the spell on her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Joked about at the beginning, and then executed at the end of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
  • The end of the film version of The African Queen. "I now pronounce you man and wife. You may proceed with the execution."
  • In Irma la Douce, the groom (Jack Lemmon) needs to speed up the wedding because his wife-to-be is going into labor. The priest even starts speed-reading the wedding rites. In Latin.
  • In Joe Versus the Volcano the marriage has to be rushed because the volcano god is getting hungry for his sacrifice and the groom has to jump in like NOW.
    • Or maybe the natives' traditional wedding ceremony is always done that fast; the film doesn't make it clear.
  • In The Legend of Zorro the remarriage has to be rushed because the Zorro Bell is ringing.
  • In Lethal Weapon 4, Riggs' wedding is sped up due to the bride going into labor. And done by a rabbi, because that's the only clerical person Leo Getz could find.
    • It's explicitly not a real wedding, just something she asked to be thrown together since she wanted to say the words before giving birth.
  • The mid-battle marriage in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End skips rather a lot of the traditional ceremony and is frequently interrupted in very, very strange ways.
    Barbossa: "Dearly beloved, we be gathered here nail yer gizzards to the mast, ye poxy cur!"
  • In The Princess Bride, Prince Humperdinck rushes his wedding to Buttercup because the good guys are Storming the Castle. Subverted later when Westley points out that she never said, "I do." (In the book he gives the significantly less satisfying observation, "Well, divorces happen all the time, don't they?") He's correct either way, especially considering the marriage is never consummated, and thus can be annulled. In addition, the whole deal was made under duress, although if Humperdinck's plan had worked, there wouldn't have been anyone to contest the matter, least of all Buttercup, as he planned to kill her immediately afterwards to foment a war.
  • Several of the Robin Hood films use this trope.
    • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Particularly notable in that the Sheriff (who's evil and everything) won't "go all the way" with Marion until they are legally married. It even gets a bit of Lampshade Hanging: the whole way through the wedding, Mortianna is shouting to the Sheriff to just take her now, but he snarls back that, for once in his life, he wants to have something good and pure. Never mind that he's marrying Marian against her will. Of course, he also needs a legitimate child to put on the throne, and while a matter of minutes wouldn't make much difference, one way or the other he has to succeed in marrying her; so it's just as well to do it in that order.
    • Subverted in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, because of the chastity belt the bride is wearing, though the Sheriff doesn't know about that until he actually does attempt to "deflower her in the tower" after Robin and company break up the wedding. Then it's played straight in the same film when Robin and Marion are so eager to get married that they get the nearest holy man (the Rabbi) to marry them very quickly (interrupted only by King Richard, who asks to kiss the bride as per tradition).
  • Spaceballs. Parodied (of course); they're skipping to the end because the minister is fed up with all the interruptions and wants the ceremony over with. And this after he already tried his regular short version only to be interrupted there! The (current) principals don't mind all that much.
    Minister: Alright, here we go! The short, short version! Do you?
    Lone Starr: Yes.
    Minister: Do you?
    Princess Vespa: Yes.
    Minister: Good! You're married. Kiss her!
  • In Mom and Dad Save the World, Tod gets impatient with how long his wedding is taking, so he has the priest skip a bit. The priest quickly flips over several hundred pages in the book he was holding before continuing with the ceremony.
  • The Big Wedding: Missy and Alejandro tell Father Moinighan to marry them quickly, because they're sick of the mess their families are making.

