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Runaway Bride
aka: Runaway Groom

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Obviously a difficult choice for the bride. Do you know how hard it is to run in Manolos?

"She walked away from a happy man
I thought I was so cool,
I just stood there whistling
'There goes the bride' as she walked out the door."
They Might Be Giants, "Lucky Ball and Chain"

A wedding trope, focusing on the bride who abandons her groom at the altar, either to be with her new flame, celebrate her independence, or she has cold feet for some story-related reason. This often occurs at the climax of the movie and is frequently (though not always) treated as being a heartwarming and positive affirmation of the power of True Love/Independent Women for the would-be bride. The fact that it's also a humiliating, heartbreaking, psychologically-scarring betrayal for the would-be groom tends to be glossed over. Often occurs after the priest has said, "Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace."

Alternately, we get stories focusing on the heartbroken bride who is left at the altar and the absolute cad who ran away and left her there.

This trope could be the result of societal expectations. Men are stereotypically expected to have a dose of dread before a wedding. It's supposed to be more shocking when it's the woman who backs out to be free and single or run away with another man. Since this offers zero comfort to the poor schlub who just got dumped in front of his family and friends on his big day, writers are careful not to develop the would-be groom too much — or they flat-out make him the villain — to keep audiences from sympathizing with him and calling her out on her recklessness. This trope is particularly common if the character (or her social/cultural background) cares more about getting married than whether or not the relationship is marriage material in the first place. She runs away when she realizes this is absolutely not what she wants.

While it is more common in modern works for it to be the woman who is viewed sympathetically, whether she is the runaway partner or the jilted-at-the-altar partner, there are plenty of cases of it being played the other way. Generally, it depends on the gender of the protagonist. Of course, runaway grooms also pop up.

There are also cases where both the bride and groom independently decide to go their separate ways and walk away from their wedding. This shouldn't be confused with My Own Private "I Do", where they still run from their wedding, but only so they can have their own private ceremony.

If these characters think a bit more and made their escape before the ceremony, they become Runaway Fiancé(e)s instead. Less humiliating for the other parts implied, but not that much.

Be careful when attempting this in Real Life, as, depending on legislation, the runaway party can be held liable for all financial expenses of and related to the ceremony.

If you were looking for the Doctor Who episode, see here. The 1999 Julia Roberts and Richard Gere movie can be found here.

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Runaway Brides

    Anime & Manga 
  • At first, Clarisse in The Castle of Cagliostro is a Runaway Fiancé when she runs away from her Arranged Marriage (presumably during dress rehearsal). Her husband-to-be, the evil Count Cagliostro, manages to capture her and force her to comply with the marriage. However, during the wedding ceremony, Lupin comes to free Clarisse and both flee which turns Clarisse into a proper Runaway Bride.
  • In Cat's Eye, Mitsuko is forced into marriage, but when she finds out her would-be father-in-law lost the leverage he was using on the eve of the wedding she goes through with the wedding just so she can dump him at the altar and smash a pie in his face.
  • Full Metal Panic!'s Melissa Mao tells a story about her dealing with an unwanted Arranged Marriage by dumping the groom at the altar and joining the Marines. In her wedding dress. For added fun, it's mentioned that the guys at the recruiting station were a little leery of inducting a girl in a wedding dress until she mentioned that her father (who'd arranged the marriage) was a colonel in the Air Force. After they heard that, they signed her right up just to spite him.
  • Gankutsuou has Eugenie, who was being forced to marry Andrea (who was forcing the issue out of revenge, and also because he's a sick man who has a thing for incest). Luckily for her, Albert and Peppo disguise themselves as maids, and manage to stop the wedding by helping Eugenie run away from Andrea at the altar.
  • Honoo no Alpen Rose: Hélène refused to marry Count Gourmant like the Dunants had hoped, and ran away to be with Friedrich Brandel instead. Gourmant never got over her, even though he remarried, and turned his attention to Jeudi because of her great resemblance to his former betrothed.
  • One episode of The Idolmaster involved a girl running away from an Arranged Marriage, and hilarity ensuing when she runs into Azusa, who is doing a wedding-themed photo shoot.
  • Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair: Julia was engaged to a man named Marcus by her wealthy family, but ran away because she didn't want to marry him. She chose to stay at St. Mary's School instead because she was friends with the headmistress.
  • In Kyo Kara Maoh!, Yuuri is asked to speak at a wedding that he and Gwendal stumble into while on the run and, though flustered, he manages to deliver a short speech about love and devotion. The bride is moved by his words to abandon her fiance, a man she doesn't love.
  • In One Piece Lola ran away from her Arranged Marriage with Loki the giant (who genuinely loved her) as Lola wanted to be free to choose whom she married. This royally pissed off both the giants and especially Lola’s tyrannical mother Big Mom. It’s also beautifully ironic as when we’re first introduced to Lola, she’s considered an Abhorrent Admirer who's utterly desperate for men to marry her though she’s always rejected.
  • In Episode 21 of Sakura Quest, Maki starts to tell Erika a story of a woman who came into a crepe cafe (where Maki was working part-time) in a wedding dress. In Episode 22, she adds that the woman was running away from her own wedding. To Maki, the point of the story is that wanting something isn't enough; you have to have a plan to get it.
  • Gudrid from Vinland Saga runs away from her intended groom on their wedding night... After stabbing him (nonfatally) in the leg.
  • In the Virtua Fighter anime, Pai Chan is being chased by a Corrupt Corporate Executive who wants to marry her. Then, after she runs away, she bumps into Idiot Hero Akira Yuki and asks him to help her keep her unwanted suitor at bay...
  • In Yes! Pretty Cure 5, Komachi wants to almost marry someone she doesn't really love, then become a Runaway Bride via a Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace type situation, because it'd be really dramatic if that happened. Seriously.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: In Batman (Tom King) #50, Catwoman leaves Bruce at the altar as she stereotypically believes getting married to him will somehow negate his role as Batman. Unlike the Mariko-Wolverine example, which was to be expected, fandom reactions ranged from glumly disappointed to utterly livid as King had spent dozens of issues hyping the wedding up, and Bruce/Selina being fans’ One True Pairing were major contributors to the Critical Backlash. The In-Universe justification — that the Rogues Gallery actually manipulated Selina as part of their plan — didn’t fool fans who knew DC was just too reluctant to “tarnish” Batman’s brooding image by making him Happily Married.
  • Wolverine: Mariko Yashida left Wolverine during the ceremony, in Wolverine (1982), because he was not worthy. But then again, did you really expect Wolverine to get married?
  • X-Men: The X-Men do this in X-Men: Gold #30 as Kitty Pryde uses her Intangibility just as Colossus is putting the ring in her to go through the ground. However, unlike other examples, Kitty does explain her cold feet citing the numerous catastrophes that she and Colossus have endured being not the best basis to start a long-term relationship. Fans were upset, but Marvel pulled a fast one and had long-time favourite couple Rogue and Gambit get married instead which mollified fans a bit.

