A wedding ceremony turned into a real hoot when a sleepy owl called Darcy failed to deliver the goods.
The bird had been booked to deliver the wedding rings to ‘twitcher’ Andrew Mattle, 49, and Sonia Cadman, 46, after they exchanged their vows at Holy Cross Church, Sherston.
But as the Rev Christopher Bryan, who officiated at the ceremony, asked for the rings, the owl flew up into the rafters and promply dozed off.
He said: “The trainer came through the main door with the owl on his glove, and when he let go of the owl it looked around and eventually decided to take off, rather than fly to the groom.
“It flew straight past us and headed straight for the chancel.
“There was a lot of excitement obviously and people were very interested in it.
“I had to ask people to sit down to let it work out where it was.
“We tried to tempt it down with a reward but when you are working with animals you have to realise that they have their own minds.
“Everybody realises it is a wild animal and it all added to the charm.”
Despite the interruption, the couple went with plan B and used rings they had reserved in case anything went wrong.
Mrs Mattle, a mother-of-two from Witney, Oxfordshire, said: “Andrew is a twitcher, so the owl delivering the rings was a surprise gift from my mother.
“We had back-up rings ready because they don’t always do as they’re told – a bit like all animals and children.
“It probably felt really at home because the inside of the church is a little like the inside of a barn, so it just ended up sleeping.
“We waited for about 15 minutes for the bird to come down, but it didn’t come.
“I’m glad the bird didn’t come down actually; it didn’t ruin the big day at all, in fact it added to the humour. It was such a magical wedding and it was so full of emotion, it was nice to be able to have a bit of a laugh.
“Luckily the service was able to go ahead and my husband was able to hold the bird and have some really nice pictures taken after the ceremony.”
Darcy belongs to Phil Voller, who runs Wings Over Wiltshire.
The tale of his escapades has received international interest with media in Canada also covering the story.
Mr Bryan said: “It has been quite amazing.”