Sadie Jones (Mandy Moore) has always longed to marry the man of her dreams in her family church. Though she has found her lifetime companion in Ben Murphy (John Krasinski), Sadie is distressed to learn that St. Augustine's has only one wedding slot available over the next two years, though after re-checking their planning book, they find that the wedding can be held in three weeks.
While Sadie and Ben do qualify for the slot, the church's eccentric minister, Reverend Frank (Robin Williams), will not wed the couple until they agree to attend his prenuptial course (shortened, due to the new date, from three months to three weeks). As their wedding date draws near, Sadie and Ben must now follow all of Reverend Frank's rules, attend his unusual classes, and complete a series of homework assignments designed specifically to irritate one another — in order to get past puppy love and ensure that their union will have a sound foundation.
In one part of the course, the couple has to care for twin "creepy robot" babies. They get on Ben's last nerve and he destroys one, to the horror of bystanders in a department store. To Ben's dismay, one of Frank's rules is no pre-marital sex. On behalf of Frank, his young assistant (Josh Flitter) breaks into the couple's house and bugs it. Thus, Frank and his assistant can listen to all conversations, though Frank does not let his assistant listen to the adult parts. Ben discovers the microphone/transmitter but does not tell Sadie, for fear she will accuse him of lying and planting the bug himself.
Problems gradually begin to develop between the couple due to the course. Ben begins an investigation into Frank, and eventually discovers that he was once married to a Maria Gonzalez. Shortly before the wedding, Sadie becomes reluctant to have the wedding, among other things because Ben has not prepared marriage vows as Frank instructed them to do, but instead drew a flip cartoon of a truck. Ben then confronts Frank over Maria Gonzalez, believing him to be a hypocrite. Frank reveals that the marriage was done to allow Maria, then an immigrant, and a member of Frank's congregation, to stay in the U.S. Upset that Ben would waste his time on a "stupid investigation", Sadie calls off the wedding. On Frank's advice, Sadie goes on vacation to Jamaica, their slated honeymoon destination.
Ben seeks advice from his friend Joel, who advises him to give up on Sadie, saying that there are other women like her out there. Ben however disagrees with this, and decides to go to Jamaica. Frank and his assistant travel there too. He attempts to call Sadie, but she refuses to listen. Her parents assure her that all marriages have problems, and her friend Carlisle tells her that Ben may just want someone who relies on him, allowing her to forgive Ben more easily. Ben writes his vows on the sands of the beach to impress Sadie and they reconcile, and Frank marries them there.Robin Williams – Reverend Frank Dorman
Mandy Moore – Sadie Jones
John Krasinski – Ben Murphy
Eric Christian Olsen – Carlisle Myers
Christine Taylor – Lindsey Jones
Josh Flitter – Reverend Frank's assistant
DeRay Davis – Joel
Peter Strauss – Mr. Jones
Grace Zabriskie – Grandma Jones
Roxanne Hart – Mrs. Jones
Mindy Kaling – Shelly
Angela Kinsey – Judith the Jewelry Clerk
Rachael Harris – Janine
Brian Baumgartner – Jim
Wanda Sykes – Nurse Borman
Filming partially took place at First Congregational Church in Long Beach, California, as well as other locations in the region. Ken Kwapis frequently directed episodes of the U.S. television show The Office. This resulted in appearances from The Office cast members John Krasinski, Angela Kinsey, Mindy Kaling and Brian Baumgartner.
The film received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 7% rating and a critical consensus of "broad and formulaic". Metacritic.com rated it 25 out of 100, based on 30 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". It was reviewed in Variety as "an astonishingly flat romantic comedy, filled with perplexing choices." Numerous reviewers, including Brian Lowry of Variety and MaryAnn Johanson of Flick Filosopher described Williams' character as "creepy" and more worthy of a horror-film villain than a comic lead.
The film grossed $10,422,258 in its opening weekend opening at #4 at the U.S. Box Office behind Live Free or Die Hard, Ratatouille, and Transformers, which opened at the top spot. As of November 11, 2007, License to Wed had grossed $43.8 million domestically and $69.3 million worldwide, both career highs for Mandy Moore as a lead actress, and a box office success after a $35 million reported budget.