Date: 20-11-2013 Time: 03:11:16:pm
Whether it was jealousy or nervousness, this bird of prey’s antics almost ruined the big day for a bride and groom.
Lilo the Barn owl was supposed to be flying the rings down the aisle for Ceire and Andrew Bode but he decided to head for the rafters and refused to come down.
Mr Bode, 32, tried to coax Lilo down with a piece of chicken but he remained on his perch and it was only when his handler produced a dead chick that they managed to get him down.
The couple, who got married in Hoghton, Lancashire, said Lilo’s performance helped calm their nerves and made sure the day was even more memorable.
Ceire, 33, said: ‘It was absolutely hilarious. We wanted our wedding to be something different and this made sure it was.
‘If we’d just had the owl delivering the rings then our guests would have talked about it for maybe five minutes.
‘Because of what happened, people are still talking about it now. It really broke the ice and stopped everyone feeling nervous.’
Andrew, who hired Lilo for £150 from a bird sanctuary, said: ‘Ceire is a big Harry Potter fan and she wanted to incorporate this into the wedding day.
‘We’ve also been to hundreds of weddings in the past through work so we wanted one with a difference.
‘The owl was at the back of the church with one of the people from the sanctuary.
‘None of the guests knew we had an owl as ringbearer so it was a surprise for them when, after we’d said our vows, I picked up a glove and a piece of chicken.
‘I’d been told to make a clicking sound with my mouth to call the owl over, but it wasn’t coming.
‘Eventually it started flying up the aisle, but then it veered off and almost flew in Ceire’s face. Then it just flew up into the beams and stayed up there for about five minutes – only it felt a lot longer.
‘But we didn’t know how to get the bird down and the guy from the sanctuary pulled out a dead chick to coax it down.
‘It was a bit of a surreal moment really, I didn’t expect to be holding a piece of chicken and trying to lure an owl down from the roof with a dead chick on my wedding day.
‘The guests were all really laughing. And it did stop me from feeling so nervous.’
Ceire added: ‘I didn’t mind at all. It was still the best day of my life. Everything else went to plan, this was just a little hiccup in my perfect day.’
The couple, who have been together for seven years, have taken a long weekend to the Lake District for their honeymoon.
In September this year another owl held up a wedding after it flew to the roof of a church and fell asleep on a ledge.
On that occasion the owl could not be coaxed down and so Sonia Cadman, 46, and Andrew Mettle, 49, had to get married using a back up set of rings.
It remained perched high inside the 900 year-old Holy Cross Church in Sherston, Wiltshire, for an hour after falling asleep.