Director Robert Altman admits that the whole production of the film came as a joke. A reporter had kept asking him during the middle of shooting 3 Women (1977) what he planned to do next and Altman jokingly replied that he was going to film someone's wedding seeing as that was becoming a more common thing to do at the time. Altman said: "I'm going to make a movie about a great big fancy wedding!" As Altman reflected on it, he decided it was actually quite a good idea, as he had never been to a wedding where something didn't go wrong. Altman's off-hand idea manifested itself in a drinking session with his 3 Women (1977) crew that evening after the meeting with the journalist. Within a couple of weeks, Altman had commissioned screenwriter John Considine to start developing a story and a guest list.
Instead of using a typical boom mike to pick up dialogue, director Altman required all the actors wear portable microphones to assist in creating overlapping dialogue. He used this technique several times since first developing it for this film.
Final film as an actor for actor-director John Cromwell who was ninety-one years old when he played Bishop Martin in this film. Cromwell had also appeared Robert Altman's previous picture 3 Women (1977).