You might think books about weddings only cater to swoony romantics and type-A event planners, but wedding stories are for everyone. The couple at the altar is the main attraction, sure, but weddings also boast family dramas and sibling rivalries, talented dressmakers and louche gate-crashers, ceremony veterans and ceremony newbies.
In that spirit, the following list of wedding-adjacent audiobooks contains multitudes. It covers a range of genres, including everything from contemporary romance to Young Adult fantasy to historical fiction to puzzle box mystery. It also features many of Paste’s favorite narrators, as well as new voices whose catalogues you’ll be wanting to dive into immediately.
No matter your emotional state during wedding season, the following titles (listed in order of run time) will carry you through it.
Narrator: Stockard Channing
Run time: 2 hours and 11 minutes
Stockard Channing is the perfect audio avatar for the incorrigible Ramona Quimby. Her narration is simultaneously robust and breathless, communicating the infamous third grader’s wide-eyed audacity by sprinkling her otherwise straightforward delivery with a pointed stress on camel saddle here, a mountain of pitch modulation there. On the wedding front, Ramona Forever sees many more changes come to Ramona’s young life than just a looming marriage. But given Aunt Bea’s starring role in Ramona’s young life, and the shenanigans a kid like Ramona can causes, the ceremony is this audiobook’s biggest draw.
Bonus: Unlike many of the other titles on this list, Ramona Forever is appropriate for whatever little ears might be listening as they prepare to attend their own first weddings.
Narrators: Imani Parks, Cassandra Morris, full cast
Run time: 6 hours and 13 minutes
The threat of a wedding between their single dads brings two tween heroines together, and the story of their hard-won digital friendship ends with a surprising wedding as well. To say more would be to give too much away, but To Night Owl from Dogfish is the gay dad epistolary heir to The Parent Trap we all need. Add in the expertly produced performances in the full-cast audio version, anchored by Imani Parks and Cassandra Morris as protagonists Bett and Avery and accented by the dings, twinkles and typewriter clacks that signal the start of each new message sent between characters, and you’ve got your family’s next audio escape.
Narrator: Janina Edwards
Run time: 8 hours and 28 minutes
Despite only hitting the literary scene in 2018 with her debut novel, The Wedding Date, Jasmine Guillory is already a “wedding book” titan. She’s known for bringing a wave of diverse romantic leads into a majorly white space with both The Wedding Date and its two in-world follow-ups, 2018’s The Proposal and this summer’s The Wedding Party (July 16th). Sharp-tongued and snappily dressed, Guillory’s witty heroines and their hot, emotionally mature counterparts are the stuff rom-com dreams are made of, and veteran narrator Janina Edwards brings them to sexily bantering life with verve. If you’re entering wedding season as a single friend-of who’s dreaming of falling into a zingy romance of your own along the way, let Guillory’s books be your travel companions.
Narrators: Cynthia Farrell, Deacon Lee
Run time: 9 hours and 7 minutes
Weddings are great, but have you ever gone on your twin sister’s tropical honeymoon with your sworn enemy, your new brother-in-law’s best man? Okay, neither have we, but we can imagine we’ve been so (un)lucky with Christina Lauren’s after-the-wedding rom-com, The Unhoneymooners. The story follows the unlucky Olive Torres and her sworn enemy Ethan when they get stuck taking a dream vacation together after everyone else in the wedding party gets sick. Narrators Cynthia Farrell and Deacon Lee lend the appropriate degree of piquant exasperation to their performances, Farrell especially selling the wry world-weariness a lifetime of bad luck has given Lauren’s heroine, Olive. We can’t say we’d trade Olive’s bad luck for the kind of dream vacation (and romance) Lauren gives her in recompense, but it’s wedding season—a listener can dream.
Narrator: Emily Woo Zeller
Run time: 10 hours
A follow-up to Helen Hoang’s breakout 2018 debut, The Kiss Quotient, The Bride Test traces the unexpected romance between Khai, a cousin to The Kiss Quotient’s romantic lead who happens to be autistic, and Esme, a mixed-race woman from Vietnam discovered by Khai’s mom when she sets out to arrange a marriage for him from abroad. Emily Woo Zeller’s warm, softly modulating performance lends a sense of gravitas to the story that follows, deepening the romance as much as lighting it up. Like Jasmine Guillory (see above), Hoang is quickly becoming a titan of inclusive wedding-adjacent stories. So if you like The Bride Test, keep an eye out for more from her in the future.
