As It Happens

Ring-bearing owl swoops down on 'terrified' best man during U.K. wedding ceremony

"Everybody just laughed about it all day," says wedding photographer Stacey Oliver, who captured the dramatic incident.

Man, who is afraid of birds, fell off his chair as he was trying to escape

Wedding photographer Stacey Oliver captured the moment a ring-bearing owl forced this best man to the floor during the March 17 ceremony in the U.K. (Stacey Oliver Photography)

A U.K. photographer said a newlywed couple has no regrets about choosing an owl to be their ring bearer, even though it flew at a member of the wedding party during their ceremony.

Mark Wood and Jeni Arrowsmith wed at Peckforton Castle in Cheshire, England, on March 17.

Unbeknownst to their guests, the couple hired an owl named Bobby to bring the rings down the aisle.

Stacey Oliver, the wedding photographer who documented the whole incident, told As It Happens host Carol Off that she knew about the owl ahead of time. 

"I've been a press photographer for years and you never know how these things are going to go," said Oliver.

Bobby the owl flies down the aisle. (Stacey Oliver Photography)

At first, everything went to plan.

The owl — with the rings attached to it — flew down the aisle and landed on the gloved hand of one of the wedding's two best men, prompting "gasps of wow" from the crowd, Oliver said.

"He tried to get the rings from the owl. It felt like forever, but it took him just a few seconds to try and get them off," she said.

After knocking the man of his chair, the owl landed on this table. Oliver says the bird was 'fine.' (Stacey Oliver Photography)

At one point, the second best man put his arm out, she said.

"That's when the owl sees it as a signal to go for the arm."

The bird dove at the man, "who is actually terrified of birds," she said. 

Oliver says the man panicked and fell off his chair to the floor, causing the audience to burst into laughter.

The couple wed at Peckforton Castle in Cheshire, England. (Stacey Oliver Photography)

"[The bride and groom] took it in good spirits… The guy who fell to the floor took it in good spirits too," Oliver said. "Everybody just laughed about it all day."

The bride told the BBC: "I was chuckling that much inside that my stomach was hurting."

"It made the wedding because we were all talking about it all night," Arrowsmith said.

Written by Katie Geleff. Interview produced by Mary Newman. 


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