There're many reasons behind it; maybe they're blinded by the idea of a wedding or maybe they might be forced into it. Whatever the reason is, these are some interesting stories about runaway brides. Content has been edited for clarity.
"A woman I briefly dated was a runaway bride. Her ex never hit her but constantly belittled her and was basically emotionally abusive. Your standard kit. Telling her she was lucky he wanted her, that she could never find anyone better, that she was ugly, but he dealt with it, etc. She was a smart kid (was a medic in the military, saving dozens of lives in Pakistan) but emotionally manipulative people can get anyone if given enough time, and he got her.
On her wedding day, her dad, who wasn't usually in the picture (having divorced when she was a teen) was having a conversation with her in the ready room, and got concerned when she started repeating a lot of the things her fiancé was saying to her. She said that she was mid sentence when he stood up and said 'let's go to Dairy Queen' out of the blue. When she was little they often went to DQ and talked over ice cream. She took a second, agreed, and they left to go to DQ. But he drove three towns over, and they sat and talked over ice cream for hours while her phone rang until the battery died in the car.
She said she felt like a huge weight was lifted, and felt bad that her friends and family were waiting for her, but they would all understand later. He eventually went back to the church and told the bridal party it wasn't happening and got his buddies to come and move all her stuff out the next day. She said that while her dad wasn't the best father in her teens, he was the best dad anyone could ask for that day.
We dated for a couple weeks before we figured out we weren't a good match. We parted amicably but I haven't talked to her since."
"My sister broke up with her fiancé four months before their wedding, which was already planned and paid.
I’ll be honest, I don’t know the full story. Even now, 18 months later, she still hasn’t fully opened up to us about it, but I never really liked the guy. He was nice enough, but he absolutely could not handle his drinks. He could never just have one or two, no, he had to drink the whole bar every time, then would come home and puke up over the entire house. He then had the audacity to complain whenever my sister would go out with her friends just for a couple of drinks, to the point where he eventually just stopped letting her go out altogether.
His family was an absolute mess as well. His mom and step dad were pretty cool, but they moved to Canada to pursue their dreams, leaving my sister and her fiancé in the hands of aunts and uncles who did not approve of her at all. His little brother was on-off with his teenage girlfriend he eventually knocked up, and who was always trying to one-up my sister too.
Eventually, as far as she’s told us, she just felt trapped by the guy. She was prohibited from hanging out with her friends, and was forced to go to family events with people who despised her. He made her distance herself from us, which I think was painful for her as she essentially missed quality time with her new nephews at the time. He basically controlled every aspect of her life.
She unceremoniously dumped him on New Year's Eve, and cancelled the wedding then and there. I don’t think she even saw him again after that. She was always out when he came to collect his stuff. Obviously, his family wasn't too happy about it and harassed her for months. She became depressed and needed medication, but it was my family that had to foot the wedding bill anyway. They were just glad to have their daughter back."
"My dad was a runaway groom. Broke it off THREE DAYS before the wedding.
Mid 1970s, so he was in his early 20s. His fiancée (not my mom, obviously) and her mother pressured him into proposing, which he did with my grandmother's ring. He also felt society sort of demanded it; it was more common to marry at that age than it is today. Deep down he knew she simply wasn't the one, but figured maybe all men felt that way before a wedding, so he ignored that and hoped his feelings would change.
Months passed and the wedding was all planned out. When relatives and friends from out of town began flying in for the wedding and gifts were arriving, reality hit him hard and he - to quote Gob Bluth - realized he made a huge mistake.
He sat my grandma and grandpa down and said, 'Guys...I don't want to do this.' They were proud of him for being honest and actually sort of thrilled: it turns out they hated her guts. But they told him he needed to immediately tell her face-to-face.
And so my dad did. Like a scarred war veteran, he refused to tell me details, but said it was the most gut-wrenching conversation/argument/nightmare he had ever experienced. But he ended it.
Of course this was the 1970s. You can't just mass announce the wedding is cancelled via a text or Facebook message (which a friend of mine did). My dad took the responsibility of calling every single invited guest to tell them the wedding was off. Even more, he personally returned gifts to the people who sent them.
His fiancée sold my grandmother's ring."
"Had a friend that didn’t know she was the bride until she was half-way down the aisle.
