“Friends” was a very popular NBC TV comedy series that ran from September 1994 to May 2004. The show had a talented cast featuring Jennifer Aniston (Rachel Green), Courtney Cox (Monica Geller), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffany), Matt LeBlanc (Joey Tribbiani), Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing) and David Schwimmer (Ross Geller). The basic premise of the show revolved around six “friends” living in New York City that spent a lot of time drinking coffee at the Central Perk coffee shop talking about their problems! In this post I will discuss several episodes from the show’s ten seasons involving weddings and focusing only on those of the main characters with the exception of one wedding.
The first wedding actually took place prior to the start of the series when Ross and Carol Willick were married (the first of Ross’ infamous string of three weddings!) As the first episode starts, we find out that Carol has moved out after revealing that she is a lesbian and is now currently involved with a woman named Susan Bunch (Jessica Hecht). Special Note: The original actress that played Carol, Anita Barone was only in the pilot episode and afterwards the role was played by Jane Sibbett)
Pilot Episode –
In one of the opening scenes in the pilot episode (also known as “The First One” or “The One Where It All Began”), the “friends” are sitting in the Central Perk coffee shop one afternoon when Rachel comes rushing in wearing a white wedding dress. She is a little soaked from the rain and extremely upset because she is escaping from her wedding to Barry Finkle (Mitchell Whitfield). She is desperately trying to find her old high school friend, Monica, who is the only one in the city that she knows that was NOT invited to the wedding. Special Note: In the pilot episode Barry’s last name is Finkle but when he appears in later episodes in the series his last name is changed to Farber.
Rachel’s wedding dress features a fitted beaded lace bodice with off the shoulder cap sleeves, deep v-neckline and a full skirt, she also seems to be wearing the customary debutante pearl necklace. What makes it a typical 90s style wedding ensemble is the bridal veil with a pouf of tulle at the back and the beaded headpiece placed across the forehead with a dangling jewel.
Season two – episode 11
In season two of the series episode 11, Ross’ ex-wife Carol gets married to Susan in one of the first same sex weddings shown on television; this was a very progressive idea for a 1990s situation comedy show. The storyline of the episode, “The One with the Lesbian Wedding”, is that Carol’s parents have made the decision not to attend the wedding since they do not approve of the marriage and Ross steps up to “give the bride away”. The two brides are wearing coordinating bridal outfits of (possibly vintage) ivory dresses and hats instead of veils. The hats were a very questionable fashion choice and would seem much better suited to a Sunday church service in the South or perhaps a British wedding!
Season four – episode 20
In the episode entitled, “The One With All The Wedding Dresses”, Ross has suddenly proposed to Emily Waltham (Helen Baxendale) a girl he just met that is visiting from England. Since the wedding is being planned in haste and Emily has returned to England to prepare for the event, Ross asks Monica to pick up Emily’s bridal dress. On hearing that Ross is getting married Rachel realizes that it is finally over between her and Ross (wait … weren’t they each others “lobster”, a reference from the season two 14th episode, “The One With The Prom Video”, when it is finally revealed that Ross has feelings for Rachel) So, Rachel spontaneously decides to make a play for Joshua Burgin (Tate Donovan), her handsome repeat customer from Bloomingdale’s, who does not seem interested at all!
Meanwhile, while at the bridal shop Monica can’t resist trying on Emily’s bridal dress because she thinks this is her only chance at wearing on. She becomes obsessed and doesn’t want to take the dress off. Then, hearing about the situation, a very pregnant Phoebe arrives at Monica’s apartment to join her in the moment also wearing a wedding dress. Rachel returns to the apartment feeling a little depressed about being rejected by both Ross and Joshua and when she sees Monica and Phoebe wearing the bridal dresses and decides to join them and quickly puts on her old wedding dress (which seems that it has been slightly altered with a more modest neckline!). Suddenly there is a knock on the door and Rachel goes to open the door to reveal Joshua and he becomes completely freaked out by the site of Rachel wearing a wedding dress and he suddenly leaves.
Season four – episode 23 & 24
The season four finale, “The One with Ross’s Wedding”, the storyline starts with Ross and his friends leaving for England for his wedding to Emily with the exception of Phoebe (because she is almost due to give birth to her brother’s triplets … it’s complicated so please don’t ask!) and obviously Rachel who is avoiding the event.
The group arrives in London for the final preparations and pre-wedding celebrations and to enjoy the sites of London (in this episode there are special cameos by Richard Branson and Sarah Ferguson). Meanwhile, back in New York City, Rachel realizes that she loves Ross and decides to fly to England to stop the wedding (there is a special appearance by Hugh Laurie on the airplane). Rachel arrives just before the ceremony is about to start and finds Ross and Emily sharing a kiss so she makes the decision to not ruin Ross’ happiness. But during the vows Ross unexpectedly says Rachel’s name instead of Emily. (Although they proceed with the ceremony and are officially married, later Ross and Emily eventually get divorced …so, if you are counting this would be Ross’ second marriage and second divorce!)
The wedding dress that Emily wears in this episode is similar to the one in the previous episode, “The One With All the Wedding Dresses”, that Monica becomes obsessed with. The difference is that Emily is now wearing a matching jacket and instead of that horrible veil and beaded headpiece she had chosen to wear a lovely tiara.
In the wedding both Chandler and Joey serve as co-best men for Ross and Monica, being the sister of the groom, is a bridesmaid. She and the other bridesmaid wear rather simple red gowns for the ceremony.
Special Note: The episode, “The One With Ross’s Wedding”, is the first time Chandler and Monica become intimately involved (… how is that for putting it delicately!) Later this adorable couple will secretly continue their relationship when they return to New York.
