Planning a wedding during a global pandemic

From the looks of things, none of us are going to be attending any weddings anytime soon. With ever changing restrictions and guidelines, these are uncertain times for engaged couples across the country. Many have had to put their big days on hold for a while. Niamh Talbot spoke to three young couples who’s weddings have been affected by the pandemic about how they’re handling things.

Photo taken by Julia Baerwald. Sourced from Flickr.

Peter Whelan and Fiona Fitzpatrick, from Dublin, have been together for twelve years and were engaged three years ago. After all this time, the couple were eager to tie the knot in July of this year but were unfortunately forced to postpone their wedding until May of 2021 due to coronavirus. The pair wanted to do their best to ensure the safety of their guests. “The health and safety of our friends and family have always been our priority and I think that really drove us to cancel the wedding and postpone it to another date,” said Peter. 

However this wasn’t an easy decision, and has affected plans for their future. “I feel like it’s put our entire lives on hold for a while,” Fiona said. “Cancelling the wedding not only pushed back our honeymoon, but all our future plans.”  

The pair were hoping to move to the UK at the start of 2021, but that’s since been put on hold. They had planned on the wedding as being a farewell to everyone before they moved away. “We didn’t want to move before we got married, we want to be in Ireland and have a big wedding surrounded by our family,” said Fiona.

“We just feel like we can’t move onto the next chapter of our lives until we can get married.”

Sandra Delaney and Graeme Kinsella are another couple who had been hoping to get married in August this year but have pushed the day back until April. “I do feel like it’s put a little bit of a damper on the wedding,” Sandra said. “We’re kind of at the stage where we just want to get the wedding done and over with and not have the stress of it hanging over us anymore.”

They had even hoped to have a few family members over to mark what would have been their wedding day, but after Dublin went back into level 3 restrictions this wasn’t possible. “It just feels like one thing after another being cancelled, it does get a bit disheartening I’ll be honest.”

The number of people attending the wedding has been an issue for a lot of couples, but for Sandra this is no longer a concern. “Obviously I’d love to have the big wedding I had dreamed about, but at this stage I’ll be going ahead with the wedding even if it’s just me and Graeme at the church on the day.”

However, not all couples postponed their big day, some going ahead despite the restrictions in place. Louise Kavanagh and Jimmy Mathews were married in July at Anglers Rest in Dublin. “We never really planned on having a huge wedding anyway, we couldn’t justify spending that much on one day,” said Louise.

The lifted restrictions at the time meant they could have up to 50 people attending their special day. “It was a very intimate ceremony with just close friends and family which is what I always wanted,” Louise said. “I didn’t want to spend the day going around the room talking to extended family and neighbours that I didn’t even know that well.” 

The pair did have to cancel their honeymoon abroad in Italy instead opting for a “minimoon” with hopes of a proper honeymoon next summer. “We did a staycation down in Wexford,” Louise explained, “which wasn’t exactly the Italian road trip we had in mind but we still made the most of it and had such a lovely week together.”

The City asked Louise if she had any advice for couples who are making the difficult decision of whether or not to cancel: “I think weddings have really gotten away from us in the past few years. People are spending thousands upon thousands on these huge ceremonies and after parties. I would advise people to remember what the day is really all about, getting married to the person you love and getting to spend the rest of your life with them… hopefully.”

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