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Wedding/Death Juxtaposition

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Weddings are supposed to be happy occasions — a couple is celebrating the start of their life together. Fiction can mar this happiness by placing a wedding in close narrative proximity to death: for example, a wedding might cut directly to someone dying; a death occurs on the same day someone else is due to get married (bonus if they die at the ceremony); or a character's death might be punctuated with a Happy Flashback to their wedding. A common variant is to juxtapose a wedding with a funeral, showing one happy ceremony and one sad one.

Sub-Trope of Ironic Juxtaposition and Sister Trope to Birth-Death Juxtaposition, where death is framed alongside birth. Super-Trope to Widowed at the Wedding, where one of the happy couple is killed at the ceremony (this trope covers all other instances where they aren't the death), Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress and Wight in a Wedding Dress, which both visually imply something bad happened to the bride. May be the result of Wedding Smashers. See also Last Wish Marriage, where a wedding is a dying person's wish, and Nasty Party, if killing the guests was the goal.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The first episode of Death Parade features a recently deceased newlywed couple. While they don't actually die on the same day they get married, scenes of their happy wedding and shocking death are contrasted against one another throughout the episode to dramatic effect. In episode two, Nona mockingly introduces them to the black-haired woman as "a couple that's newlywed and newly dead!".
  • Maya's Funeral Procession Reina watches as her first love, Maya, revealed in that moment to be her half sister commits suicide by remaining in a burning house, at which point we cut immediately to her marriage to her Childhood Friend to make a fresh start, where she says she'll shed no more tears for Maya, but prays the thrown bouquet will somehow reach her and allow her happiness.

    Comic Books 
  • The 174th Issue of the Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) series sees longtime Freedom Fighter members Antoine D'Coolette and Bunnie Rabbot finally marrying in the presence of their friends and family. It cuts between Antoine and Bunnie's ceremony to contrast with Espio on his own mission in Eggman's city. When the happy couple kiss, Espio is then shown to be disintegrated by Eggman. While he isn't dead, as later issues reveal, it's treated like Espio had died in that moment. This issue also comes before the dramatic 175th issue of the series, which provides one of the biggest wham episodes that Sonic experiences in the franchise.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In the middle of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Jonathan Harker escapes from Dracula's castle and the three brides of Dracula, taking refuge in a nuns' convent in Romania. Mina Murray, his fiancée, gets a letter informing of his whereabouts and goes to marry him in an Romanian Orthodox Church. Meanwhile, back in London, Dracula decides to make Lucy Westenra one of his vampiric brethren: he invades the Westenra household and drains Lucy of her blood. Scenes of Mina's wedding are juxtaposed with Lucy's blood draining. The next scene is Lucy inside a coffin, wearing what was supposed to be her wedding gown.
  • The Crow (1994) begins with the aftermath of Eric and Shelly being viciously attacked and murdered in their apartment. As the police investigate the crime scene, Albrecht finds an invitation for their wedding, which was scheduled for the following day. This emphasizes how tragic and unfair their deaths were.
  • Near the end of Four Sisters and a Wedding, CJ and Princess' wedding is abruptly cancelled because her grandfather dies, and Filipino superstition discourages getting married if there is a recent death on your side of the family. At the wake, Princess' mother comments that all the wedding prep will go to waste. Bobbie decides to marry her boyfriend in the next scene.
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral: Gareth dies of a heart attack at one of the four weddings, leading to the titular funeral. The funeral is one of the few things in the movie that isn't played for laughs.
  • A few variations in The Godfather.
    • The movie opens with a man asking the title character, mob boss Vito Corleone, to kill the two men who beat up and tried to rape his daughter. We then learn that all this is happening behind the scenes at the wedding of Don Corleone's own daughter, Connie. The Godfather declines to have the men killed, on the logic that the other man's daughter is still alive, but is willing to have them badly beaten.
    You come to me on the day of my daughter's wedding, and you ask me to do murder?
    • Toward the end, there's a juxtaposition of death and a baptism for Connie's son, with the movie cutting back and forth between the ceremony and a montage of Corleone hitmen assassinating the heads of all the other major crime families and other potential rivals. This represents Michael Corleone's ascendency as the new head of the family, with his consolidation of hard power - through the assassinations - and soft power - by being named Godfather to his nephew at the ceremony.
  • The Iron Claw: The wedding of Kevin and Pam is an emotional high point of the film, and features the bride, her new husband, and brothers-in-law all together and dancing happily. However, David's already puking blood into a toilet, and in the next scene, we learn that he has died of a ruptured intestine.
  • Kill Bill: The first film shows us a wedding party where everyone was massacred, save for The Bride (and not for lack of trying).
  • Love Actually: The Bay City Rollers' "Bye Bye Baby" plays at the funeral of Daniel's wife Joanna. The film then cuts to the wedding reception of Peter and Juliet, where "Bye Bye Baby" is also playing.
  • Love at First Sight (2023): Hadley's going to a wedding, and Oliver to a living memorial for his dying mom. She's dismayed that she assumed they were both going to weddings, when Oliver's essentially going to a pre-funeral.
  • In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, during "The Tale of Sir Lancelot", Lancelot rushes to the rescue of a prince who is being married against his will in Swamp Castle, and ends up killing a bunch of guests on his way to rescue him. The King is not happy that he killed 8 wedding guests, killed the best man and kicked the bride in the face on his way to rescue his son. When he's being shown round, he ends up killing more as the guests all complain about his actions, and the king can only explain it's meant to be a happy occasion, and no one should bicker and argue about who killed who.
  • In a nod to The Godfather, Mystic River has Jimmy's daughter murdered the day his younger twin daughters receive their first communion.
  • Once Upon a Time in the West: Played With. Jill arrives to her wedding with Mr. McBain a bit too late: Frank and his men have already murdered him and his children while preparing for the wedding. After Jill discovers their corpses, she reveals that she and McBain had already got married a month before.
  • In Terminus, a newlywed couple are shown joyously boarding one train, while a body in a coffin is shown being loaded onto another train.
  • A Wedding (1978): The hijinks at the high society wedding reception include the groom's grandmother Nettie dying and everyone trying to hide it to avoid spoiling the festivities, and the bride's bitter ex-boyfriend dying in a car crash after stealing the honeymoon car.

