Runaway Bride is a film about the fictional Maggie Carpenter (Julia Roberts) who makes headlines across the country for fleeing three of her fiancés at the altar on their wedding day, earning her the nickname "The Runaway Bride." New York reporter Homer "Ike" Graham (Richard Gere) is fired for writing an erroneous article about Maggie because he blindly trusted one of her exes to be a credible source.
Ike finds Maggie in Maryland with her family and engaged to a fourth man, Bob Kelly (Christopher Meloni), the local high-school football coach. Ike is determined to win his job back by writing a thoroughly researched article about Maggie using information directly from her. The two spend large amounts of time together, and attraction begins to grow between them. During the rehearsal wedding, Ike stands in for Bob and practices the first kiss with Maggie. They finally realize their feelings for one another, and Bob storms away, leaving Maggie with Ike.
Ike and Maggie choose to marry using the already established wedding date, but Maggie again leaves the groom at the altar. Ike chases after her but cannot catch her. He moves back to New York City, heartbroken from what happened and trying to resume his prior life before he fell in love with Maggie.
Maggie, however, finds Ike in New York and explains to him that her previous engagements were not really true love because her fiancés did not know the real her and only fell in love with the person that Maggie created to please them. She left the wedding with Ike because of the large crowd watching her, and not for the same reason the other engagements failed. Maggie proposes to Ike, and they marry each other in a small, private ceremony outside of the city. The film ends with Maggie and Ike riding away from the attendees, with Maggie happy that she finally did not run away.