“For at that moment, the world is full of wonder as I feel her fingers reach for the buttons on my shirt, and slowly, ever so slowly, she begins to undo them one by one.” This is the ending line of The Notebook, perhaps the most popular romance written by Nicholas Sparks.
Although, the movie adaptation ends differently. There, we see Ally and Noah’s love interests, embracing each other, dying in each other’s arms. Of course, I know why the change was made, to make it more romantic. They’re soul mates. They spent so much time trying to be together, and here they are, dying in each other’s arms. What better way to end a lifelong romance?
Well, why not follow up with another romance with Noah and Ally’s children? There is a sequel to The Notebook that people seemed to have forgotten about—the Wedding. Okay, technically, it isn’t a sequel. But it might as well be. Sparks himself said that he “wrote about the next generation.”
In this novel, we follow Jane and Wilson, Noah and Ally’s daughter and son-in-law. They, sadly, are forced to recognize that the romance in their marriage has officially died. In fact, they never even had a wedding. They got married in front of a judge in a courthouse so Wilson could return to his job.
Wilson is desperately trying to win back the heart of his wife. He has spent years forgetting anniversaries, and he wants to somehow make it up to her for their 30th. He fears she fell out of love with him, and he wants to win her back.
So he goes to Noah. Perhaps the mastermind behind his own fifty-year love affair. The mastermind behind so many things, actually.
Coincidentally, Wilson’s youngest daughter Anna reveals that she has gotten engaged. And that she wants the wedding to happen within the next two weeks. On the same day as her parents’ wedding anniversary. Noah is alive, but he is sickly, something that comes with his age, so they all want the wedding to happen before his eventual passing.
Anna is young, 27, but still young. She doesn’t know what she wants. Or, more so, she wants her mother to believe that. So she lets Jane make the most important decisions, including Anna’s wedding dress.
Remember how I mentioned that Noah is the wonderful mastermind behind everything? Well, we may also have to add Wilson to that list. Before the engagement was revealed, he took a few weeks of vacation to prepare. He also managed to find caterers and a photographer who just happened to have an open spot on the right day. Then, of course, we have to mention the godly workers who found time in their schedule to fix up the venue. And I have to honor the guests who all had an open spot in their calendar. What a neat little coincidence!
Then we have our final chapter—arguably the most tearful. Slowly, Jane and Wilson become closer to the stress of their daughter. They go to the wedding venue, Ally and Noah’s old house turned retirement home. We watch Wilson drop off a dress for his daughter, but it’s not her wedding dress.
Anna gets ready, and so does everyone else. Then we see her walk down a set of stairs wearing the dress her father gave her that morning. Tears begin to fill Wilson’s eyes, and confusion fills Janes. She asks her daughter why she isn’t wearing her wedding dress; then it is all revealed. She is getting married, just not yet. It’s never been her wedding. It’s always been her mothers.
And then Jane turns to Wilson. Everything became so clear at that moment. Wilson was finally able to give Jane the wedding she had always dreamed of. She still has more questions, but Wilson leaves. Grooms are not supposed to see their brides before the reception; it’s bad luck.
Then the wedding happens. Wilson re-courts his wife.
It is extremely predictable and cliche, but honestly, what would you expect from romance? Everything is a cliche at this point, but it still works. It is a sappy story, and that might be what I love about it.
Though it really is a shame to see that this rendition does not get the love it deserves. I would love to see this as a movie, but it’s canon that both Ally and Noah pass in the movie version of The Notebook, and Noah is an important character in The Wedding.
This book was published in 2003, around the same time the filming took place for The Notebook. The ending was changed to make it more romantic, but I think that was the one useless one out of everything they changed. There is no reason that they had to die.
Nicholas Sparks is known for writing romances coated in tragedy. So while it’s romantic, it would match much better to his writing style if it ended with Ally dying in Noah’s arms and Noah waking to find her. It would be the final tragedy in their story—the perfect sad ending.
Of course, this is all my opinion, and I do not claim to be right. I would love to see The Wedding as its own movie and finally get the same love The Notebook or Dear John.
And so I leave you with my favorite line.
“But love, I’ve come to understand, is more than three words mumbled before bedtime. Love is sustained by action, a pattern of devotion in the things we do for each other every day.”