You can't always pinpoint why someone would get cold feet on the day of their wedding––surely they would have figured out that they didn't want to marry someone before the blessed day, right?––but the reasons for taking such an action are more complicated than they might appear.
Societal expectations can play a big part in why a bride would go with the motions up until the moment she's meant to walk down the aisle, as we discovered when Redditor scipio2000 asked the online community:
"Runaway brides of reddit, what's your story? What was the final straw? How last second did you leave?"
"Got engaged after 3 months and started planning pretty much straight away was very young and his mother wanted to decorate the entire wedding redneck AF. I had a falling out with her over it as I felt she wasn't letting anyone have a say and we were paying for it. Red flags started popping up his temper, he got a huge neck tattoo with my name, started becoming possessive and verbally abusive. Then dress shopping I broke down and said "No this isn't right" it was like a store of thousands of dresses was telling me there wasn't a single one that was in there for this occasion so it couldn't happen. I sat in my car went home, placed the ring on the counter packed my stuff and left."
"I was 17 at the time..."
"I was 17 at the time, and still in high school. Met an alleged Army guy (pre-full swing Internet, so no way to really check), and we hit it off. I was young and fell in "love" with guys really fast, so when he proposed, I was ecstatic."
"The red flags were there. He asked my parents for permission. He proposed loudly at a pizza shop (which, socially, would have been too awkward to say no anyway). He didn't have his own place. I never met his family. I never saw any evidence of being in the military."
"Cue a few weeks later. We had a fight because he called out his SISTER'S name during sex. He then told me that everything would be fine because he was going to take me to Kentucky to live on an Army base. He also told me he wanted me to be "barefoot and pregnant" most of the time, ha ha ha. We were going to get married and leave the day after I graduated high school."
"I did some real soul searching. I became withdrawn and quiet. I was visiting my nana one day and she asked me "are you in love with him or in love with the idea of a wedding?"
"And just like that, the bubble burst. I cried and broke it off with him...2 weeks before I graduated."
"Apparently, he had already booked the Justice of the Peace. But he got married anyway 3 weeks later...with the same ring he gave me. Poor girl. I wish I knew her so I could warn her."
"Not me but my mother."
"My mom called off a wedding just weeks before the ceremony date because she found out her fiancé had lied to her about his whereabouts and was partying at a hotel with friends and other women. She caught him in a hot tub at 1am with twin sisters."
"Fast forward about 3 years later. She starts dating and later marries the man who is my biological father."
"She said meeting the family was especially awkward when she discovered my father had three sisters.. two of which were the twins she caught her ex fiancé with in the hot tub."
"Dated my high school sweetheart..."
"I was almost the runaway bride, and I regret not making that decision."
"Dated my high school sweetheart for almost two years before the jealousy became overwhelming. I broke up with him a month after we'd graduated, but we were going to the same college and met up again that fall. I found myself pregnant by that October, and was kicked out of my Catholic home. His parents let me stay with them, but we could no longer "live in sin" and had to be married. I didn't want to go back to living in my car so I agreed."
"Parents wiggle back into my life before the wedding. Fast forward to day of the ceremony and the music begins playing, I stand to start walking down the aisle, my dad takes my hand and says, "you know, you don't have to do this, you could come home with us." WTF. Could he have mentioned this an hour, a day, a week before??? I have always hated drama, and didn't want to be that person, so I just said that I couldn't, and I got married."
"My ex was controlling, manipulative, and how abusive he was had become much less subtle side I became pregnant and turned overt when we moved out of his parents house a year later. I ran when he nearly hit our baby's skull with his shoe, which he threw because he'd found something in the carpet I didn't vacuum properly."
"Yeah, totally should have picked the 'runaway bride' option."
"We had been together..."
"We had been together for 6 months when he proposed. We were both young at the time and weren't even living together. My gut told me right away that it was too soon, but I said yes anyway and went along with it because I thought he loved me and I loved him. I really thought that we could build a nice life together. I made it clear that I wanted to wait a while before we actually got married but he was keen to speed things along as fast as possible. I didn't even want to tell our families about it yet because I knew they would give us grief over getting engaged so young and after only a few months of being together."
"As things moved along, I made it clear that I wasn't ready to get married at my age and wanted to spend more time with him before we went through with it. He sort of threw a fit and accused me of cheating on him because there was no other reason in his mind I could possibly want to wait to marry. Things started to get really toxic and I eventually left him for good."
"I gave him the ring back and parted civilly, but he wasn't about to let it go so easily. He was calling and texting me constantly for weeks. Accused me of being obsessed with him and following him around and I started to realize that he was not in a normal state of mind. I was scared, but it calmed down after a while and things started to get back to normal. Unfortunately, he started spreading all kids of nasty rumors about me of how I accused him of rape and was abusive towards him. His entire family turned sour towards me because of it and it was difficult because we shared most of our friends."
