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Widowed at the Wedding

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Weddings are kind of a big deal in human society and the newlyweds are expected to live Happily Ever After together. Except sometimes, they don't.

This trope is about characters whose spouses die during or just after their wedding, either naturally or violently, leaving them widowed before they were even really married and heavily traumatized for the rest of their life. The violent death variation is often used for a sudden Downer Ending, though it can be foreshadowed with It's Not You, It's My Enemies. May involve a Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress.

See also Black Widow for when the death is at the hands of the bride and The Bluebeard if it's the groom. Out with a Bang might also be the cause, if it's on the wedding night (and is often used if the groom is much older and might have a heart condition). May lead to The Lost Lenore, Crusading Widow and Wight in a Wedding Dress. A distant relative of Retirony, and extreme form of the Cartwright Curse. Can be a particularly dramatic form of Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace, for when And Now You Must Marry Me requires an especially definitive counterargument.


Since this is a Death Trope, spoilers ahead!


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Cat Detective have an episode where Black Cat and his team investigates a murder incident in the paddy fields where a community of insects lives. The victim is a praying mantis who was maimed and ripped to shreds on his wedding night, and the episode's ending reveals said victim was killed by his bride. Truth in Television in this case, female mantises do eat their mates after consuming their marriage.
  • Subverted in a case of Case Closed, since the one who poisoned a local bride-to-be is... the groom himself, as revenge because her Overprotective Dad killed his mother in an accident. Also, said bride had realized his intentions and could have not consumed the poisoned tea, but she was so depressed that she voluntarily took the poison. She survives, and when the sincerely repenting groom learns this, his Tears of Remorse become Tears of Joy.
    • In another wedding-related case, another groom is planning to murder his soon-to-be wife right after the ceremony for Financial Abuse reasons. However, when his plan is revealed right before the wedding, he attacks the bride... but the woman he actually attacked was an Action Girl posing as said bride.
    • In a third case, a bride is murdered after the wedding ceremony... and so is her groom. The killer was the bride's younger brother, also for Financial Abuse.
  • In City Hunter, one arc starts with Ryo encountering the Girl of the Week who's paying respect to her late husband at a cemetery. According to her, her deceased husband had health issues with his heart and died shortly after her wedding with him concluded, resulting in their wedding anniversary being his death-day instead.
  • In the final chapter of Haou Airen, Hakuron is shot to death on his way to his wedding ceremony of him and Kurumi, although Kurumi is technically not a widow since he dies before the ceremony is about to begin.
  • Erina Joestar is widowed on the Honeymoon in Jojos Bizarre Adventure, after her husband Jonathan dies on their sinking cruise ship, ensuring all the passengers got off, and making a Heroic Sacrifice to protect the world from his vampiric adopted brother's wrath.
  • In Marry Grave, Riseman Sawyer died on his wedding day when his town was invaded by demons, which lead to his bride Rosalie spending decades collecting ingredients for a spell to revive the cost of her own life, leading to the events of the story.
  • In The Princess of Death's Second Marriage, Alicia gets her nickname from the fact that during her wedding ceremony, her husband-to-be is murdered by an assassin.
  • In the end of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Simon and Nia finally get married but she Disappears into Light immediately after their kiss. This is because she was a virtual life form created by the Anti-Spirals, and they had to be destroyed to stop their misdeeds throughout the entire universe. But without them to sustain her existence, Nia began to degrade (during the fight with them, it became clear that injuring them had an adverse affect on Nia herself). Notably, the bride knew this would happen all along but it only made her want that marriage more. And she should've been dead several days before the wedding, but she was such a Plucky Girl that she kept herself alive outta sheer willpower to go through it.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pegasus' wife Cecilia dies just after their wedding, sending him to the edge of the Despair Event Horizon and setting into motion the events leading to Pegasus getting the Millennium Eye and creating Duel Monsters.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman in an alternate timeline explored by Waverider in the Armageddon 2001 crossover event became a widow shortly after his marriage to Lois Lane when a nuclear bomb created by Manheim of Intergang goes off, taking out the entire city of Metropolis, including Superman's first wife.
  • Subverted in the Fantastic Four, when Johnny Storm married Alicia Masters ( before their relationship got retconned out of existence when the "Alicia" Johnny married was revealed to have been a shape-shifting Skrull all along). Her evil step-father the Puppet Master planned to use his mind-controlling clay to force Ben Grimm to kill Johnny the moment the judge declared them legally married; he hated the idea of Alicia marrying one of his enemies, but believed that she would inherit a substantial amount as the Human Torch's widow. However, after seeing how happy his step-daughter was, he chose not to tarnish her happiness, even if she didn't even know he was there to watch her get married.
  • Taken to the extreme in The Flash when Wally West's wife Linda is wiped from existence in the middle of their wedding, with only Bart remembering that she even existed (Though since he's an overly imaginative kid, no one believes him.) It's later revealed that she's being held in a space outside reality by Wally's Arch-Enemy Abra Kadabra, and she's able to break free, though it takes some time before she's finally reunited with Wally.
  • After Marine Rachel Cole-Alvez has her wedding shot up by members of The Exchange during Greg Rucka's run on The Punisher she's left standing in one of these surrounded by the bodies of her friends and family. She survives, but the trauma drives her to team up with Frank to try and take down The Exchange herself.
  • The Sandman shows the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. It's worse because Death is Orpheus's Aunt, making him blame her for Eurydice's death.
  • Bruce Wayne Jr. (Batman) in Superman & Batman: Generations was widowed shortly after the wedding when his newly-wedded wife Kara Kent (Supergirl) was killed by her brother Joel Kent.