    Comic Strips 
  • In On the Fastrack the always dour Fi nearly ran away from her wedding because her always lingering trust issues got to her. Dethany talked her back into marrying Carl.
  • In one long Peanuts arc, Snoopy fell in love with a female beagle and they became engaged; sadly, on the day of the wedding, she ran off with his brother Spike, his best man. But there was an interesting twist later; Spike wrote to apologize, saying that when they got back to Needles, she ran off with a coyote.
  • This was part of Raven Sherman's back story in Terry and the Pirates. She ran away from a society wedding; fleeing to China and setting up a medical mission.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Altar Ginny says "I don't" after Harry's "I do" and then runs off with Draco.
  • The Boy Who Lived, The Brightest Witch and The Boy Who Wasn't mentions that Harry's grandmother skipped out on her arranged wedding to Darius Parkinson by blowing out one wall of the room where she was preparing and flying off on her broom.
  • Empath assumes that this is what happened to Smurfette on his wedding day in the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Empath's Wedding" when he enters her house and sees that his hat (which is what she's supposed to wear to signify who she's marrying) is lying on the floor until Smurfette's companion and wedding guest Blue Eyes points out that she's been magically transported by someone...and Empath correctly assumes that it's Chlorhydris, who's getting even for her ruined wedding night (which in the 1980s cartoon series was thought to be the case of a Runaway Groom) by ruining Empath's wedding.
  • The Miraculous Ladybug fic I Do? has Marinette running out on her wedding to Adrien due to realising she loves her crimefighting partner Chat Noir, a detail she can't exactly explain to Adrien later without revealing her identity as Ladybug. But, since Adrien is Chat Noir, he's able to put the whole thing together when he meets Ladybug on patrol that night. As a result, the two are able to reconcile and are making plans to elope by the end of the story.
  • In It Will Fade Ginny leaves Harry at the altar because she'd rather be with Dean, who got her pregnant.
  • Played for Drama in the Neon Genesis Evangelion fic The Married Couple. Asuka leaves Shinji at the altar when she receives a letter seemingly written by Kaji asking her to find him. Shinji is left heartbroken and Rei proceeds to swoop in to help him heal.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Xvital, thanks to her disapproving would-be mother-in-law discovering her past as a thief and thinking her intended would hate her for it, fled just hours before the wedding.
  • The entire premise of the Aveyond fanfic, Uncertainty Principle - A Runaway Bride, in which Rhen was pressured to claim the throne of Thais and marry Dameon, but had second thoughts at the last minute and left the country just before her wedding.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the DVD Commentary of Turning Red, director Domee Shi compares Mei's last-second abandonment of the red moon ritual to this.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong has Ruby revealing that she is now engaged, but the film ends ambiguously over whether she'll go through with it or break things off to start a relationship with Josh.
  • Angry White Man: At the start of the movie, we have Skeeter's fiance, Betty. The wedding just barely started, and she began walking up the aisle, when she does an about-face, exits the church, and shoots herself.
  • In Aquaman (2018), both Atlanna and Mera try to run away from the arranged marriages imposed on them. Mera succeeds. Atlanna didn't. But with Orvax's death years later, Atlanna is free to be with Thomas Curry.
  • In Beyond Sherwood Forest, Marian flees into Sherwood Forest to escape her Arranged Marriage to Leopold of Austria.
  • Subverted in The Body (2012). A flashback shows Mayka at the altar announcing she doesn't want to marry Álex only to start laughing shortly afterwards, revealing her "cold feet" to be a put-on. This is the first indication of her cruel sense of humour.
  • Given a partial deconstruction at the climax of Bubble Boy, as the groom is understandably bewildered that he's the only one taking exception to Jimmy interrupting the ceremony.
  • In Cover Girl, Rita Hayworth plays two generations of runaway brides.
  • The protagonist of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, already a Rebellious Princess type, flees from her new marriage the day after. Of course, anyone who has seen this long cinematic piece probably forgot this by the end of the movie...
  • Near the beginning of The Extra Girl, Mabel Normand's character runs away from her wedding to the jerk her parents wanted her to marry.
  • Fanfan la Tulipe in the original film (1952) and the remake (2003). Fanfan is an 18th-century libertine and doesn't want to be involved in a relationship of any kind. He is caught up teaching a lesson to a young woman inside a haystack and her father forces him to marry her. He escapes the wedding ceremony and engages in the French army.
  • At the start of Ghost Town (1988), Kate has abandoned her fiance at the altar and is driving away at high speed. She tosses her bridal veil out of her convertible and laughs as it is carried away by the wind.
  • There's The Graduate, which is not ignorant of the implications of the act. Not only is the ceremony already over by the time they do it, after the thrill of the act wears off they're left sitting apart from each other on a bus, both with looks on their faces that say "Did we really just do the right thing?"
  • In typical French comedic style, the film Heartbreaker has the bride walking down to the aisle to her utter saint of a groom with her father whispering in her ear he knows he's not what will make her happy, and turning and running off just as she reaches the altar, on her way to be with the hero. A clip shown during the credits shows the groom still being an utter saint about it, even while hearing comments about how horrible a thing it was to do and how he can do better anyway from the bride's Gold Digger best friend.
  • In Honey Baby, Tom meets Natascha shortly after she flees her wedding to Karl.
  • I Can't Think Straight: Tala is a serial Runaway Bride, having a history of dating whatever young successful man that her parents would approve of only to break it off once the wedding is near. At the start of the movie she is on fiance number four, and her relatives are placing bets on whether she breaks it off before or after the engagement dinner. Turns out she has a really good reason for her behavior (it's all there in the title).
    Tala: (on her sister needing to call her boyfriend and tell him what she is doing) That is exactly the kind of relationship I want to avoid. At all cost.
    Leyla: So your fiancé isn't like that?
    Tala: Hani? No. He is an Arab. Is born and brought up in Jordan. But he is different from the rest. Kind. Open minded. And he makes a great martini.
    Leyla: He sounds wonderful.
    Tala: Yeah. He is... He is. At least I can't find anything wrong with him.
    Leyla: Why are you trying?
    [Pregnant pause while Tala stares into Leyla's eyes, before changing the subject.)
  • The Frank Capra classic 1934 Screwball Comedy It Happened One Night: Claudette Colbert runs away from her wedding to a rich playboy in favor of Clark Gable's smart-mouthed freelance journalist—with her father's subtle encouragement (he had the getaway car ready). The movie does note that the scene is extremely embarrassing to said playboy when this is foreshadowed earlier in the film, at least acknowledging the effect on the groom (though also implying he deserved it in the same scene).
  • Kiss Me (2011): Mia goes to get married to Tim, but then backs out at the last second when they're with a minister. Tim is bitter and destroys all his photos of her afterward.
  • In Love Potion No 9, Diane ditches her wedding to Gary and runs into Paul's arms while still wearing her wedding dress. In this case, you don't feel sorry at all for the jilted groom because he was keeping Diane drugged with a Love Potion and Paul was the one she was really in love with before Gary interfered.
  • Made of Honor: After the would-be bride kisses the hero, the bride's mother smiles at her neighbour, overjoyed the heartwarming sight... only to have her smile falter as her neighbor, the understandably irked mother of the groom glares at her. The jilted groom, while accepting the wedding is off ends up punching the hero in the face, and is not exactly portrayed as being wrong in doing so.
    Groom's Mother: [unintelligibly mangled due to accent]
    Hero: What'd she say?
    Groom: She said I should deck you.
    Hero: Oh.
    Groom: She's right. (PUNCH!)
  • Monte Carlo starts with Countess Helene running out on her wedding to Duke Otto for the third time.
  • A passive version in Monsters (2010) with Samantha clearly reluctant to return to her fiancé and get married, but unwilling to take action to call the whole thing off.
  • In Mustang, Nur escapes from an arranged marriage with her sister Lale.
  • My Amnesia Girl: During the wedding flashback, Irene walks down the aisle, ready to marry Apollo, but Apollo gets so nervous that he runs away in front of her. This is why Irene lies about having amnesia: to get back at him for leaving her at the altar, while he tries to make amends with her.
  • In Navy SEALs (1990), the entire SEAL platoon is attending the wedding of the Platoon Chief. Then, right as his bride steps up to the altar, the entire platoon's pagers go off and they all walk out of the wedding to go on a rescue mission. The Chief does come back to his fiancée and is planning on rescheduling the wedding. Unfortunately, he doesn't survive the next mission.
  • The title character in Penelope (2006) becomes this, after a suitor proposes to her only to save his reputation, and she accepts only to break the curse. He is greatly relieved when she runs.
  • Private Benjamin ends with Judy deciding that she doesn't want to marry Henri and storming out of their wedding, still clad in her wedding dress.
  • The Princess: The princess refused to marry Julius, leaving him at the altar.
  • Played with in The Proposal. After spending a weekend with the groom's family, the bride confessed at the altar to the whole family that she had blackmailed the man (her subordinate at the New York publishing firm where they both worked) into marrying her to avoid being deported. Of course after the tearful departure and as she was packing up her office the guy managed to catch up to her and propose for real.
  • The trope takes its name from Runaway Bride, a Julia Roberts movie about a woman who repeatedly does this. It downright opens with the woman on horseback in a wedding gown.
  • In Saving Face, in something of a Shout-Out to The Graduate (staged in a similar manner), the heroine gets her pregnant mother to abandon the guy her grandfather had bullied her into marrying at the altar. The mother then ends up with the guy who fathered the baby, though he was pretty passive throughout the entire movie.
  • Frog, Sally Field's character in the Smokey and the Bandit trilogy, does this twice to Sheriff Justice's painfully incompetent son Junior. At the beginning of the first movie, she simply wants to get away from Junior; in the second movie, she runs away because Bandit is about to make a lucrative cargo run and Frog was offered a piece of the action by Snowman, the Bandit's partner.
  • In Spaceballs, Princess Vespa does this to the uninspiring Prince Valium twice, once at the beginning of the movie (resulting in her having to wear the gown through the entire film, being unable to change), and once at the end when her true love Lone Starr crashes the wedding ceremony. Valium doesn't really seem to mind, though. Partially because he's a narcoleptic that has no dialog anyway, and partly because the only reason the two of them were getting married at all was that Valium and Vespa were the only Princess and Prince in the galaxy, respectively. Until Lone Starr finds out he's a prince too, thus fixing the problem.
  • Spider-Man 2 plays it straight: Mary Jane abandons her groom (handsome, upstanding astronaut and all-around good guy John Jameson) at the altar for Peter. It comes across as particularly crass as she didn't even tell the groom in person but left a short note behind. Of course, since she's leaving him for the title character we never see any negative repercussions of this selfish act. To his credit, Peter at least gives some token objection about Mary Jane doing this.
  • Subverted by The Wedding Singer, in which the bride who does this to her groom is in no way treated sympathetically, and her motives are revealed to be both shallow and, as her husband-to-be quite reasonably points out, nothing which couldn't have been raised the day before the wedding, thus sparing him some humiliation at least.
    Linda: I don't need more time, Robbie. I don't ever want to marry you.
    Robbie: [deep breath] Gee. You know that information...really would've been more useful to me yesterday.
    Linda: The point is, I woke up this morning and realized I'm about to get married to a wedding singer? I am never gonna leave Richfield!
    Robbie: Why do you need to leave Richfield? We grew up here. All our friends are here; it's the perfect place to raise a family.
    Linda: Oh, yeah - sure! Living in your sister's basement with five kids while you're off every weekend doing wedding gigs at a whoppin' sixty bucks a pop?
    Robbie: Once again; things that could've been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!
  • Also played with in While You Were Sleeping - the bride waited until the wedding ceremony to confess that she had just pretended to be the fiancee so that she could be a creepy voyeur check in on the guy she had a crush on when a serious accident landed him in a coma. (Incidentally, Sandra Bullock played the bride in question for both this and The Proposal.) To be fair to her, this one at least tried to tell the family the real situation a few times before this but something always seemed to interrupt her.

