I Do? 6 Of The Worst Marriages of Literature

It’s bad luck month for weddings, but at least your luck will be better than these six literary couples.

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According to superstition, it’s bad luck to have a wedding in July. These superstitions have murky origins, though today we associate it with an anonymous old rhyme that those married in July will “labor for their daily bread” and have “bitter-sweet memories in after days.” If you’ve got a wedding planned this July, though, don’t be too nervous; there’s little actual evidence of July being unlucky. However, if things do go awry, here’s a list of some notable wedding disasters in literature, so you might console yourself with the fact that, at the very least, it wasn’t that.

1. Lydia Bennet and Mr. Wickham, Pride and Prejudice

Lydia Bennet and Mr. Wickham, who eloped in Pride and Prejudice

Lydia’s elopement with Mr. George Wickham is a terrible wedding and a terrible decision all around. By running off with Mr. Wickham, Lydia creates a scandal that very nearly ruined the marriage prospects of both herself and her sisters. Wickham didn’t even want to marry her, really, and though it doesn’t seem to bother Lydia, I can’t imagine it’s great marrying a man who’s only doing it because some guy trying to get with your sister bribed him to.

2. Prince Philip and Martha, Red White & Royal Blue

Alex and Henry destroy Philip and Martha's wedding cake in Red White and Royal Blue

Casey McQuiston’s Red White and Royal Blue kicks off with a wedding. And not just any wedding, a royal one. Prince Philip and his fiancee Martha are getting married, when the two main protagonists shove each other into their $75,000 eight-tier wedding cake. The scandal, which the press dubs ‘Cakegate,’ kicks off Alex and Henry’s romance, but what’s great for them can only be considered terrible luck for Philip and Martha.

3. Hippolyta and Theseus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Hippolyta and Theseus in the 2005 Royal Shakespeare Company production of A Midsummer Night's Dream

It’s easy to forget amidst the magic and the laughter, but Hippolyta and Theseus’s wedding was pretty rough. First there is Peter Quince’s disastrous production of Pyramus and Thisbe, the ten-word play described not inaccurately as “ten words too long.” Then there are the four high-ranking noble youths who they discovered in the woods the morning of their wedding, who claim to have no memory of the night before. And that’s not even mentioning the questionable mythologic backstory to their relationship…

4. Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester at the alter as their wedding is interrupted.

An objection during your wedding ceremony isn’t ideal no matter what, but one must imagine that it’s just a little bit worse when the objection is on the grounds that your fiancé has been holding his wife hostage in the attic for over a decade. When Jane Eyre’s wedding stops to bring the whole wedding crowd to meet the madwoman Mr. Rochester has been keeping imprisoned in their house, she is understandably quite upset. It’s hard to imagine that wedding going worse.

5. Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey, A Storm of Swords

TW: Violence, gore
Edmure Tully and Roslin Fray at the Red Wedding

Not many weddings in Westeros go well, per se, but none go quite as terribly as the wedding of Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey, also known as the Red Wedding. Not only was there no effort put into the decorations, a subpar band, and food that was average at best, but the father of the bride also allied with Robb Stark’s political enemies to brutally murder all of the wedding guests. Stark’s head is then replaced with the head of his wolf and paraded around as his forces are slaughtered. Kind of puts a damper on the celebrations.

6. Miss Havisham and Compeyson, Great Expectations

Miss Havisham, still in her wedding dress, in Great Expectations (2012)

Miss Havisham’s wedding that never was to the conman Compeyson was a disaster overall and to her, specifically. Though it took place long before the book begins, we get a good picture of it, as Miss Havisham has left everything in place even decades later. The food, the flowers, everything. She even wears her wedding dress every day. A wedding has got to go pretty terribly if it causes the bride to seclude herself in her mansion and dedicate her life to vengeance against the entire male sex.

If you want to read more about more fortunate weddings, read last year’s article here.