Shelter Island

HIMYM episode 4x05 (69)

Shelter island
First aired:
October 20, 2008
Pamela Fryman
Chris Harris

Images (9)

The gang all attend Ted's wedding on Shelter Island, where Barney plans to get Robin drunk so he can have sex with her.


Marshall, Lily and Barney are at the bar, when Ted and Stella arrive. Stella grabs Barney's drink out of his hand and finishes it. She then starts ranting about how her sister Nora is stealing her dream wedding on Shelter Island at sunset. She explains they were just at dinner with Stella's sister, whose wedding is identical to Stella's dream. Stella's sister also mentions that she's a vegan, after which Ted proceeds to order the lamb. Back at the bar Ted swears that they will out-do Stella's sister's wedding and Stella says she hopes the wedding goes downhill.

The story then cuts to the restaurant again, where Stella's sister is eating steak and swearing against her former fiance, who ran off with a "vitamin consultant from Whole Foods." She had given up make up, showering, and shaving her armpits for him. The wedding was supposed to be that weekend and she can't get all her deposits back.

Future Ted starts commenting on how when you're in a relationship you start getting telepathy with your partner. He believes they should pay for Stella's sister's meal and thinks he's agreeing with Stella across the table. Stella believes they should take over the wedding and pay her sister back for every dollar she has spent. Ted isn't sure, but Stella says that she wasted years trying to get Lucy's dad ready, and that she used to dream that Tony (Lucy's dad) was spontaneous enough. Ted agrees and tries to be spontaneous, throwing water in his face.

The story then stops as Future Ted gives the moral of the episode to his kids, as he says it is too important to leave until the end: "Don't ever invite an ex to your wedding."

Meanwhile, Robin is in Japan "finally doing serious news" on the number one English news channel in Japan, where she sits next to a chimpanzee with a giant bowl of marshmallows which the monkey throws at Robin while she is talking about the stock market. Another newscast features a "Giant Fan" blowing Robin's notes and hair everywhere while she struggles to talk about the news. Ted calls Robin and asks her to come to his wedding. Although she's unsure at first, she agrees to come.

Barney, Ted, Marshall, and Lily are at the bar, where Barney is being unusually supportive of Ted's marriage. Lily asks Barney why he hasn't tried to stop the wedding, and Barney explains it's a lost cause. He also says he's been working on a problem of utmost importance concerning Ted's marriage: he wants to have sex with Robin again, and the wedding is the best chance to hook up with her. Lily doesn't believe he'll be able to ignore the other women at the wedding.

The day before the wedding the group make a trip to Shelter Island, only to find the venue is a Yoga resort, where the bar has a no alcohol policy, and the all inclusive meals are 100% vegan. With no alcohol, Barney doesn't know how he's going to get Robin back into bed, as his plan depends on her being drunk. Barney, Lily, and Marshall are also frightened by the Spin Doctor-looking bartender.

Soon, Ted tells them there's a problem: Stella doesn't want Robin at the wedding, as she thinks it's weird and brings up unresolved issues, saying the spark may come back between Robin and Ted. Ted swears they are just friends and already had their time. As a compromise, Ted suggest inviting Tony, but Stella completely disagrees. Marshall says he agrees with Stella, and thinks Robin shouldn't come, while Barney disagrees for his own sake. Lily breaks the tie by saying the bride's wish is final so Barney offers to call Robin. After talking to her and confirming she's coming, he lies to the others, saying he couldn't reach her.

Lily scoffs at Stella's wedding jitters and Marshall puts her in her place with a few flashbacks on Past Lily freaking out about her own freakouts at her wedding. Lily tells Ted to wait for the next crisis, solve it, be the hero, then try to convince Stella to let Robin attend. Four minutes later, Tony refuses to bring Stella's daughter to the wedding. Ted decides to go convince Tony to allow Lucy to come to the wedding. Barney, meanwhile, meets Stella's sister, who wants to do dirty, depraved things to forget that this was supposed to be her wedding.

When Ted arrives at Tony's house, Tony is a little wound up, but eventually agrees to let Lucy come, but only after Ted asks him to come as well, despite Stella saying this is the one thing she didn't want to happen. They get back to the wedding, where Stella is upset to see Tony, before Robin arrives to make things worse. Ted argues with Stella, and they agree to tell their ex they cannot attend the wedding. At first, Stella wants to talk to Robin and Ted to talk to Tony, and Future Ted plays out a scenario where he and Stella get married and the future kids become blond. In reality Ted goes to talk to Robin.

