Lessons Learned from ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’

Did you know that My Best Friend’s Wedding celebrated its 20th anniversary yesterday? Can you believe it’s been that long since we felt horrible for sort of understanding why Jules wants to steal Michael back? (Sorry Kimmy!) I completely blame this movie for my belief that “If you love someone, you say it, right then, out loud.”

Dermot Mulroney is so very handsome in a chiseled sort of way, don’t you think? Although I do not condone Julia Roberts’ position as “the bad guy,” I can see why she’s in a panic with only four days to break up a wedding and steal the bride’s fella. I’d secretly root for our leading characters to recognize the love that’s been right in front of them for the last nine years if Cameron Diaz wasn’t so adoringly charming. You go Kimmy, with your brightly colored dresses and pastel cardigans. Clutch those pearls, girl!

Indeed, My Best Friend’s Wedding is a dramatic, somewhat dark twist on my beloved romantic comedy genre, but it is teeming with life lessons we should all consider:

Lessons Learned

  • Julia Roberts’ hair can never be replicated. Nor can her smile. We should all stop trying.
  • Old timely cell phones are awesome. May I suggest you force the younger generation behind you to sit down and watch the opening scene where Jules listens to her answering machine from a phone that flips and has a retractable antenna. Explain to them that the word “swipe” hadn’t even been invented yet.
  • It’s very hard for a man and a woman to be best friends without one having stronger feelings for the other.
  • It’s possible to shatter your pelvis while line dancing in Abilene.
  • Yes, you can be chartreuse with envy.
  • Make sure to always wear matching bra and panties in case your ex-boyfriend/best friend walks into the dressing room while you’re trying on bridesmaid dresses.
  • The best place to have an intervention is in an elevator after the emergency stop button has been pressed.
  • Choose your karaoke song list wisely. May I suggest: “Sin Wagon”, “Sweet Caroline”, and “Islands in the Stream.”
  • Note: Even if your singing is horrible, take heart. Your one true love will find your tone deafness and lack of harmony an absolute delight.
  • Diabolical plans purposed to screw up weddings rarely work out.
  • Tell the guy that you love him. Even if you expect your heart to be crushed.
  • Never, ever try on another woman’s wedding ring.
  • Make sure you have a fabulous story about how you met your significant other. Even if it’s fabricated.
  • There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned singalong at the Crab Shack. Make sure they have a piano so the waiter can accompany family-style spontaneous performances.
  • The Internet is F-O-R-E-V-E-R.
  • Although I never personally experienced this phenomenon, sucking a stuck engagement ring off of a finger can be attractive. Just ask Dermot Mulroney.
  • Belly shirts are not appropriate for brunch on the mansion grounds before the big wedding.
  • Be careful around gazebos. Either really good things happen there, or really embarrassing things.
  • Don’t kiss the groom on his wedding day if you are not the bride.
  • If you consider yourself a generous person, you should always leave your keys in your car.
  • When you have a small, but distinct window of opportunity to do the right thing, DO IT.
  • If we learned anything from this movie and A Christmas Story, it’s this: Don’t lick flag poles or ice sculptures.
  • If you can manage the logistics, consider having a cat fight in a stadium bathroom. It provides a certain ambiance that makes the moment entertaining for all.
  • Every family needs a pair of debutant sisters from Nashville to serenade them in daffodil dresses, complete with curtain-raising capabilities in the front portion of the skirt.
  • Always have a song that you consider “yours.”
  • Maybe there won’t be marriage, but THERE WILL BE DANCING.

My Best Friend’s Wedding Quotes I Still Recite:

  • Whatever happened to Dingbat Jenny Lee?
  • She’s toast.
  • I’ve got moves you’ve never seen. (Typically on the dance floor.)
  • Ah, death by minibar.
  • It’s amazing the clarity that comes with psychotic jealousy.
  • Dear, sweet, chocolate-covered Kimmy.
  • Love to. Love the bag, love the shoes, love everything. Love to.
  • Go Grandaddy!
  • Alright now!
  • You’re never gonna be Jell-O!
  • Who’s chasing you? Nobody.

