×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The most twisted weddings in TV history

Weddings are happy occasions, are they not? At least they're supposed to be. But in the world of television, that isn't always the case — in fact, TV weddings can also be surprising, mysterious, or even downright murderous. But their goal is often to keep you tuning in, which is why so many TV shows have such twisted weddings. 

This list of the most outrageous and twisted TV weddings isn't confined to one genre, either: From sitcoms to primetime soaps, from prestige dramas to daytime serials, and everything in between, wacky weddings have happened on pretty much any kind of series you can think of. (This isn't even taking reality television into account.) Whether they're tragic, comedic, or simply dramatic, these nuptials are all nothing if not memorable, so speak now or forever hold your peace: Dearly beloved, we're gathered here today to take a dive into the most twisted weddings in TV history.

Game of Thrones: The Red Wedding

There were a number of awful and twisted weddings on Game of Thrones. The show built up a reputation for nuptials that no one would never want to attend, even if you were getting a free meal. At the very top of the list of twisted Game of Thrones weddings, however, has got to be season 3's Red Wedding. The actual name of the episode is "The Rains of Castamere," but it's the bloody ceremony fans remember.

Having married Talisa (Oona Chaplin) and broken his marriage pact to the Freys, Robb Stark (Richard Madden) and his army arrive at the Twins to bury the hatchet and celebrate the wedding of Edmure Tully to Roslin Frey. But despite Walder Frey offering the Starks the safety of guest's rights in the form of shared salt and bread, the Starks don't make it through the night. They're betrayed by Roose Bolton and the entire Frey clan, who murder the Starks during the celebration and sack their drunken soldiers partying outside. Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) is tipped off to the ambush by the band playing "The Rains of Castamere," a Lannister song, and Bolton tells a dying Robb "The Lannisters send their regards" before stabbing him in the heart. Another Frey slits Cat's throat in the final blow, further deepening the total bloodbath.

Friends: Ross and Emily

Friends fans kind of always knew Ross (David Schwimmer) and Emily (Helen Baxendale) were never going to make it. Even watching their wedding when it aired, the audience somehow knew something would go wrong, leaving Ross free to be with his soulmate Rachel (Jennifer Aniston). It took a while for them to break up, with the show dragging their failed marriage into season 5, but the seeds were planted during their season 4-ending nuptials in London.

When Rachel flew to London at the last minute to tell Ross she still loved him before he got married, fans thought that would be the thing that messed up Ross' wedding. But as it turned out, Ross was the one who sabotaged his own marriage. When the officiant urged Ross to repeat, "I, Ross, take thee, Emily," Ross mucked it up, saying instead, "I, Ross, take thee, Rachel." Imagine being Emily at this moment. Imagine still going on with the wedding! Imagine going to a reception after the groom said the wrong name at the wedding. The fact that the ceremony actually finished and these two ended up married is totally twisted.

Revenge: Emily and Daniel

ABC's Revenge was a primetime soap based on The Count of Monte Cristo, with a gender-swapped lead in Emily Thorne (Emily Van Camp). Emily's real name is Amanda Clarke — her father was betrayed and framed years earlier by the Graysons, wealthy Hamptons socialites, leading to his death in prison. In order to enact her revenge, Emily/Amanda infiltrates the Graysons' lives, destroying them one by one. Her victims include the family's pretty boy son Daniel (Josh Bowman), but Emily/Amanda's main target is the family matriarch, Victoria (Madeline Stowe).

Daniel and "Emily" fall in love and tie the knot, but when Daniel figures out her scheme, which includes a fake pregnancy, he shoots her on their wedding night. The shooting takes place during a cliffhanger season finale, of course, with the audience not learning it was Daniel who did the shooting until a few episodes into season 4. Revenge wrapped up in the fourth season, so maybe a wedding night in which the bride gets shot was just a little too intense. 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Anya and Xander

Man, season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was kind of a doozy. Part of what made the whole season just a touch weird was Xander's relationship with the vengeance demon Anya. Of course, Anya had pursued Xander for some time, and though she was originally a human woman named Aud, she spent over a thousand years as Anyanka, a demon who grants the wishes of women who've been wronged by men, before becoming mortal again.

