The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

act 1

why should it matter that the man stopped was on his way to a wedding

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Weddings are often symbolic of love of others and of the innocence of planning to live one's life with only one person to whom the marital partners are joined. The Wedding Guest needs this story because he has a lesson to learn; after learning the lesson, he cannot go to the wedding where joy and happiness are occurring. We can also believe that the young couple getting married do not know what the lesson is that the Mariner had to learn.