  • In All Dressed in White, Amanda Pierce was dubbed "The Runaway Bride" by the media due to her having up and vanished the day before her wedding. Some people who follow the case - including half of the detectives involved in the initial search and even a few of her loved ones - believe she did just run away, theorising she had second thoughts about the marriage and didn't want her whole life planned out for her by her family. Amanda had admitted to one of her bridesmaids that she was having doubts, (a sentiment shared by the other bridesmaids) while the groomsmen state her fiancé Jeff also briefly expressed reservations about the marriage while drunk, though they laughed it off. However, other people close to her are adamant that even if Amanda changed her mind, she wouldn't have disappeared completely for years. It's also brought up that if she called off the wedding, Jeff would no longer be able to inherit Amanda's trust fund, whereas if Amanda just went 'missing' it would be a different situation. While Amanda was having serious doubts about the wedding, she never confided these in Jeff, mostly because she never got chance to before she was murdered.
  • In Federico García Lorca's Blood Wedding, the Bride runs away with her cousin's husband, AFTER she gets married to another man.
  • Chocoholic Mysteries: Bridal Bash reveals that Lee's mother Sally was this (because she had to flee for her life, after she and her fiancé stumbled onto a crime)... and that the groom turned up dead later the same day.
  • In the Celendrial Empire from Dark Shores, women are property of their men (fathers, brothers, husbands). Cassius agrees to marry senator Valerius's foster daughter Lydia in exchange for political favor. She is really not happy with that and would love to run away, only there is no place in the whole Empire that she would be able to hide.
  • Earth's Children: At the end of The Mammoth Hunters, on the day of her planned Matrimonial ceremony to Ranec, Ayla changes her mind and decides to go back to Jondalar and journey to his people. Although they'd saddened to see her go, her adopted family are happy she's following her heart instead of forcing herself to go through with a wedding she doesn't want. They even give Ayla their blessing to keep the wedding outfit they made for her, so she can wear it at her eventual marriage ceremony with Jondalar.
  • Emily's Quest: At the very end of the novel, Ilse abandons her marriage to Teddy Kent when she hears that Perry Kent, her true love, has been killed in a car crash. Fortunately, he wasn't killed, just rather injured, so she ends up marrying him instead.
  • Jane Eyre ran away, though not without reason - technically, the wedding had already been canceled. All Rochester could offer her was the chance to be his mistress and Jane could not compromise her morals.
  • The Mark of the Horse Lord: The King of the Dalriadain's wedding ceremony includes a bit where the groom and his mates chase down the bride who's pretending to flee on horseback. The hero's queen-to-be Murna, who considers the whole situation an And Now You Must Marry Me, actually goes for the breakaway.
  • In Marmion by Sir Walter Scott, Ellen rides off with Lochinvar during the pre-wedding celebration. (Not quite "at the altar," but the days-long event had officially begun.)
  • In some Robin Hood stories, Robin and his Merry Men stop a young maiden from marrying some rich, old Norman scoundrel so she can be with her true love (often Alan-a-Dale). Of course, this was more justifiable when the Arranged Marriage was common.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor", the bride vanishes directly after the wedding. Everyone assumes she's met with foul play, but in fact she's run off with her previous husband, whom she had believed to be dead until he tracked her down the day of the ceremony.
  • In the last The Sisters Grimm Book, The Council of Mirrors, Sabrina's wedding is crashed by Puck. Wouldn't apply, except that the epilogue shows that she and Puck now have two kids together. Ouch for her would-be husband, Bradley, whom we never hear of again.
  • In the first Sweet Valley High Saga book, Alice Robertson (the future mother of the twins) runs out on her fiance Hank Patman (the future father of Bruce), partly when she realizes at the last minute that she doesn't really love him and that they're not right for each other, but mostly because of her falling in Love at First Sight with Ned Wakefield (and according to the book, their ancestors have been trying to hook up for nearly 200 years).
  • In Sosedov Sin ("The Neighbor's Son"), an 1868 novella by Slovene author Josip Juričič, Franica, the daughter of wealthy farmer Anton, is forbidden by her father from seeing Štefan, the son of a neighboring farmer, whom she loves and wishes to marry, because Anton looks down on Štefan's wastrel father, not taking into account that Štefan himself is a decent, hardworking young man. Anton then attempts to marry Franica off to his good friend's son Petar, but Franica does not show up at the service and runs away to the house of a woman with whom she had stayed in the past while at school. This act brings about the resolution of the plot: when the hitherto uncompromisingly authoritarian Anton finds his daughter in bed with a fever, and Štefan praying in a church for her recovery, he realizes that he has made a mistake. Franica gets better and Anton lets her marry Štefan.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Amen Thelma almost does this to her would-be groom before finally sitting him down and gently telling him that she doesn't love him the way he deserves to be loved. Similarly, Reuben hem-haws on proposing to Thelma, then faints during their (first) wedding, basically a physical manifestation of his fears about marriage. She then basically pulls this trope again by storming out on him and refusing to accept his apologies.
    • Reuben's backstory includes his fiancee doing this to him, thus explaining his reluctance to propose to Thelma.
  • Played for Laughs in the Blackadder II episode "Bells". Edmund gets Lord Flashheart to be his best man, only for Flash and Kate to fall in Love at First Sight, and run off together.
  • A few of these appeared on Bridezillas, although many of them were grooms who were frustrated with their brides' behavior. In one case, the bride decided to have the reception anyway, and in another case, the groom called up the bride and apologized (after having made her pay for everything and stolen her car), and she agreed to marry him in a private ceremony in Las Vegas. (As of 2017, they are divorced.)
  • Bridgerton: Edwina Sharma famously does this in season 2 episode 6 upon catching her husband-to-be Anthony Bridgerton and her sister Kate gazing at each other while they're about to exchange vows in the middle of their wedding.
  • Despite obviously still having feelings for Hank, as even Bill's daughter points out, Californication's Karen goes through with the exchange of vows, only to run away with Hank at the after-wedding party.
  • This happened to Frasier in Cheers, as Diane left him at the altar for Sam. You'd think, then, that he might have been a bit more disapproving of the one in his own series (mentioned below).
  • Choujin Sentai Jetman: In episode 4, Kaori temporarily abandons the team to marry her long-standing pseudo-boyfriend Soichiro Kitaooji, but after realizing that she belongs with her teammates and that Soichiro is an elitist who doesn't care about people of a lower class than he or Kaori, she delivers a Groin Attack to him and runs out of the church to rejoin her teammates in fighting Road Jigen.
  • In A Different World, Dwayne proposes to Whitley—as she's marrying another man. He's being dragged off by security guards, but still pleading with her to accept when she yells out "I DO!", then offers a lame apology to her groom before dashing down the aisle into Dwayne's arms.
  • Doctor Who: Amy Pond joins the Eleventh Doctor in the TARDIS the night before her wedding. In this case, she rationalizes that she can use the time machine to come back whenever she wants and not actually miss the date — and theoretically, her groom would never know. Naturally, it's not that simple since Rory does find out due to the Doctor's meddling and he isn't happy. Then at one point, Rory gets removed from time altogether. In the end, they do get married and the show moves on to depict what a married couple on the TARDIS would go experience.
  • In The Drew Carey Show, Drew marries Lily Crawford, but she jumps in the limo and drives off alone, with the explanation of "I can't do this."
  • Done on an episode of Family Matters when a friend of Steve's is getting married. As the bride walks down the aisle, she encounters an ex, who happens to be the ceremony's piano player. He invites her to grab some coffee, and she happily accepts. Despite her being female, for once, it's portrayed as an incredibly cruel and selfish thing for her to do—her ditched would-be groom tries to throw himself off the roof of the church afterwards. Fortunately, the cop sent to talk him down happens to be an ex of his.
  • First Kill: Margot ran away from her wedding, leaving her fiancé at the altar, as it was the result of an arranged marriage she'd wanted out of. She later apologizes to her fiancé, who forgives her, having come to understand it over time.
  • Played straight at the end of the seventh series of Frasier, in which Daphne abandons her groom at the altar to be with Niles; subverted in the next season in that, rather than running away, both Niles and Daphne elect to confess to their respective partners and face the music. The show also treats the occurrence in a somewhat realistic fashion, in which both Niles and Daphne have to contend with the bitter and spiteful (if pretty justified) reactions of their partners and insecurity in their relationship in the episodes that follow, rather than it being an automatic Happily Ever After for the two.
  • Friends:
    • Rachel ran away from her wedding in the pilot. This was the first event in the series and the cause of many problems for her, so it's basically the 'setup' for Rachel's character. It was later revealed that her groom was already cheating on her and an alternate universe episode showed that had she actually married him, the marriage would have been miserable and would eventually collapse due to his infidelity.
    • Double Subverted later on in the series, when Ross says the wrong name at the altar and his fiance Emily feels like turning her back on him but finishes the ceremony before fleeing the reception - which the others only discover after Rachel lampshades "When I was in the bathroom at my own wedding, I was trying to escape through the window", and indeed, once they break into the bathroom the window is open and Emily is nowhere to be found. She later comes back to fly with Ross on their honeymoon, but he's with Rachel. Emily runs away again and mails him the divorce papers.
  • Fuller House: When Kimmy agrees to re-marry Fernando, she gets cold feet. This happens three times in the episode.
  • Glee: In the episode "I Do", Emma and Will were set to be married. However, Emma leaves the church before the ceremony begins in a cab through the back door, after the stress from the big day and having been kissed by Finn a few days prior to the big day was too much for her to take.
  • In Grey's Anatomy, April runs away from her wedding to Matthew after Jackson stands up mid-ceremony to confess his love for her.
  • This is how Happy Endings begins, with Alex running away from Dave (with a guy on rollerblades). However, since both Dave and Alex are main characters, neither are really demonized — Alex has legitimate reasons for not wanting to be with Dave, and Dave comes to forgive Alex after she apologizes, and the two eventually become friends.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • A rare example from the groom's perspective when Stella abandons Ted at the altar for her ex. He's mad at first, but then accepts her decision shortly after. The trope may count as a Deconstruction by showing how hard it was for Ted to go through that and how he carried it around afterwards.
    • It was then parodied when an in-verse movie called "The Wedding Bride" was made about it that Flanderized Ted into a pantomime villain fiancée and Tony into a muscle-bound Purity Sue.
    • The Season 7 finale has Ted escorting a runaway Victoria away from her wedding because of her doubts. There is no heartbreak, though, as the groom was also running away. Ted also gives her a What the Hell, Hero? for not following the common courtesy of writing an "I’m leaving you" note like he got and drives her back to the chapel to correct this.
    • Ultimately subverted in the Season 9 episode "The End of the Aisle" when Robin gets cold feet right before her wedding to Barney. She asks Ted to run away with her, but he refuses as he realizes he no longer loves her romantically, and furthermore she's asking out of fear rather than love. She decides to run away alone anyway, but after a chance encounter with her groom in which he gives his solitary vow that he will never lie to her she ultimately decides to go through with the wedding.
  • Jessie says "I don't" and runs back upstairs, refusing to marry Brooks, knowing she would have to move to Africa with him and give up her life in New York with the Ross kids and her dream of being an actress.
  • Just Good Friends: Part of the backstory for the series is that Vincent had jilted Penny at the altar on their wedding day, which led to the initial relationship ending.
  • In a few episodes of Kath & Kim Kel is described as having been jilted at the altar four times, all of which are later revealed to have been because of his supposed friend Sandy Freckle. However, when we actually see flashbacks to his past fiances, in three cases there's little to indicate they ever got as far as the altar.
  • Parodied in an episode of The King of Queens. Spence discovers his old girlfriend is getting married, realizes he still has feelings for her, so he and his friends have to drive over to the place the wedding is being held to tell her. After plenty of wacky events that delay them getting there, they get there just when the priest is giving the "if anyone objects to this union, let them speak now or forever hold their silence" line. Spence is about to step forward and object, when another guy in the audience stands up, declares his love for the bride, and she runs off with him instead.
  • Shane in The L Word. After a reunion with her estranged father, who shares her womanizing tendencies, spooked her into thinking that if she went ahead with her wedding to Carmen and started a family, she'd eventually abandon them just like her father did to her, Shane decided that leaving her bride at the altar would be the lesser evil.
  • An unusual variant on McLeod's Daughters, where Jodi goes through with the ceremony but runs when it comes time to sign the marriage certificate.
  • Done twice in an episode of Monk: An man is found innocent of a murder Monk worked on, and Monk (feeling very guilty about putting an innocent man in jail) helps him get back together with his ex-girlfriend on her wedding day. It's later discovered that the man was guilty, and Monk helps the girlfriend reunite with her fiancé, again at the altar.
  • Neighbours:
    • Isabelle left Karl at the altar out of guilt for lying to him about him being the father of her (since miscarried) baby.
    • An 1989 episode had Bronwyn call off her wedding to Henry, purely because she believed they were rushing into it. He took it well, and this caused little stress for the street as there was already a double wedding planned.
  • The Outpost: After agreeing to marry Tobin, Gwynn left him at the altar.
  • In one episode of Perry Mason, a woman is forced to leave her fiancee at the altar when a man blackmails her with a scandal that would ruin her father.
  • Real Time with Bill Maher: Bill Maher praised Jennifer Wilbanks in his "New Rules" segment and applauded her "rugged individualism".
    Americans reacted to the so-called runaway bride by branding her as crazy for skipping town rather than marrying a Sunday school teacher in Duluth, Georgia. Ah yes, the good life - the bake sales, the prayer meetings, the abortion protests - who could just walk away from all that? How come when the girl from Titanic ditches her fiancé, it's the greatest romance of all time, but when Jennifer Wilbanks does it, she's a criminal loon with a case of temporary insanity? Temporary sanity is more like it. She was staring down the barrel of 14 bridesmaids and 600 guests in the Georgia heat watching a Baptist in a blue suit sanctify her sex life with Welch's Grape Juice and a reading from The Purpose Driven Life - suddenly Greyhound to Vegas looked pretty good.
  • Subverted in Road to Avonlea. Felicity ran off on her wedding day, but onlyto find her Aunt Hetty and tell her to put her anger at the family (for supporting Olivia's decision to leave Avonlea and move to England) aside and come to her wedding because all that mattered is that they're family.
  • In Robin of Sherwood, the groom is the Sheriff of Nottingham. Who makes it quite clear he can't stand the girl, and is just interested in the dowry. When the Merry Men rescue her, but fail to steal the money, he's delighted.
  • Happens in the final episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch when examines her and her fiancé's "Soulstones", which don't fit together, meaning they're not actually soul mates. She tells her would-be groom that she's unsure about the wedding and the two agree to call it off. Once outside the church, though, she happens to see her original love interest Harvey... and it turns out their soulstones fit. Not quite an altar abandonment in that both the guy and the girl mutually agree to end the ceremony, but they still gloss it over for the guy. Uniquely enough the initial wedding was a Fourth-Date Marriage, and Sabrina didn't think the proposal was serious at first.
  • Carol did it to Jodie on Soap. Justified because they were only getting married because she was pregnant, and she'd been expressing reservations from the beginning.
  • Aurora from Solamente Vos. She loves Juan, Juan loves her, but Juan has a large family, and so she refuses him. She continued her relation with Félix, who constantly lied to her and manipulated her, but at least he's single and has no sons. But, as the car was going to the chapel, she could not go on with it anymore, and run away. When the car arrived, the ceremony started. One of the front doors was opened, revealing Aurora's father... and then the other door, showing that Aurora is not there.
  • Suddenly Susan starts when Susan (Brooke Shields) escapes from her wedding ceremony and even gets to rip her gown when she gets out of the church. Much like the Will & Grace example below, it's revealed the guy was a jerk who would no doubt have eventually made her miserable, but she's still blasted by pretty much everyone (who all quite reasonably ask why she waited until literally the last minute to dump him) except for his brother, who hates him and relishes the humiliation he'll suffer.
  • In The Wanderer, the reincarnated Lady Claire literally leaves her present-day fiancé at the altar for her similarly reincarnated Knight.
  • Wedding Season: Lorna, the bride of episode 2, is left at the altar by her would-be husband and won't let any of her guests leave. Stefan has to give her a comforting speech at the reception so she'll accept it.
  • The very first episode of Will & Grace has Grace leave her groom because Will disapproved of him. We don't see the guy at the time, but we're told he treated her like dirt and Grace was only marrying him to avoid spinsterhood. That they went from proposal to the wedding in the space of one day makes it slightly easier to accept Grace running out on the ceremony.

