I bet that, when you think about ‘wedding scene’ and ‘fiction’, you assume that the wedding scene happens at the conclusion of the story. And indeed, a lot of wedding scenes do happen at the end of stories since so many stories follow the relationship escalator, as I discussed in “The Pirates at the Top of the Escalator”.
Of course, if you’ve read that post, you might have guessed that my favorite wedding scene is one of the rare fictional wedding scene which does *not* occur at the end of the story.
Indeed, my favorite wedding scene in all of fiction is the one in Shēn Diāo Xiá Lǚ, a novel I’ve written a lot about before.
I love the protagonists’ marriage partially because it is a very moving scene. It brought tears to my eyes.
I also love it because, for a change, the wedding is in the middle of the story, not at the end.
The very fact that the wedding is in the middle of the story demonstrates that getting married does not automatically create stability. Even after the protagonists get married, they still have to go through a lot of unstability before a new stasis is established.
Now, some people might say, since their marriage is not consummated (i.e. the protagonists don’t have sex with each other), the wedding does not really count, so of course there isn’t a new stasis. I would counter that by saying that it would be really easy to slip in a sex scene, and I’m sure some fanworks have already done that … and the sex would do absolutely nothing to stabilize the characters’ lives.
And if you suggest that their relationship wasn’t really ‘complete’ because they didn’t have a baby … well, they do have a baby, and the baby doesn’t do anything to make things more stable. Granted, the baby isn’t their biological child, but Yang Guo at least intends to raise the baby as his own child, and I don’t think the situation would be any more stable if the protagonists did have a biological child together.
The story only reaches a new stasis when the protagonists real problems reach a terminal point. Getting married is not a magic fix. Nor was it supposed to be. The protagonists understand quite well that getting married won’t make their lives any easier. That’s not why they get married.
They get married to express their love for each other.
It is because it’s clear that getting married won’t solve their problems, or make their lives any more stable, or confer any social status on them, yet they get married anyway, that the love feels so sincere and genuine.
And that is one of reasons why it is the most touching wedding scene I have ever found in fiction.