In the climax of the Attic scene, in all versions of the ride, the guests are faced with the ominous figure of a ghost bride. The character has greatly varied over the years; the first incarnation was corpselike, had a beating heart and held a candle and a bouquet; she was originally described as the Hatbox Ghost's love interest, and was possibly his murderer (or possibly the motivation of her murderer). This Bride was removed and replaced by a version who,instead of having a corpse face, had no face at all,and instead only had glowing yellow eyes in a shadowlike face. This Bride became the classical model, but was replaced in the 1990's with a character that had a visible face and was clearly melancholy and tragic (whereas the previous two versions were ambiguous). After this one came a version with greenish skin and a wild, flowing hairstyle, and then yet another version who had once more glowing eyes, the face obscured by a thick wedding veil. Finally, in 2006, the "Beating Heart" element, as well as the possibly implied tragic backstory, were scrapped to make way for a completely new version of the Bride character who warrants her own page, Constance Hatchaway.
All versions of the Bride are often seen as being different forms of the same character (who would become known as Constance Hatchaway). As evidenced by:
- The original Beating Heart version of the scene and the Tokyo Version of the scene both show the Bride having the decapitated heads of grooms stored in Hatboxes around the attic who would pop out and say "I Do". In the Modern Disney World version of the scene there are five Hatboxes piled up across from Constance nearby a coatrack holding the hats associated with each of Constance's husbands implying that the hatboxes contain their decapitated heads similarly to the original scene.
- When the Hatbox Ghost originally appeared in the attraction he was implied to have been decapitated by the Bride and to have been associated with her in life, most likely as a suitor. In the modern Disneyland scene the Hatbox Ghost once again appears in the attic only this time alongside the Black Widow model who is famously known for having decapitated at least five different men (all of whom were her suitors) and was implied to have stored them in hatboxes which appears to have been the exact nature of the Hatbox Ghost's death.
- The Modern iteration of the Hatbox Ghost is shown alongside five hatboxes which appear to be nearly identical to those found in the Liberty Square Mansion which were implied to contain the decapitated heads of Constance's husbands, showing that the Hatbox Ghost was most likely associated with Constance in life similarly to how he was associated with the Beating Heart Bride.
- From a story standpoint it would make little-to-no sense how the attic would be filled with the belongings and spirit of a completely different woman in the year 2006 while in Mansion canon Constance would have taken up residence in the attic in 1877 and as shown in her portrait would have died roughly around 1910-1930 as an old woman
- Concept art of Constance depicted her with a beating red heart in her chest
- Imagineers always intended for the Beating Heart Bride to be interpreted as a villainous figure but they always left her past ambiguous enough it could be taken otherwise, Constance could have been an intentional choice by imagineers to cement the Bride's past as being villainous
- Official Merchandise almost always depicts Constance with a beating red heart in her chest
- The Beating Heart Bride was never given an official name or definitive backstory
- In the last surviving Beating Heart version of the attic scene in Tokyo, the Bride is heavily alluded to have been evil shown in part be her expression
- Both bride figures are portrayed women who murdered their husbands by decapitation and hid their heads in hatboxes
- In the attic sequence the Beating Heart noise is still heard in the background
Many Fans see the Beating Heart version of the Bride (often nicknamed Emily) as being a completely separate character from the Black Widow version of the Bride as evidenced by:
- The Beating Heart version of the Bride was never given a definitive backstory or official name, all that is known is that she had several husbands who died, a suitor who was decapitated and had his head stored in a hatbox, and that she herself eventually died
- Although the Beating Heart Bride was intended by imagineers to be a villainous figure they left her past ambiguous enough that she could be interpreted as a tragic figure and as such, different than the villainous Constance
- In a miniature model layout of the attic, the April-December portrait can be seen in the background possibly implying the two women were intended to be the same. However the portrait was never put in the actual attic scene.
- Constance's lack of a heart could be seen as a distinction between the two women implying that Constance could never love but Emily could.
- Phantom Manor's bride Melanie Ravenswood is canonically a tragic character and serves as the counterpart to the Bride from a time before the Black Widow model was implemented in any park, possibly hinting that the role of the bride is intended to be one of tragedy to counter the Ghost Host's role as a villain and Madame Leota's role as a neutral figure.
Multiple Brides Theory
One theory is that every different model of the Bride is intended to be a completely different character.
- She possibly draws inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe's the Telltale Heart where a man murders an older man and hides the corpse in the floorboards but he is driven insane by the beating of the heart under the floor which no one but him can hear.
- Official merchandise tends to depict Constance with a visible beating heart like the earlier models implying that they are in fact the same character; she was supposed to have it in concept art, but it was scrapped due to it not working well with the light projection effects used to animate Constance.
- The Beating Heart Model is currently used in the Tokyo Disneyland Haunted Mansion is not Constance, but still a Beating Heart model; she has a visible face and glowing eyes and is light purple rather than bluish.
- The "Beating Heart" version of the character was called that on the blueprints, though most fans referred to her as "The Beating Heart Bride" instead. By contrast, Constance's model is nicknamed the "The Black Widow Bride".
- If all "Beating Heart" versions are taken as a single character, the tragic Bride character that results is often referred to as "Emily". This name has first been used in the Ghost Gallery (as "Emily Cavanaugh"); adopted in countless fanfictions, it also made its way into the non-canon SLG comics, where she is Emily de Claire. However, the two other official names given to the Bride do not include "Emily" (namely Sally Little and Elizabeth Henshaw).
- In the Ghost Gallery, Emily was the 15 year old bride of Master Gracey (who in this version of the story is also the Ghost Host) and she died before her wedding when she was playing hide-and-seek in the attic and was locked in the chest she was hiding in by the jealous Madame Leota where Emily suffocated to death.
- The Bride figure is a very prominent character in Phantom Manor, where she is given a name (Mélanie Ravenswood) and a backstory not unlike the fan-made ones given to "Emily".
- Some fans consider that there were only two different bride characters, the "Beating Heart" version (Emily) and the "Black Widow" version (Constance). Meanwhile, others see all different designs as separate Bride characters.
- In the New Orleans Square Mansion there is a little known travelling light effect where at night you can see an orange flickering candlelights pass by the windows on the inside of the mansion on the second story.
- An engagement ring which is commonly believed to have been hers is stuck in the pavement outside of the Liberty Square Haunted Mansion. Originally it was only the last remnant of a removed turnstile which used to be present at the mansion but it developed such a following that when they refurbished the outdoor queue they replaced it with a much more delicate and elegant looking ring.
House of Mouse
The Bride appears makes a cameo appearance in an episode of House of Mouse.