Emily first seeing Victor Van Dort.

Emily is the titular character in the Tim Burton film, Corpse Bride.


Emily was once a beautiful young woman born into an extremely wealthy family. One day, she met a charming, handsome man, and wished to marry him, but her parents didn't approve of the marriage. Emily and the mysterious man made a plan to elope. So she stole her mom's wedding dress, her family jewels and some gold, and she and the man planned to meet at the old oak near the cemetary. Emily waited until the man finally showed, but he wound up murdering Emily for her jewels and gold as he never really loved her and was only marrying her for her family's wealth. Emily then found herself in the Land of the Dead, and vowed not to come back until she met her true love.

Role in Corpse Bride

After the shy, clumsy Victor ruins the wedding rehearsal and is scolded by Pastor Galswells, he flees and practices his wedding vows in the nearby forest, placing the wedding ring on a nearby upturned tree root.

The root turns out to be the finger of an undead girl in a tattered bridal gown, who rises from the grave claiming that she is now Victor's wife. Spirited away to the surprisingly festive Land of the Dead, the bewildered Victor learns the story of Emily, his new "bride," murdered years ago on the night of her secret elopement.

Emily giving Victor a "wedding present."

Emily, as a wedding gift, reunites Victor with his long-dead dog, Scraps. Meanwhile, Victoria's parents hear that Victor has been seen in another woman's arms, and become suspicious.

Wanting to reunite with Victoria, Victor tricks Emily into taking him back to the Land of the Living by pretending he wants her to meet his parents. She agrees to this and takes him to see Elder Gutknecht, the kindly ruler of the underworld, to send him and Emily temporarily to the Land of the Living. Once back home, Victor asks Emily to wait in the forest while he rushes off to see Victoria and confess his wish to marry her as soon as possible, to which she gladly returns his feelings. Just as they are about to share a kiss, Emily soon arrives and sees the two of them together and, feeling betrayed and hurt, angrily drags Victor back to the Land of the Dead. Victoria tells her parents that Victor has been forcibly wed to a dead woman, but they believe she has lost her mind and lock her up in her bedroom. She escapes her room by window and rushes to Galswells to find a way helping Victor, but fails. With Victor gone, Victoria's parents decide to marry her off to a presumably wealthy newcomer in town named Lord Barkis Bittern, who appeared at the wedding rehearsal, against her will.

Emily still angry with Victor, but she soon forgives him.

Emily is heartbroken by Victor's deception. Victor, however, apologizes for lying to her, and the two reconcile while playing the piano together. Shortly after, Victor's family coachman appears in the afterlife (having recently died) and informs Victor of Victoria's impending marriage to Lord Barkis. At the same time, Emily learns from Elder Gutknecht that because marriage vows are only binding until "death do you part" and death already parts them, her supposed marriage to Victor was never valid. In order for their marriage to become valid, Victor must repeat his vows in the Land of the Living and willingly drink poison - thus joining her in death. Overhearing this, and fretting about having lost his chance with Victoria, Victor agrees to die for Emily. All of the dead go "upstairs" to the Land of the Living to perform the wedding ceremony for Victor and Emily. Upon their arrival, the town erupts into a temporary panic until every living person recognizes each other's loved ones from the dead and they have a joyous reunion under the bizarre circumstances. After a quarrel with Lord Barkis - and realizing he was only after her supposed money - Victoria follows the procession of dead to the church. Emily notices Victoria and realizes that she is denying Victoria her chance at happiness the same way it was stolen from her. As Victor prepares to drink the cup of poison to kill himself, Emily stops him and reunites him with Victoria.

Emily, finally at peace, transforms into a mass of butterflies.

Lord Barkis interrupts them, and Emily recognizes him as her former fiance - who is revealed to be the one who murdered her for her dowry. Lord Barkis tries to kidnap Victoria at sword point, but Victor stops him and the two men duel. Emily intercedes to save Victor and Lord Barkis mockingly proposes a toast to Emily, claiming she was "always the bridesmaid, never the bride". He unknowingly drinks the cup of poison. The dead (now able to intercede) drag the "new arrival" away, back to the Land of the Dead, for punishment. Victoria, now a widow, is once again able to marry Victor.

Emily sets Victor free of his vow to marry her, giving the wedding ring back to Victor and her wedding bouquet to Victoria before exiting the church. As she steps into the moonlight, she transforms into hundreds of butterflies, presumably finding peace, as Victor and Victoria look on wrapped in each other's embrace.

Friends and family

  • Mrs. Emily - mother
  • Victor Van Dort - best friend and ex-fiancé
  • Victoria Van Dort - best friend
  • Scraps - best friend
  • Mrs. Black Widow - best friend
  • William and Null - best friends


  • Bonejangle's song explains to Victor the story of the Corpse Bride. She eloped with a man she thought was in love with her and wanted to marry her. "And he killed her."
    • Not only that, but remember: "He told not a soul, kept the whole thing tight." Considering that her creep of a fiancé is still alive and fairly young by the looks of it, there may still be Emily's mourning parents out there, terrified out of their wits and wishing their daughter would just come home. Or write them a single note, letting them know that she's all right.
      • Or, on a sadder note, they might have disowned her for eloping. After all, she did steal the family jewels and some gold when she did that, and the fact that she and Barkis did elope instead of just getting married indicates that her parents disapproved.
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