They are an Indian family in the US, her parents are very traditional, and she expressed that she didn’t want to get married and wanted to focus on her career. Her parents had arranged a marriage for her (common in her culture) and had told her that the family had all been invited to a cousin’s wedding. My friend was told everyone was going to be wearing white for whatever reason, I don’t remember. They arrived at the church just before the bride was scheduled to walk down the aisle. My friend, thinking they’re late, wanted to slip in and stay in the back. Her father, however, took her arm, and they started walking down the aisle. It wasn't until they were half-way up that she stopped and realized everyone was looking at her and smiling and crying tears of joy. She turned to one of her aunts in the pew next to her and asked them who was getting married.
The whole church went silent and then the aunt looked at my friend's father and said, 'You can’t be serious! You planned a wedding for your daughter and just expected her to go along with it?! Have the two of them even met? Did you seriously think this would work?!' The whole room was them chattering about them and the father just clear his throat and told his daughter to keep walking. Luckily the aunt grabbed my friend first and pulled her into the pew, pushed her past the row of people, and they both ran out of the church. Her parents disowned her after that, and she moved in with that aunt."
"My mom called off a wedding just weeks before the ceremony 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 three 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.
My mom and dad stayed together and later got married AFTER my mom had learned who his sisters were, so she did get over the fact that they were essentially what ruined her first wedding.
My mom and dad are divorced now and have been for years, which is unrelated to my dad’s sisters or his family in general. They just weren’t compatible together and argued a lot. Not a big surprise that my dad wasn’t the most faithful man either (I get my faithfulness in relationships from my mom, thank God)."
"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.
We got into a fight a few weeks later because he called out his SISTER'S name while we were hooking up. 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. We were going to get married and leave the day after I graduated from high school.
I did some real soul searching. I became withdrawn and quiet. I was visiting my grandma 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 two weeks before I graduated.
Apparently, he had already booked the Justice of the Peace. But he got married three weeks later anyway... with the same ring he gave me. Poor girl. I wish I knew her so I could warn her."
"On my 18th birthday, my boyfriend proposed to me at my party, in front of all of my family and friends. I said yes mostly because I was too embarrassed to say no. We had been dating for two years, but I was just about to start school and I wasn't ready at all. I asked later (when we were alone) if we could have a long engagement, at least a year or two, and he agreed. We told our families and friends we would be waiting to get married. Less than three months later, his mom and my mom took me out for lunch and decided to take me to look at wedding dresses, because 'it's never too early to start planning.' When I saw a really lovely dress that was on sale, my fiancé's mother insisted on buying it for me. Their family was quite wealthy and had set money aside for all of my fiancé's milestones — education, first car, wedding, etc. She told me they were happy to cover the major costs as they were the ones who wanted a big wedding, and joked I could pay her back in grandchildren. A few weeks later his mom introduced me to a 'friend' who was a florist. Next thing I know I was looking at bouquets and discussing table arrangements. Then my fiancé started talking about venues for our wedding, saying we needed to start planning so we could find the perfect place.
By this point, I was truly panicking...I was just a few months into college, I hadn't even fully decided what I wanted to do with my education, now I'm choosing venues for a wedding that's supposed to be years away? A wedding that's suddenly looking like the nuptials of a minor royal. I tried talking to my fiancé, but he just wouldn't listen. We saw a venue we liked, but they had no availability for almost two years. So we booked it and I could finally breathe again... I had two years to get ready for my big fat crazy wedding.
Then the venue had a cancellation, for less than six months away and my fiancé accepted it WITHOUT telling me. Just cancelled our future date and took the one that was now available. Then he arranged the entire wedding with the help of his mom (and mine, her helicopter ways) before telling me. When he told me everything was booked, I went mental. His reaction was that he'd gone with all of my choices regarding catering, venue, flowers etc. and so I should be grateful that he'd dealt with all the stressful stuff. All I had to do was turn up.
When I explained that I didn't want to get married in six months, and that this was the third or fourth time I'd told him I wasn't ready for marriage yet, he told me I was being childish and that the invitations were at the printer, so it was too late to 'change my mind.'
I finally realized that he was manipulating me, so I gave him the engagement ring back and told him I didn't want to see him anymore.
I told my family and friends, cried a lot, and changed my number because he wouldn't stop calling. Two months later, my mom got a call from his mother, because she hadn't been able to get in touch with me to arrange dress fittings and finalize bridesmaids.
He hadn't told them we split up. My mother explained everything to his mother and figured that was that. The following week she had the audacity to present my family with a bill for half of what they had paid out for the wedding. It came to thousands of pounds. They'd booked everything, right down to the cake and the favors, without telling me and wanted me to pay!"