Narrators: Sneha Mathan, Vikas Adam
Run time: 10 hours and 45 minutes
Since debuting on the young adult scene with When Dimple Met Rishi in 2017, Sandhya Menon has established herself as a dependable writer of fun romances featuring Indian-American teens. The titles that have followed Dimple are just as lovely, but with Dimple and Rishi’s arranged match as their story’s focal point, you should start with this one if you want to get into the wedding season groove. A regular visitor to Paste’s audio lists, narrator Vikas Adam is solid as the romantic Rishi, while Sneha Mathan, taking on Dimple, is all youthful ambition. As a story about the disconnect not just between the expectations of different generations but between American teens and their immigrant parents, getting to hear the accents in the parents’ voices adds an especially potent layer of meaning to When Dimple Met Rishi as a whole.
Narrator: Leah Hager Cohen
Run time: 11 hours and 30 minutes
Authors aren’t always the best readers of their own work, so whenever we find a great one—like Leah Hager Cohen reading her intergenerational family wedding comedy, Strangers and Cousins—we’re more than happy to celebrate. Tracing the wedding preparations of the Blumenthal family’s eldest daughter, Clem, to her girlfriend, the story packs Clem’s family so tightly together in their old house before the wedding that family histories and long-buried mysteries are kicked up in the chaos. Strangers and Cousins tackles heavier themes than some of the wedding comedies on this list, but with Cohen’s tender narration, those themes—which include anti-semitism, racism and more—don’t overshadow the love squeezing together its core.
Narrator: Marisa Calin
Run time: 11 hours and 38 minutes
For a historical fiction fix, Jennifer Robson’s The Gown is a lovely listen. Featuring a story split between London in 1947 and Toronto in 2016, The Gown highlights Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding from the perspective of a pair of embroiderers from Norman Hartnell’s Mayfair fashion house, one of them a Holocaust survivor. Narrator Marisa Calin’s performance is bright and earnest, hitting just the right pace to mirror the industriousness of the heroines. Less of a breezy listen than other wedding-adjacent titles, The Gown is perfect for anyone wanting a more historical substance with their wedding lace.
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Run time: 12 hours and 10 minutes
You can’t throw a magical gemstone in the world of Young Adult lit without hitting a teen (usually a feisty princess) dragging their heels as they’re forced into marriage with a foreign suitor (usually an unfeeling king). Considering that most of these stories end up being about asserting one’s individual agency at minimum, and overthrowing tyrannical/magical/patriarchal rule at maximum, this setup always finds solid ways to thrill. But for a guaranteed good listen, you can’t go wrong with Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy, which doubles as a “Chosen One” fantasy. Narrator Jennifer Ikeda is an ideal match for Princess Elisa’s wry insecurity as she finds herself stuffed “like a sausage into casing” into her wedding terno to marry the neighboring kingdom’s widowed king (and to become a 16-year-old stepmother). Don’t let the magical belly-button gemstone detail in the logline fool you—Girl of Fire and Thorns is a thoughtful exploration of faith, responsibility and romantic love in all its infinite shades.
Narrator: Emily Bauer
Run time: 13 hours and 31 minutes
Emily Bauer’s performance of Morgan Matson’s YA rom-com, Save the Date, is pitch-perfect, her sardonic Charlie a compelling voice in the midst of the Grant family wedding storm. As one of contemporary YA’s reigning queens of summer vibes, Matson brings home another funny, sunny (well, mostly sunny) winner with Save the Date, and while some of the swoonier romance bits might be Too Awkward™ for teens and adults to listen to together, it is one of the few titles on this list that is, for the most part, appropriate for the whole family—especially if said family includes anyone who’s found themselves participating in a family wedding. Morgan Matson sees you, and she loves you.
Alexis Gunderson is a TV critic and audiobibliophile. She can be found @AlexisKG.