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Wartime Wedding

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♪ There's an awful lot of awful things we could be thinking of
But for just one day, let's only think about love! ♫
Steven, Steven Universe, "Reunited"

The atmosphere of a lot of war stories is generally saddening and depressing, if not outright horrifying. That said, when a writer thinks that enough is enough and that these poor characters need a bit of happiness in their lives without deviating from the somber war genre, then what better way to show that than to have two characters get married?

The Wartime Wedding is a great way to put a Hope Spot in a war story in order to lighten the mood. Among other things, a marriage symbolizes love and unity and can remind the characters that things such as happiness still exist. At the same time, the usual joy of the wedding day is undercut by the tragedy of war. Can also involve a Perilous Marriage Proposal.

This can come in three types (but is not limited to them):

The Star-Crossed Lovers are subject to this a lot of the time in war stories. Expect the couple to Altar the Speed. Compare Married at Sea. Beware the possibly unmarked spoilers!


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  • Captain Thomas Lynley and his first officer Commander Barbara Havers in the Fusion Fic And All the Stars Burned Bright take advantage of their ship needing serious repairs to get married in the middle of the Dominion War, because they don't know if they'll be coming home alive and dammit, they want to marry each other. It's a small ceremony on the beach with only their senior staff. They later have a more formal wedding in a chapel with the rest of their friends and family as well, but only after they've won the war.
  • Susan Bones and Ernie Macmillan in Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness. Professor McGonagall also told a backstory about herself marrying a wizard who joined the Muggle RAF in WWII and died shortly afterward.
  • Bait and Switch (STO): Word of Godnote  is that Kanril Eleya and Reshek Gaarra got married the night before The Alliance attacked the Herald Sphere, expecting a Suicide Mission that neither of them were going to come back from. They both survived and got to deal with the hilarity that ensued from getting married without having invited either set of relatives.
  • Kimi No Na Iowa dedicates chapter 24 to the full Shown Their Work length of Ayaka and Uileag's during-war Shinto-style wedding.
  • Buttercup and Ace have one in Pipeline. Kevin the Unreliable Narrator muses that they're too young and desperate. Soon after, Buttercup gets pregnant, and they live happily for a bit. Eventually, Buttercup experiences Death by Childbirth as a result of fusion poisoning, and everyone wishes that "young and desperate" was half of their problems as more and more people die in battle.
  • Asuma and Kurenai's wedding in Son of the Sannin happened when it did partially because of the looming threat of Akatuski, and partially because Kurenai was several months pregnant.
  • Sereda and Gorim's wedding in Ten Versus Blight is Type II. Both of the dwarves couldn't get married in Orzammar due to its caste system. So Sereda proposed to Gorim in Highever, and the wedding took place right after the proposal.
  • Hovers between Type II and Type III for Jazz and Prowl in Things We Don't Tell Humans. While the war is still technically ongoing, with the death of Megatron the Cybertronians act as though it's starting to wind down. Interesting because of the chances of survival element: Jazz has already died once.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The African Queen. While attempting to blow up a German warship in the middle of World War I, Rose and Charlie fall in love. They get captured by Germans, and just before they are to be hanged, they ask the captain of the ship to marry them, so they can at least die as husband and wife.