    Fan Works 
  • All that shine as moonstone leave a discernible mark, one of the first Thorin/Bilbo fics written in the wake of Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit, uses this trope in an interesting way in that both parties already know that Bilbo will be widowed almost as soon as they're married, and this is part of why they are marrying at all.
  • The Mansionverse holds that the Hatbox Ghost and Emily were both murdered on their wedding day (shortly before the ceremony). It also incorporates the Phantom Manor storyline.
  • The nearly-universally-accepted take on the backstory of the Disney theme park ride Phantom Manor is that the vengeful Phantom murdered Melanie's groom on her wedding day, leaving her to think the love of her life had stilted her without even a parting word.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Variant in the prologue, set during "A Canterlot Wedding", in which both the bride and groom - and almost everyone else at the wedding - are suddenly killed in a massive explosion before Cadance even makes it to the altar.

    Film — Animated 
  • Corpse Bride: Victoria and Lord Barkis, letting her free again for Victor. Again, he got what was coming to him; Barkis was willing to kill Victoria and then take her money... like he did in his youth to Emily, aka the Corpse Bride herself.
  • Frozen: The plot kicks off when Anna's premature engagement sets off a fight that triggers Elsa's ice powers. The sisters later have another fight where Elsa accidentally strikes Anna in the heart, which will cause her to freeze to death unless the spell can be broken by an act of true love. Anna rushes to her fiancee Hans so that he can break the spell, but he reveals himself as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who was only marrying her to get onto the line of succession in Arrendelle. So he locks her in a room to die and tells everyone that they exchanged their wedding vows just before she died, invoking this trope so that he'll be the only member of the royal family left after Elsa is executed for her sister's murder and the throne will be his.
  • Porco Rosso's best friend had been married for a matter of two days when he was recalled to duty (it was a Wartime Wedding) and got shot down, leaving Gina a widow.
  • Fiona in Shrek, when Farquaad gets eaten by the dragon at their wedding. He got what was coming to him. Since she was in love with Shrek anyways, she isn't upset and they marry immediately afterward
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Sgt. Tamora Jean Calhoun's husband, Dr. Brad Scott, was killed by a Cy-Bug during the wedding ceremony, because she forgot to run a perimeter scan on her wedding day. The terrible loss left Calhoun severely traumatized. When she marries Fix-It Felix Jr. at the end of the movie, her soldiers take extreme precautions to make sure history doesn't repeat itself.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Angus, Angus's grandfather is set to marry April but he is found dead upstairs on the day of the wedding.
  • A pre-wedding version happens in Battle For Sevastopol. Leonid and Lyudmila turn up for Masha's battlefield wedding only to find her in tears because he's been killed in action.
  • The Hong Kong action movie Black Cat (based on the original Nikita movie) has a scene where the eponymous assassin bursts into a Jewish wedding and shoots the bride in the head.
  • In François Truffaut's film The Bride Wore Black five men make a young bride a widow on her wedding day. She takes her revenge, methodically killing each of the five men using various methods. Tarantino was asked if Kill Bill intentionally borrows key and minor details from it, but he has stated that he has never seen the movie.
  • A flashback in Chai Lai Angels: Dangerous Flowers reveals that this happened to Lotus, with her husband intercepting a sword thrust meant for her. This is why she is so down on the idea of romance.
  • Flowers in the Attic (1987): In the conclusion after her children confront her, Corrine falls off a balcony and is hanged to death by the veil of her wedding dress. (This didn't happen in the book.)
  • In Forty Guns, Wes and Louvenia leave the church following their wedding and pause for their photographs to be taken. Wes invites Griff to kiss the bride, and as he bends forwards, Brockie shoots at him. The shot misses Griff and hits Wes, who collapses on top of Louvenia. Louvenia spends the rest of the film dressed in black.