Robin agrees with Ted that it is weird for her to be at the wedding. She tells him that she quit her job in Tokyo, and is moving home, and that he shouldn't rush into getting married because he deserves an amazing ending to his quest for a wife. She also adds that she thought, if she ever changed her mind about wanting to get married and have kids, she wanted him to be there, and that there may still be something between them.

Ted disagrees and storms off. Robin tries to hang out with Barney, but he has a woman tied to his bedpost, so Robin leaves. Stella's sister arrives, and it is revealed the woman tied to the bed is actually from the front desk, and Barney ends up having a threesome with the two women.

Ted goes to talk to Stella, but instead finds a card saying she has run away with Tony. Marshall, Lily and Barney try to console Ted, while Robin sees Stella and Tony together on the ferry from Shelter Island. Ted understands that Stella wasn't worried about Robin coming to the wedding, but was thinking about her unresolved feelings for Tony.

This page or section uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia's Shelter Island (How I Met Your Mother) article. (view authors).

You can contribute to the How I Met Your Mother Wiki by rewriting the copied content.



  • Robin refers to the time Ted stole a blue French Horn for her in Pilot, and how he tried to make it rain in Come On (although Ted insists he actually did make it rain).
  • In the flashback to Barney trying to solve the problem of how to sleep with Robin again, much of the mathematical notation written on his blackboard include references to his catchphrases, rules, and theories. These include:
    • "Suit up!" and "hi5", first associated with Barney in the Pilot
    • "83", pointed out by Ted to be his favorite number for making up statistics in Brunch
    • "relationship=freeway", referencing the Freeway Theory Barney is seen explaining in First Time In New York
    • The Hot/Crazy Scale, first mentioned in How I Met Everyone Else
    • "fish ≈ women", referencing Barney noting that both women and fish are attracted to shiny objects in Okay Awesome
    • "ez = gin + tonic4", as gin and tonic is one of his favorite drinks that he has ordered numerous times
  • Ted and Stella unsuccessfully attempt to have a "telepathic conversation", first mentioned occurring between the group in Mary the Paralegal. Another instance of a telepathic conversation going wrong is the one between Lily and Robin in Bachelor Party.
  • One of the flashbacks to Lily's meltdowns while she and Marshall planned their wedding shows Marshall folding origami paper, while another shows origami cranes on the table. The gang is seen making origami cranes for Lily and Marshall's wedding in Arrivederci, Fiero.
  • Marshall is seen beating Lily and Barney at Zitch Dog on the way to Shelter Island (a game he masters and beats Ted at soon after he teaches it to him in college, as seen in Arrivederci, Fiero) due to being unusually good at games, as revealed in Game Night.
  • Ted's habit of correcting people, first pointed out in Spoiler Alert, appears again when he informs karate instructor Tony that he is already having sex with the mother of his child, before nervously asking himself why he always has to correct people.
  • In The Platinum Rule, Ted states that if his relationship with Stella does fail, it won't be because of some rule. Stella does in fact leave him at the altar, because he violates the rule about inviting exes to a wedding.
  • Nora Zinman's engagement is first mentioned in Miracles.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • Both Robin and Ted violate the rule against inviting exes by inviting each other to their weddings to Barney (as would be seen in The End of the Aisle) and the Mother (as would be seen in Last Forever - Part Two), respectively, neither of which were ruined as a result.
  • Ted runs into Stella again in Right Place, Right Time, and helps her and Tony get back together in As Fast As She Can​​​​​.
  • In Future Ted's imagining of his hypothetical kids with Stella, they have blonde hair, while his actual kids have brown hair, implying that the Mother does as well. She indeed does, as revealed in her first proper appearance in Something New​​​​​.
  • In The Wedding Bride, the events in this episode would form the basis of the fictional eponymous film.  That film would be directed by Tony.
  • Ted gets so drunk after being left at the altar that Barney has to give him Stinson's Hangover Fixer Elixir, as shown in Rally.
  • In No Pressure, Marshall and Lily would have a bet on whether Ted and Robin would get back together with Marshall believing they would.  A fresh flashback sequence would show Lily trying to use Ted and Stella's wedding to try to settle that bet.  Lily asked Marshall to pay up on their way to Ted and Stella's wedding and as the wedding was about to begin but Marshall kept saying 'not yet'.  After the Stella abandoned Ted, Lily was cursing she had not yet won.
  • Ted would tell Victoria about being left at the altar as she would be about to walk out of her own wedding in The Magician's Code - Part Two.  Their interaction would continue in Farhampton where Ted would advise Victoria to write Klaus a note after she left Klaus at the altar.  Ted also told Victoria that when Stella left him, at least he had gotten an explanation, and that the note Stella left for him is what has kept him sane.
  • In Sunrise, a fresh flashback would show Stella taking issue with Ted attending an ex's wedding.
  • In The End of the Aisle, when Robin invited Ted to join her in running away, Ted said he didn't want to be part of a third runaway bride situation (the first of which obviously referred the wedding in this episode).  


