The Saddest Reasons People Leave Others At The Altar
When it comes to awful experiences, getting left at the altar is pretty high on the list. Most people would agree that weddings are supposed to be filled with joy, happiness, and love. Unfortunately, we live in the real world – where not every relationship ends with a “happily ever after,” and some come to an end before they even get a chance to properly begin.
Break ups, separations, and divorces, happen every single day, and although sad – we’ve come to accept them as part of life. Being left at the altar, on the other hand, is a different beast entirely. Imagine dating someone for half a decade, falling in love, getting engaged, spending a year planning your perfect day, dumping tens of thousands of dollars into the venue, caterers, and dresses, only to be blindsided at the very last second.
To make matters worse, all of your family, friends, and everyone else close to you, gets to witness this train-wreck unfold. Additionally, by definition, no such break up has ever been mutual. While you were day dreaming about spending the rest of your life with your best friend and lover, they decided to run off and leave you there totally wrecked, humiliated, and likely unable to trust the opposite sex again.
While it can be easy to judge those that ran off, it’s important to understand that humans are very complicated beings. There is no way for us, as outsiders, to fully understand what drove them to doing what they did. What we can do, however, is ask them for their side of the story and try to see the disaster unfold from their perspective.
There are a lot of reasons why someone might get cold feet on their wedding day, and in this article we’ll take a look at twenty such heartbreaking stories. So, without further adieu, hit the next button below, and let’s hear from the people that left their lover at the altar.
20. She wasn’t the one
Relationships are much more complicated that Hollywood would have us believe. Things don’t always workout, and overpowering emotions come into play. Clyde, 32, explains his sudden moment of realization:
“Man, it sucked to realize this at the final hour, but right before it was time for the ceremony to start, I just got hit with a wave of realization that the person I was about to marry wasn’t the right person for me. She just wasn’t it. I was settling. Weddings are expensive, I knew that. But divorce would be more expensive. It took me 15 minutes to realize this and then run out of the place. We never spoke again.”
19. Her dad talked me out of it
Family can be complicated, but at the end of the day it’s just the bride and groom that matter, right? Gregg, 30, says “wrong”:
“The morning of the wedding, I went golfing with my groomsmen, my dad and her dad. Her dad sat me down and gave me one of those stern talks about how he would come after me If I ever did anything wrong to his daughter. He just made me feel so threatened and nervous that I freaked out a little bit. I blame him for talking me out of getting married. I didn’t end up marrying her that day or ever.
18. We got into a fight
Couples fight, that’s just a fact of life. However, Trevor, 28, realized that his “soon to be wife,” found a little too much joy in arguments, and that their attitudes towards the relationship were drastically different.
“Right before the ceremony, she got mad at me because she found out I lied about something. Something stupid, but something. She was screaming and calling me a liar. I just couldn’t take it and realized if this is how our wedding day is going to go, then our life together will be a total mess. I decided to tap out and end the whole relationship.”
17. Financial differences
Finances become incredibly important in serious, long-term relationships. Chris, 29, explained that sweethearts should make sure that they’re on the same page when it comes to money (among much else).
“I didn’t want a large wedding, and I didn’t want to spend $20,000 of our money to help pay for it. Her parents were spending over $50,000 already. The whole thing just bothered me. In the end, we just had different views when it came to finances, and that alone was not easy for us to deal with. She was a spender, and I was a saver. On the wedding day, I saw we owed another $10,000. I flipped out and then I walked out.”
16. Toxic relationship
Reddit user TRJones1 didn’t leave anyone at the alter, but his friend did:
“A guy I knew did this. He was a nice, laid back guy marrying a toxic person. I can’t get into the details because I didn’t know him too well, but apparently his friends had been telling him to break it off from the beginning. They had a final intervention for him the morning of the wedding and they finally convinced him to just leave. He showed up at this festival I was at during what was supposed to be his wedding. I saw him and said “Hey man, aren’t you getting married today?” and he had this kind of far away look and said “Yeah, that’s not happening anymore.”