  • The Count of Monte Cristo: Valentine's grandmother dies shortly after she comes to Paris, but ensures that Valentine's wedding to Franz d'Epinay will go through. Unfortunately for Valentine, she isn't in love with Franz at all, but she can't go against her grandmother's last wishes. Fortunately, Noirtier is able to get the marriage cancelled by revealing he's the one who killed Franz' father in a duel.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the wedding of Bill (the brother of one of the protagonists) and Fleur is stopped abruptly when news of the death of the Minister for Magic arrives.
  • The titular nuptials of John Charrington's Wedding involve a lot of death: the would-be groom, John, dies because he went to visit his dying uncle, but his ghost shows up at his wedding, causing his bride to die of fright.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, the funeral feast of Théoden ends with Éowyn and Faramir being formally betrothed. Éomer lampshades the juxtaposition: "Now this is the funeral feast of Théoden the King; but I will speak ere we go of tidings of joy."
  • A Storm of Swords: At the wedding of Edmure Tully to Roslin Frey, Robb Stark, his mother, and a significant chunk of Northern and Riverlander nobility are murdered by the bride's family alongside their Bolton allies. The event gets such a reputation as a Nasty Party that it is called the Red Wedding after the fact.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Choujin Sentai Jetman: In the series finale, Gai is on his way to Ryu and Kaori's wedding when he stumbles upon a woman being mugged. Gai manages to stop the mugging but is stabbed in the process. He misses the wedding ceremony but manages to make it to the reception and give his blessing to his friends before dying.
  • CSI: The much-hated mother of the groom in "Rashomama" is killed during the wedding reception and her body is discovered tied to the back of the newlyweds' convertible as they drive away from the venue. She had sabotaged the bride's dream wedding in several ways, so naturally the young woman becomes a prime suspect, and the should've-been-happy couple have to postpone their honeymoon while the case is investigated.
  • Danger 5: On Tucker's and Claire's wedding, they get attacked by killer prawns who kill several guests. Tucker and Claire escape, but Claire is Killed Off for Real by Hitler later that same day.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Father's Day: The Doctor takes Rose to see the day her father Peter died, which was when he was on his way to a wedding. Rose ends up causing a Temporal Paradox by saving him, and most of the deaths happen when the characters arrive at the wedding in question.
    • Downplayed in "The End of Time Part 2", where the second-to-last person the Tenth Doctor visits before dying and regenerating is Donna Noble, who is getting married. Appropriately, the last shot of the Doctor in that scene is through the church's cemetery, as Wilf gives him a tearful goodbye.
  • General Hospital's legendary "Clink, BOOM!" moment featured Mafia Princess Lilly being killed via a Car Bomb at the precise moment that Brenda and Jax married. Adding insult to injury, Lily had discovered she was pregnant the day before,. note 
  • House of the Dragon: The welcoming feast for Rhaenyra Targaryen and Laenor Velaryon's wedding becomes a tragedy when Laenor's secret lover, Ser Joffrey Lonmouth, gets beaten to death by Ser Criston Cole. It doesn't help that the wedding starts hours after the incident and Rhaenyra and Laenor had to recite their wedding vows in the same dining hall where Joffrey died with his blood still on the floor.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In "In Throes of Increasing Wonder...", Paul de Pointe du Lac kills himself the morning after his sister Grace's wedding.
  • The fifth of the Loving murders, that of Cabot and Isabella Alden, took place on the night of their 50th anniversary.
  • On Mom, Marjorie and Victor get married and the others notice that Jodi, the newest member of the support group, is nowhere to be seen. Christy calls her, but reaches a police officer instead. It turns out that Jodi relapsed and died from an overdose.
  • Peaky Blinders' third series begins with mob boss Tommy Shelby's wedding, and him specifically demanding that his rough-and-tumble extended family be on their best behaviour and not cause any trouble with his posh new in-laws. However, they soon realize that a mysterious guest is not who he says he is (specifically, he's a Soviet agent) and have no choice but for Arthur to quietly kill him and for his body to be cremated around the back. Tommy is not pleased.
  • Providence: Family matriarch Linda collapses and dies at daughter Joanie's wedding.
  • In the original Roseanne continuity, Dan suffered a heart attack after Darlene's wedding, dying soon afterwards.
  • Sherlock, "The Sign of Three": Sherlock's speech at John's wedding retells two murders they were recently involved in, before another murder is attempted on one of the guests.
  • Succession:
    • A lot of drama is mined from Kendall accidentally being responsible for the death of a waiter at his sister Shiv's wedding reception.
    • Connor's wedding day is quickly overtaken by the death of his father Logan.
  • Wedding Season: At Katie's wedding reception, her groom and his entire family are fatally poisoned. The police think it was her fault, so Katie and Stefan go on the run in hopes of finding who really did it.
  • The White Princess emphasizes the differing roles of kings and queens by cutting between Henry leading his forces against that of the pretender Lambert Simnel on the battlefield with Elizabeth, and the rest of the court's high ladies attending the arranged wedding of Elizabeth's cousin Margaret.