  • In Heartbreakers Tensey dies just minutes after proposing to Max. She was apparently hoping for him to at least wait until after the wedding to die so she could get her hands on widow money.
  • In High Noon, the Miller gang is due to arrive at any moment to kill Sheriff Kane, on his wedding day. Everybody, including his newlywed wife, thinks the trope is going to be played straight and beg him to flee, but Kane defies it successfully.
  • James Bond:
    • Bond is briefly married and immediately widowed in the end of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, when Blofeld and Irma Bunt try killing him in a drive-by as revenge for him foiling his plans earlier but she kills his wife Tracy instead. Bond is still reeling from the trauma as late as For Your Eyes Only.
    • In another movie, Licence to Kill, Felix Leiter's wife is raped and killed on the day of their wedding and Leiter is tortured within an inch of his own life, prompting Leiter's best friend Bond (whose aforementioned trauma is referenced) to go rogue on a vendetta.
  • Almost happens in Kill Bill, where Beatrix Kiddo aka Black Mamba's fiance Tommy is killed during their wedding rehearsal (alongside pretty much everyone else), so technically she is not a widow and henceforth calls herself "the Bride".
  • The title character of MacGruber lost his spouse Casey Fitzpatrick when the villain Dieter Von Cunth set off an explosive during the wedding.
  • In Czech epic film Marketa Lazarová the eponymous protagonist gets to marry her badly injured lover just before he dies hanged.
  • In Mr. Nobody a timeline is explored in which Nemo and Elise are involved in a freak road accident upon driving away from their wedding ceremony. Nemo is scarred by the flames but survives, while Elise dies.
  • Once Upon a Time in the West has a subverted case; a man is murdered as he prepares the homestead for his bride, leaving her stranded when she comes. Everybody assumes it's their wedding day, but the actual wedding happened a month before the start of the story, which complicates the plans of the villains.
  • Private Benjamin's husband dies of a heart attack while they're making love on their wedding night.
  • The main plot of Ready or Not has the Le Domas family hunting Grace in a deadly game of hide and seek after she married into their family earlier that day. This happens once a generation, but this time Grace manages to survive the night, so the entire Le Domas family is killed instead.
  • In the film version of Reefer Madness: The Musical, Jimmy Harper and Mary Lane imagine themselves at their wedding when Mary was shot during the gun struggle between Jimmy and Jack the dope dealer, singing the reprise of "Romeo And Juliet" while Mary dies in Jimmy's arms.
  • In Shredder Orpheus, like the myth, Orpheus and Eurydice have barely said their vows when Hades' goons murder the bride and take her to the Underworld.
  • In Silver Lode, McCarty and his men arrive in town on Ballard's wedding day, prepared to take him dead or alive. Says McCarty when Ballard and his wife-to-be Rose discuss whether they should postpone the wedding as he's being arrested:
    "It's your wedding, Ballard. Or should I say funeral."
  • Smilin' Through: Moonyean is murdered by jealous former lover Jeremy during her wedding ceremony to Sir John.
  • Tombstone opens with outlaws attacking a Mexican wedding and horrifically slaughtering everybody there. The bride is one of the last to die and has to witness everyone else getting it, starting with her new husband, and making a very Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress.
  • In the movie Tommy Boy, Tommy's father dies at his own wedding, presumably of a heart attack, leaving his new wife a widow. Later it is discovered that she was a scam artist who was already married.
  • Tong, the hero of the Shaw martial arts film Two Champions of Shaolin, lose his wife on the day of his wedding because the daughter to one of his enemies, that he killed in a kung-fu brawl days ago, came back to avenge her father. Never mind it was a fair fight between the two, although the villain's daughter gets her comeuppance a few scenes afterwards.