Xander and Anya's wedding is attended by many demons she's met over the years. In order to pass them off to Xander's side of the wedding, they tell the Harris family that Anya's family are "circus people." But that's not the weird part. What ultimately destroys the wedding is a mysterious man in a trench coat who shows Xander visions of the future and urges him not to marry Anya. The visions include the two unhappy and bickering, with Xander turned into an abrasive drunk like his own father — but the man turns out to be a demon Anya had wronged some time ago. He puts false images of the future in Xander's head, and even though Xander discovers that they're false, he refuses to marry Anya anyway. Anya was never a well-liked character to begin with, but she needed her own vengeance demon after that mess.

Doctor Who: Donna

Donna (Catherine Tate) eventually becomes a companion to David Tennant's Tenth Doctor, but her initial appearance was one wacky Doctor Who wedding day. In the season finale where The Doctor bids farewell to Rose, a woman in a wedding gown suddenly appears on the TARDIS while its in mid-flight. The Doctor returns Donna to her wedding to this bloke named Lance, but he realizes she must have absorbed a ton of Huon particles in order to be drawn to the TARDIS while it was traveling. 

Once Donna is returned to her wedding is when the weirdness begins. They're attacked by robotic Santa Clauses, which The Doctor draws away using his sonic screwdriver. But they eventually learn that Lance was working for the spider-like Empress of the Racnoss to help her release her spider children all over the world. They eventually defeat the Empress using the robotic Santas against her. Donna's experiences with The Doctor and the TARDIS get more twisted as they travel together, but nothing can top her botched wedding day.

Game of Thrones: The Purple Wedding

No wedding on Game of Thrones was ever a safe space. In season 4, when King Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) married Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer), two powerful houses were combined and it seemed like the Lannisters were on a winning streak. But Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) had other plans. In a scheme involving Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish (Aidan Gillen), and a bumbling servant named Dontos, Lady Olenna orchestrated the crime of the century.

Dontos had given Sansa a necklace made of gems that were actually poison. During the wedding celebration, Lady Olenna snatched one of the gems from her necklace while straightening it out for her, then plopped it into Joffrey's wine glass, after which he gulped the drink down while berating some musicians. A short time later, Joffrey's cough turned into a full-fledged strangulation thanks to the poison in his cup, leaving him helplessly clawing at his throat while his airway closed up completely. The wedding's purple nickname was earned as a result of Joffrey's purple face — as well as the color of the wine that poisoned him.

General Hospital: Luke and Laura

There have been tons and tons of wacky weddings over the many decades that soaps have aired on daytime TV. Soap weddings have featured the usual tropes like blackmails, interruptions, family feuds, and secret pregnancies. More elaborate twists have featured weddings complete with murders. The 1981 wedding of Luke and Laura on General Hospital was one that soap audiences had been waiting to watch for for quite a while, and the ratings proved it — the episode was seen by more than 30 million viewers.

Despite the couple's era-defining popularity, their wedding was undeniably twisted. As wedding website the Plunge puts it, "the ceremony looks like something out of The Wicker Man," and the festivities end with a fistfight between the groom and his bride's ex-husband. The weirdest part, though, has got to be the fact that Helena Cassidine, a vengeful widow played for one day by noted General Hospital fan Elizabeth Taylor, shows up to slap an old-fashioned Greek/Russian hex on the couple. "My curse on you, Laura and Luke!" she vows. "My curse on both of you!"

And yet the worst part is that Luke and Laura's entire relationship is one based on a rape that the show tried to spin as a "seduction." Talk about twisted.

Friends: Ross and Rachel

It's an understatement to say Ross and Rachel have an intense story throughout the run of Friends. From Ross' childhood crush to their whirlwind courtship, to their actual relationship, to the years of on-again/off-again nonsense throughout the latter half of the series, Ross and Rachel's coupledom was kind of the backbone of the sitcom. But that doesn't mean that all of their choices were the best — in fact, some of them were downright twisted.

After Ross and Emily's failed marriage dragged into the fifth season, Monica (Courtney Cox) and Chandler's (Matthew Perry) relationship got stronger and stronger. When the whole gang was in Vegas to visit Joey on a botched movie shoot, the season 5 finale saw Monica and Chandler headed for a quickie wedding in Vegas. But before they could get down the aisle, a drunken Ross and Rachel burst through the doors, having gotten married themselves. Their drunken union drags on into the following season — Ross doesn't want to deal with the stigma of three failed marriages, so he neglects to get an annulment when Rachel asks him to take care of it. The most twisted part of this wedding isn't the drunken ceremony itself — it's that Ross thought he could stay married to an unwilling partner and just... not tell her.