For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:Shelter Island images.

Memorable Quotes

Lily: There's no meat.
Barney: There's no alcohol.
Marshall: It gets worse, you guys. I think that guy you were talking to was lead singer for Spin Doctors.
Lily, Barney and Marshall do not like the place where Ted is marrying Stella

Barney: [Reading a brochure on the place the wedding is taking place] Namaste Yoga and Meditation Collective?
Marshall: I don't know about you guys, but namaste here any longer than I have to.

Lily: No "Don't get married, Ted"? No "you're making a big mistake Ted"? Barney Stinson, are you no longer committed to the war on marriage?
Barney: No, I just know a hopeless cause when I see it. The same reason I don't recycle.

Ted: We broke up over a year ago.
Robin: Yeah, but that's not that long ago. Watching you marry another woman isn't exactly something I was looking forward to. I don't know, if I would change my mind about marriage and kids, it was nice to know that you were there.
Ted: So I was your safety school. How flattering.
Robin: That's not it. It's just that, I..
Ted: Why are you bringing any of this up? There's nothing between us anymore.
Robin: Well maybe there is! I mean, of course, there is, that kind of stuff just doesn't disappear without a trace. I'm not just another guest here, Ted.
Ted: Great. We used to date, but we've both moved on and look, we got what we wanted. I'm getting married, you got your dream job in Tokyo, and we live happily ever-
Robin: I quit my job.
Ted: What?
Robin: I'm moving back to New York. I thought I wanted that job, but I want to come back to my real life, and I think you should go back to yours.
Ted: What is that supposed to mean?
Robin: Don't get married. Look, you're rushing into this. It's like you're trying to skip ahead to the end of the book. Ted, you're the most romantic guy I know. You stole a blue French Horn for me! You tried to make it rain!
Ted: I did make it rain.
Robin: It was a coincidence! But after all that, this is how your great, romantic quest comes to an end? You're just disappearing into someone else's wedding, someone else's house, someone else's life without a second thought! That's not the amazing ending that you deserve. That's not Ted Mosby.
Ted: I love Stella. She's the one. If you really feel that way, I guess it's a good thing you're not coming to the wedding after all.

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • While Barney is sitting at his desk thinking of a way to sleep with Robin, the Perfection poster is initially to the right of the Teamwork poster, but while he is working on the chalkboard, the Awesomeness poster is to the right of the Teamwork poster. This could be because his plan takes place over several days, but the Perfection and Awesomeness posters are the only ones that are moved.
  • Barney has a threesome, but in later episodes Barney and Ted still compete to see who will have a threesome first.
  • Ted calls Robin while she's news anchoring in Tokyo. The time differences between New York City and Tokyo would be radically different, and it's extremely unlikely that Ted would be awake and at the bar at the same time Robin was working.
  • Future Ted emphatically tells his kids to never invite an ex to your wedding, but Robin ends up coming to Ted and Tracy's wedding, and Ted ends up coming to Robin and Barney's wedding.
  • During the fantasy sequence where Stella is standing behind Ted's children with blonde hair Tracy's bus can be seen on the shelf behind Stella. If Ted and Stella had gotten married Tracy's bus shouldn't be there.
  • Ted picked up Lucy and Tony to bring them to the wedding, however, when Stella leaves the wedding with Tony, Lucy is not with them.

Allusions and Outside References

  • Nora Zinman suggests that Barney's back might look like a painting by Jackson Pollock.
  • Marshall states he is 90% sure that the bartender used to be the lead singer of The Spin Doctors.
  • Marshall states inviting an ex to a wedding would be like inviting the Seattle Mariners to a World Series.
  • The sequence when Barney is figuring out the formula on how to sleep with Robin again alludes to the film "A Beautiful Mind".


  • Waiting for an Invitation - Benji Hughes
  • Monday - Mikey and the Gypsys

Other Notes



  • The AV Club gave the episode a B+. [1]
  • IGN gave the episode 7 out of 10. [2]
  • Television Without Pity gave the episode a A. [3]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 8.5 out of 10 stars. "I just know a hopeless cause when I see it."


External links

Previous episode
Shelter Island
(all episodes)
Next episode →
Happily Ever After