  • In the Novelization of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Buckaroo's wife Peggy Priddy was murdered by Hanoi Xan on the night of their wedding. He arranged for her to receive a bouquet of flowers laced with poison that killed her as she stopped to smell them.
  • Assassin Fantastic: "Coin of the Realm" revolves around an Arranged Marriage going forward despite the fact that a competition is currently being held where whoever can assassinate the most high-profile target will become the next Royal Assassin. Ultimately, Rosalind kills her would-be husband in order to secure that title for herself.
  • Deryni: Kelson is widowed at his first marriage to Sidana of Meara at the end of The Bishop's Heir. Her brother Llewell cannot accept the idea of her being married to any Haldane and later says so.
  • This almost happened to Aunt Peace in Eight Cousins, since her fiancé died a few hours before their wedding. The poor woman almost fell victim to Death by Despair, and even when she pulled through, she never married and was always sad because of that.
  • Elantris:
    • Princess Sarene of Teod is widowed before the wedding. Her betrothal to Prince Raoden had been a Perfectly Arranged Marriage to seal a treaty between their countries, and to prevent the treaty being voided by some unexpected accident, the wedding agreement specified that should either party die before the wedding, the betrothal would be considered equivalent to marriage for all legal and social purposes. As it turns out, Raoden is Not Quite Dead, so he and Sarene get a proper wedding at the very end of the book.
    • Sarene also attempts to marry someone else partway through but becomes legally, although not actually, dead mid-ceremony.
  • In Frankenstein, after Victor refuses to make a bride for the Creature, the Creature promises to "be with (Victor) on (his) wedding night", which Frankenstein interprets to be a threat on his own life. Instead, the Creature ends up strangling Frankenstein's bride Elizabeth the night following the wedding while Victor's searching for the monster for their duel.
  • In the first Left Behind book, the Rapture takes place at the same time that a couple is getting married, and the groom (who is a Christian) is the one who gets taken up, leaving the bride without her husband. Technically, he's only Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence, but imagine how crushed she would feel to see her husband mysteriously vanish leaving only his tuxedo behind, not to mention confused if she didn't know there was such a thing as the Rapture.
  • Nemesis: Verity dies right before she is about to marry Michael Rafiel.
  • Realm of the Elderlings: In Assassin's Apprentice, Evil Prince Regal and Bastard Bastard Galen conspire to kill Prince Verity during his wedding. Fitz manages to warn Verity in time.
  • Safehold: This almost happens at Irys' and Hektor's wedding — they leave the cathedral as husband and wife, only to find one of the Inquisition's Rakurai agents waiting in the crowd. Irys survives because Hektor shielded her with his body; Hektor nearly dies, but Merlin gets there in time with a Federation medical kit.
  • Sherlock Holmes: After Holmes' client is wedded against her will at the end of "The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist", her employer shoots the bridegroom, who he knows to be a detestable man. However, the groom survives to be arrested, and the marriage is instead later dissolved by annulment, as a forced wedding performed by a defrocked priest is not legally valid.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Joffrey is murdered during his wedding feast, leaving Margaery widowed for the second time—and her first husband was also killed very soon after their wedding.
  • In H. Beam Piper's Space Viking, the protagonist, Baron Trask, is a nobleman on a planet colonized by Terrans. After the fall of The Federation, the people of his world increasingly make their living plundering other planets, which Baron Trask strongly disapproves of. Then an obssessive madman tries to kill him on his wedding day, and succeeds in killing his wife. Trask becomes a Space Viking in order to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Stravaganza: In book 3, City of Flowers, eight members of the di Chimici family get married (to each other), with days of celebrations. On the day of the wedding ceremony itself, after it's been performed in the main cathedral, the four couples go to a smaller church for another ceremony. At this point, members of the Nucci family, who have a rivalry with the di Chimicis, attack. One of the grooms, Prince Carlo, is killed, leaving Princess Lucia a widow. And on top of everything else, the city starts flooding as well.
