In the Bronx in 1953, young lovers Jane Hurley and Ralph Halloran decide to get married. Jane and Ralph, along with her father Tom and his business partner Sam, happily exclaim the virtues of partnership. Timing is inauspicious, since the bride's brother has just been killed in the Korean War. The couple does not want a large, expensive wedding, and the bride's family needs the money to buy a full share of a taxi-cab business. As Jane's mother Aggie announces that the upcoming wedding will be held quickly and quietly in City Hall, the neighbourhhood women react.
Dinner with the groom's wealthier family leads Aggie to decide to give the couple a huge formal affair, committing her and Tom's life's savings and bereavement cheque to an elaborate wedding with an extensive guest list and a lavish catered reception. Aggie feels guilty about having neglected Jane and sees an opportunity to plan the white wedding that she herself never had. The bride's gay Uncle Winston, initially hurt and furious at having been left off the original guest list, becomes a support for Aggie.
Jane is initially beguiled by the attention, and happily picks out a wedding dress. But soon relationships are strained to the breaking point under the pressure of costly bridesmaids' dresses, cake layers and each detail. Aggie confesses to Jane that she and Tom were married because she was pregnant. Finally Jane and Ralph decide to call off the elaborate wedding and party and marry quietly as they had planned.
The quiet and unemotional Tom finally expresses his love and caring for Aggie, and Tom and Aggie come closer together. As they get ready for the small wedding ceremony, Aggie secretly makes arrangements for Tom to buy his share of the taxi, which arrives in time for him to drive her to their daughter's wedding. Uncle Winston has the last word, "You paid your money, took the ride, but missed the view."
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