Downton Abbey: Lady Edith and Anthony Strallan

Poor Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael). She had the absolute worst luck in love among all of the Crawleys on Downton Abbey. Sure, it all worked out fine in the end when she married Bertie Pelham and became the Marchioness of Hexham, outranking even her status-chasing elder sister Mary. But until the final season, Edith's love life was quite a mess.

Sir Anthony Strallan first came on the scene in season 1, when the older gent with a paralyzed arm took a liking to Edith. It was a strange match, considering his advanced age, but Edith knew her prospects weren't great as second fiddle to Mary. But when Mary found out that it was Edith who leaked her affair with Mr. Pamuk to the papers, Mary turned vindictive and suggested to Anthony, who was about to propose, that Edith didn't love him.

When Edith and Anthony finally walked down the aisle in season 2, the ceremony ended abruptly, with Anthony coming to some sort of realization that he'd be ruining Edith's life by marrying her. The chap left Edith at the altar, humiliated. No one on the show or in the audience was rooting for this marriage to go forward, but man, Anthony — you couldn't have broken up with Edith before she walked down the aisle?

Any wedding on How I Met Your Mother

Except for maybe Marshall and Lily's wedding (which, while the marriage had its ups and downs, essentially resulted in happiness), every wedding on How I Met Your Mother was kind of a twisted mess. Things like Barney's (Neil Patrick Harris) year-long proposal scheme to Robin (Cobie Smulders) followed by an entire season devoted to their wedding was weird, but okay. But when the series finale ended in their divorce, it felt like the rug got pulled out from under the audience, and that their entire courtship had been one long gag.

And as it turns out, it kind of was. For as long as the series ran, Ted (Josh Radnor) had been trying to get married. He tried and failed first with Robin. He tried with Stella, whose ex came to their island-set wedding, resulting in Stella running off with him and leaving Ted alone at the altar. Ted then pulled the other half of that scheme and ran off with Victoria who left her jilted fiancé at the altar. Unsurprisingly, Ted and Victoria didn't work out either. The final season introduced Tracy McConnell (Cristin Miliotti), the woman who would become "The Mother." But even though their wedding ended up being a nice, informal affair with just friends, their marriage felt like a sham too: The series ended with Tracy dead and Ted running back to Robin, both of them now middle-aged and meant for each other... apparently? Weddings on HIMYM were always just a little bit...eh.

Game of Thrones: The White Wedding

Never get married on Game of Thrones

After living through her own father's beheading, a forced marriage to Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), Joffrey's death, and an awkward reunion with her aunt, Sansa Stark somehow agreed to an arranged marriage to Ramsay Snow/Bolton. Orchestrated by Littlefinger, the union somehow secured the North for both families and gave him more power, but the details of how it would benefit Littlefinger are still a little unclear. Perhaps because this marriage was one created by the showrunners and not anything out of George R.R. Martin's books? Judging from the response, they probably should have stuck to the books.

On a snowy night at Winterfell, Sansa married Ramsay dressed all in white. The scene would have been beautiful, were Sansa not marrying a totally murderous psychopath. After the ceremony, Ramsay took Sansa back to their room and called in Theon (Alfie Allen), brutally assaulting her while forcing Theon to watch. The scene was grotesque and roundly reviled by critics and audiences alike — to add another sexual assault to a show that already featured way more than necessary should have been a warning that the showrunners didn't really know what to do without Martin's books. In retrospect, the white wedding didn't bode well for the way Game of Thrones eventually ended.

Dynasty: The Moldavian Massacre

The '80s were huge for primetime soaps, and Dynasty was one of the hugest, with all the lavish excess and over-the-top melodrama fans of the era expected. Perhaps no single episode sums up the show's willingness to go for broke like the "Moldavian Massacre" — the name given the bloody disaster that capped off Dynasty's season 5 cliffhanger in 1985.

Taking place in the fictional European nation of Moldavia, the episode saw a character due to be wed to a Moldavian prince — but before the couple could finish the ceremony, their nuptials were interrupted by a group of terrorists who gunned down everyone in the chapel. Never mind who shot J.R. — at the end of this episode, Dynasty fans were left wondering whether every single character at the wedding would end up dead.

All's well that ends well: None of the main cast actually died during the incident. It was a ratings hit, with a viewership of 25.9 million, but the Moldavian Massacre also marked the spot where Dynasty started to lose some of its luster with the audience: The show's remaining four seasons never managed to attract the ratings it did with its season 5 cliffhanger.