  • In Flood Tide, a Merovingen Nights anthology edited by C. J. Cherryh, the short story "Marriage" by Lynn Abbey: The Kamat family is determined that Marina Kamat's marriage will take place before her baby's birth, no matter what. She goes into labor during the ceremony; the main tension is provided because one city dignitary hesitates to sign the paperwork under the circumstances, opening up the real possibility that concessions might be extorted from the Kamat family in the heat of the moment just to get things finished in time. The baby's birth is announced just after the contract is declared to be ratified.
  • In Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Ivan and Tej do a very minimal wedding due to a Wedding Deadline involving the police trying to break down the doors.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Captain Holt is asked to officiate at the last minute and he struggles with his speech. When suggested that he should say what the officiant said at his own wedding, he points out that isn't going to work since he and Kevin got married the second gay marriage was made legal, not knowing how long it would stay legal. Cut to the two of them wearing formal wear on a busy city street.
    Officiant: Do you, Kevin—
    Kevin: Yes.
    Officiant: And do y—
    Holt: Yes, yes, we do. [nods at Kevin] We're married!
  • In Smallville season four, Clark and Alicia. He's on red kryptonite.
  • During Boston Legal's third season, Brad and Denise were engaged, and Denise was also expecting at the time. On their wedding day, Denise went into labor before the ceremony could begin. They go to the hospital, where Brad (rather rudely) insists that they need to be married before the baby is born, so he won't be illegitimate. This is played for laughs, as the baby's birth is shown to be imminent throughout the episode. They do make it just in time, and then about three seconds later, the baby is born.
  • John and Aeryn in Farscape as they're caught in a warzone and Aeryn's trying to give birth.
    Stark: Okay, okay. Do you two love each other?
    John and Aeryn: Yes!
    Stark: Enough to be married forever?
    John and Aeryn: Yes!
    Stark: Then you are. Congratulations!
  • Joey does this twice in Friends. In Chandler and Monica's wedding, he skips ahead because he forgot his notes, and at Phoebe and Mike's wedding, which happens to be taking place outside in the snow, he speeds up due to the cold having spread to his "special place".
  • Subverted on How I Met Your Mother as Barney speeds up during Marshall and Lily's wedding and they ask him to slow down and he barks out "I can't!" because he doesn't want anyone to know that he's crying.
  • Malcolm in the Middle, episode "Ida's Boyfriend": Ida drugs a rich man in order to marry him. In the middle of the ceremony, he starts to come out of the drugs and Ida urges the minister to cut to the end.
  • On M*A*S*H, they had to speed up Margaret's wedding to Donald Penobscott because wounded soldiers were arriving.
  • In Parks and Recreation, Ron decides to have an immediate marriage to Diane immediately after he proposed to her and learned that Diane is pregnant with his child. This can be chalked up to Ron's hatred of celebrations and that he's "tired of not being married to her". And despite Leslie trying to slow the ceremony down, Ron tells the officiant to cut to the end of the ceremony.
  • In one episode of Night Court, the judge was delivering a baby and marrying the parents at the same time. Said parents had decided (finally) that they wanted to be officially married before the baby's birth, leading to a race between the two events. The judge: "Inowpronounceyoumanandwifeit'saboy!"
    • A similar event happens at the end of The Drew Carey Show, where half of Drew and Kellie's baby is illegitimate because the preacher stopped to get a candy bar from the hospital vending machine.
  • The Sandman, "Dream a Little Dream of Me": A member of the British royal family has a hurried private wedding to a celebrity football player, wanting to get it done before her family can object. They keep urging the officiant to hurry through the ceremony (which includes cutting into the "Do you, full name" bits in a way which conveniently avoids revealing the princess's name). This doesn't affect the validity of the marriage because the officiant isn't a real priest to begin with; she's an exorcist who's just playing along until she can figure whether the princess is under a demonic influence.
  • On Stacked, Jenny McCarthy guest stars as a Gold Digger, marrying a rich and senile old man, whose mental and physical state have both deteriorated to an extreme extent. The old man has a heart attack and dies halfway through the ceremony. Poor Jenny starts trying to rush the ceremony when she realizes her groom is dying, but he is declared dead before she could marry him and inherit his fortune.
  • Occurred on the 9 September 2010 episode of The Young and the Restless, which featured the wedding of Billy Abbott and Victoria Newman. They've already skipped, at Billy's insistence, the Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace bit; a wise decision, given the large number of extended Newman and Abbott family members in attendance. Then the police break up the wedding and arrest Victoria; the minister (played by Elinor Donahue) runs down the aisle after them, quickly pronouncing them man and wife before the cops cart Victoria off.
  • Grey's Anatomy: Teddy does this when she married Scott Foley and has to hurry off to work. He's a patient whom she just met and she's marrying him so he can use her health insurance. Not because she's insanely desperate or anything.
  • Used in Doctor Who in the appropriately titled episode, "The Wedding of River Song". It was almost certainly rushed due to time itself dissolving.
  • Eureka, in the fifth season episode "In Too Deep". Jack and Allison were trapped aboard a submarine as a result of a failed romantic gesture on his part. As the cabin was filling with water, they managed to contact Henry and Fargo back at Global Dynamics, who jury-rigged a teleportation device to rescue them from the flooding cabin. Just before the cabin filled completely, Allison asked Henry to marry them immediately. Just as Henry started saying, "Dearly Beloved..." Jack said, "You'd better do the Cliff Notes version." They kissed just as the cabin had completely filled, and were still kissing when they were teleported back to GD.
  • In The Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff, Jetherington's family can only be saved if his parents are married before Christmas Day. Since the ceremony only starts while Big Ben (and Massive Maurice) are striking midnight on Christmas Eve, the vicar naturally skips to the end.
  • Non-wedding example: Babylon 5: President John Sheridan's inauguration ceremony is interrupted twice by an assailant. After the second interruption, G'Kar (officiating the ceremony) produces this Crowning Moment of Funny:
    G'Kar: Do you want to be president?
    Sheridan: Yes.
    G'Kar: Put your hand on the book and say, "I do."
    Sheridan: [puts hand on book] I do.
    G'Kar: Fine. Done. Let's eat.
  • In the Murdoch Mysteries episode "Holy Matrimony Murdoch", Murdoch has his "Eureka!" Moment when George hands him the ring, and when he shares his realization with Julia she says the murderer is about to leave town. Since Mrs. Brackenreid won't let them leave the church without getting married, they have to ask the priest to skip to the vows.


