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No, father; you may cut off my head, if you choose, but marry that horrible beggar--I never will!
Don Giovanni de la Fortuna

An Arranged Marriage is set up for a young person (usually a daughter) by their parents, but the child refuses to go through with it. The refusal may be eventually accepted, with or without a lot of conflict and drama, so that he or she is free to remain single or marry their true love. Or he may be disowned over it, or she may suffer Honor-Related Abuse, depending on just where on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism the show is.

In older tales, a group of sisters may be offered the bridegroom; only the youngest is willing to consent. She invariably ends up with a fine bridegroom.

The child may be adult or underage, the trope covers the entire spectrum from the nicest forms of Arranged Marriage to Old Man Marrying a Child.

Contrast Parental Marriage Veto. For works where the child wishes s/he had refused the marriage, see Marital Rape License.

Examples of Child Marriage Veto include:

Anime and Manga

  • Ranma ½ - Genma, and Mr. Tendo had arranged for Ranma and Akane to marry. The kids swear they won't because they hate each other, but most people who've seen the series swear it's more akin to Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other.
  • Bearskin is one of the tales featured in Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics, and it also includes Johann aka the titular Bearskin being rejected by two girls and then accepted by their younger sister.

Fairy Tales

 Now, this old woman had three daughters. When she reached home with the bear-like man, she called her eldest daughter, and said, "Now, my daughter, here is a man who delivered me from prison. As I can do nothing to reward him for his great kindness, I want you to take him for your husband."

The daughter replied, "Mother, why have you brought this ugly man here? No, I cannot marry him. I can find a better husband."

On hearing this harsh reply, the mother could not say a word. She called her second daughter, and explained her wishes to her; but the younger daughter refused, just as her sister had refused, and she made fun of the man.

  • In Beauty and The Beast, Beauty's sisters veto the idea of going to the Beast; only Beauty agrees.
  • In Costanza / Costanzo, Costanza nobly refuses a suitor with merely Blue Blood, even though her lack of a dowry -- her father's realm having been divided into three parts for her sisters' dowry, before she was born -- meant she was unlike to attract a suitor with Royal Blood.

 Next - speaking with all submission and reverence - I do not purpose to let myself fall be low the race of my ancestors, who from all time have been famous and illustrious, nor do I wish to debase the crown you wear by taking for a husband one who is our inferior. You, my beloved father, have begotten four daughters, of whom you have married three in the most honourable fashion to three mighty kings, giving with them great store of gold and wide domains, but you wish to dispose of me, who have ever been obedient to you and observant of your precepts, in an ignoble alliance. Wherefore I tell you, to end my speech, that I will never take a husband unless I can be mated, like my three sisters, to a king of a rank that is my due.


  • In Fiddler On the Roof, the main protagonist is Tevye, the struggling patriarch of a poor family. Managing to arrange a marriage between his oldest daughter and the wealthy, older man Lazar Wolf makes him very happy at first. Sure, he doesn't even like the guy - but Lazar has money and social position that will guarantee that his new wife will never have to starve. When the girl finds out about her upcoming marriage - and this is after the deal has been made and the men in the village has celebrated it - she takes it very badly. Tevye takes pity on her, sparing her from the marriage. But in this society, letting the wife-to-be have a say in the matter is so shameful that he have to make up a cover story to fool people that it was his own idea to change his mind.
    • She later marries the man she loves. Lazar attends the wedding, and makes two things clear. First that he doesn't resent her for rejecting him, second that he will never forgive her father for letting her reject him. Tevye had promised his daughter to Lazar, and breaking this agreement by letting his daughter have a say in the matter makes Tevye a man without honor as far as Lazar is concerned.
  • In Spaceballs, King Roland never has to back off from his demand that his daughter shall marry a prince. Sure the horribly boring Prince Valium was the only prince left in the galaxy, but it turns out that the hero is actually also a prince. Problem solved.
  • Jasmine's propensity towards this is how Aladdin gets his foot in the door.
  • Sleeping Beauty has Prince Phillip engaged to Princess Aurora from the day of her birth (he looks about five at the time). Sixteen years later he tells his father he has no intention of going through with it because he has met someone else, and "this is the 14th century", so such arrangements are outdated. Subverted in that the girl he has met is the princess, but neither of them know it.


