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Couple Crushed After Friend Refuses To Let Them Use Their Owl As Ring Bearer For ‘Harry Potter’-Themed Wedding

Steven Moore / EyeEm via Getty Images

Themed weddings are fun–and the temptation to go all-out is powerful.  When you are already spending a ton of money per person, it makes sense to just go 100% for the theme, right?

Well, not always, as Redditor Grouchy_Shelter_5221 found while dealing with some friends who had a Harry Potter themed wedding.  As a professional falconer, they asked the Redditor to use an owl to fly the ring.

After he said no and was surprised by their powerful reactions, he went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for feedback from objective strangers:

“AITA for refusing to let my friends use my owl as a ringbearer in their wedding?”

Our original poster, or OP, explained their role in the drama:

“I am a Falconer and perform in Falconry shows with my owls. There is some debate in the community over owls being used but it has gained a lot of traction over the years and I find my owls are easier to manage for me personally than my other birds were.”

“My friend is having a Harry Potter themed wedding and is begging to have me work with one of my owls to have the ring flown down the aisle to them bringing up how well trained they are and how it will really sell the moment.”

“Now, in theory this could be done after all 9 times out of 10 they’ll do exactly as I want it’s just the 1 time i’m worried about and I don’t exactly want to take that risk with wedding rings.”

“I explained my concerns to my friend and said it wasn’t a risk i’d advise they take, I offered as an alternative me coming with all my owls and helping them and the guests take pictures with them and maybe even do a little brief flying show as a gift to them.”

“My friend is upset with me saying she has seen how well i’ve trained them and has complete confidence they wont mess up, and how this would be such a huge thing for the wedding.”

“It’s their risk to take I guess but I a just not entirely comfortable with this….am I the a**hole for saying no? should I just agree but stress that if a f**k up happens it’s not on me as I warned them?”

Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Redditors were 100% with OP–an owl could be a dangerous variable for a wedding day.

“NTA. There’s an old saying ‘If in doubt, don’t.’ This applies here. You are under no obligation to agree to their request for whatever reason.”

“Simply decline. If they can’t accept it and your friendship suffers then they weren’t as good of a friend as you thought they were.”

“They should respect your decision instead of being upset with you.”-LoveBeach8

“NTA – They are YOUR birds and you care for them. They are also animals, not props.”

“All that being said, Intelligent people at weddings DO NOT use the actual rings for such times.”

“Kids drop them, don’t ‘perform’ in front of others as expected, and many other things happen that would cause something valuable and “precious” (pun intended) from not being available at the proper moment.”

“SO, if your primary concern is losing the rings, make sure that the best man has the real ones on his ‘wand.’ Maybe why he’d be called the BEST man – LOL.”-Smitty_80013

“NTA. They asked you said no.”

“I mean wouldn’t you have to take the time to train the owl to fly to whoever is at the other end of the aisle, drop off the package, and fly back?”

“So you’d need to train for a new trick or train for adjusting a current trick and train the owl to fly to a new person, right?”

“All of that takes time and isn’t 100% guaranteed to happen on the day of show time. thats a big ask and risk with the real rings involved.”

“You’ve suggested a great alternative and probably even suggested to do it with prop rings. If they still insist with the real rings and you do say yes ask them to sign a waiver to protect yourself.”

“Friends or not that’s a big risk that could leave you footing the bill (because some friends forget that they are actually at fault for things that involve big money items being lost or damaged).”-FuzzySquish_123

“NTA. Speaking as a wedding celebrant (and part-time owl enthusiast), I get anxious when dogs are acting as ringbearers – because no matter how well-trained they are, there’s always some scope for things to go wrong.”

“See: the time I was attacked because the bride and groom were crying and I was picked out as the responsible party by a ‘perfect’ German shepherd in a veil and tiara.”

“The scope for things to go wrong with something that has wings and talons is….wider. It also seems like a weird/stressful environment for the owl to be in, even outdoors, and the alternative you offered sounds extremely generous.”-eisnanka

Too many risks were involved in bringing live wild animals to deal with jewelry.

“NTA — you know best about how to handle the owls.”

“However… it’s such a cool idea. Why not put the rings in a distinctive box or bag and make a matching dummy container for the owl to actually carry?”

“Then a quick sleight of hand at the other end and the real box is pulled out and traded from a pocket or somewhere in the owl stand or wherever makes sense.”

“That way, no risk to owl or rings and you still get a great show.”-thesparrohawk

“NTA. I have seen the results of an owl deciding to land on someone’s head (first aid attendant). It is not something you want at a wedding.”