  • Played with in Billy Bragg's "Mother of the Bride", in which the bride does not run away from her wedding, but the narrator of the song very much wishes she had... with him. Her mother concurs with him, for what it's worth.
  • The video of Mariah Carey's song "We Belong Together" has the singer leaving an older man at the altar to run with another man.
  • In Kelly Clarkson's "Behind These Hazel Eyes", knowing that the man she almost marries actually loves another girl, bride Kelly bolts off at the very last minute.
  • Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again Naturally," the first three verses of which are an oddly-upbeat ditty about getting dumped at the altar. In spite of the fairly pleasant tone, it hardly takes a cheery approach to the trope as the singer (and would-be husband) is pretty clearly suicidal over the event.
  • Gram Parsons' "$1000 Wedding" is told from the POV of someone seeing the groom get the news that the bride isn't coming; the groom responds by going out and getting drunk.
  • Miranda Lambert's character in "Somethin' Bad" is a bride who gets cold feet. She decides to go to the bar instead and meets Carrie Underwood's character on the way, and the two women head off on a spontaneous trip to New Orleans.
  • Subverted in The Rolling Stones' "Dear Doctor", as the narrator spends most of the song clearly dreading what's implied to be a Shotgun Wedding. When he finds a note from the would-be bride saying she can't go through with it, he responds with "tears of relief".
  • The music video for The Chicks song "Ready to Run" invokes this trope, as all three band members leave their would-be husbands at the altar and are chased down in their wedding gowns. The song, however, is about avoiding this situation entirely by bailing at the mere mention of marriage or long-term relationships.
  • The music video for Thomas Rhett's "Marry Me" cuts from the bride walking down the aisle to her showing up at the diner where her old friend is Drowning His Sorrows, still in her wedding dress. (This is in contrast to the lyrics of the song, in which the bride is apparently happy to get married and her old friend does his best to wish her well.)
  • Guy Lombardo's "Boo-Hoo":
    You left me in the lurch
    You left me waiting at the church

    Urban Legends 
  • Like with the male example below, there is a legend of a bride at the altar who reveals her groom's infidelity with her maid of honor the night before. The bride version may be older.

  • In One Slight Hitch, Courtney cancels her marriage to Harper at the last minute, despite her ex Ryan getting out of the way, but her parents take the opportunity to renew their own vows.
  • In The Scarlet Sails, Grey's ship appears when Menners Jr. and Assol are approaching the altar, and Assol immediately jumps on board and into Grey's arms (in the best-known production, she also hands her veil to Menners before that). Since Menners forced Assol into agreeing to marry him (while she has been telling everyone who would listen, for years, that she loves Grey), she is clearly the sympathetic party.
  • In Whoopee! Sally skips out on her marriage to Bob because she loves Wanenis.

