‘Messed up’: Chaos as wedding crashed
Weddings are known for being eventful.
Before a bride has even walked down the aisle, there's usually a pretty frantic build-up involving hair and make-up, arriving at the venue and, of course, battling any nerves or emotions.
But usually once the ceremony is over, everyone can kick back and enjoy the party, which often starts with a delicious feed and ends on the dancefloor.
However, for Melbourne couple Kareem and Heba, their big day didn't follow a very traditional path - as just after the pair had enjoyed their first dance, their wedding was caught in the crossfire of a dramatic police operation.
"It was the worst night, and it was meant to be the best night of my life," Heba told A Current Affair.
Dozens of police - including squad members from the elite Public Order Response Team - had been responding to a group of teens causing havoc along the tram line.
But when they jumped off the tram, it occurred outside the couple's wedding venue, just as their guests were sending them off from their reception.
Video footage from guests shows the scene quickly descended into chaos, as officers sprayed pepper spray onto the unruly crowd that was now mixed with innocent wedding guests.
"Instead of tears of joy, there were tears of pain," Kareem told the cameras.
As police battled to control the youths, the tangled wedding group said they were left fearing for their lives.
Several guests can be heard screaming in agony on footage filmed on guests' phones, as the bride - who had earlier looked picture perfect - was left dishevelled and in tears. Guests were desperately washing their faces with water and saline to remove the painful, debilitating spray from their eyes. It was so bad, some even had panic attacks, the pair said.
"To tell you the truth, I thought I was going to die," Heba said, recalling the distressing details.
Earlier, the wedding had been everything the couple had dreamt of, with joyful memories of food, loved ones and dancing.
"But I don't have that night, it was all messed up," Heba added.
Jeremy King, the principal of law firm Robinson Gill lawyers, told A Current Affair the force police used needed to match the level of threat.
"OC spray is really serious stuff - I can't emphasise that enough, and it can have really serious consequences on people, particularly if you're elderly, if you have breathing problems or if you're a young child," Mr King said.
"There are a lot of police there - you can't tell me there's not a better way of doing it."
For the couple, all they are left with are tainted memories - even Heba's wedding dress is ruined.
Police arrested two 16-year-olds that night from the group, while the couple are left with a night they'll never forget - just for all the wrong reasons.