The premise of 1991's Father of the Bride seems simple: George Banks’s (Steve Martin) 22-year-old daughter, Annie (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), gets engaged to Bryan (George Newbern) after knowing him for three months. But George isn’t quite on board and quickly unravels, as his wife, Nina (Diane Keaton), and the rest of his family think he’s going insane. The film gave a peek into the 1990s return to family values, with the depiction of a normal, tightly-knit nuclear family. Former real-life couple Charles Shyer and Nancy Meyers co-wrote the script, and Shyer directed.
The movie is a remake of Vincente Minnelli's Oscar-nominated film of the same name, which starred Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Bennett, and Spencer Tracy. (A TV version aired from 1961 to 1962.) That film was adapted from Edward Streeter's 1949 novel. Both films had sequels—Father’s Little Dividend was released in 1951, and Father of the Bride Part II in 1995—and the plots of both films saw the daughters having a baby.
The remake and its sequel were rather successful: Father of the Bride grossed $89 million and became the ninth highest-grossing film of 1991; Part II grossed $76 million and ranked in 17th place for the year. Here are 10 heartwarming facts about the wedding comedy.
1. STEVE MARTIN AGREED TO PLAY GEORGE BEFORE THE SCRIPT HAD BEEN WRITTEN.
In a unusual move, Steve Martin’s casting occurred before Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer wrote the screenplay. “It’s a gift because you know you’re writing for Steve Martin, so you know you can be funny and you can be loose and you can do all these twists and turns in the scene,” Meyers told IndieWire.
2. THE STUDIO DIDN’T WANT TO WORK WITH DIANE KEATON.
Father of the Bride was the second time Diane Keaton had worked with Meyers and Shyer; the first time was 1987’s Baby Boom, and Meyers would go on to direct Keaton in 2003’s Something’s Gotta Give. “Disney Studios—Jeffrey Katzenberg at the time—didn’t ever want to work with me,” Keaton told Film Scouts. “Charles Shyer and Nancy Myers, who’d worked with me before, had to beg to get me into Father of the Bride. I was very fortunate, because they were very staunchly for me.”
Keaton said the reason Disney/Touchstone passed on her was because her box office track record wasn’t good. “Just before Father of the Bride, I’d done a movie called The Good Mother, which was a big failure. Like, big failure. And that was it! And that was a Disney movie. So when Charles and Nancy wanted me for Father of the Bride, Disney didn’t want anything with me.”
3. IT WAS THE END TO THE “HIPPIE” WEDDING.
In an interview with The Morning Call, Martin said: “This movie represents the complete death of the hippie laurel-wreath standing-on-the-mountaintop marriage. Although it’s been dead a long time, this is the first movie to see it.” He furthered explained, “I mean, the big wedding is as much of a fad as the little wedding. So, [Father of the Bride] is a statement about something that’s probably going to be around for a long time.”
4. FRANCK EGGELHOFFER WAS BASED ON A REAL WEDDING PLANNER.
Martin Short portrayed the incomprehensible, over-the-top wedding planner Franck Eggelhoffer, who he based on Kevin Lee, who assisted with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s wedding, and makes regular appearances on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. “We had a great time together,” Lee told Moviefone about working with Short.
5. A BRIDE HOUSE SOLD FOR ALMOST $2 MILLION.
The 4397-square-foot Colonial-style home, situated in Los Angeles's Alhambra neighborhood, sold for $1,998,000 in August 2016 after being on the market for only two months. The wedding reception and the basketball game were filmed at this location, but the exteriors were filmed at a Pasadena home. In 2004 the Alhambra house sold for $1.25 million, and when it sold in 2011, it increased to $1.275 million.
Owners of the Pasadena home, Sarah Bradley and Darrell Spence, told HGTV they held their wedding reception at the house. They also said couples have proposed outside of the home, and fans of the movie and house felt “protective” when the family replaced the white picket fence. “Neighbors would see the construction and panic,” Bradley said. “We had to convince them they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference once we were done.” The couple paid $950,000 for the house in 1999, but it’s now worth $2,764,841.
6. THE WEDDING COST A WHOPPING $249,323.
BeFrugal.com broke down the wedding costs of the weddings at the center of Father of the Bride, Bridesmaids, Sex and the City, and a few other movies. Because Annie and Bryan got hitched in her parents’ backyard, the venue was free. However, Annie’s dress cost $68,000. With 572 guests at $250 per head, George shelled out $143,000 on wedding reception food. The bridesmaid dresses tacked on an additional $10,000, and flying in nine relatives from Copenhagen smacked George with a $10,323 price tag. That’s a lot, considering the median American wedding costs about $15,000.
7. MARTIN SHORT “SOFTENED” FRANCK’S ACCENT FOR FATHER OF THE BRIDE PART II.
At first, Short didn’t want to do a sequel. During a 1995 interview with Charlie Rose, Short said, “Only because it seemed like the character was such an extreme spice in the first one and it kind of had been successful and you didn’t want to taint it with an appearance.” Upon reading the script, he changed his mind. “I soften the accent a little bit,” he said. “In the first one, the character really existed as a comedic bone of contention for Steve Martin,” because everyone could understand what Franck said except George. “In this one, that’s one joke,” Short continued. “In the sequel, no one at any point says, ‘What did he say?’ Because we’ve done that. So I softened the accent a little bit without losing the character.”
8. KIMBERLY WILLIAMS-PAISLEY WORE SNEAKERS TO HER OWN WEDDING.
George Banks produces athletic shoes for a living, so in the movie, he creates a special pair for Annie to wear on her wedding day. When Kimberly Williams married country star Brad Paisley in 2003, she also donned sneakers. “Down the aisle, I wore heels, but then the rest of it I wore sneakers with the heels,” she told Glamour. “It makes perfect sense to wear sneakers because it’s such a long night.”
9. FRANCK DOESN’T THINK MUCH OF KIM KARDASHIAN.
When Short appeared on the show The Talk in 2014, the hostesses asked Short, as Franck, what he thought about Kim Kardashian. “He would say, ‘She is not bright; I did her dress,’” Short said in Franck’s accent. “She thinks soy milk is Spanish for ‘I am milk.’”
10. MARTIN THINKS FATHER OF THE BRIDE IS A “PERFECT STORY.”
“Well, I tend to think there's movie families, and then there are families,” Martin told The Morning Call. “What I mean is—I’m not demeaning the movie at all—it’s kind of a wish family. It’s like the perfect statement of a beautiful problem: Your daughter’s getting married.” He said emotions swelled from the mundanity of getting married. “It’s a perfect story because what happens is so minor, and yet the emotions are so big. It’s like the birth of a baby. It’s so common, happening all the time, and yet it’s one of the most powerful, large things that can happen to you.”