Weddings should be a joyous and magical occasion, but for some poor couples, their dream day actually turned into a living nightmare. Fans of Game of Thrones will know a thing or two about disastrous weddings, but we don’t expect real-life weddings to have similarly deadly consequences. Preparing to tie the knot often takes months and even years in the making, but even the most carefully planned wedding ceremony is never guaranteed to run 100% smoothly.
The worst setback most families can imagine at a wedding is a missing groom or a runaway bride, but sometimes, weddings can cause more than just embarrassment or family drama. As these horrifying wedding stories will prove, a couple’s big day can be turned upside down in ways they could never have imagined. From fatal shootings and fires to a freak plane crash, these wedding ceremonies began as happy as any other but ended in tragic circumstances that ended up costing people’s lives.
It’s natural to feel stressed and nervous about your own big day, but reading some of these horrific stories should put your own wedding jitters into perspective. The last thing you expect to do is plunge all of your guests into fear and misery on your special day, but this was the reality for the following ceremonies. Newlyweds should be looking ahead to celebrate a honeymoon and a happy life together, but most of these weddings were followed by hospital visits and funerals. Here are 15 stories of weddings that ended in tragedy.
15. The Suicide Bombing At An Iraqi Wedding
In August of 2016, a suicide bombing thought to be perpetrated by ISIS killed a total of 15 people at an Iraqi wedding and left a further 16 people with severe injuries. The wedding ceremony in Karbala was held in one of the holiest cities for Shiite Muslim gatherings and was targeted by 5 suicide bombers – four of which were killed by Iraqi security officials.
Authorities reported that one of the main attackers “sprayed” the crowd of wedding guests with automatic gunfire and threw hand grenades at the crowd before eventually detonating his suicide vest. ISIS were also connected to another wedding massacre in the same month, killing a staggering 54 people at a Turkish wedding because the groom was thought to be a member of the pro-Kurdish political party. Disturbingly in this case, it’s thought that some of the attackers were child soldiers (some as young as 12) bred to become human bombs.
14. New Bride Shot Dead On Her Honeymoon In South Africa
The wedding between British Millionaire Shrien Dewani and his Swedish bride Anni went without a hitch. The pair were married in a beautiful, lavish ceremony in Mumbai. Little did the couple know that two weeks later on their honeymoon in South Africa, Shrien’s new wife would be murdered. A man posing as the couple’s tour guide in Cape Town hijacked a taxi Mrs. Dewani was travelling in and shot her dead. To make matters worse, Mr. Dewani quickly became the prime suspect in his wife’s murder.
A string of tense text messages between the couple about Shrien’s marriage doubts led the courts to suspect Dewani of being in on the plot to murder his wife. But in reality, they were both innocent victims of South Africa’s violent criminality. As well as killing Mrs. Dewani in cold blood, the hijacker took money from the couple that was meant for a surprise helicopter ride during the honeymoon. Horrific.
13. Assault And Multiple Stabbings On Wedding Night
October 23rd 1980 was meant to be the most special day of Suzanne Latiner’s life. Instead, it will always be known as the day her parents and brother were murdered and her younger sister was raped – or as the “Dore Wedding Day Massacre” as it was printed in headlines across the UK. This waking nightmare all happened after the reception when Suzanne’s parents and brother headed out to dinner at a friend’s house. While they were out, they left behind their 18 year old daughter Nicola who wished to stay home after the long wedding reception.
Before the family returned home, an escaped offender had been watching Nicola through her bedroom window and when her parents came back, he broke into the house and set about on a killing spree that would destroy Nicola and her sister’s life forever. 42-year-old Arthur Hutchinson broke in and stabbed Suzanne’s brother Richard twice in the chest, stabbed Suzanne’s father Basil in the throat and stabbed the mother a total of 26 times. Before leaving, he raped Nicola while drenched in the blood of her family and left her alive. Unimaginable.
12. The Wedding Guest Who Played Russian Roulette
Pranks and games are usually reserved for bachelor parties instead of the big day itself. And even then, they don’t usually involve something that could actually harm somebody. Friends of the groom at a Russian wedding in 2010 obviously thought differently and decided to play a little game of Russian Roulette (as you do) at the wedding reception. The gun they used had rubber bullets instead of the real deal, but this nearly proved to be just as fatal.
During the reception of the wedding in Astrakhan in southern Russia, the groom’s close circle of friends were jokingly passing around a gun – much to the surprise of other guests. One friend of the groom put the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger, but only a clicking sound was heard. He smiled and dared someone else to try. Unfortunately for the next guy, the chamber was loaded and he was left with a life-threatening gunshot wound from a rubber bullet that fired into his skull at close range. Stupid AF.