Season five – episode 23
As previously mentioned, Chandler and Monica have initially keep their relationship a secret but eventually during season five everybody will find out. So, in the season five finale, “The One in Vegas”, the friends have all gone to see Joey who is supposedly filming a movie there. While in Las Vegas, Chandler and Monica are discussing their relationship and decide that maybe it is time to get married. So, a spontaneous wedding takes place but it is not the couple that you think! At the end of the episode Chandler and Monica are waiting at the entrance of the wedding chapel for another ceremony to finish. In the final scene of the episode, suddenly a very drunk Ross and Rachel burst through the doors of the chapel with Ross tossing rice into the air saying “Hello Mrs. Ross” and Rachel carrying a bridal bouquet saying “Hello Mr. Rachel”. Special Note: Eventually in season six, Ross and Rachel realize their mistake but instead of an annulment they get a divorce. So, if anyone is counting this makes Ross’ third marriage and his third divorce!
Obviously because of their unplanned and unexpected wedding ceremony, Ross and Rachel are casually dressed and not wearing traditional wedding clothes. Strangely, and perhaps due to their drunken condition, Ross has his name written across his forehead with a black permanent marker and Rachel had a mustache drawn on her face.
Season seven – episode 17
The episode entitled, “The One With the Cheap Wedding Dress”, the storyline centers on the fact that Chandler and Monica now officially engaged and as their wedding date gets closer it is now time for Monica to select her bridal dress. In keeping with her highly organized and sometimes obsessive behavior, Monica has figured out that she can go to a high-priced bridal boutique to decide on the dress she wants and then go to a discount store that is having a sale and purchase the dress at a much reduced price. (This is something that many budget-conscious brides do and is a great way to get the dress that you want but at a more affordable price!)
The wedding dress that Monica picks in this episode has a fitted beaded bodice with halter straps and a full skirt. As seen in the photo Monica has taken Phoebe and Monica with her to pick out the dress at the high priced bridal shop and then at the discount bridal store Monica runs into some “competition” for the perfect dress!
Season seven – episodes 23 & 24
The season seven two part finale, entitled “The One With Chandler and Monica’s Wedding – Parts One and Two”, feature perhaps one of the most anticipated moments of the series. On the morning of the wedding Chandler seems to be missing and we find out later that he has suddenly gotten “cold feet”! Meanwhile, Monica is busy at her apartment getting ready for the wedding day with the help of Phoebe and Rachel and she has no idea her groom has disappeared. While at the apartment Phoebe finds a pregnancy test and assumes Monica is expecting a baby!!
Ross arrives at the apartment looking for Chandler and warns Phoebe and Rachel to say nothing to Monica. Meanwhile, Joey who has agreed to officiate the wedding is delayed on a movie set filming a World War II drama and might not make it to the ceremony. Finally, Chandler is found but someone has told him Monica might be pregnant and he seems to be pleasantly surprised and the wedding will proceed as scheduled. When Joey arrives late for the ceremony after coming directly from filming the movie he is still wearing his military uniform costume much to the annoyance of Monica. In the end, as Chandler and Monica are pronounced man and wife, Chandler leans in and says he knows about the baby and Monica’s shocked response is that she’s not pregnant? Special Note: We find out later that Rachel is the one expecting a baby and in season eight we learn that Ross is the father!
For her wedding, Monica wears a classic and simple wedding dress in a fit and flare style (meaning a fitted bodice and through the hips to a flared bottom) with a v-neckline and back. The dress has no lace or beading and to complete the ensemble she wears a floor length veil and carries a bridal bouquet of red roses. Chandler wears a classic black tuxedo with a black tie and gold stripped vest.
As previously mentioned, Joey, who is the officiant, is wearing a military uniform because he rushed over from the movie set. Ross is Chandler’s best man and he is wearing a classic black tuxedo with a black tie.
Phoebe and Rachel are Monica’s bridesmaids and they wear fitted floor-length dresses featuring a rounded neckline and a tiered skirt. The dresses are made in a beautiful off-white material with a gold embossed floral design; they carry simple bouquets of yellow and orange lilies.
Season ten – episode 12
The episode, “The One With Phoebe’s Wedding”, features the last wedding of the series. The storyline centers on the final days leading up to the wedding of Phoebe and Mike Hannigan (Paul Rudd). Monica is the wedding planner and she is absolutely driving Phoebe crazy with her obsessive scheduling of the smallest details, Phoebe briefly fires her but quickly hires her back out of necessity. On the morning of the wedding New York City is hit with a severe snowstorm and it looks like the ceremony is going to be canceled. As the friends gather, the decision is made to proceed with the wedding and arrangements are quickly made for the ceremony to take place on the street outside of the Central Perk Coffee Shop.
Joey is once again called upon to officiate the wedding at the last minute, Ross is an usher who must suffer the indignity of carrying Mike’s dog Chappy and Chandler is asked to walk Phoebe down the aisle. The groom, Mike, and Joey are wearing tuxedos with white bow ties while Chandler and Ross are wearing suits. All four men are also wearing overcoats when they are outside for the ceremony.
Monica (as well as being the wedding planner) and Rachel are two of Phoebe’s three bridemaids, Mike’s sister is the third bridesmaid. All three are wearing cream beaded lace sleeveless tops, tied with a satin bow and full skirt. Rachel as maid of honor is wearing a blue skirt while Monica and Mike’s sister are wearing taupe skirts, for the ceremony winter coats are worn. Each of the three bridesmaids carry wildflower bouquets.
Finally, Phoebe makes a beautiful bride wearing a two piece wedding dress featuring a fitted bodice with cap sleeves and a full skirt which is gathered on one side. She wears her hair styled in long curls with a shoulder length veil attached to a simple jeweled tiara; she carries a simple bridal bouquet of wildflowers.