The Wedding Review
Updated: Feb 8, 2019
By Nicholas Sparks
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I read this for the first time when I was about 15 years old and it’s been one of my long-term romance expectations for my future love life. Even now in the beginning of my marriage with my loving husband, I find myself constantly revisiting this novel. While Nicholas Sparks is better known for his novel The Notebook which was adapted into a movie starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, in my opinion The Wedding is his most romantic novel in the true sense of the word.
This starts with the husband Wilson forgetting the 30 year anniversary of his marriage to his wife Jane. His wife is broken by his forgetfulness not just for forgetting the anniversary, but because it represents to her that he might not even care. She had grown up as the daughter of Noah and Allie and had only ever seen complete romance and adoration between her parents and felt as if she doesn’t have anything resembling that in her marriage. To Wilson’s complete and utter heartbreak, he realizes that this forgetfulness on his part means more than just carelessness, but begins to realize that the love in his marriage may be gone. This is something he ponders deeply as he realizes even after 30 years, he loves his wife more deeply than ever before, but that he thinks it may no longer be reciprocated. He reflects on the changes in his marriage, their career, and then the children, until he realizes they haven’t had a meaningful marriage in years as they have both lived their separate lives. He realizes he needs to make active changes in order to rekindle the love between him and his wife.
His daughter announces that she is newly engaged and wants to get married the next year on Wilson and Jane’s anniversary. They gladly agree and Jane immediately becomes invested in the wedding with her daughter. In the meantime, Wilson begins making changes by taking time off of work to spend at home, cooking dinners, and being more attentive to his wife. She begins noticing some of these changes and starts warming up more and more to Wilson. As the date of the daughter’s wedding is quickly approaching, they choose to have the wedding at the house of Noah and Allie’s, with only a week before the wedding even though the house hasn’t been maintained in years. Wilson promises that he can get someone to clean, decorate, and cater the home even though it is so last minute. Wilson decides that a couple days before the wedding, since the house has been cleaned up and decorated beautifully for the wedding, that he will plan a romantic night for his wife to make up for last year’s anniversary.
(This is where my husband needs to take notes for our next anniversary) She comes home to roses in front of her door that leads to the bedroom. On the bed are two boxes with notes on top. In the first box there is bath products, candles, and champagne with a note to please enjoy and have a relaxing bath. After her bath, she comes back and opens the second box which has new clothes and shoes with a note that says be ready downstairs by 7. She comes downstairs to a limo that brings her to the destination of the house where the wedding will be. Wilson is waiting for her in a nice suit and brings her into the beautifully decorated home with a fresh dinner made. This ends up being the first time Wilson and Jane make love in years.
The wedding is now upon us and everyone is frantically getting ready when the daughter comes down the stairs, not in her wedding gown. Jane is afraid that she has cold feet until her daughter reveals that this wedding was never for her but was for Jane. Wilson had been planning this entire weekend, including having the wedding in her parent’s house, since he realized his wife wasn’t in love with him anymore the year prior. All the year of courting her again and making changes was leading up to this moment where he could ask her to renew their vows together. I am just going to pretend I am not writing and crying at the same time.
Final Rating: 10/10
I think that the story in The Wedding is beautiful and the way everything flows is just beautifully done. I must have re-read this book at least 4 times and I am already looking forward to re-reading it as I write this. While I think most books and movies are usually about finding new love, whether it’s love at first sight or love built over time, I think what’s unique about this book is it shows more the reality of marriage. The person you are with at 23 years old is not the same person at 53 years old. Life changes both the marriage and the individuals involved and it’s the role of the partners to continue to kindle the love in their marriage as if it were a flame. Even through changes in career, and the addition of children, and the good and bad times of life, it is important to keep connected with your partner. In this book, I love that it’s honest about how easy it is to fall into the routine of life and forget about your partner in a romantic way. While I am not saying I am expecting roses every Sunday until I die (but chocolate would be nice), I love that this focuses on the importance of consistency in a marriage. Wilson and Jane were very connected in the beginning of their marriage, but they let life get in the way.
However, and this is why I find this book to be the most romantic book ever, there is hope! I think in media these days, it is usually shown that when couples begin to drift apart, the only option is divorce. In this book I loved that it showed another option: rekindle the love in your marriage. It wasn’t easy, it took Wilson a full year to bring the love and romance back in their marriage. He had to make changes in the way he gave attention to his wife, make changes by helping around the house, by being attentive to her needs. In the end, the hard work paid off because in that year of hard work he showed his wife what he is willing to do to prove his love. I think this is so powerful because I am over a year into my marriage and right now I can’t imagine not having the connection I currently have with my husband - but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. This reads as a cautionary tale - Wilson and Jane didn’t actively disconnect, life just got in the way. This book isn’t about frail, breakable, young love - it is all about long-term love and commitment. I would recommend this book to sappy romance lovers or to those that see these same symptoms in their own marriage. Even though this isn’t a self-help book, there are still things in this book that I think are relatable to anyone.