  • In Summers at Castle Auburn, the Crown Prince is fatally poisoned on his wedding day, by his bride.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: This nearly happens to Miles Vorkosigan in "Winterfair Gifts", as an enemy of his sends Ekaterin a poisoned necklace as a wedding gift.
  • Downplayed in Waltharius. When Hagen tries to dissuade his nephew Patavrid from fighting with Walther, he mentions that Patavrid is a newly wed and asks him to think of how devastating his death would be to his wife, particularly as she did not even have a child yet. Patavrid does not listen and is dead some 40 lines later.
  • Erast marries at the end of The Winter Queen, but his wife is killed as a retribution for him breaking his earlier promise to the late Big Bad. This event is responsible for most of Fandorin's later quirks, such as stuttering, grey-haired temples, and inability to maintain lasting relationships with women.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played for Laughs in 1000 Ways to Die, where a drug-addicted bride-to-be starts sniffing on bath salts, gets high on them and her behavior becomes... increasingly erratic (including her screwing the best man) until she collapses dead at the altar.
  • In American Horror Story: 1984, Brooke's husband killed her father, his best man, and himself because he believed that she had cheated on him with his best man.
  • In Brazilian novela Amor à Vida, just as the characters Tales and Nicole are getting married, the wedding is interrupted by another character, who reveals Tales is only marrying Nicole to inherit her fortune. The revelation upsets Nicole so much she winds up dying right there, and is buried in her wedding gown.
  • Sweets’ death on Bones probably counts, as he and Daisy were said to have just married before he died.
  • With a touch of Irony in Coronation Street. Fred was set to marry Bev but Audrey had shown interest in him, giving him cold feet. On the day of the wedding he ran off to see Audrey. After a chat, the two sorted things out and he decided he would marry Bev. Sadly he collapsed as he was leaving Audrey's house.
  • CSI: NY:
    • Narrowly averted when the team discovered that an undertaker was re-selling tuxedos that had been used to dress corpses, not realizing that this was transferring toxic embalming chemicals to the purchasers. Mac and his team interrupt a wedding in progress to warn the groom to change clothes before he succumbs to his toxic tux. The previous client of the undertaker, a young bride, wasn't so lucky, however.
    • Played almost straight in a later episode where the groom is killed the night before the wedding. His drunk best man discovered his body, dressed him in his tux and delivered him to his dressing room at the venue all to win a bet that his friend wouldn't be a runaway groom. Det. Flack is incredulous:
    It didn't occur to you - what with him being *dead* and all - that the bet might be off?!?
  • Likewise, in CSI: Miami:
    • A bride is shot by a sniper at the altar. It's later discovered that she wasn't the intended target. The best man was trying to off a stripper with compromising photos of the groom using a remote-controlled gun.
    • Horatio marries Marisol and she dies on their wedding day.
  • Subverted in the Mexican Soap Opera De frente al sol ("Straight at the Sun"). When Alicia and Alfredo are finally getting married, the groom's Evil Matriarch of a mother (who has antagonized them all the time) shows up and walks up the aisle, her purse in her hand as if she's gonna take a weapon out of it and attack... but then she just pulls her fan and calmly walks out of the church.
  • Invoked in the Death in Paradise episode "Wicked Wedding Night", when a bride is killed on her honeymoon and the groom later states that he'll never love anyone as much as her. The detectives eventually determine that the bride's death was actually an accident; the killer intended to kill someone else, and shooting the bride was an accident because she was standing in the window and the sun behind her stopped the killer seeing her properly.
  • Doctor Who:
  • In Downton Abbey, William dies just hours after his wedding due to wounds sustained at the front (this being World War I). He wanted to marry his sweetheart before he died so she could receive a widow's pension.
  • In Ezel, Eyşan legally marries wealthy businessman Kenan Birkan in a lavish public ceremony before dropping the façade. She names his misdeeds in front of their wedding guests and charges him with the murder of her sister, Bahar. Abandoned at the altar, he retreats into his private office humiliated, where co-conspirator Ali pays him a surprise visit. He dies in an apparent suicide, leaving his "new bride" with a massive fortune.