    Video Games 
  • In Dragon Quest VIII, Princess Medea flees her Arranged Marriage to Prince Charmles, accompanied by her True Love Eight. A variation on the ending, however, implies that the marriage goes forward with Eight acting as a replacement groom; the pact was for a princess of Trodain to marry a prince of Argonia.
  • In Final Fantasy X, Yuna makes a daring escape by jumping off the skyscraper where the wedding is being held and summoning a flying aeon to catch her. In this case, the wedding wasn't for love in the slightest and both bride and groom had ulterior motives for the ceremony. Said tower dive happened when Yuna's intentions were revealed and the groom announced he was going to kill her friends.
  • In Grandia, Feena dumps Pakon at the altar and runs off to go adventuring after Justin and Sue crash the wedding. Of course, given that 1) The engagement was only in Pakon's mind, 2) He had quite literally kidnapped her just before the wedding, and 3) She had spent the entire ceremony up to that point bound and gagged, her ditching the guy was entirely justified.
  • On-female example on the unofficial expansion for Stardew Valley, Ridgeside Village: In her backstory, Maddie reveals that she used to be engaged to another woman who left her at the altar, after that she shut herself in to avoid being hurt again.
  • In the intro to Welcome to Primrose Lake Jennifer is hitchhiking in her wedding dress. After Jessica picks her up, she ducks down when they're passing the church.


    Web Original 
  • In Noob, A game-wide event is announced in the middle of Arthéon and Kary's in-game wedding. Arthéon is known to view the ceremony as the prelude to a real wedding, while Kary is little more than a Satellite Love Interest who happens to like the same stuff as him. Kary probably didn't even realize she was being this, but her last line before leaving can be summed up as "Hey, this is just a silly way to celebrate the end of that extra-difficult secret questline we spent weeks doing together. No big deal if the ceremony wasn't completed, right? Let's ditch it all and go check out that event." This makes her come off as a mild jerk due to Arthéon genuinely loving her and her never making her actual feelings clear to him.

    Western Animation 
  • In the first season of Blue Eye Samurai, Princess Akemi runs away from her arranged marriage to the shogun's son to find her previous betrothed Taigen, now in disgrace after being defeated by the title character. Ironically by the time she finds him and they have the chance to run away together, her experiences have changed Akemi so much that she refuses because she's now interested in achieving greatness rather than love.
  • In Central Park, Season 1 "Rival Busker", Anya loves her fiance but can't go through with the wedding because of the illegal activities her family does due to being a part of The Mafiya so she runs away. She ends up running into Molly and Paige, who convince her, through song, to go through with the wedding.
  • I Am Weasel: In "I.R. Do", Baboon's bride runs out on him to marry a German hairless chihuahua. Weasel tries to marry him in her stead, but Baboon gets jealous of his bridal dress and steals it for himself.
  • An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes had the princess Beezy was arranged to marry run off at the last moment. Since the whole thing was a Shotgun Wedding anyway, no one minded.
  • Rugrats:
    • In an episode, Elaine is supposed to marry Ben, but she is nervous and hides out in the gardens. He reassures her (and reveals that he is nervous, too), and they actually get married.
    • Stu also casually mentions that Didi disappeared for three days before their wedding, prompting a slap from his embarrassed wife.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The Graduate was parodied to hell and back when Grandpa Simpson interrupts Grandma Bouvier's wedding to Mr. Burns in a similar way for similar reasons. Far from running off with Grandpa, Grandma takes this opportunity to say that she doesn't really want to marry either of them; Grandpa decides that this is good enough for him, grabs her, and runs off with her anyway.
    • In "Lisa's Wedding", Lisa is told of her future relationship with Hugh Parkfield. Before the ceremony he expresses frustration with the rest of the Simpson family and slips that he really doesn't expect Lisa to ever see them after the wedding; Lisa, stunned, chooses to call everything off.
    • Episode "My Big Fat Geek Wedding", Skinner admits he does not want to marry Edna and the Simpsons have to work to keep him from leaving her at the altar. However, Edna finds out and chooses to dump him instead.
    • In the same episode she leaves Comic Book Guy at the altar. This was also justified since this was a quickie (Klingon!) wedding after a short rebound relationship and she realized it wouldn't really work out.
  • In the cartoon special Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown, Snoopy is all set to get married to a dog named Genevieve when Lucy soon arrives with news that the bride-to-be has just run off with a golden retriever. Snoopy is heartbroken at first but soon lightens up at the prospect of remaining a bachelor, and enjoys the wedding cake with Woodstock.
  • Strange Magic: Marianne leaves Roland at the altar because she catches him cheating on her the day of the wedding.

    Real Life 
  • Jennifer Wilbanks, who had a complete nervous breakdown and ran out on her fiancé before the wedding and then went missing, which caused the whole state to initiate a massive search for her that wound up costing in the tens of thousands of dollars. When she finally was found and she explained how she ran because of the pressure, people weren't too happy with her and she was forced to do many hours of community service (though this also had to do with her initial claim that she was kidnapped by a Hispanic man after she resurfaced).
  • In 2011, 85-year-old Playboy head honcho Hugh Hefner had his third wedding (to 25-year-old Playmate Crystal Harris) fall apart less than a week before the ceremony as the bride cancelled the arrangements. "The wedding is off. Crystal has had a change of heart," Hefner wrote on Twitter.
  • In late 2000, during the monologue of the Saturday Night Live episode he was hosting, comedian Tom Green proposed to fiancée Drew Barrymore that they marry at the conclusion. Everything was in place, but the bride was a no-show, leaving the groom repeatedly screaming "Drew!" as the credits rolled and the audience roared with laughter, assuming it was All Part of the Show. However, it turned out to be for real (Tom wasn't the only one shocked—producer Lorne Michaels and a handful of celebrity guests were too). Drew later explained that she thought it would be inappropriate to marry in such a setting. note 
  • In 2011, Princess Charlene of Monaco reportedly tried to escape from her wedding to Prince Albert II three times but was stopped by palace officials at each attempt. It was reportedly because she learned Albert had fathered another illegitimate child during their relationship.

Runaway Grooms

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Hell Teacher Nube, Nube is so late to his grand, beautiful wedding with Yukime that people start wondering if this is the case. Turns out he had almost been killed by the minions of Yukime's "father," the Mountain God, but he still managed to drag his bloodied and pulped self to the church in the end.
  • In the first Lupin III anime, Lupin is convinced that he'll die at the Villain of the Week's hands at the end of the week and convinces Fujiko to marry him so she can carry on the Lupin line. Then, after Lupin manages to thwart the villain and is in no danger of dying anymore, Fujiko tries to make him honor his proposal, and he chickens out.
  • In Pokémon: The Original Series, James of Team Rocket is engaged to a rich girl called Jessiebelle (who looks a lot like Jessie). She carries a whip and wants to turn James into a real gentleman by 'training' him.
  • In Rappi Rangai, every time Raizou has finished impressing a girl he wants to marry, he continues chickening out and running away while his bodyguards beg him to pop the question already. To be fair, the story would probably just end if he did.
  • In The Secret Agreement, Iori actually does get through the ceremony and is officially married, but on the same day decides to chase Yuuichi across the world, leaving his bride rather surprised and disappointed.
  • In the epilogue of Superior Cross, Lakshri tries to run away from a Shotgun Wedding with Angelica, only for her grandfather (a bear demon) to physically carry him back.

    Comic Books 
  • In Invincible, the title hero doesn't go through with his marriage to a fish-queen-lady-thing. Instead of running, he pretends to be too scared to fight the monster to complete the ceremony.
  • In Scare Tactics (DC Comics), hillbilly werewolf Jake Ketchum ran away from a Shotgun Wedding to a ghoul, intended to unite their feuding clans. When he unwillingly returns home, the clans still intend to marry him off to his not-dead fiancée: she having committed suicide after he fled (although not for being jilted.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The Silver Age/Earth-One version of Steve Trevor backs out of his marriage to Wonder Woman at the last minute and leaves back to the States since his long-time co-worker and friend "Diana Prince" just died. It seems Diana should have let her fiance know her identity instead of using his real grief to sell her fake death, but as she'd seen how happy the Golden Age/Earth-Two versions of them were in marriage she didn't even consider the fact that something could go wrong.
  • In X-Men, Alex Summers/Havok breaks off his marriage to Lorna Dane/Polaris while she's walking down the aisle in order to be with another woman, Annie; since writer Chuck Austen viewed Alex and Annie as stand-ins for himself and his wife, and had characterized Polaris as a violent psychopath, when she was in fact suffering from post-traumatic stress at the altar. He, meanwhile, ran off to visit Paris with the woman he dated while he was in a comanote . We were meant to root for him and not Polaris when she, naturally, went crazy and tried to kill the both of them, and yet despite this Lorna did raise the very valid point that he could have called things off before the ceremony instead of humiliating her.
    • Actually Lockheed did not abandon his fiancée at the altar out of malice, but rather the abandonment of The Flock and his fiancée because he went to Earth with Kitty Pryde after he met her and saved her from a swarm of Brood on the Brood homeworld. As he recovers from the wounds obtained from fighting Doctor Doom, his astral form is seized by the Flock and put on trial for treason for abandoning his species and his fiancée. After managing to explain his motives and save his teammates from a piloting accident, he is officially exiled from his race, but on friendly terms.

