Wanted: Literary Romantic Pairs

I really should have posted this yesterday, on Valentine’s Day. What a missed opportunity! And what on earth, you are probably wondering, am I talking about?William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Well, here’s the gen. Longterm friend and regular reader of Whispering Gums, NeilAtKallaroo, needs help, and he thinks that this blog’s intelligent, engaged readers are the people to ask. The story is that his daughter is currently planning the reception for her wedding this September. She wants each table to be labelled with a romantic pair – like Romeo and Juliet, Darcy and Lizzie, Anthony and Cleopatra, and even the Owl and the Pussycat.

But, what should they call the bridal party’s table?  Currently it is just called “Bridal Party” which, as Neil rightly says, “isn’t very literary at all”! However, before you start running to your bookshelves, there’s an added request. If possible, they’d like the novel the pair name comes from “to include a sumptuous description of their wedding reception!” Please, no Miss Havishams! Neil and family welcome creativity – so think as laterally as you like – but Miss Havisham’s wedding feast is probably a step too far …

Finally, to offer a little encouragement, if someone here comes up with the pair that is eventually chosen, I will send an Aussie novel of my choice to the first person (no matter where you live) who suggested that pair.

So now, get those literary brains going …

59 thoughts on “Wanted: Literary Romantic Pairs

  1. I can think of plenty of romantic pairings but that added request for a banquet description has me defeated at the moment….The closest I can get is Taming of the Shrew’s Petruchio/Kate where Act 5 scene 2 takes place at a celebratory banquet. However there is no description of what they are eating. Now I come to think of it can I even consider this pair to be romantic, they spend all their time squabbling so maybe not the best of role models for a newly hitched pair in real life

  2. Sam Gamgee and Rosie Cotton, at the end of The Return of the King, have a big wedding with a reception and dance. And how about Westley and Buttercup, from The Princess Bride?

    • Ok Jeanne, I have to admit I’ve never seen or read The princess bride! That’s a terrible admission isn’t it? I think it’s because as soon as I hear the word princess I run the other way! I haven’t read The return of the king either. I’m guessing Neil and family will know these though, so thanks very much for joining in.

      • Please don’t let the words ‘princess’ or ‘bride’ put you off seeing the movie, Sue. It’s a rare gem that pleases viewers, whatever their age, with some truly memorable characters and lines.

        • Thanks Angela. Yes, that’s what my daughter tells me. I have realised that that little prejudice of mine should not stop me seeing it. I just need now to find an opportunity.

  3. It’s a big disadvantage to specialise in the Independent Woman, none of my heroines gets married. Miles Franklin’s one big wedding was of Rachel Mazere to Simon Labosseer (based on MF’s own maternal grandparents) which takes up the first third of Up The Country, her first Brent of Bin Bin novel. Emily Mazere and Bert Poole is much more romantic but I’m afraid it ends in tragedy.

  4. My first impression is that Claudio and Hero, and Beatrice and Benedick, would both be quite suitable except that the wedding reception is not explicitly described, and yet is frequently interpreted as being very jolly. Charles’ and Emma’s wedding is explicitly baroque, but this is surely a very poor choice of couple to use…!!!

    Quite a challenge, no? 🙂

  5. Hi Sue, I think the romantic pair should be from an Australian novel: Tim Winton’s, Cloudstreet. The bridal table called either ‘Cloudstreet’ or ‘The Pickles and The Lambs’. Not a true romantic novel, but it is about two families coming together. It has love, romance, tragedy and laughter, as is marriage!

  6. Hi folks, some great suggestions. But keep them rolling. I am not filtering out any, will present all to my daughter. She may, of course, show no interest in any!

    • That would be good, Neil! Then I wouldn’t have to make good on my prize offer! Seriously though, even if she doesn’t go with any we come up with, we’d love to know her reactions once the discussion has finished.

  7. Goodness, it’s hard to think of any, let alone an Australian example that people might actually know about. In desperation, my mind turns to Australian children’s lit but the best I can suggest is serving a certain kind of (magic) pudding for dessert ;-).

  8. Hi Sue, Aussie kids lit – The Gumnuts, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie -Whispering Gums the bridal table! Though you may have a copyright over “whispering Gums”.

