IT'S meant to be the happiest day of your life...

Yet new figures obtained exclusively by Newsquest Cumbria show that wedding days are sadly not always the joyous and dignified occasion the bride and groom hoped for.

In the four years up to the end of last year, Cumbria police responded to reports of 'incidents' during weddings across the county 84 times.

Some 36 of those call-outs were classed as emergencies.

The figures were provided in response to a Freedom of Information request. Police confirmed that 13 people were arrested as a result of the call-outs.

The allegations involved ranged from serious assaults causing actual bodily harm to criminal damage and public order offences.

The figures also reveal how many times the police were called out to funerals: over the same four years, between 2016 and 2020, officers were called to funerals 28 times.

This included 11 incidents classed as emergencies.

One man who has had long experience of weddings and funerals is Canon David Sargent, Penrith Team Rector based at the town's St Andrew's Church.

He stressed that such a catastrophic outcome at weddings and funerals is rare. "I've been ordained for just coming up to 25 years," he said. "This sort of thing has never crossed my horizon.

He recalled presiding over one funeral - not in Cumbria - where the two families involved were considered notorious locally. "But absolutely nothing kicked off," he said.

"There might be issues in some bigger urban areas but as far as I am concerned in Penrith over the last 15 years it's never been an issue. Funerals are particularly a time when families are sometimes understandably very upset.

"Old hurts can come to the surface. But my experience is that people handle themselves with dignity the majority of the time. Most people have a deep sense of propriety."

When drink is involved, those who feel there may be a dispute should perhaps absent themselves early from the proceedings, added Canon Sargent. The call-outs for both weddings and funerals over the last four years have been evenly spread across the county, the figures show.