You may make a mistake or two in planning your wedding, but God willing, you’ll never get it as wrong as these infamous pairings throughout the last 30 years of TV history. To be clear, most of these dirty dozen – with a couple of mockable exceptions – were a lot of fun to watch, they were just no fun for the bride or groom.
These are the weddings that got messed up. The ones that just didn’t occur as they were supposed to. Without further ado, here is Screen Rant’s list of the 12 Worst TV Weddings.
Ross and Emily (Friends)
In the early days of Friends, everybody was cheering for the neurotic (if charmingly goofy) Ross (David Schwimmer) to get with the vivacious (if a bit spoiled) Rachel (Jennifer Aniston). Then they actually got together, and… well. Increasingly, Friends shifted from presenting them as a True Love for the Ages (“They can’t break up, this is Ross and Rachel!”) to presenting them as overgrown high schoolers with some growing up to do, and eventually subbed in Monica and Chandler (Courteney Cox and Matthew Perry) as the couple really worth caring about.
Even so, Ross’s quickie marriage to Emily Waltham (Helen Baxendale) was doomed from the start when Ross substituted Rachel’s name for Emily’s during his wedding vow. Emily responded with an elbow smash the second they were alone, while Chandler did his best to find the bright side: “It could’ve been worse… He could have shot her.” Hold that thought, Chandler…
Anya and Xander (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Buffy was well past its prime by the time ex-vengeance-demon Anya (Emma Caulfield) and normal-human Xander’s (Nicholas Brendon) wedding reached its conclusion, but it could still deliver an emotional punch now and then. One of Anya’s former targets, transformed to a demon himself, posed as Xander’s own future self and showed him a horrible worst-case scenario, tailor-made to terrify any son of an alcoholic. In typical Buffy fashion, Anya gets to deliver one of the series’ most romantic speeches even as the actual romance it describes is going down the tubes:
I’d seen what love could do to people, and it was… hurt, and sadness. A-alone was better. And then, suddenly, there was you! And-and you knew me. You saw me. And it was this… thing. You make me feel safe and warm, so, I… get it now. I finally get love, Xander! I really do.
Pretty words, but not even the knowledge that the demon’s visions were lies could make Xander stop believing in them. (Side note: fans of that relationship might enjoy what’s playing out in the Buffy comic books lately.)
Jimmy Olsen and Chloe (Smallville)
Comic-book weddings have about a 30% chance of some kind of supervillain showing up to muck things up, as happened to Black Canary and Green Arrow, Rick Jones, Nightwing, Starfire, the Fantastic Four, and twice to Bruce Banner. Smallville honored this comic-book tradition using not Lois and Clark (Tom Welling and Kristin Kreuk in this incarnation), but Jimmy Olsen and Chloe Sullivan (Aaron Ashmore and Allison Mack).
The wedding crasher was Smallville‘s version of Doomsday (Dario Delacio), because this DC Comics’ prequel series never met a villain they couldn’t retroactively ruin by bringing them into Superman or Batman’s world too early. Jimmy seemed to die but didn’t (until later), Chloe got kidnapped for reasons that made no sense (something about Brainiac needing to possess her after he’d already possessed Doomsday). And Clark attempted to stop Doomsday for ten seconds before getting knocked into a piece of inconveniently located Kryptonite, which is about as perfect a summary of the entire series as you’ll find anywhere.
George Michael and Maeby (Arrested Development)
George Michael’s (Michael Cera) on-again, off-again crush on his cousin was never going to lead to a happy ending: even without the cousin thing, G.M. would still be a clingy emotional wreck and Maeby (Alia Shawkat) would still be a con artist. Still, Arrested Development‘s chief pairing in defiance of common sense had a certain charm.
Toward the series’ end, the two of them joined a troupe that performed fake wedding for the entertainment of an audience of Alzheimer’s patients, and while Maeby ran out of the first performance, she got through the second – only for the doctor who was “officiating the wedding” to step out and a priest who actually could officiate weddings to step in. Now legally married, the couple got to second base before George Michael saw some graphic childbirth photos that… er… removed any doubts about Maeby’s parentage.
Ted and Stella (How I Met Your Mother)
For a story about Ted’s (Josh Radnor) epic journey to find “the one,” no series served up bad choices quite like How I Met Your Mother. It certainly gave us bigger marriage-related disappointments (the last episode comes to mind), but few were rougher on Ted than the discovery that he was just “the other guy” in Stella’s (Sharah Chalke) love story with Tony (Jason Jones), and that Stella’s jealousy over Robin (Cobie Smulders) had littered her dialogue with clues that he really should have picked up on. “Don’t ever invite an ex to the wedding,” says Future Ted, and a little trace of bitterness still creeps into his tone, despite the hurt being at least several years and relationships ago.
Donna and Lance (Doctor Who)
Even the most elaborate wedding planners can’t anticipate everything. Sure, it never hurts to beef up security if you suspect some treacherous families, terrorists, or rampaging spy cyborgs (we’ll get to that) to attack your ceremony. But then there’s always spontaneous alien abduction. And sometimes the aliens don’t even mean to take you.