      • Good one Bill, I like ‘Ragged Blossom’ for the bridesmaids. Little Obelia the flower girl. Mrs Kookaburra the matron of honour. Mr Lizard the best man. The bridge and groom wedding dance – The dance of the brolgas.

        • If we were all firm believers in the possibilities of restorative good, we might even adopt the (later) John Dory as MC, and a couple of the Banksia Men as security…???

        • I think Meg has really started something now. the Banksia Men as security – the bouncers! Love it too. I’m not sure whether we’ve come up with an answer that will suit Neil’s daughter but I bet they’ll enjoy all these ideas.

  9. I love the ideas here, Sue. I can’t think of a new one, though in their position, I might’ve called the bridal table the ‘pea-green boat’ and allocated seats to the owl, pussycat, pig with the ring at the end of his nose, and the turkey who lives on the hill 🙂

  10. This is a great idea for a wedding. I have been trying to come up with an original idea. If I come up with a good one I will come back and share it. I love the pairs that folks are coming up with in the comments.

  11. Charles and Emma Bovary have a wedding feast, but not a propitious start. I love Newland Archer from The Age of Innocence, and his wedding to May Welland was well done, and the wedding lasted a lifetime (but he was in love with Ellen). I will have to think some more.

    • Thanks Cate … yes, perhaps Charles and Emma aren’t the best examples, but you can’t not mention them can you. And I do love Wharton, though do you want a groom in love with someone else!!?

  12. What a fun idea.

    There must be a grand wedding banquet in Balzac or Zola but I’m not sure the ones who get married in their books are characters the bride and groom would want to be associated with.

    There’s also a description of Emma’s and Charles’s wedding reception in Flaubert but would like to be compared to Mr & Mrs Bovary?

    So this means we need a literary couple with a HEA? Emma & Mr Knightley, I suppose. But there’s no scene of the wedding reception.

    Otherwise there’s Elizabeth and Mr Yelverton in The Three Miss Kings. Chapter XLIV : The wedding day. There’s a short description of their wedding lunch. At least it’s a positive reference for a young couple. And it’s in Australia.

    PS : A recent French film, Le sens de la fête, is about a wedding planner. In this particular wedding, all the tables are named after a book by Romain Gary.

    • Thanks Emma. Love that you’ve given this a go. So far a few have named Emma and Charles but with the same qualification! Emma and Mr K are lovely.

      I love that you’ve mentioned The three Miss Kings.

  13. PS: there’s also Gabriel & Bathsheba (Far From the Madding Crowd) but the wedding reception is only tea in Bathsheba’s parlour along with trumpets outside.

  14. I pointed the bridal couple at this blog. They enjoyed reading it. Have come up with the theme for the top table, not in the suggestions. But they may exchange some of their existing table themes for suggestions. I’ll keep you posted.

  15. The great event is almost upon us – only a month to go!

    The bride to be was contrary, as normal, and added a comfy gathering from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and another from Chocolat. She had already chosen The Return of the King (wedding of Aragorn and Arwen Udómiel), Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, The Great Gatsby, The Owl and the Pussycat, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Stone Rose (Tenth Dr Who and Rose), Pride and Prejudice, and Colour of a Dragon Scale, a short story by the groom to be.

    We’ve printed an excerpt on A5 card, then cut the card and folded it into a box holding two heart-shape chocolates, and a ribbon around the box. One for each attendee. We’ve also printed out the except so you can read the lot (the box tends to lose the top and bottom and edges of the text), and on each table there is a quiz sheet with questions relating to the exerpts. No prize for the quiz, but just something to do it things to a bit quiet.

    We’re hoping it will be fun. We are also hoping middle daughter doesn’t want something similar when she gets married. It has taken a lot of time!

    • Sounds wonderful Neil. And like a lot of work! Whether she liked our ideas or not we had fun here. Surely middle daughter won’t want to copy her sister. Would love to see a pic or two … but I suppose Gneillian News will have some?

      • Will try and get you some photos. I’ll send them to you, since I don’t know how to include photos in a blog response.

        • Thanks Neil, that would be great. You probably can’t do them in a blog response unless they are online – then you can provide a link to the online site. But, I’m presuming they’re not. (Or sometimes, if they are, they are on a private site.)

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