  • Played with in The Flash (2014). In the Season 1 finale, Caitlin and Ronnie get married, but later on, Central City is endangered by an Unrealistic Black Hole. The episode ends with Barry running towards it in an attempt to close it. The Season 2 Premiere reveals that Firestorm (Ronnie and Martin's Fusion Dance) came to help him, but only Martin survived, leaving poor Caitlin a widow on the same day she became a wife. Doesn't stop fans from thinking Ronnie's still alive out there, though...
  • Game of Thrones: King Joffrey chokes to death after drinking poisoned wine at his own wedding to Margaery of the House Tyrell. The regicide was orchestrated by Olenna Tyrell, Margaery's grandmother, after she saw what a monster Joffrey was and refused to allow him to treat her granddaughter the way he treated Sansa.
  • In Hollyoaks, literally minutes after marrying Steph Dean and leaving the church, Max Cunningham is run over by Niall Rafferty; this also fits in with the Heroic Sacrifice trope, as Max had pushed his little brother Tom safely out of Niall's path.
  • In the Knight Rider episode "The Scent of Roses", Michael quits the Foundation after being shot and nearly killed on a case. He asks Stevie Mason to marry him, but right after the wedding the Criminal of the Week comes by to kill Michael and Stevie takes the bullet for him. Cue Roaring Rampage of Revenge ending with Michael nearly beating the Big Bad to death.
  • In Magnificent Century, Sulyeman and Ibrahim attack King Louis while he is attending the wedding of his friends, Count Ariel and Viktoria. In the fighting, Sulyeman kills Ariel before Ariel can kill Ibrahim, and Viktoria is let go. This was a mistake as she vows revenge.
  • On Melrose Place, Sydney is killed just moments after her wedding to Craig. Subverted in the revival series, as it turns out Sydney actually faked her death.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "Till Death Do Us Part", a new bride is murdered when she leaves the wedding reception to change out of her wedding dress.
  • Oz: Jefferson Keane, the first leader of the Homeboys seen in the series, got his life sentence for shooting one of his enemies at the man's own wedding.
  • Subverted in the Person of Interest episode "God Mode". One scene has a crazed Stalker with a Crush pointing a gun at a just-married couple, yammering about how if he can't have her, nobody can. A shot rings out and the gunman falls over to reveal Reese leaning out a car window, who then congratulates the newlyweds and drives off.
  • Providence, though it's neither the bride or groom that this happens to. Instead, the mother of the bride collapses and dies, leaving her husband a widower.
  • In the 2000 version of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Marty is murdered via a set-up hit and run car 'accident' (over a cliff) on his wedding day, it is actually whilst his fiancée Jeannie is awaiting him at the alter that she recieves the news.
  • Rizzoli & Isles: "Cuts Like a Knife" opens with a bride staggering into a wedding chapel, her dress soaked with blood from her Slashed Throat.
  • Happens in Robin Hood when Robin marries an injured and dying Lady Marian.
  • The first episode of Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators has Luella Shakespeare's new husband being murdered at their wedding. When the husband is exposed as a Con Man, Lou becomes the chief suspect. She teams with private investigator Frank Hathaway to prove her innocence.
  • In Smallville, narrowly averted in two on-screen weddings:
    • In "Bride", Doomsday crashes Jimmy and Chloe's wedding and almost kills Jimmy.
    • In "Finale, Part 1", Darkseid, possessing Oliver, tried to put a gold kryptonite ring on Clark's finger, but fortunately Chloe spotted it just in time.
  • In the short-lived sitcom Stacked, a woman plans to marry an elderly man for his money. Unfortunately for her, he dies during the ceremony, before their marriage was made official.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Balance of Terror", two Enterprise crewmembers are right in the middle of their wedding ceremony when the Romulans trigger a red alert. The groom is killed in the ensuing hostilities, and the episode ends with the bride weeping in the chapel.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Course: Oblivion", Lt. Tom Paris and Lt. B'elanna Torres get married, but they don't get to enjoy their honeymoon when B'elanna dies shortly after the wedding of acute cellular degradation and the crew find out they are all biomimetic copies of the real Voyager.
  • In one episode of Two and a Half Men ("Fish in a Drawer"), Charlie and Alan's mother marries an older gentleman who is found dead on Charlie's bed during the wedding reception.
  • In Veronica Mars, after years of near-misses, Logan Echolls dies moments after marrying Veronica, via car bomb.
  • Wedding Season: Katie's new husband and his family all die at her wedding reception.
  • Word of Honor: Cao Weining is murdered during his wedding to Gu Xiang. She outlives him... by a few minutes. Then she's killed too.

