I hoped the new Sims 4 wedding pack would fix marriages, but they're still broken as ever

My Wedding Stories can't escape The Sims 4's marital baggage.

A bride putting a wedding ring on her new wife's finger in The Sims 4 My Wedding Stories

(Image credit: EA / Maxis)

I'll admit I was sceptical when EA announced The Sims 4: My Wedding Stories game pack. After all, weddings have always been a notoriously chaotic affair. Trying to shepherd all your guests to their seats without anyone dying, catching fire or getting struck by lightning is a complete ball-ache. The whole ordeal usually ends with your sims exchanging vows while your guests are busy scrapping in the middle of the road or eating a pizza they've been keeping in their pocket for an emergency. 

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(Image credit: EA)

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When I saw the gorgeous new Italian-inspired world, the array of striking wedding gowns and the added depth to marriage that My Wedding Stories was offering, I set some of my hesitations aside. EA monetising a feature that has spent so many years in disrepair isn't great, but at least it would fix them and make them more immersive, right?. Nope! The Sims 4 has packed up all its marital baggage and dumped it out all over this pack.

The biggest problem is that, at its core, the pack simply doesn't work. While I'd been tinkering around with an early access build and repeatedly warned that the software wasn't final, I still experienced the exact same issues in this week's official release. The actual wedding ceremony—perhaps the most important part of a game pack centred around marriage—is an absolute nightmare. When planning the ceremony, you're given the option to choose your sims' wedding outfits, set a theme for your guests and even pick a colour scheme, but when I loaded into the wedding venue, absolutely nobody had adhered to my dress code. Everyone arrived in their regular everyday wear, and even my own brides had failed to don the dresses I'd carefully picked out for them. Thankfully, I was able to manually make my own sims change, but everyone else was left to look like they'd casually swung by the wedding on their way back from the supermarket.

A bride smiles in The Sims 4: Wedding Stories

(Image credit: EA/Maxis)

My Wedding Stories has introduced some ways to try and help you herd your guests around the gaff. There's a fairly expansive menu filled with commands like "time to sit," "throw rice," and "time to eat cake." Unfortunately, hardly any of them seemed to work. Instead of wedding guests, I felt like I was trying to manage a gang of tiny misbehaving children. Getting everyone to take a seat proved to be difficult—partly because there were only eight seats for my 20 guests, and also because most of them preferred to stand in the aisle having a wee chat instead. Attempts to send my two sims of honour down the aisle were fruitless, with one of them not even near any of the ceremonial activities. 

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Runaway bride

By this point, one of my brides had wandered off into a different room while I was attempting to wrangle the other one into walking down the aisle herself. I gave up trying to orchestrate something normal after five minutes and went to initiate the "exchange vows with officiate" command. Nothing. I could see my officiate clear as day, sitting in the back row. But no amount of gentle coaxing could compel him to actually get up and officiate the bloody thing. 

In the end, I gave up on the officiate and decided to do the exchange of vows without him. Only two sims seemed to actually pay attention to the key moment, while most were still crowding the aisle discussing be bla bloobs, or whatever sims say. My bride then whipped out the ring and proceeded to get stuck in a very long loop of popping it on her new wife's finger around 20 times. 

Surprisingly, the one thing that did work was getting my guests to throw rice over the newlyweds. It was the only command I didn't have to repeatedly issue or eventually give up on. Subsequent attempts to get sims to dance or sit down to eat were a pain. I was also cakeless thanks to issues before the ceremony. It's not initially very clear how you go about obtaining a wedding cake, and even if you do manage to nab one it's a gamble whether or not the game will let you actually assign it as the cake for your ceremony.

Wedding blues

It's a shame, because outside of the main ceremony there's an awful lot to like about My Wedding Stories. New world Tartosa is gorgeous, stuffed with romantic Italian lot names and a scattering of picturesque residential plots. It feels more like a world you'd see in an expansion rather than game pack, and I was pleasantly surprised just how much of it you can interact with. The new create-a-sim items fill a much-needed void for formalwear, with a variety of wedding dresses and suits that span lots of different cultures and levels of elegance. I found a lot of great stuff in the new build/buy items, too. While they lean more into event-specific rather than everyday use, I can see myself incorporating the new curtains and a neat backdrop piece into my regular builds.

A bride walks down the aisle in The Sims 4 My Wedding Stories

(Image credit: EA / Maxis)

Despite the frustrating bugs for the actual ceremony, pre and post-wedding shenanigans feel more fleshed out, with engaged sims being able to throw a multitude of events. There's the gender-neutral bach party, along with engagement parties, rehearsal dinners and wedding receptions. You can also perform vow renewals for couples who are already married, which is incredibly sweet. Sims can ask their friends to be ring bearers, flower pals, an officiant or the coveted sim of honour. The preparation stage is an awful lot of fun, I just wish that fun didn't take a sharp turn into frustration when you're trying to tie it all together.

I'm actually far warmer to the idea of a wedding pack than I first was when I dived in. While I usually play The Sims 4 through the lens of a cynical single millennial, the pack has encouraged me to take my future sims through some more romantic endeavours. I think My Wedding Stories could shape up to be a fantastic way to further craft immersive stories for my little virtual humans. But right now, my dreams of my sims having a very normal wedding still haven't been realised. This may very well be the most broken pack we've received yet, and I would hate for it to remain in a barely playable state akin to fellow game packs like Dine Out. C'mon EA, my sims deserve better than that.