Friends has stood the test of time as an iconic sitcom - it might have given us unrealistic expectations about adult life (does anyone like their immediate neighbours that much in real life?!) but it definitely taught us a fair bit about love and marriage. We've rounded up the 23 key lessons Rachel, Ross, Joey, Monica, Chandler and Phoebe taught us about weddings...
If you're a Friends super-fan, you're going to love these Friends-themed wedding ideas
1. Don’t Over-Do the Spray Tan
If you’re going for a spray tan before your wedding, remember Ross and proceed with caution. Start light – you can always go darker if it’s not enough for you, but it’s harder to go lighter. It's also worth having a test-run a few months before your wedding, so you can check that you're not allergic to anything and that you like how it looks on you. And don’t Mississippi-count your seconds…
2. Get the Name Right
We still cringe with horror when we think about ‘I take thee, Rachel’. Even if you don’t have a secret on-off love interest who got off the plane for you, nerves can get the better of you and you might slip up. Take your time saying your vows, and perhaps practise them once or twice beforehand – you don’t want to be the wedding horror story of the girl who said her fiancé’s brother’s name…
3. Be Extra Careful with the Rings
This episode was aptly named ‘The One with the Worst Best Man Ever’. Make sure you keep your rings safe and only let them out of your sight when you need to – you don’t want to be the one confronting the stripper because she stole your dead grandmother’s ring (why have all these disasters happened to Ross so far?!). You can also share this list of best man duties with your best man so he knows exactly what his job is.
4. Women Can Propose Too
We’ll never not feel emotional when we watch the scene where Monica gets down on one knee for Chandler – women can pop the question and it doesn’t have to be a leap year proposal either.
5. Honesty is the Best Policy
Monica and Chandler secretly get together at Ross’s wedding to Emily, and whilst they had chemistry for some time, they keep their blossoming relationship secret from their friends. We’re not saying make it super obvious if you hit it off with someone at a wedding, but don’t hide it from your closest friends once it becomes something more – it makes it all a bit awkward. Unless it’s your actual wedding, in which case don’t do this at all.
6. Stay Sober(ish)
Have a few glasses of champagne by all means, but don't go overboard! You want to remember your wedding – or at least the fact you got married, unlike Ross and Rachel in Las Vegas…
7. Go Steady on the Teeth Whitening
Everywhere you look these days you see celebrities with gleaming white teeth, and it’s tempting to think about teeth whitening for the sake of your wedding photos. But remember Ross’s glow-in-the-dark gnashers – don’t go too far.
8. Don't Get Too Caught Up in Detail
When it comes to proposal ideas, there are so many to consider but sometimes you can lose the meaning in a big display. Remember what Mike says to Phoebe after all the failed proposal attempts: “I keep trying to propose in these stupid ways and all I wanna do is tell you that I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you – I’m gonna do this now.” The bit where he says “There’s no one else in the world I would ask to marry me…three times” always gets us.
9. Don’t Accidentally Propose
We will never stop cringing at the time Joey accidentally proposed to Rachel in hospital – our general rule for life now is to never get down on one knee unless you’re actually intending to propose.
10. About the Bridal Shower
If you have ideas or expectations for your hen do or bridal shower, make sure your bridal party knows. How awkward was it when Monica assumed that Phoebe and Rachel were throwing her one and they panicked? And how Phoebe didn’t want the tea party, she wanted ‘pee-pees flying about’…If you need to know how to plan a bridal shower, we can help!
11. Maybe Avoid the Stripper?
We already had the dead-grandmother’s-wedding-ring mix up, but throw a crying Danny Devito into the mix and Friends put us off strippers for good. It’s too risky! Although we can't lie, we'd bloody love it if Danny Devito turned up at the next hen do we went to.
12. You Don’t Have to Have One Best Man
When picking your bridesmaids or groomsmen, it can get awkward when it comes to asking just one ‘Will you be my best man?’ It made sense when Ross had two best men for his wedding to Emily, and it would have saved Monica a lot of drama if she’d told Rachel and Phoebe they were both maids of honour.
13. Bridesmaids Are People Too
Your bridesmaids are real people with their own lives – don’t heap too much on them and don’t dress them up in silly, humiliating outfits like Mindy did to Rachel at her wedding to Barry.
14. Friendship and Business Don’t Mix
It can be a handy wedding budget hack to ask for favours from friends but don’t lean on them too much – friendship and business aren’t a great mix, as Phoebe finds out when she has to sack overly-controlling Monica from the role of wedding planner.
15. Make Sure You’re Both on the Same Page
If you just assume you’re having a big white wedding and go ahead with the plans, whilst your other half is dreaming of a more low-key day, it can cause problems. When Phoebe changed her mind about the kind of wedding she wanted, things got seriously awkward – remember her asking for her charity donation back? Cringe!
16. Have a Back Up Plan
Phoebe and Mike go from planning a small wedding to planning a huge wedding – which then gets thrown into disarray due to heavy snow. They end up having a tiny (but perfect) wedding in the snowy street. Make sure you have a bad weather back up, especially if you’re having an outdoor wedding ceremony.
17. It’s Not All About the Dress
Sure, your dress is a big part of the day and there’s nothing more emotional than a good first-look wedding photo where the bride is seen in her gown for the first time. But learn from Monica – she nabs the dress the other bride wanted at a sample sale and ends up losing the band her husband-to-be really wanted. Prioritise the things that will affect you as a couple.
18. Break In Your Wedding Shoes
Break in your wedding shoes (whether they are heels or brogues!) and build your confidence on the dance floor with a first dance tutorial – either at home or by a professional. Chandler has dancing lessons for his first dance, but doesn’t test out his shoes, resulting in a near miss.
19. Your Parents Aren’t Obliged to Pay
Times have changed and the tradition of the bride’s family paying for the wedding can no longer be counted upon, as Monica finds out when her parents spent the wedding fund on a beach house. We say encourage your parents to buy a beach house – you can enjoy that for years to come! Find out who traditionally pays for what here.
20. Don’t Mess with the Seating Plan
This is one of the most important wedding guest rules, but it gets ignored time and time again. It serves Ross right when he messes with the seating plan to try and sit next to Mona and then ends up on the kids’ table. No sympathy here.
21. Post Wedding Blues Are a Real Thing
It’s totally normal to get the post wedding blues. You’ve spent a considerable amount of time planning this event and looking forward to it. Like Monica, you’re only human so you’re bound to feel a bit down when it’s over. Why not honeymoon to an amazing destination to give yourself something else to look forward to?
22. Maybe Leave the Ex Off the Guest List
Even if you’re now great friends, it’ll never not be a little bit weird, and it can cause tensions to bubble up to the surface. Again we come back to Rachel at Barry and Mindy’s wedding. Awkwaaard.
23. Make Sure They’re Your Lobster
Perhaps the biggest wedding lesson we’ve learnt from Friends – and it comes from Ross and his many weddings – is that you absolutely shouldn’t marry anyone unless they are your lobster.
Don’t miss our edit of wedding cake toppers for TV and film buffs too – there’s a Friends themed lobster one!