11. The Bridal Bouquet That Caused A Plane Crash
The classic wedding tradition of a bride throwing her bouquet to her bridesmaids is meant to be a fun and harmless way of passing on her luck and good fortune on to one of her friends. Sadly, this bridal bouquet, in particular, had some very unlucky consequences for the people on board a microlight plane at an Italian wedding.
The small aircraft had been hired for the day to do the job of a bride and instead throw a bouquet of flowers from the plane to a line of female wedding guests on the ground. Unfortunately, the flowers that were due to be caught by the wedding guests below became caught in the plane’s engine, which caused it to catch fire and explode. The mini plane then crashed into a nearby hostel. Amazingly, those staying in the hostel at the time escaped the crash unharmed (as did the pilot), but the passenger throwing the bouquet came away with severe injuries. This had the potential to be much much worse.
10. Hellish Wedding With Multiple Injuries And The Death Of A Parent
Sadly, no matter how much people plan for the perfect wedding, accidents can sometimes happen and this wedding had so many tragic occurrences happening one after another that you might assume some kind of curse was upon their heads. For Paul and Vilma Cassidy from Leicester in the UK, their special day was blighted by multiple incidents that started from the time they took their vows to the final hours of their wedding reception.
First off, a 16-month-old page boy fainted in front of the bride and the groom’s elderly mother collapsed just as the wedding photos were being taken. (Looking back at that wedding album must have been pretty bittersweet for the poor couple). As the paramedics arrived for the groom’s mom, one guest received news that her father had died. If things couldn’t get any bleaker on the “happiest day of their lives,” the newly-married couple’s daughter cut her head open and their toddler son suffered a head injury after a glass cover fell on him!
9. Groom With Cold Feet Who Set Wedding Venue On Fire
In what sounds like a satirical news headline, a husband to be was so terrified at the prospect of getting hitched that he made sure there was no venue to get married in – by burning it to the ground. We’ve all heard of a bride or groom suffering last-minute doubts and wedding jitters, but it’s not everyday that you hear of someone going this far to avoid commitment! Rather than be honest to his bride-to-be, 39-year-old Tatsuhiko Kawata from Japan decided to set fire to the hotel instead.
Kawata was due to be married in front of some 80 guests the following day and the idea of going through with it filled him with so much dread that he deliberately set fire to the resort hotel in West Tokyo in the early hours of the morning. Thankfully, guests were evacuated quickly enough that no major injuries were reported, but this commitment-phobic idiot had the intent to murder hundreds of innocent people in their beds just to avoid walking down the aisle. He’s now swapped that for a walk down the aisle of a prison block.
8. Hotel Roof Collapsed During Rehearsal Dinner
John and Sarah Wenham from the UK had saved for years for their dream wedding in Cuba, only for it to be ruined the day before when the roof collapsed on them and their family. During the rehearsal dinner for their big day, everything was going to plan until the roof of the hotel lobby they were dining in collapsed, trapping the bride and groom and many of their wedding guests under heavy debris.
Sarah and many other guests were left needing multiple stitches and were lucky to escape with their lives. The worst part for the couple was the fact their two young daughters were trapped under the rubble and Sarah remembers the horrifying sound of her daughter screaming when the roof collapsed. Sarah struggled to move under the heavy debris and couldn’t get to her daughters straight away, all while blood was gushing from her head. “I genuinely thought in that moment I was going to die”. The couple went ahead with their wedding the following day – with wedding guests in leg casts, multiple stitches and a groom with fractured ribs. Ouch.
7. Mini Bus Full Of Guests Flipped Over And Killed One Of The Groomsmen
A tragic road accident on the day of their wedding meant that one couple ended up getting hitched in a venue they never expected – their local hospital. When Lauren and Tom from Indianapolis were headed downtown to get some wedding photos taken, the shuttle bus they were traveling in was hit by an SUV. The wedding party bus was hit with such speed that it flipped over in the middle of the intersection, injuring many guests and sadly killing one of the groomsmen.
In a split second, the happiest day of their lives turned into something from a horror movie as they found themselves grieving for a close friend while watching 14 of their wedding guests being taken to the emergency room. In a bid to distract from the unreal tragedy of what had just happened, the couple held a small ceremony in a conference room at the hospital and held a remembrance ceremony for their groomsmen James shortly after.
6. Bridesmaids Narrowly Escaped Death From Limo Hijacking
Upon arriving at the church venue in Massachusetts, six bridesmaids were waiting in a limo together – eagerly waiting for their cue to enter the wedding ceremony. What happened next is something none of them could have ever expected. In a moment that will probably scar them for life, a man smashed through the window of the parked limo with a hammer and threatened the driver to get out of the car. The shocked bridesmaids ran out of the limo as fast as their long gowns allowed them to and watched as the crazed hijacker sped away.
