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This weekend marks the middle of prime wedding season. All sorts of friends, families and acquaintances will gather and mingle to honor love. As greetings and vows get exchanged, expectations of all involved parties mount. Everyone wants the fairy tale love, or they at least want to witness it. If you don’t have a wedding to attend this week, you can soak in the weirdness of love throughout history by dappling in stories and characters from Arabian Nights, Shrek 2 and Enchanted. 

Arabian Nights has an overarching story of a newlywed bride telling a series of intertwined vignettes to her king husband to ensure she survives another day since the wives before her lasted one day before he executed them due to his mistrust of women. Her tales involve travelers, jinn and other creatures and men of various occupancies. Throughout them all, the characters expect something from the others and retaliate when disappointed. Read some or all to see how the queen keeps herself and the other women in the kingdom alive through story.

When you need a break from the long Arabian Nights, you can enjoy a lighter side of ancient fairy tale creatures by watching Shrek 2. The second installment of the series picks up after Shrek and Princess Fiona’s honeymoon and follows them to Far Far Away, where meet Fiona’s king and queen parents. Their expectations of what they dreamed for their daughter clash with reality, and they all struggle to accept the new family dynamics. Though an animated family movie, it reminds those joining families this wedding season of the true difficulty, and oftentimes tension, of interacting with in-laws and extended family. Of course in this story we get the added comedy brought from classic characters from Brothers Grimm fairy tales.

To add to the fairy tale dream, watch Enchanted as your next movie feature. This live action film follows a storybook princess as she finds herself in New York City. Clearly, her expectations of love vary a bit from most of the people she meets in NYC, including the man who helps her survive the big city. The fairy tale world and real world clash to show the contrast and balance between dreams, expectations, hope, reality. Since it’s a Disney film and pays homage to its classic predecessors, you can rest assured they all find happy endings.

As we continue through prime wedding season, we can renew our hope in fairy tale love and also balance it out with reality. Summer time works great for a light story, and we all enjoy a happy ending sometimes. When we want to give ourselves a reality check we can revisit the roots of these fairy tale stories and be thankful the tensions with in-laws in our world typically don’t result in people getting changed into animals or run ins with jinn. Here’s to a weekend of real life happily ever afters.