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Couple's wedding is delayed - after ring-bearing owl falls ASLEEP in church rafters

Stunt with feathered friend went slightly awry in Sherston, Wilts

A couple had to put their wedding vows on hold when an owl carrying the rings fell asleep in the church rafters.

The bride had secretly arranged for a barn owl to swoop to the altar with the wedding bands attached to tassles on its feet.

But the spectacular stunt flopped when Darcey the owl took to the rafters instead and nodded off.

It remained perched high inside 900 year-old Holy Cross Church in Sherston, Wilts. for an hour while a bemused reverend tried to coax it down.

After repeated failed attempts, Rev Chris Bryan decided to continue the ceremony using a back up set of rings.

The unnamed couple had left the church by the time the owl was eventually coaxed down. (SWNS)
He said: 'It would have been absolutely superb - if it worked.

'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.

'The owl appeared, and took a bit of coaxing to take to flight.

The service was delayed half way through due to the owl-related hold-up. (SWNS) 'It paused for a little 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.

'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, but it didn't quite work like that.'

Rev. Bryan added: 'We all had a bit of a laugh about it, and then we tried to get it down, but it didn't come.

'In fact it fell asleep. It presumably thought 'I'm a barn owl, this is like a barn'.

'We had a plan B. They say never work with animals, so we had a back-up pair of rings.

'After a few minutes, we gave up trying to get it down and carried on. It was actually rather nice when we went up for prayers and the owl was right above us.'

The couple, from Oxfordshire, had left the chuch by the time dozy Darcey was finally brought back down.

Rev Bryan said: 'The chaps were there for probably an hour, and in the end had to get a long ladder to go up and get it down.

'I thought it would be a really beautiful and interesting thing to do at a wedding.'