The poor shaken up bridesmaids must have been traumatized, but they headed into the church and walked down the aisle as if nothing happened. So as to not spoil the bride’s special day, they waited until the ceremony was over to tell people about the incident, by which point, the outside of the church had been cordoned off with police tape. Some newlyweds step out of the church into a sea of rice and cheers – this couple and their guests had to walk out to a crime scene.
5. Woman Murdered Husband-To-Be And Injured His Lover
It must surely suck to find out that your groom is hiding out at his girlfriend’s place on the morning you’re due to get married, but it definitely sucks more if you’re the ones getting caught. Back in 1966, bride-to-be Mildred Collins was entertaining some relatives in her home in Baltimore when she sent her fiancée out at 2 am to pick up some more rum for the party. When he didn’t show up, Mildred was told to pick him up at an address downtown the next morning at 11 AM. The scene she walked in on was shocking, but Collins was seemingly prepared for it.
When Mildred knocked on the door, she was greeted by a woman wielding a knife and shouting that her fiancée was never going to marry her. Most women would be devastated and dumbstruck as to what to do next, but because she had worked in a nightclub, Mildred carried a gun with her at all times and opened fire on the other woman, her sister, and her husband-to-be. Collins shot him dead and left the other two women with severe injuries. Collins claimed to have acted in self-defence, but this was just a case of “he had it coming.”
4. The Best Man Who Kidnapped The DJ At Gunpoint
At first, this story sounds like some kind of elaborate prank that wouldn’t seem out of place on the show Punk’d. But this crazy stunt was real and it terrified guests at a wedding in Houston (as well as confusing police months after the event). It all started shortly after Nadia Clay and Terence Simmons got hitched and the couple headed to the reception with their guests. The guests arrived at the venue, complete with their wedding DJ who was supposed to be choosing the music for the couple’s first dance together. But he was held at gunpoint instead.
Astonishingly, the attacker with an aim to kidnap the wedding DJ was the best man! As it turns out, the man the groom chose as his right-hand man for the ceremony was a last-minute replacement for his cousin and he “barely knew the guy.” This should have been a hint that this man shouldn’t have been trusted with this role, but guests could never have expected what this lunatic would do. Nobody knows why, but the stand-in “best man” pulled out a gun and fired shots in the air before grabbing the DJ and fleeing the reception. Police caught him two months later.
3. Insane Ex-Boyfriend Of Bride Fired Three Shots And Left Her For Dead
This shocking story of cold-blooded murder on a wedding day is particularly creepy, as it involves an unhinged ex posing as an invited wedding guest. In 1999, Manhattan bride Gladys Ricart was posing for some photos with her family when her ex-boyfriend Agustin Garcia crashed the party and shot Gladys three times in front of her family and most of the wedding guests.
Despite video evidence caught by a guest and a mass of horrified eyewitnesses to the contrary, Garcia came out with the most ludicrous defence for himself. Gladys’ maniac ex claims that he believed the two were still dating and that he had no knowledge of her wedding. This is a disturbing and moronic defence if ever we’ve heard one. Garcia was found to have been carrying the gun in his briefcase that day with an intent to kill. His crackpot lawyer even tried to suggest that Garcia was acting in self-defence. He is currently serving a 30 year prison sentence given to him in 2002.
2. Bride And Groom Killed By Jealous Rejected Suitor
Having your heart broken affects people in different ways, but there aren’t many who would use this as a pretext for murder – unless they were crazy. Unfortunately, some people are crazed enough to act violently in the wake of rejection and tragically, this happened during a Missouri wedding back in 1899. The couple – Frank Walker and Maud Doshorn – had exchanged their vows and were having dinner at a relatives home, when tragedy struck.
The happy family dinner was suddenly interrupted by gunfire. The buckshot pellets were fired directly through the dining room window which severely injured a young child and instantly killed the newly married couple in their dining chairs. The killer was later identified by the couple’s family as Charles Rankin – a suitor that the bride had previously rejected. The family found Rankin with his head blown off in an attempted suicide, with a note confessing to his killings after realizing he was going to hell.
1. Wedding Hall Fire Killed 64 People (Including The Groom)
In what was supposed to be a romantic and joyful Indian wedding for one couple and their 500 guests turned into a nightmarish catastrophe when the reception venue caught fire. 38-year-old Guru Raghavender and his bride were celebrating their nuptials in a large hall in their neighborhood of Srirangam, India when the thatched roof caught fire and spread quickly, engulfing the entire venue. The fire started when the wedding photographer’s equipment overheated.
The intense heat of the electric equipment perhaps inevitably ignited the thatched roofing and caused a furious blaze that claimed a total of 64 lives – one fatality of which included the recently married groom. The devastating death toll in this wedding day tragedy is a frightening reminder of how quickly fire can spread. While the majority of guests managed to escape the blaze, the effort to evacuate killed some guests in the stampede and most were killed instantly when the roof caved in.
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