Couple's wedding was a hoot
A MAGICAL moment for one couple’s special day was spoiled when their ring bearer decided to take a nap.
Barn owl Darcy had been hired to swoop dramatically down from the church rafters carrying the rings, to the surprise of groom Andrew Mattle, 49.
But the spectacular vision never materialised, as Swindon-reared owl Darcy had nestled in the roof and dozed off.
Bride Sonia Cadman, 46, had arranged the surprise in secret, and planned for the bird to descend on the altar with the wedding bands attached to tassles on his feet.
But the spectacular stunt flopped when the bird remained perched high inside 900 year-old Holy Cross Church in Sherston for an hour and dozed off.
After repeated failed attempts to coax it down, Rev Chris Bryan decided to continue the ceremony using a back up set of rings.
He said: “It would have been absolutely superb if it had worked. It was supposed to be really stunning.
“It was a complete surprise to the groom, although the bride was in on it. It was the bride’s mother’s idea.
“The groom is into falconry as a bit of a hobby and so it was secretly arranged for two falconers to suddenly appear at the moment when the best man hands over the rings.
“This chap popped up at the front of the church next to us with a gauntlet on, as another chap appeared at the back of the church with a box.
“The owl appeared, and took a bit of coaxing to take to flight. It paused for a bit, eventually saw the gauntlet, and then took off. But instead of landing on the arm of the man by us and delivering the rings it went up over our heads and landed up in the roof space.”
Darcy was reared at Swindon company Wings Over Wiltshire. Owner Phil Voller said that while the birds were trained to the highest standard, there are no guarantees with live animals.
“There is not a lot we can do about situations like this,” he said. “It is a live animal, and it doesn’t matter how much training you do with him, if he doesn’t want to do something you can’t make him.
“If he is spooked by something it can all change.”
Bride Sonia, a mum-of-two of Witney, said: “Andrew is a twitcher, so the owl delivering the rings was a surprise gift from my mother.
“When the owl flew in it seemed really distracted. I’m not sure if it was spooked, but he just wasn't concentrating.
“It was meant to fly straight onto the glove of a falconer who then takes the rings off, but instead the bird disappeared into the rafters.
“It probably felt really at home because the inside of the church is a little like the inside of a barn.
“We waited for about 15 minutes for the bird to come down but it didn’t. Instead we went ahead with plan B – we had back up rings ready because they don’t always do as they're told, a bit like all animals and children really.
“It didn't ruin the big day at all. In fact, it added to the humour. It was such a magical wedding and it was so full of emotion, it was nice to be able to have a bit of a laugh.”
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