  • The aforementioned The Bride Wore Black served as inspiration for Kate Bush's "The Wedding List" in which a woman widowed at the wedding hatches her revenge.

  • According to Ovid's "Metamorphoses", immediately after Orpheus and Eurydice's wedding, Eurydice was walking with her nymph companions when she stepped on a venomous snake, was bitten and died.

  • In Jekyll & Hyde, Jekyll is either shot or commits suicide upon his transformation into Hyde at his wedding, leaving Lisa/Emma as a widow. Depending on the production, this can be during the ceremony itself or at the reception afterwards.
  • The title character of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor goes mad after having been forced to ditch her beloved Edgardo Ravenswood and marry a man named Arthur Bucklaw. She stabs Arthur to death on their wedding night and then she shows up at the reception, madly singing about Edgardo...
  • Westeros: An American Musical: The events from the source material covered by the play include Joffrey and Margaery's wedding, which famously ended with the groom dead.
  • Invoked deliberately by Fairfax in The Yeomen of the Guard, who gets married the day he's slated to be executed so that his money will go to his widow instead of the cousin who accused him of sorcery. Things get complicated after his friends help him escape.

  • The Teddy Scares character Annabelle Wraithia has the backstory of losing her husband on her wedding day and then getting cremated. Now her spirit wanders the earth, hoping to be reunited with her lost spouse.

    Urban Legends 
  • There's a classic ghost story where during the reception at their home the bride, groom and their guests decide to play hide-and-seek. When the game is over, no one can find the bride and after searching the rest of the night they decide she must have run away. Years later, the husband goes into the attic and sees an antique chest in the corner, he opens it and finds a skeleton wearing a wedding dress. His wife had hidden up here and the lid of the chest had fallen and locked her in. Her fingers are bent and twisted and her mouth is open in a silent scream.
  • There are two famous hotels (one by the California sea and another in Alberta [Canada]) that have gorgeous staircases, often used by brides-to-be to rehearse for the moment they'll go up the aisle. Both are supposedly haunted by the ghosts of unlucky brides who, during The Roaring '20s, died upon tripping on their gorgeous wedding dresses and then falling to their deaths.
  • There's an urban legend where a bride-to-be, feeling she looks anemic, wants to get a nice tan before the wedding. Unfortunately, she only has a week, and all the tanning salons she calls say that for safety reasons they cannot allow more than one half-hour session every two days, and for the effect she wants, she'd prefer to have a two-hour session every day. She gets around this by scheduling appointments at different tanning salons. A week later – voilà! A lovely tan! As she's getting ready for the wedding, though, she notices her breath has a foul odor. She doesn't have time to do anything about it, so she just pops a breath mint and is on her way. In the middle of the vows, she suddenly collapses, dead — turns out all that tanning had cooked her from the insidenote .

