People Who Were Left At The Altar Share What Happened

Kasia Mikolajczak
church's altar
Unsplash | Mateus Campos Felipe

Now that I have tied the knot, I can't even imagine what would have happened if I got abandoned at the altar. That must've been pretty traumatic for anyone to go through.

But it does indeed occur, and the following folks have bravely shared their stories online. Oh, my goodness. I don't know if I'm ready for this, hehe. Let's read about these unfortunate events. Shall we?

This Fascinating Story

married couple at the altar
Unsplash | Josh Applegate

"Bride and groom stood up in front of the priest to say vows, and groom hesitated. After an awkward pause, he turned away from the bride he’d been facing, said in a low voice, 'I just can’t do this. I’m sorry.' The best man took him by the arm and led him out. The bride was too stunned to say anything, but then her bridesmaids led her away.

"There were some kind of meetings in the back of the church and in the bride’s room, and the priest came back and announced that the wedding was being canceled. The bride’s father tore a program in half and announced angrily that anyone who wanted to partake of the reception was welcome to, since it was paid for."

"Strangely, although the couple never did get married, they actually remained friends. How the bride did it, I’ll never know. A little more than a year later, the former groom died of a genetic heart condition while traveling overseas. A couple years after that, the former bride went to a sperm bank and had a child and has raised her as a single parent."

What do you think of that?

This Sad Story

two set of hands holding a pregnant belly
Unsplash | John Looy

"So my brother was sort of left at the alter. They had gotten pregnant while in their senior year of high school. My brother wanted to do the right thing, so he asked her to marry him. The night before the wedding, she told him she didn't want to go through with it anymore. Sometime during the next six months she got involved with another older man, and married him. Her mother died and she had the baby pretty quickly after that. Then she asked my brother to give up parental rights to the baby so that her new husband could adopt him. The bottom line is it messed with my brother a lot. He's never really had a good relationship since. Never had one that lasted a long time. He spent a lot of time regretting giving up rights to the kid. Made a lot of bad choices including drug use, stealing cars, and alcoholism. It's been a long twenty years since all that happened."

"In the last year he did get involved with someone. Asked her and her daughter to move in with him, and then six months into it she said she was going to marry her child's father. And so she left him and took his savings with her. He had another sort of downward spiral after that. But he did get into rehab, he has been sober for several months now, and he is living with his mom for now. But he got a new job, and he seems to be a lot happier than I have seen him in ages. I am hoping this time things work out for him."

Oh, my! I wish him all the luck.

This Momzilla

scene from Monster in Law with Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda

"I was a bridesmaid for a wedding, and the bride's biological mother showed up uninvited 45min before the ceremony. They got into a screaming match, ending with the bride slapping her bio mom. Mom had the bride arrested."

"Wedding ceremony didn't go on, but the reception did. When bio mom tried to crash that, cops were already in place to arrest her for trespass/DUI/public intoxication/public nuisance. Charges against the bride were dropped shortly after."

"Bride and groom had a civil ceremony at the courthouse a couple weeks later, with just their immediate families present. (I had already deployed by then.)"

"Found out later on that the bride (who is VERY well off in her life, despite her trainwreck of a mother) secured a great civil attorney and successfully sued the woman for the embarrassment of the whole [expletive] show and the cost of the wedding reception."

"Mom had to sell her house (which she owned outright, as it had been given to her upon her parent's death) to cover the cost of the judgment, and later filed for bankruptcy. Insult to injury was finding out the bride would have let the whole thing go if mom agreed to go to rehab and therapy, but refused."


This Hard Lesson

drunk man laying on grass
Unsplash | thom masat

"More of a near miss than a no show but here goes... My first marriage was a disaster from the beginning. My ex-husband turned up at the hotel where I and the bridesmaids were staying, absolutely hammered at 2 am the morning of the wedding. The hotel called and said he was demanding to speak to me. I sent my MOH down and she came back 10 minutes later telling me he was very drunk and wanted to tell me how much he loved me. I found out a week later that he’d actually come to call the whole thing off. She punched him and told him to get his head together.

"We were due to get married at 1 pm. At 12.45 he still hadn’t arrived and said MOH was getting twitchy (of course, I didn’t know why at the time!) He was, again I found this out later, in the car park of the pub next door getting a telling off from his best man about not wanting to go through with it. Completely oblivious to all of this, I married him, found out a week later that he hadn’t wanted to marry me, felt like an idiot, went on the world's worst honeymoon and the Sham lasted a whole 6 months. MOH and I are no longer friends because (a) she didn’t tell me and (b) because she got engaged on the dance floor 2 minutes before our first dance! Lesson here kids: if the groom wants to go, just let him!!"

That's right. Listen to this lady!

This Unfinished Story

two girls sitting together looking at a mountain
Unsplash | Roberto Nickson

"Happened at a friend of the family's friends wedding (small rural town so we all knew about it despite not being all that close). The groom dipped on the bride for her best friend on the wedding day. He and his new wife both died a year later. I'll you [sic] with your imagination to fill in the gap."

I need to know what happened.

This Interesting Story

Heidi Klum saying "wow"
Giphy | Lifetime

"It was one of my aunt’s wedding and her fiancé apparently got cold feet. We all waited uncomfortably at the church since she wanted to wait for him for a while, and I remember sitting in the front row just watching her silently cry her eyes out while her brothers planned to beat the [expletive] out of him for leaving their baby sis none too quietly. We waited for what it seemed to me hours (but was probably just one) at her request, and we were about to tell her we were calling it quits when the guy rushed in.

"I honestly wouldn’t marry someone who left me waiting for that long, but she married him. We kids were told he had been stuck in traffic although we know now it’s [expletive]. They’re still together now and had two lovely girls, so I guess they worked things out."

Wow, funny how things turn out, huh?

This Flashback

fancy set of napkins on a stack of plates
Unsplash | Jo Navarra

"I was rummaging in a cabinet at my grandparents' home when I was about 12 years old and found a stack of napkins. They were embossed in gold with the names of my mom and a man, a date, and wedding bells. So of course I bust right out with 'Hey Mom, whose Eddie?'"

"The look that came over her face kind of said it all. She told me the whole sad story right then and there. She'd been left, not at the alter, but a few days before. I was horrified for her, but also immediately comprehended that I probably wouldn't exist had he not done this, and that sometimes bad things happen for a reason. I've never mentioned it to her or anyone again until now. I have wondered why the damn napkins were kept."

That must've been so wild to find out about, huh?

This Blatant Act

man looking shocked
Unsplash | krakenimages

"My great great aunt (before I was born, obviously) was stood up at the altar. We found out when my mother asked her grandmother to help her make a family tree. So great grandma started listing all of her 12 brothers and sisters, but accidentally named a 13th sister, then gasped, then made my mother swear she’d never tell anyone else in the family. She was stood up at the altar, and soon after committed suicide. Since the family was extremely religious, she wasn’t allowed to be buried in the church cemetery, and her name was erased from the family bible. Her memory was wiped from the face of the earth."

How crazy is that?

This Dodged Bullet

travel accessories on a map
Unsplash | Annie Spratt

"Never actually got to the wedding. About a month out the groom pulled out and ended things. Too late to get any deposits back, so they basically just canceled everything and took the hit. They didn’t cancel the honeymoon though; bride and her maid of honour went on the round-the-world trip instead. The groom in question basically skipped town and is now persona non grata amongst her family and their friends. I had a high opinion of the guy before that but honestly don’t know what I’d say to him if he came back now. I mean, at least he didn’t leave her at the altar, but I feel like this is worse? At least when you leave someone at the altar it saves you the trouble of explaining what happened to your guests."

Hmm, I don't think anybody would really care about what the guests thought in this situation.

This Turn Of Events

Kirsten Bell looking touched

"My aunt got left at the altar, I don't remember much since I was like, 9, but I remember that the groom wussed out at the wedding and couldn't go through with it. My aunt moved on and found another man, but it didn't last and in that span, the groom realized what a mistake it was and proposed like three times before she said yes again. Happily married for years, 4 adorable boys, I love them all so much."

Everybody needs a happy ending. Am I right?

This Incredible Retelling

book with and old passport photo
Unsplash | jesse orrico

"From what I know, my great-uncle, so my maternal grandfather's brother, left his designated bride at the altar. The great-uncle, let's call him George, served in WW2 and lived a lavish bachelor-style life, we're talking high society parties, expensive trips, even a minor scandal or two involved with some married women... It was around 1964, and he was my grandfather's older brother. Great-grandfather was concerned who will run the estate after he's gone, so he decided to take matters in his own hands and find him a wife. My great-grandmother and her sister were tasked and they found a suitable girl from the right family, let's call her Emma. So Emma and George were introduced at a garden party and my great-grandpa basically told him he's marrying Emma and George was super pissed."

The wedding day came, my grandpa was an usher (this means he escorted his mother and his youngest sister in the church) and he saw everyone looking pristine and perfect, but the groom wasn't anywhere to be seen. George came [expletive] drunk and couldn't stand. When Emma came, he puked right at the priest's feet and left the church, passing right by Emma. He got into his car and that was the last time my grandfather saw him, because he crashed into a tree drunk. Emma later married someone and lived a happy normal life, from what I've heard she wasn't even shaken by George's death. Grandpa, on the other hand, is still mourning his brother, 50+ years later. Everything fell on him and whenever he retells what happened to George, he tears up."

Some real-life stories are stranger than fiction, no?

This Funny Story

man wearing a suit and tie laughing
Giphy | HULU

"I was once at a wedding where the groom was almost late to the altar and the groomsman were late. In Serbian tradition, the groom's family and friends meet at the home of the groom's parents for a pre-wedding party. In this case, the house was about 30 miles from the church. For those in the Chicago area, the house was in Palos Heights and the church in Gurnee. The groom left barely in time to get there. I left shortly afterward. The groomsman left later but I saw them on I294 going about 120mph to get to the church on time. Groom chewed them out afterward since he told them to leave when he did."

Haha, that's funny, right?

This Unfortunate Incident

wedding couple holding hands
Unsplash | Jeremy Wong Weddings

"A distant cousin of mine had a panic attack. As the bride was approaching I could see his eyes bulging, he was sweating profusely, and when the priest started speaking he begun to shake violently, holding his head down, and then he just walked out. The ceremony did not resume."

"He had a history of panic attacks, and it was so sad to watch. He confessed later on (after the divorce 3 months later) that he was just getting married to make his parents happy, and he wasn't sure at all that that's what he wanted."

Sad to see this, but it had to happen.

This Getaway

woman driving a car
Giphy | Zella Day

"I didn't know the full story of this one until afterwards (sp), I was merely attending due to family obligation, being a teenager at the time. I already knew something up when my Mom grumpily told me we had to go to a wedding and that it was in two weeks. My Mom is the consummate scheduler - there's no way she wouldn't have told me about a wedding months in advance unless it was also a surprise to her."

"It's a Wednesday evening after school mind you, and the ambiance is just weird. No one is talking, no one is happy. The bridesmaids and groomsmen are all in nice-looking but clearly unmatched dresses and suits and looking around nervously. I don't know anyone, but my Mom worked with this girl for a few years and said something about showing up to support 'the bride and no one else.' I didn't really get this at the time, being 12-13. The only thing that really seems off to me is how young everyone in the wedding party looks, like, Vincent Adultman young. I go in with Mom, we sit on the bride's side. And wait.

And wait.

And wait."

"This is before cell phones were popular, so everyone is just kinda murmuring, until finally someone runs in with a letter addressed to the both sets of parents of the bride and groom. I can't see much but I heard the opening of the envelopes followed by one of the dads yelling out 'god DAMN it,' making the pastor/father/preacher of whatever run down c-team off-brand Christian church we were in go bright red. The dad proceeded to tell everyone the wedding was 'off' and to 'go home.'"

"Found out from Mom much later that the bride and groom were being forced to get married after the parents caught them having sex. Now, it's already ridiculous to do this in any situation, but there wasn't even a pregnancy involved, both of these people were 19, and it was the goddamn '90s. The bridesmaids were all pulled from bride's sisters/female cousins, and groomsmen were groom's brothers/male cousins. No friends, nothing, just forced matrimony straight up."

"Apparently the letter the letter said the effects of "Dear Mom and Dad, [expletive] you from the children you'll never see ever again.'"

"They ran off to a different state together to start over. Last I heard they're in their early 40's now, and actually married with kids, and still haven't spoken to their parents since that day."

OMG, that's a wild one, huh?

This Douche Move

pregnant woman showing a heart with her hands on her tummy
Unsplash | Alicia Petresc

"I saw a close friend of mine's dad get left at the altar. It was so disturbing because the father turned out to be having an affair with the bride's sister who at the time was 6-months pregnant with the father's kid. I personally wanted to punch the douche in his face. [Expletive] you Steven, and I am so, so sorry for you Jezebel."

That's not cool at all.

This Outcome

man looking shocked
Unsplash | Afif Kusuma

"I actually attended a wedding where several of us were hoping the bride wouldn't show up, but she did anyway. The bride was a friend of mine and two weeks before the wedding, the groom admitted to her that he'd been having an affair with one of his female friends. He also admitted he didn't know if he loved her (the bride) and didn't want to go through with the wedding. She outright begged him to stay and go through with it and in the end, he did. Her friends all knew about it because she was such an emotional wreck she kept telling people and when she was fifteen minutes late on the day, we were all hoping she'd decided to just leave him standing there. It really was the most awkward, stilted wedding with such a horrible atmosphere and almost everyone had made their excuses and left by about 9 pm."

"Two months after the wedding he told her he was in love with the woman he'd been having an affair with and left her. She didn't put up a fight that time and told me later that she knew on their wedding day that it wasn't going to last, but she just couldn't face having to call everyone and tell them the wedding was canceled so she preferred to go through with it and then tidy up the mess later. If I remember rightly, they managed to get an annulment instead of a divorce."

"About six months later the other woman called her and asked if they could meet for a coffee and she decided to go. She was really apologetic about sleeping with my friend's ex but also wanted to clarify that her version of events was very different from his - they weren't having an affair, they drunkenly slept together once and when he turned up telling her that he loved her and had left his wife, she flat out rejected him. She ended up having to get a restraining order against him because he started stalking her."

"It all really messed with my friend's mental health and it took her a long time to get back on track but she's doing relatively okay now. It's been years and a move to another city and a career change has really helped her, but she still hasn't been in a relationship since."

This sounds like a movie, no?

This Payback

A projector with a beam of light streaking out from it
Unsplash | Alex Litvin

"Happened to a guy at a company I worked at about 9 years ago. He and his fiancé went up to the altar and she had requested a projector to show some of their times together, pictures, etc. He went along with it, only for her to have organized a video of him cheating on her to play instead. Full nudity. She walked away from the altar, refunded his portion of the honeymoon, and went by herself."

"Honestly, from what I heard, it was [expletive] brutal on the guy. The woman he cheated on her with was in the audience, too, and was part of the company as his manager. They were both made to resign, as office romances between a manager and their subordinates were not allowed unless the promotion happened while they were seeing each other."

You know what they say about karma, right?

This Explanation

wedding food
Unsplash | Angelina Yan

"Officiant here. Definitely have had this happen. It is usually pretty awful, and confusing. And it is, in most situations, (except of course same-sex couples) the groom. I’ve only ever seen the bride skip out on tv. The party usually waits 10-15 minutes after the designated start time. Then there’s an awkward moment, and usually someone gets a call or text, or is sent to deliver the bad news. This generally results in tears, and statements of, “I knew it!” Some folks shuffle the bride off, and then usually Dad or senior member of the family makes an awkward statement. If there was a reception with a meal planned, folks are either invited to stay and eat or the food is sent to a shelter. And that's really about it."

Oh, my! I don't envy the officiant who has to deal with that.

Weren't these stories wild or what?

woman saying "Wow!"
Giphy | Paramount+

I mean, if you're going to leave somebody at the altar or cancel a wedding, you better have a good reason, no? That's all I'm saying. It seems that most of these folks shouldn't have gotten engaged at all. Am I right? Well, let's at least give them some props for trying, haha. What do you think about that?