Soundtrack Favorites:

  • “Wishin’ and Hopin'” — And Difranco
  • “You Don’t Know Me” — Jann Arden
  • “I Say a Little Prayer For You” — Cast of My Best Friend’s Wedding
  • “The Way You Look Tonight” — Tony Bennett
  • “What the World Needs Now is Love” — Jackie DeShannon
  • “You Fill Up My Senses” (Annie’s Song) — John Denver (Better when sung with the aid of a helium balloon.)

If you’re interested in my other life lessons, check out the link HERE. Enjoy that rabbit hole!

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June 22, 2017 2:43 pm

Remember when “swipe” was slang for “steal”? I’m clearly getting old…

Lorraine Nelson
Lorraine Nelson
June 22, 2017 3:51 pm

Dermot Mulroney is one of the best things about My Best Friend’s Wedding. He is one very good looking man.

Amy K
June 22, 2017 4:50 pm

first song I thought of was: “If you want to be happy for the rest of your life..” Isn’t that in this movie!?

Marisa Morrow
Marisa Morrow
September 4, 2017 3:43 pm
Reply to  Amy K

Unfortunately, no but a great song

June 22, 2017 6:14 pm

Dermot Mulroney also plays a guy whose engagement ring ends up on the ‘wrong’ sister for a while in ‘The Family Stone’. I guess when that plot device is put in play the casting director know to call him!

Amanda Bingham
Amanda Bingham
June 22, 2017 6:31 pm

Wasn’t there something about making a pact to marry said friend of the opposite sex if at a certain age they weren’t married?
Am I wrong in this?

Tara B
Tara B
June 22, 2017 7:30 pm

Love this! Can’t wait to look up the other life lessons!

June 26, 2017 7:59 am

one of my all-time favorite movies! i can’t believe it’s 20 years old. you’ve inspired me to watch it again soon.

June 26, 2017 12:58 pm

One of my favorite movies! I was 11 when it came out and I remember begging my mom to let me watch it and then I fell in love with it! Such a classic in my book!

June 27, 2017 2:30 pm

I often say, “Oh, my exit!” while driving, all because of Kimmy.

Kara K
Kara K
June 28, 2017 1:28 am

I love this movie. I have the soundtrack. I love the lines you quote. My favorite is you’re never gonna be jello. I also like when Rupert Everett says, “there may not be love but there will be dancing….” my favorite line….
If we learned anything from this movie and A Christmas Story, it’s this: Don’t lick flag poles or ice sculptures.

June 28, 2017 3:22 pm

Still one of my favorite soundtracks ever! “The Way You Look Tonight” was my first dance song thanks to this movie (and “Father of the Bride,” obvies). My BFF and I used to act out the opening credit scene over and over, and I still quote this movie as often as possible. “KIMMY! kimmy. KIMMY! kimmy.”

June 28, 2017 10:08 pm

One quote I still say and worry no one gets! “It was a statue of the David” with a southern drawl, of course.

Heather Mayes
Heather Mayes
July 8, 2017 12:17 am

Oh Lincee, how I love this movie. I had the VHS (which I recently replaced with a DVD) and used to show the gazebo scene to my acting students to describe beat changes. I own the soundtrack of course. Did you ever catch the bride in the opening credits who is lip syncing “Wishin’ and Hopin” –she starts to sing the wrong word and quickly corrects herself. They kept it in! I love this post and your amazing props to one of the best rom coms of all time. And yes, that belly shirt. Especially when she is running across the lawn. Ummm…no.
Lincee….you’re never gonna be jello!

Marisa Morrow
Marisa Morrow
September 4, 2017 3:43 pm

Something one of my college roommates pointed out. Julia has 2 different sets of sunglasses when she is hauling buns in the delivery truck chasing Michael! Always make sure you have back up shades!

January 12, 2022 6:36 pm


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