How to Leave Someone at the Altar

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness this couple escape from holy matrimony.

This is it. You took the blood test, angered twelve of your closest friends and family members when you announced your intention to marry, and now 400 of your mother's acquaintances are sitting in a chapel waiting for you to exchanges "I do's" with a man you've barely spoken to in the past month. Suddenly the idea of reciting wedding vows has you taking a vow of silence.

You may be experiencing a bout of cold feet, which is perfectly normal and part of the pre-wedding jitters. However, if you're hoping for some long lost admirer to crash your wedding and profess his undying love for you just as you're about to say "I, uh...", it may be alarms you hear ringing instead of wedding bells.

Before your wedding day arrives and your maid of honor finds you shimmying down a drainpipe, check out these tips for throwing in the veil and leaving someone at the altar.

Take your partner into pre-marital counseling. With the stress of planning a wedding and the merging of personal belongings, your actual romance may have fallen by the wayside. Talk it out with your partner and officiant and try to resolve any issues you may have with the relationship. This would give your partner say and the chance to dissolve the relationship mutually.

Fake your own death. Hey, Juliet did it to get out of her marriage to Paris. All you need is a friar who specializes in mixing potions and a maid willing to cover for you.

Go AWOL for several days. Have your friends fabricate a wild bachelor/ette party scenario in which you run off with some dark stranger. While on this holiday, you should prepare your big "It's not you, it's me" speech or be ready to do some major kissing up when your future ex catches up to you.

Stage a diversion. Ask your Uncle Lou to do his big hula number before the ceremony. As he's grossing out your guests by shaking what your grandma gave him, you can escape quietly in a pre-packed getaway car.

Be a man (or act like one). Go through with the ceremony up to "Speak now or forever hold your peace" and make the announcement that you can't spend the rest of your life with this person. Be prepared to take the reaction like a man.

Send a note to your partner. The next best thing to being there, an eloquently worded letter may soften the blow of the abandonment. When choosing a messenger, pick someone who is neutral. Sending the letter through a mother who's been praying for the end of your relationship or the jealous bridesmaid waiting for her chance to pounce may lead your former betrothed to believe the note was forged.

Before walking out on this momentous occasion, be aware of the damage you're likely to do and that you are willing to face the consequences. Prepare yourself for the attacks of angry relatives, disappointed parents, and the possibility of never mending fences with your partner. Don't take any steps that will sever ties, should you wish to salvage and maintain your current relationship.

And if you do leave your former future spouse, yes, you do have to return the wedding presents.



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