    Captain: I now pronounce you husband and wife—proceed with the execution.
  • The Best Years of Our Lives: Fred and Marie got married not long before he shipped out to fight in war. Turns out to have been a bad idea, because when Fred comes back, not only has he changed, but it turns out the two of them didn't really know each other that well, leading to their marriage dissolving.
  • The Bridges of Madison County: Francesca tells Robert she met Richard when he was one of the American soldiers who liberated Italy during World War II, and they got married soon afterwards.
  • In Father Goose, Cary Grant's character marries Leslie Caron's after some truly inspired Slap-Slap-Kiss while being strafed by the Japanese. The wedding night isn't any better.
  • Frieda opens with Robert and Frieda being married by a Polish priest in a bombed out church between the Russian-German lines in Poland in 1945. The flashback to Alan and Judy's wedding in 1940 also counts, with both the groom and the best man dressed in RAF uniform.
  • In Independence Day, Steve and Jasmine marry at Area 51 the morning before the Final Battle with her son Dylan acting as ring-bearer.
    • David and his estranged wife are also present, serving as unofficial best-man and maid-of-honor. They exchange a meaningful Held Gaze during the vows and discretely slip their wedding rings back on as the official couple gets married.
  • In Love And War (1958) centers on three Marines in World War II, first on leave, then in battle. One, Nico, uses his leave to propose to and marry his pregnant girlfriend. It isn't a Shotgun Wedding; they're genuinely in love and no one is making him. Perhaps predictably, he's the one of the three who doesn't survive.
  • Is Paris Burning?: A Vichy France mayor is in the middle of conducting a wedding ceremony when a La Résistance Free French squad takes over the town hall, as the Resistance is rising up in Paris. After the Resistance leader takes the sash of office from the Vichy mayor, he finishes the wedding.
  • Kamen Rider Kabuto has one in the Darker and Edgier alternate world of The Movie, God Speed Love, where it's really more like all-out war than the Monster of the Week encounters of the series. Just before the final battle, Kagami and Hiyori are married in the hospital as she is in her final minutes of life from the illness that was worsening throughout the film.
  • The German drama The Marriage of Maria Braun opens with the eponymous heroine getting married during a bombing raid, no less. After the marriage, her husband leaves for the Eastern Front the day after and they don't see each others for years.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: Will and Elizabeth not only get married in the middle of a war, but also in the middle of a battle. On a pirate ship. Played for Laughs when they realize they need a minister, and decide to enlist the help of ship captain Barbossa (who, apparently, can still perform marriages despite being the captain of a pirate ship) - but when they ask him, he rightly protests that he's a little busy at the moment. In spite of this, he still does so. All participants continue to fight throughout the "ceremony".
    "Dearly beloved we be gathered here today to-NAIL YER GIZZARD TO THE MAST YA POXY CUR!"
  • In Sands of Iwo Jima, PFC Paul Conway, one of the Marines in Sgt. Stryker's (John Wayne) squad, marries a girl he met at the USO shortly before the unit is deployed.
  • In the Star Wars prequels, Anakin and Padme secretly marry at the beginning of the Clone Wars.
  • This Is The Army: The soldier and his girlfriend nearly don't get married for fear of leaving her a single mother, but in the end she convinces him to marry her anyway.