"He ruined my reputation and my self esteem but it made me realize that I really dodged one hell of a bullet by refusing to marry him. Every so often he messages me on social media asking to get back together. I either don't reply or give him a polite but very firm no."
"This doesn't really matter but it's another funny little detail. He have my engagement ring to his mother as a mother's day gift and now she wears it all the time. She has to know that it used to belong to me but still finds it to be a sweet gift from her insane son."
"A few were before the engagement..."
"Was ENGAGED, so almost a bride. And there were several 'final straws'. A few were before the engagement: he lived in his car (no judgment on that but this is relevant) at the time, so was not financially stable and this was just a couple weeks into dating. Another was him wanting me to send selfies of myself 'proving' where I was at all times and what I was wearing, which was 99.9% my work clothes (black long sleeve shirts and pants cuz am server) and at work. So if I wasn't texting back fast enough, apparently I was 'with another man'."
"About a month into the relationship he demanded a key to my condo, so he could see me whenever HE wanted. The 'final straw' was when he proposed, for down on one knee and said "I knew we were meant to be the moment we matched (on Tinder, go figure). I love you so much. Now I can show everyone I OWN you. Will you marry me?" Boy bye. That was 3 months into the relationship, I had never met his family but heard a lot about them, he had only ever met my mother but that wasn't planned. I said no immediately and walked away. He tried getting into my condo countless times and calling me. Unfortunately, I had to change my number and get a restraining order against him. He was and probably still is crazy AF."
"In a crazy small world twist..."
"Not me but my cousin was supposed to marry a girl who fell head over heels in love with a guy she met two days before the wedding and left him not literally at the altar but about as close as you can get. I was 5 or 6 and supposed to be a flower girl and my 16 year old brothers were the ushers. We lived about 6 hours away and I remember being so confused the whole ride home as to why I hadn't been a flower girl while everyone else was dead silent."
"In a crazy small world twist the guy that she fell in love with is a professor at the same university as my brother and has an office down the hall. He and the bride have been married for I guess going on 20 years now. Meanwhile my cousin has been married 3 times, busted for DUI so many times I don't think he can even get a license and ballooned up to like 300lbs, I think she made the right choice."
"My father left us..."
"Not me but my mom. My father left us when I was 1yo, so she was single most of her life until 10 years later she found a great guy that we all loved and wished him in the family, he and my mom dated for years (maybe 6) and then he proposed her, she said yes and I remember them planning their wedding, she even got a nice wedding dress but one day, ONE DAY before the wedding she called him and told him that she couldn't marry him."
"He is a great guy, still in contact with him but he is one of those guys that doesn't have a passion nor has a goal in life and to be honest he is in a very bad position right now, so for much love my mom had for him I think she saw a bleak future at his side and decided to remain friends. A little bitch on my mom to say it till the last day but we're humans after all I guess."
"I was a dancer. Doing mostly ballet, some trade shows and stuff, had a small role on Broadway, but that didn't last. Anyway, I met this guy and, although he was a bit slow, I fell for him."
"We're all set to get married. His dad was the local sheriff, so he got everything set for us. It was the day of the wedding, and I was literally at the altar when I got cold feet. So I took off in my wedding dress. My car broke down, but this guy was kind enough to stop and pick me up. His name was Bo"
"Now remember, my father in law to be was the sheriff. He didn't take kindly to this, and was on my tail, eventually learning that I was picked up. He started chasing Bo. Now it turns out Bo, and his friend the Snowman were running illegal alcohol across the state lines, so naturally he got a bit worried about being followed by a cop. It crossed several states, with other agencies trying, and failing to stop us. Nearing Bo's home, it got bad. We narrowly escaped capture. But all through the chase, the Sheriff kept on us. But in the end, we delivered the illegal Coors"
"I fell in love with Bo and it was good for a while. But he took to the bottle too much, and I left him. Not knowing where to turn to, I went back with my fiance."
"We worked out problems out, and set to get married again. And again, the sheriff got the town all done up, and it was the wedding day. I was in the church, when I received a phone call. It was Bo's friend, the Snowman. Bo was in a really bad place, and they had a chance to make some big money, and get life back together. However, he needed my help to get Bo. So I left my wedding, again. Got started on a new trio, only this time it wasn't Coors, it was an elephant we had to transport. But a that's a
movie story for another time."
While many of us loved the Runaway Bride film, we can't imagine this actually happening -- let alone witnessing it!
Do you have similar experiences to share? Let us know in the comments below.