“Also the stress on the bird. They are a living creature that you can protect and care for with doing pictures but this is too unpredictable for both human and owl wellbeing.”CatAnne119

“NTA animals are never 100% predictable, and this would be an unfamiliar situation for your owl, as I assume the wedding will take place in a church or other building, and most shows probably take place outside.”

“Which would make its reaction even more unpredictable. If anything happens to the ring, you can bet the bride will blame you.”

“If she wants to have an owl fly with the rings so much, she can find another Falconer.”-Julie1412

“I work at a ren faire, and we have some falconer acts occasionally. They always give the caveat that ‘well folks, this is a new place, and lots of ruckus, we’ll hope for the best but remember these are still wild animals no matter how well they’re trained'”

“I’d say 80% of the time the shows went off without a hitch. Once in a while though the birds would just Not Be Having It, and fly off to a tree nearby or they would refuse to do their routines.”

“Your friend doesn’t understand that reality of working with animals – she thinks you’re lying bc you don’t want to do it, and even though you’ve given her a great compromise that will be much more special than the ring bird flying away with a few month’s rent worth of metal and jewels.”

“NTA (or N A H if your friend comes around and accepts your answer without much more fuss)”-SanoSS7

Also, owls have sharp talons, beaks, and a wicked sense of territory, so they could potentially cause other issues as well.

“NTA- your owls are your responsibility and so is their welfare, not her wedding. You’ve gone above and beyond in what your offering to compensate not doing what your friend wishes.”

“Your friend either needs to respect your decision and accept the counter-offwr or look at another company that could do what she wants.”-Dramatic-Dish8009

“NTA. This isn’t a movie. It’s a live, unpredictable animal who poops! What if it poops on her dress? Or scratches one of them up? Or what if it freaks out?”

“Like the other post, I’d ask them if they would sign a document stating the risks and that you will not be responsible in the event that rings are lost, dropped, or eaten by the owls.”

“I’d also put in there that if anything happens to the owl, they will be responsible for all vet bills related to the event.”-omnixe-13c

“NTA Totally understandable. My cousin was a ring bearer when he was 5 and swallowed the ring before the ceremony because he was bored.”

“A lot can happen to a ring when the person or animal holding it doesn’t understand the importance of it.”

“Unrelated question, how did you get into handling birds? Being a falconer was my dream job as a kid but my mom was mortally terrified of birds and never let me get near them.”

“Now that I’m older I always wanted to get back into it but I feel like I missed my chance.”-polywha

“NTA while this is a super magical and cute idea it may not entirely be safe or practical.”

“If the owl decides to land instead of dropping the rings and flying back then either the groom or the bride is going to have huge claw marks all down their arms on their special day as I’m assuming neither of them accounted for protective arm gear over their wedding attire.”

“In addition to that, what if the owl decides the walk up to the stage is the perfect place to drop a poo? The offer for pictures and a flying show was more than generous and your friend should be grateful you offered even that.”

“If you do decide to go through with the ring ceremony then have them and anyone else going to be handling/directly interacting with the owls sign a waiver stating you are not responsible for any injury or mishaps caused by the owls.”

“Have that waiver notarized as well. I think it would be a lot better if they had you be the ring bearer and the owl could fly to you and land.”

“You can carry the owl on you as you present the rings to the couple then walk the owl back down the aisle or along the side of the pews as to not draw too much attention and put the owl back in a carrier.”

“I hope this goes well for you and if you do decide to involve the owls in the wedding, personally I’d love to see. I’m a huge harry potter nut.”-Dios-De-Pollos

“NTA. You are the owl expert. You have to insist they pay heed. And they can not force you to do anything.”

“If you let them make you then it will not matter how much you warned them, other people and they are likely to think it’s your fault.”

“So insist on just doing the owl photo opportunities.”

“I can not imagine a more important thing in the wedding than a ring, and anyone suggesting risking the outcome of that to an animal is patently barmy. Don’t do it!”-Xidore9001

“NTA – You know the birds better than them and are honest about what could go wrong.”

“Just cause she has confidence they won’t mess up doesn’t make that risk go down. Plus you’ve even offered a workable alternative.”

“In any case, if you end up doing it their way, make sure they’re super clear in writing (whether in a messaging chat or actual contract) about what they are getting themselves into.”

“If that 10% risk actually happens, hopefully they’re cool enough to take it as a funny story to tell their kids.”-VampireFlorin

While it was a magical idea, OP may have to return to his friends with an even harder “no” than last time.

Hopefully no friendships will end from the lack of owls at this wedding.


Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.