    Video Games 
  • This is the backstory for the titular character in Akuji the Heartless; on his wedding to his bride, Kesho, the warrior Akuji is betrayed by his evil brother, Orad, and killed, with his soul sent to the underworld. Akuji must then make a pact with Baron Samedi to collect various souls, so that he may return to the land of living and avenge his own death.
  • Cuphead: After a post-launch update, it's possible to do this in Sally Stageplay's in-universe play. Step on both of the cherub platforms during the first phase of the fight, and Sally's husband gets crushed by a Falling Chandelier of Doom. This changes the setting of the second phase from a suburban home to a nunnery, and the third phase becomes a Dual Boss as divine versions of Sally and her husband team up to attack you.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: In Act IV, not only is Isla Ros' wedding interrupted by a deadly monster attack, her husband Dorian immediately plans to kill his father-in-law for the inheritance. If you help him carry out his scheme, he kills Isla himself; otherwise, you expose and kill Dorian instead.
    Isla: ...This is the worst day of my life.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, this kinda happens to a female City Elf player character. She is abducted during her wedding and Nelaros, her spouse, dies while attempting to rescue her.
    "Take another step, human, and I guarantee it shall be your last. My friends are dead, my life is in tatters, because of you and your kin. I have nothing to lose, but you still possess your other eye." Damn...just...damn.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, one Dark Brotherhood quest has you create a gender-inverted version of this situation. The Emperor's cousin is marrying a man from a prominent Nord family, and your job is to kill her in order to force the Emperor to come to Skyrim so you can kill him. Of course, you can always send the groom to join his wife immediately after...
  • Final Fantasy XII has Ashe and Rasler. Despite the fact that it seemed as though they were only an arranged marriage, they had fallen in love prior to it. Shortly after their wedding, the Archadian Empire began its invasion of Nalbina and Rasler led the invasion forces to Nalbina to liberate the city. He died in the attempt.
  • In one possible ending of Grand Theft Auto IV, an assassin is sent to kill Niko Bellic as he attends his cousin Roman's wedding. The assassin fails to kill Niko, but Roman is shot and killed instead, leaving his wife a widow.
  • Happens to the King of the Facade in Nier. Fyra is bitten by Roc half-minute after their wedding and dies soon thereafter.
  • This trope is what kick-starts the Time Travel plot of Time and Eternity. It then happens again after all is supposedly solved. The third time, the murder is averted.
  • In the background information of Zork Zero, Lucrezia Flathead had this happen to her ten times. It's strongly implied that she was responsible for this happening, along with the deaths of her first three husbands, none of whom made it to their first anniversary.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama parodies this in "Bend Her" when Bender gets a sex change to cheat at the Olympics, then later marries Calculon to scam him. When he decides he can't go through with the scam, but doesn't want Calculon to learn the truth, and can't figure out a way to back out of the marriage, Leela and the others help him stage his elaborate, overly-dramatic death at the wedding because "if there's one thing [Calculon] can handle, it's soap opera pain."
  • In Rick and Morty episode "The Wedding Squanchers", Birdperson gets killed by his undercover wife on their wedding day.
  • Played for Laughs in a Robot Chicken sketch when the (rather old) groom dies of a heart attack as he and his bride leave the church. The bride expresses sorrow, and then asks if it 'still counts' as a marriage.
  • Samurai Jack: In the final episode, Jack and Ashi attempt to marry. But because she was born of Aku, and Jack killed Aku in the past, she fades from existence before she reaches the altar. Pretty much similar to the Nia example.
  • The Simpsons: The Itchy & Scratchy Show has one in the episode "I'm Getting Buried in the Morning", where Itchy kills Scratchy's bride during their kiss. Scratchy has just a few seconds to scream over his wife's death before he, too, is decapitated.

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):


The Wolf's Backstory

The Wolf was the sole survivor of a mass poisoning that killed everyone at his wedding, including his bride.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / WidowedAtTheWedding

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