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War is a brutal, tragic thing. Expect plenty of Cruel And Unusual Deaths and Tear Jerkers. The atmosphere of a lot of war stories is generally saddening and depressing, if not outright horrifying and peppered with Nightmare Fuel. That said, when a writer thinks that enough is enough and that these poor characters need a bit of happiness in their lives without deviating from the somber war genre, then what better way to show that than have two characters get married?
The Wartime Wedding is a great way to put a Hope Spot in the middle of a story in order to lighten the mood, considering that among other things, a marriage symbolizes love and unity, reminding the characters in the universe that things such as happiness still exist.
This can come in three types (but is not limited to them):
- Weddings right prior to war breaking out or right in the beginning of it: These marriages are usually rushed and can represent calm before the storm. It can be particularly ominous Foreshadowing. Often ends in the fresh husband going off to war. These bridegrooms seem to have a fairly low chance of survival.
- Weddings during war: Most commonly used as a Hope Spot, especially when characters are "tired of all the fighting." This can also be done before the Final Battle, as one last "I love you," and to ensure that the now-wife will be compensated if the hero dies in battle. In this case, his odds of survival are about 50/50.
- Weddings right after war: When the wartime sweethearts have Hooked Up Afterwards, they're very likely to get married to show that, somehow, the characters are moving on with their lives. This type of wartime wedding generally symbolizes the beginning of recovery. Oftentimes used as a Bittersweet Ending.
- Susan Bones and Ernie Macmillan in Dumbledores Army and The Year of Darkness. Professor McGonagall also told a backstory about herself marrying a wizard who joined the muggle RAF in WWII and died shortly afterward.
- In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Will and Elizabeth not only get married in the middle of a war, but also in the middle of a battle.
- This Is The Army: The soldier and his girlfriend nearly don't get married for fear of leaving her a single mother, but in the end she convinces him to marry her anyway.
- In the Star Wars prequels, Anakin and Padme secretly marry at the beginning of the clone wars.
- The African Queen. While attempting to blow up a German warship in the middle of World War I, Rose and Charlie fall in love. They get captured by Germans, and just before they are to be hanged, they ask the captain of the ship to marry them, so they can at least die as husband and wife.
Captain: I now pronounce you husband and wife--proceed with the execution.
- In Independence Day, Steve and Jasmine marry at Area 51 the morning before the Final Battle. Her son Dylan acts as ring-bearer.
- One of the recruits that John Wayne trains in The Sands Of Iwo Jima marries a girl he met at the USO shortly before the unit is deployed.
- In Father Goose Cary Grant's character marries Leslie Caron's after some truly inspired Slap Slap Kiss while being strafed by the Japanese. The wedding night isn't any better
- Happens to Finnick and Annie in the third books of The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay.
- Harry Potter:
- Bill and Fleur's wedding in the seventh book.
- Molly and Arthur Weasley got married during Voldemort's first reign of terror. This is brought up as Hypocritical Humor after Molly decries the tendency of the young to rush into marriage during his second reign of terror.
- There's a villainous twist to this in Phoenix and Ashes. Alison intends to bespell Reggie into a Wartime Wedding to one of her daughters, magically ensure that an heir is conceived, then get Reggie back to the front to be killed (leaving Alison controlling the Fenyx estate and wealth through her daughter).
- Gone with the Wind has quite a lot of engagements and weddings going on before, during, and after the war. It averts all three above.
- Ashley Wilkes and Melanie Hamilton are engaged during the very beginning of war. He ultimately survives the war, but refuses to be called a hero, depressed of the war horrors.
- Angry and humiliated with this (she had confessed to Ashley after hearing of the engagement plans), Scarlett married young Charles Hamilton a little later. He dies an unheroic death from measles a few weeks later, leaving Scarlett pregnant.
- Later on, Scarlett seduces her sister's fiancé Frank Kennedy for his money to be able to pay Tara's taxes. She gives birth to his daughter, and soon he's shot during a Ku Klux Klan raid.
- Roran and Katrina in the Inheritance Cycle. They were already engaged before the war came to their home village, though.
- In Rilla of Ingleside, Rilla's friend Miranda gets married to her fiance Joe before the latter has to ship out in World War One.
- In Deep Love Granny and her husband married during WW 2. Their marriage lasted one night.
- In The Emperors Winding Sheet by Jill Paton Walsh the last Byzantine Emperor visits a wedding party held during while the city is under siege. When one of his courtiers asks if this is the proper time, The Emperor says "Tomorrow may be to late".
- Happened a time or two in MASH. One time it was a couple of Koreans getting married, and Father Mulcahey narrated the wedding for the benefit of those watching who weren't familiar with Korean wedding rites.
- Worf and Dax got married during the Dominion War in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- Rom and Leeta have a first type wedding, immediately before the outbreak of the Dominion War.
- Danger UXB: The protagonist and his Love Interest get married despite him being a bomb disposal officer (he does survive the war, though in a psychologically damaged condition).
- In Downton Abbey, William leaves to fight in WWI and asks Daisy to marry him when the war is over; she doesn't love him and wants to turn him down, but accepts because Mrs Patmore tells her that William should not have to go to war heartbroken. He is mortally wounded in the trenches, and marries Daisy hours before his death because he wants her to have a widow's pension.
- Hikaru and Urara in Mahou Sentai Magiranger, though the "war" is between the Magirangers and the Infershia.
- The Baby Boom after World War II was basically the result of this.