"I'm getting married this year!" Charlotte York yelled to Manhattan from the deck of the Staten Island Ferry in the third season premiere of Sex and the City. It didn't matter that she wasn't even dating anyone at the moment. Charlotte had decided to get married. The rest of the details, like the husband, would surely fall into place. And thus kicked off the show's best (and most marriage-obsessed) season yet.
Charlotte wasn't the only character with wedding bells ringing in her ears at the start of season three. The Sunday Times soon brought news of Mr. Big's nuptials, which sent Carrie reeling. Luckily the one man Carrie could always count on, her gay pal Stanford Blatch, found the perfect pick-me-up when he invited Carrie to check out the gallery of the hot, single and straight furniture designer Aidan Shaw (John Corbett). After Aidan's dog Pete showed his appreciation for Carrie's leg, she left the gallery with a new leather chair and a date with the designer.
Aidan turned out to be everything Mr. Big wasn't -- mainly, emotionally available. Carrie freaked out over the ease with which Aidan rearranged his schedule for her, shared his feelings, and even invited her to meet his parents -- all things she had freaked out over Mr. Big's unwillingness to do! But just as she began to get used to the idea of a stable, drama-free relationship with Aidan, drama re-entered her life in the form of a drunk, desperate Mr. Big. He began leaving answering machine messages (remember those?) and showing up at her apartment, confessing he regretted marrying Natasha and couldn't get Carrie out of his head. Carrie pushed him away at first, but his words clearly had nestled in her neurotic little brain. Then one day, when forced to write her column in a hotel room while handy Aidan worked on her apartment, Carrie met Big for a final showdown in the hotel bar. She screamed at him to stay out of her life, but he followed her into the elevator and told her he loved her. It was too much for poor Carrie. She'd waited two years to hear those words from him, and even though they came at the worst possible time, when he was married and she was finally in a happy relationship with a man who could love her without the mind games, she was powerless against their effect. Moments later, she was in bed with Mr. Big, lighting up one of the cigarettes she'd sworn off to please Aidan.
Carrie and Big began meeting in hotels regularly, leaving Aidan, Natasha, and even Carrie's friends in the dark about their affair. Carrie's guilt began to take its toll on her relationship with Aidan, who had no clue why she was acting so strangely. Carrie knew what she was doing was wrong, but as with most affairs, it didn't end until someone got hurt. After a lunch-hour tryst in Big's apartment, Carrie was discovered by Natasha, who chased her out the door and halfway down the stairs. Natasha tripped and fell the rest of the way down, breaking a tooth and requiring stitches. Horrified, Carrie helped Natasha to the hospital and finally ended things with Big.
At first, Carrie was happy to go home to Aidan's loving arms, but the guilt of the affair soon caught up to her. She finally reached the point where she knew she had to come clean to him. Unfortunately, it meant breaking his heart, and being left sobbing in a Vera Wang bridesmaid's dress on Charlotte's wedding day.
That's right, folks! Charlotte made good on her promise (to herself) to get married. It was love at first sight for her and Trey MacDougal (Kyle MacLachlan), a handsome doctor from a wealthy family. But Charlotte wasn't content with love at first sight. She wanted marriage after the first date. After knowing each other for only two weeks, Charlotte, observing how easily manipulated Trey was by the touch of his mother's hand, tried the same trick and secured herself a fiancée. But wedded bliss didn't quite live up to Charlotte's lofty expectations. After years of arguing with Samantha over the importance of sex vs. love, she learned the hard way how necessary it is for the two to go together when Trey turned out to be impotent. Despite their best efforts to make things work, the only thing that seemed to turn Trey on was being separated from Charlotte. SATC's first married couple ended the season with their marital status completely up in the air.
One character who definitely didn't want to get married this season was Miranda. She quickly revived her season two romance with Steve, and for six episodes they seemed happy together. But it all came crashing down when Steve began to pressure Miranda into having a baby. Since she knew she wanted to be a mother someday, but was currently trying to make partner in her law firm, she comprised and got a puppy instead. But Steve's laidback approach to puppy parenting made her feel like she would always be the heavy in their relationship, and she broke up with him. It wasn't until Carrie called her out on her judgmental behavior in the season finale that Miranda realized it might be time to lighten up. Too bad Steve already had a new girlfriend by then.
And as for Samantha, there wasn't much new to report this season. She continued to sleep around with a variety of men, scoffing at the idea of committing to anything except a lavish new apartment in the trendy meatpacking district.
New Characters We Met: Although all four girls were on their own at the end of the season, Aidan and Trey weren't quite finished with Carrie and Charlotte yet.
Best Hookups: Before meeting Aidan, Carrie enjoyed flings with a shady politician (John Slattery), a bisexual younger man (Eddie Cahill), and even spent some time with Vince Vaughn in a Hollywood hot tub. Samantha also met her match when she dated an extremely short man with an attitude as big as hers.
Fashion Highlight: This was the year of the most polarizing accessory in SATC history: the big flowers.
Best Quote: Trey's catchphrase, and hilarious response to Charlotte's marriage proposal: "Alrighty."