15. Just wasn’t ready
Rob, 24, realized that he wasn’t ready:
“All my guys were still single and I was going to be the only one with a wife. It just seemed like too much, too soon. I decided to back out. Yes, I backed out last-minute, like 12 hours before the wedding time, but I just realized after sitting down and thinking about it that married life wasn’t for me.”
14. There was someone else
Bruce, 29, was cornered by his own misdeeds, but instead of dealing with the issue head on he decided to just bail.
“It was a dick move, but I did have a girl on the side. Nothing serious or anything, but right before the wedding, the bride’s cousin caught me kissing this other girl. The other showed up at the hotel, I don’t know why. The cousin said I had to tell the bride or she would. I declined and just decided to leave and not get married. I’m not even talking to the other girl anymore, so I’m back to square one.”
13. No reason
Sometimes there are deep relationship issues that remain buried deep until the final hour. Rick, 27, shared his story:
“I don’t know why I didn’t get married. I just didn’t. I woke up on my wedding day and I just never left my bed. I felt depressed and didn’t have the energy to go get married. Love is complicated, and I wish I had a better answer.”
12. Going to jail
Receiving a prison sentence is usually a pretty good reason to postpone the wedding. That’s exactly what user Chree13 did after being sentenced for fraud. Luckily his story had a happy ending:
“I was sentenced to three years in prison for fraud, and we were gonna get married the day before I went in. I decided that I couldn’t do that to her and force her to wait for me when I got out. In the end we got married and now work at the same law firm again.”
11. Fundamental differences
There are a few things that everyone is adamant about. While it’s true – relationships are about compromise, but there’s a certain point when the differences are just too great. Reddit user Biscuitfool shared his brother’s story:
” Basically as soon as he proposed, all she cared about was the wedding. He wanted a very small wedding and she wanted a huge one. She was also VERY religious (her father is a preacher) and he was not at all. She told him she wanted him to become a deacon in her father’s church – and he told her no, he didn’t want to do that. Pretty much they were disagreeing on everything up to that point. Finally he called it off. He said it was the hardest thing he’s ever had to do but he knew he made the right decision.”
10. All the wrong reasons
Every friend group has that one seemingly “perfect” couple. Unfortunately, the real world is quite far from your average episode of Friends, and Reddit user Poofythepuppy has a story to prove it:
“My Dad left the girl he was with before my mom at the altar. Apparently she was only dating her because they were in the same friend group and everyone thought it was cool that they were together, but when it got real on the wedding day he realized he didn’t really like her at all. So he just moved right the fuck out of there. He’s been with my mom for 20 some years now, so it seems like he made the right call.”
9. It was an arranged marriage
Arranged marriages are never a good idea, but unfortunately they remain extremely popular in some parts of the world. In some cases, the bride and groom don’t even meet before the big day, and leaving is often out of the question. Reddit user Mareni08 took the plunge, and this is her story:
“I backed out a week before the wedding. We were engaged in February and the wedding was to be 4 months later. He had to leave the South Asian country where I lived so our interactions were strictly over phone.
I am pretty sure I was a bit of a c*** in this situation. Talked to him very irregularly until the end of February and then I just couldn’t. Should have been a huge red flag to him that his fiancé hadn’t talked in 3 months. I didn’t have the courage to tell my folks so I just waited to see if he would back out. He didn’t. And well, that’s when I told him that I wouldn’t be marrying him. After the invites had gone out. And preparations were in full swing. Ugh.”
8. Wrong reasons
While it definitely doesn’t feel like it, break ups are usually for the best. Redditor Fluffedoodle explained that she didn’t want to marry her fiancé for the wrong reasons. While some may argue that it was a cruel move, everything ultimately worked out in the end.
“I left a man at the altar. I was in my dress and getting ready to go to the chapel, when I realized I couldn’t. I froze. I didn’t love him as much as I craved the safety and security that being married would bring. I was fairly recently divorced and very young and scared. He eventually found a lovely woman and they are very happy together. I don’t think either of us would have had that with each other.”
