As It Happens

Australian bride delivers calf in her wedding gown during reception

When a cow went into labour during a wedding reception on an Australian farm, the bride didn’t think twice before springing into action in her silvery white gown

'When there's a cow that needs help calving, you drop everything to go and help,' says the newlywed farmer

Jessa Laws, clad in a silvery white wedding gown, pets a newly birthed calf that she helped deliver during her wedding reception on her Australian farm. (Submitted by Jessa Laws )

Story Transcript

When a cow went into labour during a wedding reception on an Australian farm, the bride didn't think twice before springing into action in her silvery white gown.

Farmer Jessa Laws ditched the dance floor and got down in the mud, dress and all, to help her cow deliver its calf. 

"When there's a cow that needs help calving, you drop everything to go and help," she told As It Happens host Carol Off. 

"I didn't even think about my guests. Didn't think about my dress, that's for sure. I headed straight down to the dairy."

'Jessa is down there in the mud, isn't she?'

Jessa and Ben Laws tied the knot on April 24 at their farm in Gorae, Australia. They say it wasn't a huge surprise that the aptly named Drama the cow went into labour on their special day. 

"With a name like Drama, we had made the joke that she would no doubt go on our wedding day," Jessa said. "She was about three or four days overdue by the time our wedding day came around."

Laws, clad in her wedding gown and a fluffy white jacket, smiles next to Destiny the calf. (Submitted by Jessa Laws)

The couple tasked a friend, a fellow dairy farmer, with keeping an eye on Drama during the ceremony and reception. Early in the evening, he informed Jessa that Drama had gone into labour and there were "two feet showing."

"And it was probably about two hours later he said, 'Look, we're going to have to assist it. Just, we need to help. Nothing's happening,'" she said. 

Ben was in the kitchen making tea for the guests when a friend informed him about the situation.

"My first question was, 'Jessa is down there in the mud, isn't she?" he said. "And all I got was a, 'Yup.'"

On the left, Laws poses for wedding pictures with her husband Ben Laws, showing off her spotless wedding gown. On the right, her mud-caked dress is crumpled on the floor. (Submitted by Jessa Laws)

The birth was a difficult one, Jessa said. But ultimately, with her help, Drama delivered a healthy female calf named Destiny. 

After she got the new family settled — including administering some pain reliever to the new momma — Jessa returned to the party, her dress caked in mud.

"We came back up to the reception and everyone just kind of looked at me, sort of looking at the dress and sort of going, 'What's happened?' she said. 

"The city people were absolutely amazed. My farming friends were just like, 'Yep, that's what we expected of Jessa.'"

Her gown is "absolutely trashed from the knee down," Jessa said. "But, you know, it is only a dress."

Still, she got the most use out of it she could on her wedding night — muck and all. 

"I wore the dress until about 4:30 that morning," she said.


Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview with Jessa and Ben Laws produced by Rachel Adams. 

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