Donna (Catherine Tate) disappeared from her own wedding to Lance (Don Gilet), ending up on the TARDIS in mid-flight. After running a few tests, the Doctor (David Tennant) dropped her back at her wedding. Unfortunately, the reason she was drawn on the TARDIS was that Lance was in league with an alien queen and had been dosing her with exotic particles, which would make her a tool to release the queen’s brood upon the Earth. The marriage went downhill from there, though after a stint as the Doctor’s companion, Donna had a happier ending.
Archer and Katya (both times, Archer)
Sterling Archer (voice of H. Jon Benjamin), the world’s most dangerous spy, found true love with his opposite number, Katya Kazanova (Ona Grauer) of the KGB. For him, she was willing to defect to America and his spy organization; for her, he was willing to give up sex with other women. It all would’ve been perfect if vengeful cyborg Barry Dylan (Dave Willis) hadn’t shown up to try to kill Archer. Katya rescued him by pulling Barry with her off a seven-story drop.
Revived as a cyborg, Katya picked up her relationship with Archer, but their second try didn’t go much better. When Barry showed up to kill Archer again, Katya engaged him in a more equal battle, which ended with Katya and Barry discovering certain hardware compatibilities with each other, if you know what we mean.
Cristina and Burke (Grey’s Anatomy)
All the warning signs were there. Cristina (Sandra Oh) had hesitated far too long before accepting Burke’s (Isaiah Washington) proposal. She hadn’t wanted a big wedding, but had let her own mother and Burke’s pressure her into it. As Cristina put it much later, “He took little pieces of me – little pieces over time, so small I didn’t even notice, you know. He wanted me to be something I wasn’t, and I made myself into what he wanted.”
The best thing Burke ever did for her was call it off and walk away, though that was a hard lesson for some viewers to accept. They’d have to wait seven more seasons to get full closure on the relationship, when Burke gives her what she really wanted from him the whole time: a chance to replace him, not be by his side, by taking over his hospital.
Emily and Daniel (Revenge)
When Chandler made his dry aside about Ross shooting Emily at their wedding, he wasn’t really making a suggestion. Yet, years later, another svelte blonde bride named Emily had to face another very disappointing first married evening with another black-haired, hugely eyebrowed husband who was also still not really over his ex. And this one did end in a gunshot.
But this “Emily” is really Amanda Clarke (Emily VanCamp), the series protagonist whose ultimate goal is the destruction of Daniel’s (Joshua Bowman) entire family. Livid about discovering just a few of the lies on which she built their relationship, Daniel discovers she’s got a gun on the table. She’s planning to injure herself, part of an elaborate plan to fake her own shooting. So Daniel, like a good husband should, helps her achieve her goals and take them even further than expected, shooting her in the stomach and leaving her for shark bait.
Just like the Moldavian Massacre nearly three decades earlier, though, her nasty surprise turned out not to be fatal. Surely no major program would kill off a major character as part of a wedding ceremony, would they?
Frasier and Diane (Cheers)
This wedding didn’t even make it to the screen. Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) joined Cheers as a snooty foil for Sam Malone (Ted Danson) and all the working-class cast characters, with the exception of the high-class Diane (Shelley Long), whom he started off counseling and soon ended up dating.
She jilted him at the altar, but all we saw was the fallout. Arguably, we saw about two decades of it, as Frasier struggled in his relationships with woman after woman, both on Cheers and the Grammer-led spin-off Frasier for another 11 seasons, healing himself somewhat but never quite losing his tendency to self-sabotage when he had a good thing, to leave himself at the altar before anyone else could.
Still, he seemed to end up having a much richer and more fulfilling life than Diane, who never quite made it stick with Sam Malone and was last seen as a guest star on Frasier, producing a play based on her “glory years” waitressing at Cheers.
Amanda and Prince Michael: The Moldavian Massacre (Dynasty)
The real love story of Dynasty had nothing to do with any onscreen nuptials: it was the all-too-brief love affair between America and Denver, Colorado’s faaaaaabulously wealthy Carringtons. And that love affair peaked (then quickly soured) with the “Moldavian Massacre” Season 5 cliffhanger. As Amanda (Catherine Oxenberg) prepared to wed Prince Michael of Moldavia (Michael Praed), terrorists attacked and apparently slaughtered not only the two of them, but the entire cast! Who could possibly have survived?
Well, everyone, as it turned out, except for a couple of love interests nobody cared about. Alexis was conspicuous by her absence at the start of Season 6, but only because actress Joan Collins was negotiating a higher salary. The only real casualty of the Massacre was Dynasty‘s dramatic credibility.
Just About Any Wedding (Game of Thrones)
The obvious choice here would have been the bloody slaughter and betrayal known as the Red Wedding, the series’ defining moment. But then there’s the Purple Wedding, wherein King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) ends up poisoned and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) is falsely accused. Or how about Tyrion’s own wedding, where everybody present snickers at the height difference between him and his bride?
Tommen Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell’s (Dean Charles Chapman and Natalie Dormer) wedding goes off all right, but she loses no time playing power games against Cersei (Lena Headey) afterwards. Not to mention, almost no Game of Thrones characters marry for love. The only truly happy wedding story seems to be Robb Stark and Talisa (Richard Madden and Oona Chaplin) who… lasted about a season before they got killed during the Red Wedding. Sooner or later, to save time, Westeros is just going to start scheduling funerals immediately after the wedding reception.
Did we miss any other terrible weddings? Let us know in the comments!