What romantic comedies get right and wrong about weddings, according to a wedding planner

Wedding scene from

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Wedding scene from “Crazy Rich Asians.”
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Warner Bros.

  • Much of our expectations for weddings stem from how they’re depicted in movies and TV shows.
  • INSIDER spoke with Victoria Lartey-Williams, the owner, lead event planner, and designer of Victorious Events NYC, about what romantic comedies get right and wrong about tying the knot.
  • Lartey-Williams said that movie weddings often add unrealistic drama and opulence that real-life weddings rarely boast.
  • Still, Lartey-Williams told INSIDER that she has seen some moments on the job that seem as though they’re straight “out of a movie.”
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Many people spend years and years dreaming about their wedding, and much of their vision for the big day likely stems from what they’ve seen in romantic comedies.

But oftentimes the elaborate, over-the-top weddings from films like those in “Bride Wars” and “The Wedding Planner” don’t realistically depict weddings in real life.

INSIDER spoke to Victoria Lartey-Williams, the owner, lead event planner, and designer of Victorious Events NYC, to discuss what rom-coms get right and wrong about tying the knot.

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“Movies are kind of the elaboration of reality,” Victoria Lartey-Williams said.
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New Line Cinema

“Movies are kind of the elaboration of reality,” Lartey-Williams told INSIDER. “They’re not always going to be accurate.”

It’s old-fashioned to assume that the bride’s parents will pay for the wedding, Lartey-Williams says

Traditionally, it was customary for the bride’s parents to take on the expenses associated with their daughter’s wedding, but the standard has shifted considerably over time. Now, there are many weddings that simply do not have a bride at all, and others that have two. But even if there’s only one bride, Lartey-Williams thinks it’s unrealistic to expect her parents to foot the bill for the entire wedding.

Read more: 7 things wedding planners wish they could tell you but can’t

“That type of old-school mentality that the bride’s parents have to pay for everything is outdated,” she said. “I remember that scene from ‘The Wedding Planner’ where the father of the bride says ‘spare no expense for my little girl’ and ‘get her whatever she wants’ and that’s a very old-school mentality.”

“It’s 2019 and a lot of couples are paying for their weddings themselves. The parents of the bride and the parents of the groom may contribute in some fashion, but in modern times, things have changed.”

Victoria Lartey-Williams said that it's antiquated to assume that the bride's parents will foot the bill.

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Victoria Lartey-Williams said that it’s antiquated to assume that the bride’s parents will foot the bill.
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IMDb

Lartey-Williams thinks that movies are much more dramatic than the vast majority of weddings

In many rom-coms, the climax of the film comes just as the wedding is about to happen: the bride runs off with an ex-lover, the groom gets cold feet, or someone objects just before they say “I do.” In actuality, Lartey-Williams says that it is extremely rare for a wedding to be called off at the last minute.

“That has never happened at one of my weddings, and I’ve had my own wedding planning company for almost six years,” Lartey-Williams said. “Movies have to find a way to create the suspenseful moment, but I cannot say that I’ve had a wedding where there’s a runaway bride or the groom didn’t show up because he had cold feet or someone objected and the bride ran out the door of the church.”

Runaway brides aren't all that common, according to Victoria Lartey-Williams.

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Runaway brides aren’t all that common, according to Victoria Lartey-Williams.
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Paramount Pictures

“I’m not saying it could never happen, but I think movies make it seem like this is a common occurrence when it’s definitely not,” Lartey-Williams added.

Not every bride becomes a bridezilla

“Movies make it seem like every bride is going to turn into the raging lunatic on their wedding day and micromanage every little thing,” Lartey-Williams told INSIDER. “That’s not to say they don’t exist, but it’s definitely not every bride.”

Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway played bridezillas in

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Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway played bridezillas in “Bride Wars.”
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Fox 2000 Pictures/IMDb

She also explained that having a wedding planner can alleviate much of the stress that comes with getting married.

“When you do hire a wedding planner who can take the stress off of your shoulders as a bride, it helps,” Lartey-Williams said. “I have been very lucky that I haven’t had anyone going crazy on their wedding day.”

Still, there are some wedding moments that are so unbelievable that they could be in a movie, Lartey-Williams says

Lartey-Williams told me about an elaborate wedding party she planned in which the baker who was providing the cake was running late. Lartey-Williams called to get an idea of when the cake would arrive and learned that the lavish cake picked by the newlyweds had collapsed.

“When it arrived, it looked like a truck hit it,” Lartey-Williams said. “It looked horrible. This was a wedding for over 400 people and the cake table was very elaborately decorated with flowers and special furniture, so to not have a cake on display would be a big problem.”

Lartey-Williams described the whole incident as surreal, but said she had to think quickly to resolve the issue.

“I asked them to bring over the most beautiful display cake they had in their window,” she said. “We put that on display and just served the other cake in the back. No one had any idea that it happened.”

At another wedding she curated, Lartey-Williams said she helped the groom surprise his wife, who was his high school sweetheart, with a brand new car during their wedding reception. Lartey-Williams was responsible for organizing the logistics, but still found herself taken aback by the opulence and romanticism of the scene playing out in front of her.

“Here’s this Lexus with a giant red bow on top being offloaded off of a truck,” she said. “I couldn’t stop thinking that it was out of a movie. That’s what you see on TV.”

In order to surprise the bride with the car, Lartey-Williams said that she told her that a guest had arrived who was not appropriately dressed for the wedding and that she should come with her to figure out who it was. The bride obliged, and Lartey-Williams led her to the door where the car was waiting.

“Her jaw dropped,” Lartey-Williams said.

Like many of us, Lartey-Williams says her favorite movie weddings are elaborate and over-the-top

The ceremonies and receptions in both “Coming to America” and “Crazy Rich Asians” specifically stood out to the wedding planner.

“That scene when Prince Akeem gets married to this girl that he’s been chasing for the entire movie,” she said, referring to the comedy starring Eddie Murphy. “It was the most spectacular wedding I have ever seen.”

The wedding scene in

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The wedding scene in “Coming to America.”
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Paramount

Sometimes, however, the grand, romantic gestures depicted in movies result in unrealistic expectations from couples

Lartey-Williams said she loved the movie “Crazy Rich Asians,” but noted that many aspects of the wedding seemed unrealistic to her. In the film, water streams down the aisle just before the bride emerges for the ceremony, and Lartey-Williams couldn’t help but think of how challenging it would be to make that happen in real life.

“I remember watching it and thinking what a nightmare that would be to have to pull something like that off for one of my clients,” Lartey-Williams said. “I was thinking about the water damage to the floor of the church and the liability if someone slipped and fell. Sometimes brides see these fantasy moments and say ‘Oh, I want that for my wedding!’ but it’s not logistically possible to do.”