Phoebe and Mike's wedding vows

Phoebe and Mike's wedding vows

The wedding of Mike and Phoebe on "Friends" (S10.E12: The One with Phoebe's Wedding) captures the charm of the show—funny, touching, and utterly unique. The couple's vows skilfully use rhetorical devices to create moments that linger in our memories, yet the writers also manage to fit in the quirkiness that we associate with Phoebe. In this blog, we break down these devices to show how they are used to make the vows unforgettable.

Before we get into it, let’s start with a gentle reminder. TV weddings are crafted by writers to serve narrative and dramatic purposes; those are NOT the same motivations of participants in a real wedding. For example in a real wedding, the groom’s vows traditionally come before the bride’s. Yet in this Friends episode, Phoebe’s vows come first. The writers would have done that deliberately.

Juxtaposition: Elevating Happiness

But with that caveat in mind, let’s examine the techniques used, starting with how Phoebe uses juxtaposition in her vows.

When I was growing up,
I didn't have a normal mom and dad...
or a regular family like everybody else.
And I always knew
that something was missing.
But now I'm standing here today...
knowing that I have everything
I'm ever gonna need.
You are my family.

Juxtaposition involves placing two or more ideas or concepts side by side for the purpose of comparison or contrast. In this instance, the juxtaposition of Phoebe's challenging childhood against her present happiness amplifies her joy beyond merely stating it.

It is worth mentioning that while this technique works well in the context of a sitcom episode, it is not advisable for most people to speak badly of their childhood in their vows, especially in front of their parents and other family members. Remember, this is TV.

Isocolon: Creating Cadence and Rhythm

Now let’s look at Mike’s vows where Paul Rudd (as Mike) does a number of interesting things. Firstly he employs isocolon, a device in which a succession of phrases, clauses, or sentences of approximately equal length and corresponding structure, are used to create a cadence and rhythm.

Phoebe, you are so beautifulLearn more.. You're so kindLearn more.. You're so generousLearn more..

Rule of Three: Building Humour

What is even more interesting is what he does after establishing that pattern of sincere compliments. He breaks the pattern, subverting our expectations and making us laugh. Let's look at that again, but this time with the fourth phrase.

Phoebe, you are so beautiful. You're so kind. You're so generous. You're so wonderfully weird.

This is an application of the Rule of Three as the basis of humour. Even though Mike's joke was built on four lines, we call it the rule of three, because that number is the minimum: two to create the pattern plus one to subvert it.

Alliteration: Adding Musical Quality

Mike used one other technique that is of interest to us - you might have spotted it. He used alliteration; the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words that are in close proximity to each other.

You're so wLearn more.onderfully wLearn more.eird.

It adds a musical quality and creates emphasis, which in this case, makes the punchline even more powerful.

Concluding the vows: simple but quirky

Now let's enjoy the remainder of Mike and Phoebe's vows, where we can see the quirkiness of Phoebe’s character shine through.


Every day with you is an adventure.
And I can't believe how lucky I am.
And I can't wait
to share my life with you forever.


Oh, wait! Oh, I forgot. And...
I love you.
And you have nice eyes.


I love you too.

Final Thoughts

Phoebe and Mike's wedding vows from Friends are not just endearing but also serve as excellent examples of how good writing can be used to enhance the emotional and comedic impact of a speech. By employing juxtaposition, isocolon, the rule of three, and alliteration, they create a memorable and engaging exchange that captivates the audience.

We hope you enjoyed this brief analysis. Be sure to follow us on social media and visit if you need well-planned, personalized speeches or toasts for a wedding. Stay tuned for more insights on public speaking and rhetoric in our upcoming blogs.

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