    Comic Strips 
  • Angus Og, Angus is the runaway groom. Being too cowardly to break off his engagement to Big Mairileen directly, he arranges to be away working on a fishing boat the day of the wedding instead.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Mansionverse's version of Phantom Manor's backstory, the Phantom made Melanie believe this was the case of her lover Jonathan Jake. In truth, the Phantom had actually murdered him. This is a popular interpretation of Phantom Manor's story, which cropped up in media unrelated to the Mansionverse as well.

    Films — Animated 
  • Mighty Eagle running out on his wedding with Zeta set the plot of The Angry Birds Movie 2.
  • Implied in the song "Worthless" in The Brave Little Toaster, when the Texas limo tells its story:
    Once took a Texan to a wedding...
    He kept forgetting, his loneliness led him
    His thoughts turned to home and we turned.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Justified for the title character in Arthur (1981): He is being pushed to marry the beautiful-but-dreary Susan or risk being cut off from an inheritance worth $750 million (in 1981 dollars), and as a sheltered Manchild knows/is told by almost everyone in his family and inner circle that he is not capable of surviving on his own. On top of that, Susan's father Burt is a Corrupt Corporate Executive who strongly implies that he will kill Arthur if he doesn't make his little girl happy. However, Arthur falls for the poor waitress Linda and, come his wedding day, finally decides to choose love over money. He breaks the news to Susan minutes before the ceremony is to go forward, and actually admits that this isn't fair to her since it isn't her fault. She screams for her dad, who proceeds to brutally beat up Arthur and even attempts to kill him and Linda; they're only saved by the arrival of Arthur's father and grandmother, the latter of whom is tough enough to force Burt to back down. She subsequently sanctions Arthur's marriage to Linda and lets him keep the money so no one in the family will be working-class, but not before the dazed Arthur announces to a shocked congregation that the wedding to Susan is off. On top of all that, the sequel Arthur 2: On the Rocks has Burt seeking Revenge on Arthur for what he did!
  • Jake Blues in The Blues Brothers, somewhat played for laughs or suspense. He leaves his bride (played by Carrie Fisher) at the altar, she chases after Jake and Elwood throughout the picture with a machine gun, and finally after trapping them in a tunnel as they plan their getaway, with the money, after their charity show, Jake pleads on one knee and gives multiple (and increasingly ridiculous) reasons and alibis for jilting her. He later takes off his sunglasses for the first and only time in the movie, gives her Puppy-Dog Eyes, and kisses her unconscious. Elwood mock-apologizes and they both make a run for the Bluesmobile.
  • In Flubber, the protagonist doesn't run out on his fiancée, he just...kind of forgets to show up. Three times. The final time, they do get married... via teleconference, as he's still stuck in his basement inventing something.
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral: The ending. Charles confesses that, while standing at the altar, he realised that for the first time in his life, he totally and utterly loved one person, "and it wasn't the person standing next to me in the veil."
  • Harold Fine (Peter Sellers) in 1968's I Love You, Alice B. Toklas does this twice. The first time he's become enamored with another woman (Nancy, a hippie) during the wedding preparations. Amusingly, a minor subplot reveals the jilted bride, Joyce, basically gets over this. When Harold becomes disillusioned with Nancy and the hippie lifestyle at the end, he reconciles with Joyce and they attempt to wed again, but he gets cold feet at the altar once more (having realized he doesn't know what he really wants out of life). Joyce just says, "I knew it..."
  • The protagonist of In & Out leaves his fiancée at the altar after finally coming out of his Transparent Closet.
  • The Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen film It Takes Two: he was marrying the Rich Bitch, so it's okay! They also make her suffer through a Humiliation Conga as she leaves the chapel. Subverted: the Rich Bitch had badgered the guy into considerably moving up the wedding because she realized she had genuine competition.
  • Danny in Just Go with It. The actual jilting happens off-screen, presumably because the would-be bride was so likable and sweet-natured Danny would come across as too much of a Jerkass to the audience.
  • Libeled Lady starts with editor Warren Haggerty (Spencer Tracy) dealing with an emergency at his newspaper instead of going to his wedding. His fiancee, Gladys Benton (Jean Harlow) storms into his office in her wedding dress to complain.
  • In Long John Silver, Long John sets off on his second voyage to Treasure Island, avoiding his wedding to Purity Pinker, and barely escaping the alert local sentries. At the end of the film, Long John returns to Portobello as a rich citizen and dines with the Governor, during which it is implied that Silver received a pardon for his past crimes for the role he played in saving his daughter's life, and for a "generous donation to Government House" that served to "arm the harbor against pirates". He and Jim ride off again before Purity Pinker can pull a shotgun wedding.
  • Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates features this in Alice's backstory where her fiancé not only left her at the altar but came back just to get his phone and affirm that he still didn't want to get married, leaving Alice psychologically devastated at the memory.
  • Apparently happened in the backstory between Captain Smollet and Benjamina Gunn (Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy) in Muppet Treasure Island.
  • Dennis, in Run Fat Boy Run ran out on Libby the day of their wedding due to cold feet. He spends the film trying to prove to her that he deserves another chance.
  • The Buster Keaton film Seven Chances features what must be the ultimate runaway groom scene: rich heir Buster rushing out of the church chased by a horde of hundreds of money-crazy would-be brides (a newspaper ad got them there). The frantic chase scene across the city and countryside is a classic of silent era slapstick comedy.
  • Sex and the City: Mr. Big. Fortunately, he changed his mind while she was leaving the church in tears. Unfortunately, she wasn't in the mood to forgive him. Though they did get married at the very end. It wasn't her he was running away from, but rather the large, public, publicized, display he'd never been comfortable with in the first place.
  • Sgt Bilko has done this so many times that his girlfriend's wedding dress is getting worn out.
    • It's not that he runs away, but always seems to show up late, giving lame excuses. She forgives him, but finally gives him an ultimatum that she'll only give him one more attempt. At the attempt, she's the one who shows up late with a lame excuse.

