Thursday, 26 February 2009


Following on from my blog entry yesterday a friend has asked me if I’ve ever been involved in a case where either the bride or groom has been abandoned in the aisle of the Church on the wedding day itself. Well you might think that the answer has to be obviously not. After all, what would be the point in contacting a solicitor specialising in divorce, if the wedding never actually took place? Well it does happen and usually it’s with reference to the wedding presents. Do they belong to the pair destined not to become a couple or do the donors retain ownership? Curiously unless the gifts have been given specifically on the condition that the wedding takes place, they belong to the separated pair! Mind I’d be lying if I said that either the bride or groom had instructed me in such a situation. Invariably it’s been a devoted relative who spent a little more than they would otherwise have intended and, fortunately for them, common decency has always dictated that the gifts are returned. Mind for anyone who, on receiving an invitation, has doubts as to whether the wedding will actually take place, it probably pays not to deliver the gift until the big day itself and even then only after the ceremony!

Sometimes advice can even be sought by the parents of one of the nearly-weds; usually where their son or daughter is the one who has been jilted. Inevitably they are looking to recover not only the expense they have incurred but potentially damages for what has been described to me as public humiliation and hurt feelings. Oh dear English law is very specific in its requirements. How do you prove a contract between the parents of the groom and the bride when even the engagement between the betrothed is no longer regarded as a legally enforceable contract? Public humiliation has of course been regarded as a prime Anglo Saxon sport since the days of the stocks. As for compensation for hurt feelings, pull the other one – most are highly relieved that their precious off-spring has been saved the life of misery they had expected was to be their future and if the parents get the opportunity to take the honeymoon instead, all is forgiven.

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