49-yr-old mother-of-seven Leissa Williams had invited her 22-yr-old troubled niece, Shileen Cotter, for her wedding to 48-yr-old Brian Williams
The bride said she regretted her decision after her niece launched a violent attack on her and other wedding guests. Williams said she punched in the face by Shileen, who also pulled her hair and tore her white wedding gown.
"Our wedding was supposed to go without a hitch - it was important to me that all our closest friends and family were there to celebrate with us, " the bride said recalling the unfortunate incident.
Leissa and Brian said they wanted a quiet and stress-free wedding in a small venue. The couple met on a dating website and dated for three months before getting engaged.
"I'd suffered a mini-stroke just weeks before the big day and I wanted to enjoy myself without too much effort or the likelihood that things could go wrong," the bar worker said.
Leissa said she was having 'two minds about inviting Shileen' but thought it was a 'nice thing to do' because of her turbulent childhood. She even let her bring a friend for company.
"I've known her since she was in her mum's belly - me and her mum were great friends as well as relatives by marriage. I was married to Shileen's mum's brother,' she said. 'Shileen had always been a handful - when she hit her teens she'd run away and come to my house where I'd try and talk some sense into her and send her home."
"She was a law unto herself - she bunked off school and was always causing a nuisance and having a row with someone or another,"
"Shileen was left to her own devices while they went out to the pub or drank at home. She was given total freedom which she abused terribly. Before long she was in trouble with the law, " she added.
The mum of seven still kept in touch with her troubled niece despite divorcing her husband and after Shileen's mother and father passed away.
Leissa's niece showed up on her wedding day and the bride said she knew something was wrong.
"It was clear she wasn't in a fit state. She was swaying and slurring and soon she started to pick fights outside,' she said. 'It was about 10.30pm when she started to really make trouble.
"She was throwing glass bottles at the wall - smashing them for a laugh and my son told her to calm down. Then she started arguing with him and held a smashed bottle up to threaten him with. A friend of mine managed to calm her down but that wasn't the end of it.
"Soon she was yelling at some kids across the road who had just come out of the kebab shop. She yelled over the road at them: "What are you staring at? Keep looking and I'll stick that fork in your eye". And as it escalated she hit one of the girls," the newlywed recalled.
Her wedding was being turned upside down and Leissa knew she had to do something about it, she went out to tell her niece to go home but got more than what she expected.
"I walked straight up to her and said if you won't leave I'm going to call the police. I told her to shape up - that this was no way to act at my wedding.
"My poor husband didn't know what he had married into - I was embarrassed and just wanted her to leave. When she continued kicking off I started to walk away, making to call the police."
It was then that Shileen leapt at her. "She pounced on my back, hitting me over the head and screaming at me," she said. "I fell to the ground and she carried on hitting me, she was yelling: "Calling the police are you?!"
"She even grabbed my hair and smashed my head into the wooden door frame of our reception venue. Her eyes were so black with nothing behind them, it was like she was possessed or on drugs - she was not the Shileen I knew."
Leissa was left 'bloodied and crying' after they were separated when the police arrived. "My special day was ruined by a girl I had known her whole life," she said.
"Photographs were taken of my injuries - cuts and bruises and a big lump on my head - and I was able to go home and take a long hot shower,"
"I hung up my ripped dress and thanked my lucky stars that I wasn't more injured. She went for me like a savage animal. Who knows what she was capable of."
"Brian and I tried to enjoy our honeymoon period but things between us weren't right, He blamed me for inviting Shileen knowing that she could be trouble.
"And I had to spend our mini-moon in Weston Super Mare walking around with two black eyes. People were staring accusingly at my new hubby. It was mortifying, we spent most of the time in our room watching tele. Poor Brian didn't dare touch me the whole weekend because I was so bruised and battered," she continued.
The couple decided to press charges to teach her niece a lesson.
"I just hope that this will teach her a lesson,' she said. 'I know she's had a rough life but that's no excuse for how she behaves.
"I'm just so lucky that Brian has been there for me so we can still look back on our special day and smile. Before 10pm the day had gone just as we'd planned with lots of lovely moments to treasure. We were so happy I could never have imagined the way it would all end, " Leissa said.
During the court proceedings, it was revealed that Shileen had mental health difficulties.
"I spent years giving Shileen the benefit of the doubt but from now on that stops.
"I sometimes feel guilty about seeing this attack go through court but when I think that she has never even apologised that guilt completely disappears. She could have ruined my marriage before it even began.
"I hope that in the future she can turn her life around and find some happiness. I don't wish ill of her I am just so glad that she is not in my life any more," Leissa said.
Her niece managed to escape jail after admitting two counts of common assault. Shileen was banned from contacting her aunt and also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay a £300 compensation.