  • La Dot (The Dowry) by Guy de Maupassant: Shortly after a young woman is married to a lawyer, they go to Paris here the husband intends to use the titular dowry to establish his own law firm. They take the bus, the husband goes to smoke a cigarette on the roof, but the woman waits for him until the bus reaches the end of the line. Fortunately she remembers the address of a cousin living there and manages to get there using the last of her money. The cousin immediately guesses that the husband is now speeding away towards Belgium, the three hundred thousand francs of the dowry in hand.
  • Landen Parke-Laine in The Eyre Affair - although this is more a case of Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace. And it's not even him who is the party in the wrong.
  • Easily the most famous case of this is Miss Havisham's runaway groom Compeyson in Great Expectations. He only got close to her to defraud her of her money and once he completed this, he sent her a letter informing her of the truth just short of the wedding and then beat town. Miss Havisham goes crazy and hates men for the rest of her life.
  • Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre Zhang Wuji and Zhou Zhirou are about to get married until Zhao Min arrived and showed something very important to Zhang Wuji, causing him to leave the altar which Zhou Zhirou didn't take very well.
  • In Robert Asprin's fantasy novel Hit or Myth, King Roderick attempts to escape his arranged marriage to Queen Hemlock by foisting his job off on court magician Skeeve.
  • The Sherlock Holmes story "A Case of Identity" sees Miss May Sutherland seek help in the disappearance of her fiance, Hosmer Angel, on their wedding day after making her promise to stay true to him no matter what. She's convinced that he's the victim of foul play and is encouraged in this view by her stepfather. It turns out that her stepfather is Hosmer, having worn a disguise and taken advantage of her poor eyesight to make her fall in love with him and then left her at the altar. His aim was to tie her love and loyalty to her "lost" fiance so that she wouldn't marry, keeping her inheritance under his roof and in his control. He gets away with it too. Holmes notes that it was not an actionable crime despite being a cruel trick and even decides against telling Miss Sutherland, who he says wouldn't believe him anyway (he does, however, attempt to horsewhip the criminal).
  • A Star Wars Legends novel (Jedi Search of the Jedi Academy Trilogy) has a minor plot in the form of a potential Jedi candidate investigated by Lando Calrissian, Artoo, and Threepio, who turned out to be a wanted runaway from Dargul, having hacked into the palace's computer to modify his profile to be the perfect match for a particularly beautiful heiress. Unfortunately, this has led said heiress to become convinced that he is her soul mate and became so absurdly clingy he eventually fled. After being caught cheating at the blob races on Dargul's sister planet of Umgul, normally punishable by death, he VERY reluctantly agreed to be returned to her.
  • In The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Mendel Shpilman bails on an Arranged Marriage and the entire ultra-Orthodox community he was born into and repressed by.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Hell's Bells", Xander dumps Anya at the altar, although that's just cold feet; there's no Other Woman involved. There were exceptional circumstances, too: an old man claiming to be Xander himself from the future showed up, showing young Xander horrible visions implying he would kill Anya if the two of them got together (which merely augmented his fear from his parents' own unhappy marriage). It turns out this old man is lying; he's actually an old enemy of Anya's trying to ruin her wedding out of revenge, but by the time this comes out Xander is too freaked out to go through with it. Both Anya and Xander are depicted sympathetically.
  • Leo becomes one involuntarily in the Charmed episode "Magic Hour" when he and Piper try to get married against the Elders' will. Just as the little ceremony is about to start, the Elders abduct him. They do get married later though with permission.
  • In the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend finale "Can Josh Take a Leap of Faith?", Josh runs away from the wedding to become a priest. It's enough to make Rebecca declare that "Josh Chan must be destroyed."
  • Doctor Who: In "The Wedding of River Song", we finally learn exactly why Queen Elizabeth I was so pissed at the Doctor way back in "The Shakespeare Code": they were supposed to elope, but he never showed. This is finally resolved in "The Day of the Doctor", where Elizabeth forces Ten to marry her before he, Eleven, Clara, and the War Doctor head off to the present to stop the Zygons, and it's implied that, thanks in part to him forgetting the specifics of the event because there was more than one of him around, he never returned.
  • Sir Anthony Strallan jilts Edith at the altar in series three of Downton Abbey.
  • Dennis dumps Carol at the altar in Ed, because he knows she would rather be with Ed.
  • ER: Carol's fiancé dumps her on their wedding day after gently, but firmly getting her to admit she doesn't love him the way he loves her.
  • This sets the dynamic for season 1 of Four Weddings And A Funeral. Kash runs away from his wedding to Ainsley, chickening out right as he was expected to say "I Do". Ainsley soon realizes that she did not really love Kash and the marriage would have been a mistake but she cannot forgive him for how he handled things. The other characters are friends with both Ainsley and Kash and do not want to choose one over the other. They have to carefully maneuver the social fallout of the situation eg making sure that Kash is not invited to any events that Ainsley is attending.
  • Played with when Chandler in Friends runs away on his wedding day, because of his commitment issues. He actually loves Monica, having been blissfully happy with her, but is terrified they'll end up like his parents who had a horrible marriage and he'll make Monica unhappy. His friends eventually persuade him to come back, before Monica notices his absence. He goes through with the wedding and their marriage is a very happy one. Monica later finds out he ran away (while they're at the altar no less) but doesn't show any anger towards him. It helps she had been well aware of his fears from day one and was prepared for him to go all 'Chandler' at some point.
  • General Hospital: Sonny leaves Brenda at the altar in order to protect her from rival mobsters looking to kill him. Several years later, Jax does the same thing, fed up with always being second-best to Sonny despite bending over backwards to make her happy (the final straw was witnessing her kissing Sonny the night before and her failure to be honest with him about it, despite him giving her several opportunities).
    • Played for Laughs with Luke and Tracy's wedding renewal. Before the ceremony begins, Luke tries to sneak out of an upstairs window at the Quatermane Mansion. Unfortunately, Tracy figures out Luke's plan and screams at the top of her lungs "LUKE SPENCER, DAMN YOU!". This startles Luke, causing him to fall out of the window.
  • In Grey's Anatomy, due to a Role-Ending Misdemeanor, Preston Burke's last regular appearance was when he left Cristina at the altar. He shows up for one episode many seasons later to offer Cristina his cutting-edge medical lab in Europe in order to move with his wife and their children back to her native Italy.
  • On Midnight, Texas Manfred is on the run from the father of his ex-fiancée who he left at the altar. It was actually a con perpetuated by Manfred and his grandmother. The girl's father was a powerful Romani mage who wanted to add Manfred's psychic gifts to his bloodline. He contracted with Manfred's grandmother for an Arranged Marriage and once he paid her the money, she and Manfred made a run for it. The bride killed herself soon after because she saw the marriage as the only way to escape her abusive father.
  • A runaway groom is mentioned in Midsomer Murders. DCI Barnaby managed to get through the important part of the ceremony but ran off after saying, "I've got it!" instead of "I do" to chase a murderer. When his wife decides she wants to have a proper ceremony for their anniversary, he interrupts it by arresting the vicar.
  • Neighbours did this with Toadie and Stephanie (as a result of Toadie realizing that Steph was far less enthusiastic about it than he was), Marc and Stephanie (Marc had fallen in love with Steph's sister Flick) and Mark and Annalise (Mark suddenly decided to become a priest - ironically, he had only converted to Catholicism because he was marrying Annalise).
  • Played with for extremely dark comedy on Peep Show; marrying someone he didn't love (but was too embarrassed to break up with), Mark ends up hiding in the vestry of the church until he's discovered, whereupon he (very very very) reluctantly goes through with the wedding (to the extent that he looks around hopefully at the Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace moment and — along with Sophie, his bride — bursts into tears when the vows are read. The wedding car doesn't even make it out of the church grounds before Sophie abandons Mark, screaming about how "horrible" he is. The next season sees much discussion (and passionate defense on Mark's part) about whether what he did technically constitutes a "jilting" or not, since he ended up marrying her anyway.
  • In the 100th episode of Riverdale, Archie leaves Betty at the altar, as the collision of the universes has started to warp reality and Archie has become the Big Bad of this universe (albeit still for altruistic reasons and killing his friends knowing they come back to life after a while).
    Betty: Never leave a Cooper woman at the altar.
  • Played a bit in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Here, Lwaxana Troi decides she doesn't want to get married to an old prude after all, and to call the wedding off, she decides to attend the ceremony in the traditional Betazoid bridal costume — nothing. While the ceremony's witnesses, well aware of Troi's true intentions, watch this with amusement, the Groom is incoherently repelled and flees the ceremony.
  • Eric in That '70s Show, realizing that he and Donna are not ready to be married. Later, Donna agrees with him.
  • Vera: In "Muddy Waters", the Victim of the Week called off his wedding a couple of days before the ceremony and then disappeared.

  • The groom in Brooks & Dunn's "You Can't Take the Honkeytonk Out of the Girl" runs off with Rebellious Spirit Connie, the bride's second cousin. (The music video, however, alters the storyline: Connie disguises herself as the bride so the groom and bride can run off together— it's implied they never wanted the fancy wedding planned by the bride's controlling mother.)
The story of Dark Sarah begins with Sarah's fiance leaving her at the altar.
  • 'Someone Saved My Life Tonight' is Elton John's autobiographical song about a man calling off his wedding.
  • Katy Perry's "Hot n Cold" music video has the groom having doubts about the vows and attempted to run away from the wedding, only to have Katy relentlessly chase after him. It turns out to be an Imagine Spot though, and the video ends with the wedding proceeding normally.
  • In "Speak Now" by Taylor Swift, the narrator asks her crush, who is about to marry another girl, to run away with her instead.
    Don't say "Yes", run away now
    I’ll meet you when you’re out of the church at the back door
  • Played for comedy in Thumpasaurus's video for "Struttin'." After rescuing the Damsel in Distress with the power of his struttin', Strutman is married to her, but when the priest calls for the couple to kiss, Strutman instead struts away into the sunset. His would-be wife and the rest of the town simply wave goodbye.
  • Implied to happen in Cher's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)".
    Music played and people sang
    Just for me the church bells rang
    Now he's gone, I don't know why
    And ‘til this day sometimes I cry
    He didn't even say "Goodbye"
    He didn't take the time to lie

  • La Sylphide ends the first act with the groom James leaving his fiancee Effie at the altar because the titular sylph stole his ring. However, once he gets into the forest it's clear that was just an excuse to get out of his wedding as he begins doggedly pursuing her to the point where it leads to her death.

    Urban Legends 
  • An urban legend about the groom catching the bride cheating. He goes through with the wedding, up until he distributes a special gift to the guests — an 8x10 picture showing the unfaithfulness, while leaving the expenses for the bride's family. Example:

    Video Games 
  • In the "Wedding Reception" stage of Cho Chabudai Gaeshi, the groom running away is just one of the things that drives Kiyomi (the bride) to Flipping the Table in a bout of over-the-top rage, sending the wedding cake flying.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask:
    • Kafei is supposed to marry Anju on the day of the annual festival but has run away. While he is in the body of a child, he doesn't care about that but instead needs Link's help in getting his Sun Mask back from a thief (which is required for wedding traditions in Termina). You do help him get the Mask back from the thief, and while you never see it happen, it's assumed that he does get his body back since you see the wedding from his height and it's too tall to have been the view of a child.
    • In the manga based on the game, you do see him get his body back, though Kafei's adult face is never shown as part of a running gag and likely meant to mirror the game's tricky camera.
  • At the end of Super Mario RPG, Booster and Valentina are getting married when Booster suddenly gets cold feet and flees from the altar. Valentina gives chase, followed by the Snifits in the audience.
  • A licensed game on the Nintendo Wii based on Wipeout (2008) features a runaway groom as one of the six lightweight characters you can play as.
  • The Sims 2 makes it possible for either side of a wedding to flee the lot partway through the ceremony if the couple’s relationship is not high enough (Romance Sims have a higher chance to do so, due to their inherent Commitment Issues). Most notably, the first time the Goth household is played, Cassandra is about to have her wedding to Romance Sim Don Lothario, with the game being outright scripted for Don to run if the player goes through with it.

  • Subverted in General Protection Fault. Nick is abducted the night before he marries Ki by evil counterparts from the "Nega-Verse", and those responsible leave behind a "Dear John letter" for Ki (presumably written by Nick's Nega-verse counterpart). Ki refuses to believe it, however, and goes to rescue him with the rest of his friends.