7. Cheater with skeletons in his closet
This should go without saying, but cheating on your fiancé is enough cause to end any relationship. Reddit user eileen8667 writes:
“Didn’t technically leave him at the altar but ten days before the wedding I found out he was sleeping with someone else. Took me two days to decide not to get married. Then over the next three weeks I discovered he was a sex addict and had been seeing other people for the entire nine years we were together. Got reeeeeaaal close to being stuck in that nightmare. Thankful every day that I didn’t go through with it.”
6. She just wanted the Green Card
Green card marriages are not uncommon, but in most cases there is some sort of mutual benefit to the arrangement. That, however, wasn’t the case for Reddit user Scrappy_Larue, who found out his girlfriend just wanted that citizenship.
“On our second date she mentioned that her visa was expiring in six months, and I jokingly proposed to her. We continued dating, were falling for each other, and that proposal became much more real as the deadline approached. I backed out at the last minute because we just didn’t agree on a few details. Living arrangements and finances were easy. What couldn’t be negotiated was how seriously either of us wanted to take those vows. I wanted to at least attempt to be a married, monogamous couple. She didn’t really want to commit to that. If she falls deeper in love, great. If not, we’re just roommates. I miss her, but I think I dodged a bullet. I believe she would have vanished on me at some point, and I could be in a real jam over immigration crime.”
5. Already married
Although this anecdote isn’t quite about being left at the altar, we thought it was too good not to share. Reddit user Linux1970 wrote about someone taking the priest up on his symbolic offer of objection:
“‘If anyone here has any objection, speak now or forever hold your peace’. Woman in the back stands up and says ‘the groom can’t get married as he is my husband’. Turns out the woman who objected and the groom were in fact married and tried to get divorced, but the divorce was never completed. So technically the groom was still married and the wedding did not proceed.”
4. Hollywood exit
We’ve mentioned several times now – real life is nothing like the movies. Well, sometimes it is.
“A buddy of ours was going to marry this girl he had known for a few years. He was expressing doubts but racked it up to being nervous about marriage. The night before he broke down crying and thought he was making a mistake. We offered support and told him it would be ok.
The wedding has started and he is at the Altar waiting. My buddy is sweating like a madman. My other friends and I notice and think he is about to pass out. He looks like he is about to faint and he slowly starts side shuffling. The groom turns to his right and starts heading to the side door. Some people in the church notice and there is a gasp.
He beelines to the door and goes outside. Me and my buddies follow him. At this point i just thought he needed air. Nope. He heads straight towards the sports car he had rented. We yell at him and he yells at us to get in and we do. He turns the car on and starts making his way out of the parking lot as the people in the church start to come out and yell.
He takes off!! We end up in Vegas for the next few days. His phone is blowing up but he never answers it. The dude ends up joining the military and leaves to bootcamp just 2 weeks after all of that happened. Last I heard of him he had served multiple tours overseas and was part of a recon unit.”
3. Family feud
There are a few things that can strain a relationship as much as a family feud. While every couple wants to be the next Romeo and Juliet, things may not always work out that way. Anthony, 29, talked about his experience with incompatible families:
“Weddings are a great way to see if your families will blend, and ours clearly did not. There were physical fights between our family members before the ceremony even started. By the time I finished dealing with that, I had enough and decided to just end the whole thing and not get married.”
2. Stuck in traffic
Whenever someone is left at the altar no one thinks about the possibility of it being an accident. Granted, it usually isn’t, but in Paul’s case it truly was.
“I didn’t mean to stand her up at the altar, and that’s the truth. I swear on that. What happened was I was stuck in traffic. I tried calling her, but she didn’t answer. Everyone else I told didn’t believe me and thought I was just lying to get out of marrying her. Since no one believed me and I showed up an hour late, everyone thought I was being sketchy. We ended up getting married two years later, but we had a lot of trust issues to deal with before that.”
1. The one that stayed
After getting through the last 19 stories you’re probably judging the character of some of these guys and gals. Well, in most cases, listening to your instincts is the right thing to do – Reddit user Daiye18 wish that he did:
“I didn’t leave and I should have. I realized 10 days before the wedding it was a mistake, but talked myself into believing it was ‘cold feet’, and got caught up thinking about the deposits and guests traveling. Stupid stupid stupid. Almost divorced now! Worst years of my life.”