Two years ago, “Grey’s Anatomy” faked everyone out (and enraged some viewers) by promoting Meredith and Derek’s wedding, when, in fact, Izzie and Alex were the couple who ended up getting married. Thursday, the show pulled off another Mer/Der wedding surprise. The heavily promoted wedding of Callie and Arizona went off more or less as planned, but Meredith and Derek also made it legal. The duo, who famously declared themselves married by writing the words on a Post-it impulsively decided to adopt a child. They realized that it would be far easier to get approved if they had a marriage that was recognized by the state of Washington, and headed to the courthouse for an entirely unromantic ceremony.
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Meredith and Derek’s no frills wedding, which consisted largely of filling out forms, was juxtaposed with Callie and Arizona’s elaborate ceremony which featured two long white dresses, a beautiful speech from the last minute officiator Bailey, a father-daughter dance, and nearly all of their loved ones in attendance. With unusual subtlety for a show that favors characters expressing their feelings in lengthy monologues, the drama made a point about the difference between a legal and an emotional marriage. Meredith has never had any interest in getting married. Yet when it became advantageous for she and Derek to get married, all they had to do was fill out a few forms. Callie and Arizona desperately wanted to get married. Though they could have all of the trappings, in the eyes of the law their union does not count. In the end, both couples got what they wanted. Meredith and Derek are married, and Callie and Arizona had a beautiful wedding. The only people that might be unhappy are Mer/Der fans who may grumble that they are never, ever going to get to see their favorite couple walk down the aisle.