    Western Animation 
  • In Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, Monty would have married Désirée D'Allure if he hadn't encountered that truck loaded with cheese.
  • On Chowder, Endive Does Not Like Men, not-so-subtly suggested to be because she got engaged in her youth and her groom-to-be never showed up to their wedding.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons (1983), Eric agrees to be married to a Queen, but when the ceremony includes listing a series of extremely dangerous trials the groom is supposed to do, he instantly makes his escape before the official even finishes. Well, that and she turned into a troll at the altar.
  • In El Tigre, Puma Loco (in his younger days) ran away with a woman named Dora, leaving Lady Gobbler at the altar. The real kicker was, he and Lady Gobbler were both supervillains, and Dora was the chief of police at the time. Decades later, and Lady Gobbler still holds a grudge. He also did it to the Big Bad Sartana of the Dead, instigating her Start of Darkness. He tried to make it up to the latter later on, but she was too far gone at that point.
  • In The Fairly OddParents!, Mark Chang runs out on Princess Mandie at the altar. But since this was an Arranged Marriage to an Ax-Crazy princess that he never wanted anyway, it's portrayed as proper.
  • Four hundred years before the events of Fantaghirò, Prince Ronaldo of Dana failed to show up for his wedding with Princess Kara of Tuan. Kara, who had been deeply in love with the prince, felt so shocked and betrayed by this that she swore never to love another again, and made a pact with the evil lord Darken to get revenge on Ronaldo by destroying his kingdom. And that’s how the Forever War between Dana and Tuan started. In the show’s finale, it’s revealed that Ronaldo did not abandon the wedding of his own accord; he was prevented from attending by Darken as part of a Batman Gambit to cause Kyra to turn to evil.
  • A dark version occurs in the Hey Arnold! episode "Ghost Bride", where a bride from many years ago was abandoned at the altar — her groom left her for her sister. The bride proceeds to kill the two not long after.
  • Lars does this to Leela in the Futurama movie Bender's Big Score. Although, to be fair, he only did it after he learned that all the time copies were doomed and he, himself a copy of Fry, didn't want to put her through the grief of his death.
  • In Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law Phil leaves Birdgirl at the altar to run away with his sister Phyllis. This is actually a relief to Birdgirl, as unknown to Phil she's his daughter (who certainly didn't want to marry her father, but felt she had to to maintain her secret identity).
  • The Legend of Korra: In Season 2, Bolin runs out on his wedding with Emotionless Girl Eska. She takes this badly.
  • Otto from The Simpsons. He was once engaged to a girl named Becky but at the wedding, she revealed she couldn't stand heavy metal after he hired a Poison cover band to play at the ceremony. Marge then told him he had to choose between Becky and his music - he chose the latter, leaving Becky at the altar.
  • Chlorhydris assumed that this was what happened to her fiance Manfred the Magnificent on the day of their wedding in The Smurfs (1981) episode "Chlorhydris' Lost Love", but as it turned out, her witch rival Drusilla prevented Manfred from attending the wedding by turning him into stone and keeping him a prisoner for twenty years. Manfred did end up leaving Chlorhydris when, shortly after being reunited, he was pierced with the witch's black heart arrows, and his heart became filled with hate.

    Real Life 
  • In 1906, an hour after their wedding, William McKeekin told his bride he was going to get a carriage. That was the last anyone heard or saw of him, and after seventeen years of searching for him, his widow sought an annulment.

Runaway Couples

  • The final Long Long Man commercial has a Double Subversion involving both the bride and groom. Throughout the whole series, Chi, who is in a relationship with Tooru, lusts after the Long Long Man. When the Long Long Man shows up at their wedding, Chi decides that she'd rather be with him than Tooru, breaking up with her boyfriend right there at the altar. Unfortunately for her, the Long Long Man is gay and actually came to deliver a confession to Tooru, so she just ends up ruining her relationship without accomplishing anything... but then Tooru decides that he loves the Long Long Man and ends up with him.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Game Over: Due to some rather strange circumstances, both the main characters end up bailing on their wedding on the day. However, for the bride, it was about her lack of self-esteem on account of being a much older woman and the groom was trying to find her. They do end up returning to the wedding venue after talking things through.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Sometime between the events of Puss in Boots and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Puss and Kitty Softpaws both ran out on their wedding, Puss after having gotten cold feet and Kitty (rightfully) thinking Puss could never love anyone else other than his own legend. As a result, their relationship became estranged.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Occurs in Ever After, with Prince Henry and the Spanish princess he was suppose to marry. Right at the altar, he realizes the reason why she was hysterically crying was that she was in love with someone else and didn't want to go through with the wedding, just like him. So he calls off the wedding and runs off to find Danielle, just as the princess runs into the arms of her beloved also.
  • The climax of The Guru (2002) has a wedding broken up by two people - one who professes his love to the groom and the titular character declaring his love for the bride. Both are successful.
  • The conclusion of Mamma Mia! has the couple decide not to get married quite yet — mainly due to the fact that the whole wedding ceremony was an excuse for the bride to meet her real father (out of three possible men). Segues into Why Waste a Wedding? when Donna and Sam get married instead.
  • The 1991 John Candy film Only the Lonely tweaks this plot point in which right before the wedding, Danny and Theresa have a falling out the night before the wedding over Danny's relationship with his mother and Theresa storms off. The next day, NEITHER of them attend the wedding, having seemingly deemed their relationship unworkable and deciding to move on with their lives. The couple does end up together, but only after Danny clears out his personal problems and chases down Theresa as she leaves Chicago. There is no second wedding shown.
  • The conclusion of the second The Princess Diaries film, where both halves are marrying out of duty (she for her country, he for his parents). Neatly combined with No Sparks. They remain very good friends and end up dating other people at the end. Also segues into Why Waste a Wedding?, as Queen Clarisse and her Head of Security Joe get married instead after several decades of hiding their feelings.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The A-Team episode "Till Death Do Us Part" takes this a step further by having the eponymous team show up to rescue a bride from being coerced into marrying the Villain of the Week. Their escape plan involves having Murdock walk down the aisle disguised as the bride; thus resulting in MURDOCK becoming a runaway bride himself. Murdock later writes the villain a letter of apology for leaving him at the altar.
  • Bones: Angela and Hodgins run away from their own wedding — together — after they discover Angela's still married, as she'd mistakenly thought the wedding ceremony with her first husband (jumping through a fire) hadn't stuck. They leave behind a horrified, confused group of people, with Brennan (the maid of honor) and Booth (the best man) standing at the altar with the priest. Brennan clears her throat awkwardly and asks what they're supposed to do.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Ted initially has some doubts about running away with his ex-girlfriend Victoria, but eventually agrees, on the condition that she leaves a note. During the ensuing hijinks, Ted discovers that Klaus, the groom, is also running away, and Ted uses this inside knowledge to clear Victoria of any blame. Awkwardly, the three of them somehow end up rooming together.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Finn and Phoebe decide, at the last minute, not to go through with their wedding. They don't break-up, just delaying the ceremony. Why Waste a Wedding? is Played With; Carisi was supposed to officiate the ceremony, and spent significant time writing a speech to do so. He's bummed nobody will hear it, so Rollins says he can read it to her. He does, and his comparison of the bond of marriage to the intense bond of police partnership induces a Love Epiphany, a kiss, and a Relationship Upgrade between them.
  • On Life Goes On, eldest daughter Paige, who has been having panic attacks in the days leading up to her wedding, waits until she's at the altar before asking her fiance if he really loves her. He admits that he does but that they're not right for each other and nowhere near ready. Sure enough, she goes dashing down the aisle to reunite with her true love, with her now ex-fiance's blessing.
  • In the Reality Show Married by America, two couples who met over the course of the show were to be married, and both ended like this. In one couple, it was the bride who backed out; in the other, the groom. It was pretty much the death knell for wedding-themed reality shows (as opposed to just dating) since they've never ended well. Who would have thought marrying someone you've only known for three months was actually a bad idea?
  • On Martin, Martin and Gina get fed up with their overbearing relatives and take off to the Bahamas with just a few of their friends. Given how well it went off, one suspects this was the plan all along.
  • Subverted on The Office. While Jim and Pam do get married in front of all of their friends, it turns out they sneaked off and eloped before, anticipating that the gang might do something stupid.
  • Party of Five:
    • In season 2, Charlie gets cold feet and freaks out about his wedding to Kirsten. After some convincing from everyone, he opts to go through with it. Then comes the reveal that Kirsten is calling the wedding off. She says if Charlie got cold feet then she couldn't marry him because he wasn't sure about the relationship. They eventually get married four years later with no cold feet.
    • A few episodes earlier, Kirsten and Charlie get fed up with the pressure of trying to plan their wedding and leave a note saying they've run off to Reno to get married right away. At the end of the episode, they show up at the house saying they couldn't go through with it.
    • These two really seem to love this trope. The season 2 finale has Charlie convincing Kirsten to leave her fiancée at the altar and get back together with him. Considering she was marrying the man only a couple of months after leaving Charlie, this was probably for the best.
  • One year before doing the first example herself, Sabrina the Teenage Witch had an example in the sixth season. Roxie decides to marry a witch boy, though she doesn't know he's a witch. To prevent the wrath of her tyrannical Aunt Irma, Sabrina pretends to be the bride and even tries to marry Peter in Roxie's place. Once the ruse is revealed, the wedding is called off. Roxie and Peter later postpone the engagement until they get to know each other better.
  • On Shake it Up, Georgia and Jeremy realize they aren't ready to get married and break off their engagement at the altar.
  • Engineered by Tom in Waiting for God - Diana has been single for over 60 years and wants to remain that way, but her latter-years lover Tom is unsatisfied with his role as the last of a long line of equally significant lovers. After many hijinks as Diana tries to avoid having to marry Tom, Tom ultimately refuses to marry her instead. They then carry on their affair as normal, Tom accepting that Diana having been willing to marry him at all is good enough and he doesn't need to actually force the issue.
    Geoffrey: Dad! You're supposed to say "I do".
    Tom: But I don't.
  • An episode of the reality series What Would You Do? used this scenario for inspiration in which they staged both a runaway bride and later a runaway groom getting cold feet and escaping to a bar. The scenario was intended to see how bystanders would react to the situation. In all scenarios, be it bride or groom, the bystanders all convinced the cold-footed spouse-to-be to get to their wedding and supported them.

Alternative Title(s): Runaway Groom


Princess Vespa Flees

Princess Vespa runs away from marrying Prince Valium.

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