  • In The Most Happy Fella, Tony's wedding ceremony has to be done quickly and in private because of his serious injuries requiring urgent medical treatment. The big wedding party has to be postponed to a later date.
  • Older Than Steam. Leonato, from Much Ado About Nothing, tells the friar " Come, Friar Francis, be brief; only to the plain form of marriage, and you shall recount their particular duties afterwards." In modern terms, that's saying "Marry them first then give them the lecture on how to behave when you're done." Not that the marriage succeeds, mind you, but that's another story for another time.

    Web Comics 
  • Bug Martini proposes this trope rather than having a lengthy ceremony.
  • Aby Eyeshine and Mark Meadowvole's wedding in Kevin & Kell was done in 20 seconds...during Mark's pit stop in the middle of a MOUSCAR race.
    Aby: We told everyone the reception would be in the Winner's Circle.
    Rev. Bruinooge: That's confident.

    Western Animation 
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Perfect Pear", Granny Smith and Grand Pear interrupt the wedding of Star-Crossed Lovers Pear Butter and Bright Mac, whom both parents had refused to allow the other to see. However, a cue from Pear Butter makes Mayor Mare pronounce them husband and wife immediately before their parents can stop them.
  • This occurs in the Woody Woodpecker cartoon A Fine Feathered Frenzy. Woody spots an ad in the personals of a "Gorgeous Gal" who is rich, has plenty of food and wants to marry a young man. When he calls her up she entices him with her sexy voice so he rushes over to marry her. Unfortunately when he meets her he sees that Gorgeous Gal is a white haired featherless bird that is much larger and older than he is. Gorgeous Gal falls in love with him but the Woodpecker is no longer interested. Eventually he enters a room where Gorgeous is wearing a wedding gown with a priest on hand ready to marry them. Woody runs clear across the country and swims to a small island. Soon he spots Gorgeous Gal's chubby arm sticking out of a golden submarine motioning for him to come hither. He tries to escape but she grabs him by the tail feathers and drags him into the watercraft. The very next second the priest comes out and hangs a 'Just Married' sign on the submarine. The actual wedding ceremony was over really fast for comedic effect.
  • Futurama has Alcazar, a scheming, shape-shifting alien, insist on skipping straight to the vows as he tries to marry Leela, in part because it was the first wedding of five he'd planned that day and he was in a hurry to go through with them all - he actually hits Reverend Preacherbot's fast foward button to speed up the ceremony. Fortunately for Leela, Fry and the other four brides turn up.
  • Looney Tunes: Devil May Hare has Bugs Bunny taking out an ad for a female Tazmanian Devil to meet Taz ("Object: matrimony"). When they meet, Bugs sets up a makeshift chapel and conducts a wedding ceremony for the two beasts in less than fifteen seconds ("I now pronounce you devil and deviless").


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Rushed Wedding, Shortened Wedding, Sped Up Wedding, Abridged Wedding


"Irrevocable Shackles"

Leela is rescued from marrying the scumbag Alcazar when Fry and Bender reveal he's trying to marry five different women on the same day.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShamWedding

Media sources: