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Owl doesn’t give a hoot for wedding

20 September 2013


A WEDDING-DAY stunt, featuring an owl that swooped down to the altar bearing the couple's rings, went spectacularly wrong when the bird fell asleep in the roof beams.

In spite of all the efforts of the bride, Sonia Cadman, and her groom, Andrew Mettle, to coax down Darcy the barn owl, he simply snoozed on (above).

Fortunately, the Rector of Holy Cross, Sherston, in Wiltshire, the Revd Chris Bryan, had a plan B. "They say never work with animals; so we had a back-up pair of rings," he said.

An hour later, when the service had been long finished, Darcy's keeper used a ladder to recover him.

The idea came from the bride's mother, who knew that Mr Mettle had an interest in falconry. She secretly arranged for two falconers to appear as the best man produced the rings. One wearing a gauntlet stood beside the couple, while the other had Darcy ready to release at the rear of the church.

But Darcy was not feeling too helpful. He took some coaxing to take flight, and when he did he headed straight for the roof of the 900-year-old church.

"The idea was it would be amazing and would swoop over the heads of the guests, and they'd all feel the air rushing from its wings," Mr Bryan said. "I thought it would be a really beautiful and interesting thing to do at a wedding.

"It's important that people realise that a church wedding doesn't just come as a package of things you have to do, and there's no room for creativity. I'm all for in-cluding something of the personality and individuality of the couple getting married."

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