  • This is part of Lori's Backstory in the Aunt Dimity series: her parents married during WWII. It's also averted by Dimity, who broke off her engagement to Bobby MacLaren. Curiously, both couple's actions were prompted by the same risk of death due to the war.
  • Beren and Lúthien: The titular couple gets married during the War of the Jewels, in spite of the giant wolf demon rampaging through the kingdom of Lúthien's father.
  • Jerin's grandmothers and grandfather marry shortly after the war in A Brother's Price. This is the reason why the bridegroom's ancestry is not mentioned in the papers, and only few know that he was actually a prince of the realm.
  • Discussed and executed in Cryptonomicon. Notable because everyone is aware that love isn't exactly the reason for the union, and the resulting citizenship is an added perk.
  • In Deep Love Granny and her husband married during WW2. Their marriage lasted one night.
  • In The Emperors Winding Sheet by Jill Paton Walsh the last Byzantine Emperor visits a wedding party held during while the city is under siege. When one of his courtiers asks if this is the proper time, The Emperor says "Tomorrow may be too late".
  • A B-plot in the Gaunt's Ghosts novel Salvation's Reach involves the marriage of Captain Ban Daur and his girlfriend Elodie Dutana. At first, she thinks he is having second thoughts because of a new arrival, an officer from his homeworld of Verghast that he knew once upon a time. When confronted, he explains that he never felt anything for the other officer, aside from reminisces about his old home, but he was hesitant to go through with it because "a Guardsman who gets married before a mission only does it for one reason" (to provide for his wife in case he dies by ensuring she gets his pension) and he didn't want her to think that he wasn't coming back. He realizes he could just explain that, and they are married on the troopship by Gaunt, with the entire regiment as witnesses. During the mission to Salvation's Reach, Daur is seriously wounded, but recovers.
  • Gone with the Wind has quite a lot of engagements and weddings going on before, during, and after the war. It averts all three above.
    • Ashley Wilkes and Melanie Hamilton are engaged during the very beginning of war. He ultimately survives the war, but refuses to be called a hero, depressed by the war horrors.
    • Angry and humiliated with this (she had confessed to Ashley after hearing of the engagement plans), Scarlett married young Charles Hamilton a little later. He dies an unheroic death from measles a few weeks later, leaving Scarlett pregnant.
    • Later on, Scarlett seduces her sister's fiancé Frank Kennedy for his money to be able to pay Tara's taxes. She gives birth to his daughter, and soon he's shot during a Ku Klux Klan raid.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Bill's and Fleur's wedding in the seventh book. For added bonus, the reception eventually falls in the crossfire, too.
    • While not shown, Lupin and Tonks marry between the sixth and seventh books, more than a year after the Second Wizarding War officially commenced.
    • Molly and Arthur Weasley got married during Voldemort's first reign of terror. This is brought up as Hypocritical Humor after Molly decries the tendency of the young to rush into marriage during his second reign of terror.
    • James and Lily Potter also had both their wedding and the birth of their son during the last stages of the First Wizarding War. The last bit is especially important since Voldemort wouldn't fall (and the War wouldn't end) without Harry being born.
  • Happens to Finnick and Annie in the third book of The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay. They get married during the middle of the war, and the rebels broadcast it as propaganda, to show that they're not worried and in high spirits.
  • Roran and Katrina in the Inheritance Cycle. They were already engaged before the war came to their home village, though.
  • Kris Longknife:
  • Left Behind: Some few weddings of Tribulation Force members took place during the seven-year Tribulation period: Rayford Steele and Amanda White, Buck Williams and Chloe Steele, and Ming Toy and Ree Woo would count. Judd Thompson Jr. and Vicki Byrnes of the Young Tribulation Force would also count. Rayford's marriage to Amanda lasts for about three months at the most, as Amanda died in a plane crash during the Wrath Of The Lamb earthquake, and Buck's marriage to Chloe lasts until a year before Jesus Christ's glorious appearing at the Battle of Armageddon, when she is captured and put to death by the Global Community. The only bright spot of Buck and Chloe's wedding is that they have produced a son, Kenny Bruce, during the years they were married.
  • In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet series, when they face a Last Stand, Captain Desjani leaves the bridge for a time. When she returns, she explains she was performing six weddings, probably breaking a lot of regulations in the process.
  • There's a villainous twist to this in Phoenix and Ashes. Alison intends to bespell Reggie into a Wartime Wedding to one of her daughters, magically ensure that an heir is conceived, then get Reggie back to the front to be killed, leaving Alison controlling the Fenyx estate and its wealth through her daughter.
  • In the third book of the Red Rising trilogy, Sevro and Victra get married in between the Battle of Ilium and the final battle on Luna.
  • Anne of Green Gables: In Rilla of Ingleside, Rilla's friend Miranda gets married to her fiancé Joe before the latter has to ship out in World War I.
  • In Poul Anderson's Silent Victory, when a Martian and two Earthlings, a man and a woman, are awaiting a final attack, the Martian genially informs the couple that with his office, he is authorized to perform wedding ceremonies. This reflects not only that the couple have fallen in love, but their friendship with the Martian.