  • The music video for Guns N' Roses' "November Rain" juxtaposes the singer's wedding to his wife to her later death and funeral.
  • The music video for "Lay Me Down" by Sam Smith takes place at a cathedral during a funeral for Sam's husband. Midway through the video, the scene transitions to a flashback of their wedding at the same cathedral.
  • Carrie Underwood: "Just a Dream" has a Bait-and-Switch in the first verse. It's initially set up as a wedding song, the singer invoking the Old, New, Borrowed and Blue trope. The Wham Line comes at the end, when she's rudely jolted back to reality by the military band, and it's revealed she's at her military husband's funeral. The music video makes the imagery more explicit: it starts with Carrie walking down the aisle in a white wedding gown and bouquet, and halfway through slowly shifts to her walking down the same aisle through a crowd that are now mourners, while her dress changes to black and her bouquet to black roses.

  • The title character of Hamlet talks about how quickly the wedding of Claudius and Gertrude followed after his father's funeral, making him feel like his father was disgraced beyond the grave.
  • Cosette and Marius marry near the end of Les Misérables. When they get home they find Cosette's surrogate father Valjean dying, and he is accompanied to heaven by the spirits of Cosette's mother Fantine and Marius' Hopeless Suitor Eponine. It is a Bittersweet Ending: Cosette and Marius will have a happy life together, while the deceased characters know their ideals will live to see another day.
  • Romeo and Juliet: In the scene after Romeo and Juliet marry in secret, Juliet's cousin Tybalt challenges Romeo to a duel. Because Romeo chooses not to fight him, knowing Tybalt is now his family, Romeo's friend Mercutio defends his honor and is killed instead, followed shortly by Romeo killing Tybalt in vengeance. This kickstarts a string of events that will lead to the deaths of three more people, including Romeo and Juliet themselves.

    Western Animation 
  • Infinity Train: As Tulip is watching Amelia's memories, she sees a moment where Amelia proposes to Ulrich. The image quickly shifts to people trying to talk to Amelia about the pending funeral for Ulrich.
  • Samurai Jack: After being revived for a concluding Season 5, the story of the samurai Jack's journey to return to the past and defeat the demon Aku took many turns, one of which was that Jack met, fought, defeated, traveled with, befriended, and eventually fell in love with Ashi, an assassin belonging to the cultish Daughters of Aku which in her case was a literal example because she was born from the cult's High Priestess drinking Aku's literal essence and giving birth to the demon's child. When Aku discovered this, he used Ashi's half-demon nature as a weapon against Jack, but in the end, she helped him return to the past and accomplish his lifelong mission, after which they decided to get married. However, because Jack killed Aku in the past, the demon was no longer alive in the future, thus the Daughters of Aku were never created and there was no way for Ashi to have been born. Tragically, this becomes evident right in the middle of their wedding ceremony and Jack has to watch his true love vanish before his very eyes.

    Real Life 
  • Joseph Plunkett, one of the architects of the Easter Rising, married his fiancée Grace Gifford seven hours before being executed by the British for his role in the conflict.
  • John F. Kennedy Jr. died en route to the wedding of his cousin Rory Kennedy. The plane he, his wife, and his sister-in-law were on crashed into the sea, delaying the wedding.
  • The 2018 Sante Fe High School shooting, which killed ten, happened the day before the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Many of the morning news shows that covered the wedding even started out with a report on the incident. Similarly, his brother's took place two days before the fateful raid that killed Osamabin Laden, while his father's to then-Camilla Parker Bowles, originally scheduled for April 8, 2005, was not only postponed until the following day so that he could attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II, 16 years later, it was the day his own father, Prince Philip, passed away.