Live Action TV

  • In the flashbacks of Lost, Sun is very reluctant when her father forces her into a Arranged Marriage with the son of one of the father's business partners. After a little while she opens up and falls in love in with the guy... but then HE vetoes the whole thing. It turns out that he already has a girlfriend, it's just that he hadn't dared to tell his family about it.
  • The Babylon 5 episode "The War Prayer" had this with a couple of Centauri, each arranged to marry someone else, but wanting to marry each other.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Haven": Deanna Troi has been arranged to be married to Wyatt Miller. It's not Deanna who breaks off the marriage, though; it's Wyatt, who has had dreams of a non-Deanna woman since he was a child...and then he finds her on a plague ship.
    • Another episode featured the Enterprise transporting a diplomat on a mission to end an interstellar civil war that has lasted for generations by bringing a young woman to be the bride for the opposing faction's leader. It turns out she was created as "the perfect mate", with a blank slate personality; becoming the perfect match for any male nearby until she imprints on a husband permanently and gets locked into that personality forever. Long story short, Picard has to spend tons of time with her, and she imprints on HIM permanently. It seems like a diplomatic incident is looming since she now loves Picard and not the man she is intended to marry, but being the prefect mate for Picard, her sense of duty is so strong she subverts the trope and goes through with the wedding anyway in order to end the war and save lives.
  • In Royal Pains, Divya breaks off her Arranged Marriage to Raj, though this comes with the consequence of being disowned by her family and being forced to repay Raj's family for what they put into wedding plans.


Video Games

  • Mitsuru Kirijou's Social Link in Persona 3 involves the board of directors arranging for her to marry a much older man to stabilize the Kirijou Group after her father's death. She seems to have accepted it, but the main character can convince her otherwise, as she had actually fallen in love with him.
    • In Persona 5, Haru Okumura's Corrupt Corporate Executive of a father has her engaged to the Jerkass son of a member of the Parliament. One of the reasons why she joins the Phantom Thieves is that, since he's one of their Targets, she wants to make her dad change his mind. It's horribly subverted when he dies.
  • Notably averted in Dragon Age Origins when during the City Elf origin, despite best efforts of a reluctant PC the ceremony will still go forward. However, it will not finish.
  • In Dragon Quest VIII, Princess Medea is engaged to Prince Charmles. Although she's willing to go through with it in order to honor the treaty between their kingdoms, it's clear that nobody (aside from Charmles himself) is really pleased with the match, and eventually she decides to pull a Runaway Bride, with her father and friends defending her. Depending on the ending you earn, she either escapes with The Hero, or the King of Argonia exploits a loophole so she can marry the hero instead.
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Ferdinand von Aegir says that he once was almost engaged to a girl from another noble family, but rejected the idea over hearing that she was a Strange Girl. He tells this to the girl herself -- who turns out to have been his classmate Bernadetta von Varley. And since he says it at their A-Support talk, they get to Marry for Love instead.
    • Ingrid and Dorothea's Paralogue is about a very rich nobleman offering an Arranged Marriage to Ingrid's Impoverished Patrician family, only for her to refuse going though it after meeting him. So the nobleman sends out mercenaries to both capture Ingrid so he can force her into a wedding and apparently kill Dorothea for suspecting his foul intentions from the start. The Paralogue's goal is to either have Ingrid escape the battlefield or kill all the enemies; if this is done, her father will call off the engagement and give the cast either the Galatea family's Heroic Relic, a valuable gem, or both (it depends on whether Byleth teaches Ingrid or not).

Real Life

  • Many arranged-marriage systems do in fact allow for vetoing, rather than being forced marriages. (Sort of like parent-selected life-long blind dates). As the intro already says, there's a spectrum. (For example, situations where no legal power prevents children from marrying whoever they please, but it's still a cultural no-no, shameful for the parents and/or the children.)
  • In one case, a girl divorced the husband that had been chosen for her. The judge was astonished that she would ask for a divorce--or rather, that she was 10 years old and married to a much older man was so self-confident in harassing the justice system for her culturally accepted rights.
  • In ancient China, a girl could protest her parents' choice of husband for her by wearing a white dress to the wedding, white being the color of mourning in their culture. The parents may even call it off if she's that unhappy.
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