  • In Kate Seredy's The Singing Tree, they are at a wedding when the news of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria reaches them; the child's point-of-view doesn't even grasp its full significance but the reader knows World War I is coming.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: A common occurrence, since Arranged Marriages are used before and during wartime to secure alliances. In the backstory, Ned and Cat, as well as Jon and Lysa, got married before the men shipped out to fight for Robert. In the story proper, several characters get married after the War of the Five Kings begins, but they are generally treated as standard procedure at best and horrifyingly bloody at worst instead of Hope Spots.
  • The Unwomanly Face Of War: Many female soldiers got married to their fellow male soldiers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Danger: UXB: The protagonist and his Love Interest get married despite him being a bomb disposal officer (he does survive the war, though in a psychologically damaged condition).
  • There are several examples in Downton Abbey, which takes place in part during WWI:
    • Matthew and Lavinia planned to marry once he came home from the war, but after he comes back crippled he decides that he isn't good enough for her anymore. Ultimately, he renews the engagement at her insistence when he is found to be miraculously healed, but she dies of The Spanish Flu just days before the wedding, in what's implied to be a Death by Despair since she has just learned his heart now belongs to Mary.
    • Before William leaves to fight in the trenches, he asks Daisy, whom he has always loved, to marry him. She wants to turn him down because she doesn't love him in the same way (or at least she thinks she doesn't; Mrs Patmore, Mrs Hughes, and later the Dowager Countess are convinced that she didn't know what she felt was real love), but eventually accepts so he won't have to go to war heartbroken, intending to break off the engagement after it becomes appropriate. However, after he is mortally wounded and brought back home, he insists that they marry before he dies so she can have a widow's pension. She concedes, and they are married for a few hours, but it takes her a while to come to terms with the shame she feels in believing she lied to him about her feelings.
    • When Branson proposes to Sibyl, she initially resists due to the fact that he is of a different social class and she would have to give up her lifestyle to be with him. However, she learns during the course of the war that she wants to do something different with her life, and tells him that she'll reconsider, but only after the war is over. They eventually marry.
  • Forever: Henry may not have formally proposed until 1955, but he and Abigail became a committed couple and parents to Abraham in the closing months of World War II. They likely would have had to use identities that were officially married in order to adopt and parent Abraham in that era.
  • In Game of Thrones, there's a war going on pretty much the entire show, so any wedding that happens is a wartime wedding (except maybe Dany and Drogo's, since they're not in Westeros). A notable example is Robb and Talisa getting married after he meets her working as a Battlefield Nurse, which unfortunately means he breaks his marriage alliance promise with the Freys. This directly leads to a second wedding, at which both of them are murdered.
  • In Horatio Hornblower's third series, most of Horatio's crew seem to believe his hasty wedding to Maria is because they don't want to miss the opportunity with war freshly renewed. Bush alludes to it himself, but he's also more acquainted with the matter—which is that Horatio is only doing it because he can't figure out how to turn her down. At least everyone else enjoys the festivities.
  • Magnificent Century: When Süleyman invades Hungary, one of the many victims is the new husband of a beautiful woman named Victoria. As Sadika goes the Crusading Widow way, becoming the Lady-In-Waiting to Süleyman's sister to achieve revenge.
  • Hikaru and Urara in Mahou Sentai Magiranger, though the "war" is between the Magirangers and the Infershia.
  • Happened a time or two in M*A*S*H. One time it was a couple of Koreans getting married, and Father Mulcahey narrated the wedding for the benefit of those watching who weren't familiar with Korean wedding rites. Most notable would be Margaret's wedding to Donald Penobscott in Season 5, which gets interrupted by incoming wounded, forcing her to attend to victims in her wedding gown. The marriage was always troubled because of the distance between the two, and ultimately ends when she finds out Donald cheated on her (which is ironic considering she was The Mistress in Frank's marriage).
  • In Season 2 of Pennyworth, Thomas Wayne and Martha Kane marry while London is besieged by the Raven Union. Partly because they really love each other, and also because they want to legitimize their child who's not a boy, shockingly.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: "Balance of Terror" begins with Captain Kirk officiating at the wedding of two of his crew members, right before the Enterprise is ordered out to deal with a Romulan incursion into The Neutral Zone. The groom is killed in the fight with the Romulan bird-of-prey.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • Rom and Leeta have a first type wedding, immediately before the outbreak of the Dominion War (as in, the invasion is on the way).
      • Worf and Jadzia Dax, evacuating to different ships, get officially engaged at the end of the first battle of the war. And, though they initially planned to marry in an elaborate ceremony after the war is ended, after the costly battle to retake the station from the Dominion, they decide to do it right away while all they can be sure that all their loved ones can be there. Unfortunately she's killed off at the end of the season.
  • In World on Fire, Harry is working for the British Embassy in Warsaw at the start of World War II. He and his Polish girlfriend Kasia get married, so she can leave with him for England, and avoid getting caught up in the ongoing German invasion of Poland.