"I was almost the runaway bride, and I regret not making that decision.
I 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 isle, my dad takes my hand and says, 'You know, you don't have to do this, you could come home with us.' WHAT. 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."
"I was 16 years old and working at Chess King in the mall when a man (who originally lied about his age saying he was 20, but I shortly found out was 26) came in and was extremely enamored with me. I had some daddy issues, loved the attention and soon thought I was in love. He asked me to marry him two weeks later. He had even asked my parents permission, and they said yes (I still am upset with them for that).
Summer was coming shortly after, and he wanted me to move in with him for the summer. I was living in New York at the time, and he was living in Maryland (He had been in NY visiting his parents and staying with them till his new job started as a used car salesmen). So I got in his white pick up truck and drove with him to Maryland for the summer. When I got there, it was a tiny little apartment. He had leased the apartment by phone and had no idea what neighborhood it was in (this was before the internet). He took his truck to work every day and I had no transportation, so I would just walk around during the day. Everyone would stare at me and no one actually talked to me, I felt extremely out of place despite trying my best to be ok with the situation. He wanted to hook up every day the second he got home from work and would want me to be waiting in the bedroom for him. I hated it and would close my eyes until it was over.
After five days, I was in the apartment while he was at work and I opened the silverware drawer and a big cockroach crawled across the utensils. I don’t know exactly why that was the turning point for me but I just said out loud 'FORGET THIS.' I packed my suitcase and sat on the couch with the suitcase on my lap until he got home from work. The second I saw him I said 'Take me home'. He said a lot of stuff and was angry, but I said nothing besides that I wanted to go home. Somehow he agreed to drive me back to New York, and we left that night. The whole way home he talked about how this doesn’t change anything and that we’ll still be together. I stayed silent. When we pulled in the driveway I took off the ring and set it on the console. I didn’t say anything and booked it into the house and locked the door. He didn’t come after me but proceeded to call constantly for weeks, I refused to answer. I never saw him again. I’m 41 now and have 4 children. My oldest is 18. Only as an adult have I been able to see how disgusting and terrifying what I went through was. For years, I was embarrassed to tell that story but now I realize I was a child and it’s him and my parents that should be embarrassed."
"Back in high school, I had this friend called Cheyenne. We were very close and loved planning our dream weddings. Every month when the new bridal magazine came in we spent free period at a bench with a pen circling and gushing over dresses. Flash forward to junior year, and she meets this guy called Nick. Nick was fairly popular at our school, mainly known for his older sisters who were triplets and just known for being 'the triplets'. She and him started dating after a couple weeks and it was not good. They were on and off and on and off all the time, and it was known that he cheated on her every other weekend when she was away at her mom's house. After they graduated they broke up for a little bit and got back together after a few months.
Halfway through sophomore year of college, Cheyenne starts acting very out of character. She started drinking pretty heavily and due to that we got in a fight and didn't speak for a year. When we did it was because she found out she was pregnant with Nick's baby, and they were planning to get married. I was ecstatic and soon we regained our original closeness. I was going to be her maid of honor, and they were going to have a beautiful wedding in the mountains. Day of Cheyenne seemed shaky and odd. She insisted she was fine, but I kept an eye on her. 15 minutes before we're scheduled to walk down the aisle I run outside real quick to see where Cheyenne was because she had stepped out and no one knew where she was. I get to the road close by and see a little pair of heels by. I leave the shoes in case she was planning on coming back and go tell the DOC. Ceremony gets put on hold, and we're all looking around for Cheyenne, and I see Nick get furious and hear him mutter 'that stupid girl when I get my hands on her...'
Now I don't know what to do. I'm getting concerned for Cheyenne, worried she fell down the hill or something, so we have people looking all around. I smell something fishy and think that maybe she ran off, considering their past and what I just heard Nick say. I drive into town which was just a 10-minute drive and see Cheyenne in her big white fluffy dress (easy to spot) walking into a bar. I go into talk to her, ask her what happened, and she confessed that Nick had been verbally and physically ABUSING HER SINCE HIGH SCHOOL. Apparently that morning he threatened her that if she didn't behave he'd kill her and her baby. I called the police immediately, notified the DOC to just cancel it all and that I found her, and drove her to the hospital.
Long, messy trial later plus a restraining order, he was behind bars, and she moved to Portland, so she'd be close enough to her family but far enough away from him. Now she's getting remarried in September 2020 and her baby is now four years old and beautiful. Her name is Harmony."