Posted on August 21, 2014 by

How to Get Back a Runaway Bride


You spent thousands on the engagement ring, the wedding bands, the wedding dress, the caterer, the florist, the photographer, the deejay and the reception hall. When The Big Day finally arrived, there was a palpable feeling of excitement in the air and butterflies swarming the depths of your stomach. You arrived at the designated venue ready to exchange vows to become man and wife only to have the leading lady in your real life romance betray you in a way you never thought possible. In front of hundreds, she left you standing all by yourself in front of the altar. Or, alternately, she unceremoniously dumped you months or even weeks before your scheduled wedding date. Either way, as the groom-to-be, you abruptly realized you have been jilted by your runaway bride amid months of laborious planning.


Get Back a Runaway Bride


Months later, you’ve finally come to terms with the sad and jarring reality of the situation with your ex-bride. She left you high and dry without warning. What ought to have been the happiest day of your life turned out to be the worst. Yet you’ve had an opportunity to contemplate your future at large as a single man for the first time in a long time and you cannot imagine your life without your former partner. In no uncertain times, you want to win her back. So what do you do now that the realization has dawned on you? Do you try everything in your arsenal of courtship strategies, including but not limited to: calling and texting her nonstop to whisper sweet nothings to her phone; showing up at her workplace unannounced with flowers and her favorite takeout in hand; staking out her house from your car through binoculars; bombarding her closest girlfriends with questions about her daily plans and specific whereabouts? Or as a last-ditch effort, should you show up at her parents’ home with the hope that they can help you plan the staging of a romantic intervention and make her see the light?

Not every runaway bride finds her "happily ever after" with the man she left at the altar.  Photo:

Not every runaway bride finds her “happily ever after” with the man she left at the altar.

No, do not do any of the aforementioned. Trying to get back a runaway bride is not advisable. In most cases, it can only spell major disaster. This is simply not about trying to recoup the dignity you lost when your fiancée turned into the notorious runaway bride and shattered the future you were going to have together. In the grand scheme of things, wounded pride will heal. But a woman who only did what her heart and inner voice told her to do has made up her mind for good. The reason women become runaway brides in love stories gone wrong are due to nagging doubts that take shape as the frenzy of wedding planning and execution continues to grow. When the preparations reach a fever pitch, cooler heads prevail among those brides-to-be who suddenly understand that they are with the wrong person or are not ready to make a long-term commitment. It’s not merely about getting the jitters or having cold feet. Runaway brides make their decision to run away because they do not want to make the mistake of living a lie and fraudulently committing themselves to being with the wrong man for the rest of their lives.


In her article, “’Runaway Brides’ Challenge Stigma Against Unmarried Women,” Huffington Post reporter Katherine Bindley notes, “Calling off a wedding is not a decision most women make impulsively.” She cites the experience of Mandy Karo who broke up with her fiancé because her inner voice was cautioning her against getting married to him. She had known him for only eight months when she got engaged to him, but more importantly, she realized he was not the right one when he grew ever more controlling and critical of her.


Anne Milford, who wrote her own piece detailing the ins and outs of “How to Be a Runaway Bride” for the Huffington Post, advises, “If you are about to marry the wrong guy, your one and only task should be ending the relationship.” If your runaway bride ditched you in the months, or weeks, leading up to The Big Day, she did it with good reason: she eventually recognized you weren’t “The One.” Milford, a one-time runaway bride herself at 28, asks, “And finally, the most important question of all: If you could call off your wedding, free of embarrassment, hurt feelings and financial loss, would you do it? If the answer is yes, it’s time to say: ‘I don’t.’“ Hindsight often provides the keen perspective that the immediacy of a situation typically cannot. Priorities, goals and even beliefs change over time. If your runaway bride remains on the lam, let it be. Milford writes, “Forty-eight-year-old me understands what 28-year-old me did not: being alone is not the end of the world… Fortunately, I found the courage to call off the wedding before my fiancé and I made the biggest mistake of our lives.”


As you prepare to pick up the pieces and embark on a new beginning that does not include any immediate marriage plans, you should set your sights on the new horizon that looms before you. You are at a crossroads, the one that demands to know, “What do I do now that my fiancée has left me?” At this juncture, looking back is not an option for most. Sooner or later, you will find yourself with the woman you are supposed to be with, someone who will love you through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, for better or worse. After all, as Karo, former bride-to-be and executor of the broken engagement to her once controlling and critical fiancé, observes, “The rest of your life is way too long to be married to someone that doesn’t treat you right… I don’t ever want to settle, even if I’m 40 and still not married.”

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