  • In Fiorello!, Thea agrees to marry Fiorello as soon as he returns from World War I.
  • Eliza and Alexander's wedding in Hamilton. They meet when Alexander attends a ball hosted by the Schuylers (presumably near where the Continental Army is encamped), and are married not long after, with Alexander's war buddies serving as his groomsmen and Hercules Mulligan as the flower boy.
  • Miss Saigon. During the last days of The Vietnam War, Chris and Kim fall madly in love after one night and quickly move in together. They celebrate with an unofficial wedding, with him making it clear that they will make it official once they return to the US. Unfortunately, they are separated during the chaos of the fall of Saigon. He's forced to leave without her, while she's left behind to give birth to their son.

    Video Games 
  • A staple in the Fire Emblem games of all continuities and especially important in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War (as it secures the appearance of the second generation characters who lead the second part's plot), Fire Emblem: Awakening (because as soon as the first generation female characters plus Chrom and/or the Avatar of either gender marry, this unlocks the appearance of the Kids From The Bad Future.) and Fire Emblem Fates because when the Avatar of either gender, Azura and the non-Avatarsexual first-generation guys marry, their children who have been raised in other dimensions also show up.)

    Western Animation 
  • In The Legend of Korra, the final episode has Varrick asking Zhu Li in marriage as they are in the middle of a battle against the Big Bad and their giant mech.
  • Steven Universe: In "Reunited", Ruby and Sapphire get married as a means of solidifying their bond after finding out that the person that encouraged their relationship - Rose Quartz - was secretly their enemy. Unfortunately, this is occurring with the impending assault of Homeworld hanging over them. These worries are confirmed when Blue Diamond and Yellow Diamond show up at the reception with the intent of activating the Cluster and taking revenge for Pink Diamond's death.

    Real Life 
  • Erwin Rommel married Lucia Maria Mollin in 1916, in the middle of World War I, while he had been fighting since 1914.
  • The Baby Boom in all countries after World War II was basically the result of this. American GIs were getting married and having kids because they were happy to be home after all those years; Europeans and Japanese were simply happy to be alive. Also, a not-insignificant number of Americans of several ethnicities contributed to the European boom, electing to stay there rather than return (this was particularly common for black troops, who preferred the casual unofficial racism of Europe to the more virulent and structured Jim Crow).
    • The inverse was also true with American GIs marrying foriegn women and bringing them back to the US with them.
    • In addition, World War II refugee camps apparently had the highest marriage rate of any place in the world at that time.
    • A less heartwarming one: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun, Berlin, 1945.
    • Read an account of (the author's) World War II wedding in Jan Nowak-Jeziorański's memoir Courier From Warsaw.
  • When the US still had a draft married men would be moved at the bottom of the preference list just above married men with children. When this policy was about to be rescinded during the Vietnam War there was a large rush of couples marrying at the last minute.
  • While less prevalent in the present day, soldiers who marry immediately before a deployment often do so for the very pragmatic reason that spouses may be entitled to benefits if the soldier should die on duty, while girlfriends, boyfriends, sweethearts, Friends with Benefits, fiancé(e)s, and "live-in friends" get nothing.
  • Another not-so-lovely example: child marriages do become more prevalent during wars or natural disasters. Reasons for this vary, but usually have to do with feelings of insecurity: parents see arranging marriages for their underage daughters (and, less commonly, sons) as a way to escape from poverty or gain resources to rebuild their lives, or as a way of ensuring that their daughters will be safe and have a good place to live and food to eat, or to protect her from sexual violence that might leave her Defiled Forever.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Wartime Romance


Anakin and Padme's Secret

As the Clone Wars begin, Anakin and Padme are shown marrying in secret.

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