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Bride left standing at the altar by priest

A bride who arrived a full 40 minutes late for her wedding at an Irish church was amazed to find she was left standing at the altar by the priest.

The Universe reports that when Melissa Kenny finally entered St Peter's church in Drogheda, Co Louth, Ireland, she saw her husband-to-be Ken Tuite but found no sign of the priest Fr Patrick McDonnell.

She was shocked to be told by friends he had decided to leave the altar and wait in the sacristy because Ms Kenny was so late.

"It was the worst moment of my life. Everyone was looking and I didn't know what to do. I was mortified" she said.

However, the unrepentant priest said members of the clergy were fed up waiting for brides who are up to 45 minutes late in some cases.

"It's all about me, me, me, the bride is not late for the meal afterwards or the hairdresser but unfortunately she is sometimes late for the wedding," he blasted. "The bride should consider the altar boys and the sacristan who are there for a long time in the church.

"It's not just the bride's day. I've seen more nervous grooms than brides at the altar. If a man is standing at the altar for more than 30 minutes, he begins to worry if the bride is coming."

The priest stressed that he was merely in the sacristy only metres away and there was never any suggestion he would refuse to marry the couple.

But the newlywed bride, who blamed her late arrival on "chronic traffic", was clearly upset.

"I couldn't afford two limos and I had to wait for the car that brought the groom to the church to arrive back. It wasn't my fault I was late" she claimed. "At that stage my nerves were gone, I had to get married, so when the priest came back out, I was relieved.

"But I won't make any apologies for being late, it was my big day and I won't forget it in a hurry. I was nervous before I arrived at the church but I was a nervous wreck when I left".

Bride is left standing at the altar by priest (The Universe)

17 Sep 2004