Church wedding

Wedding hopefuls hail end of Covid guest limit

Ashley Maguire had sleepless nights last week as he wondered if he and his fiancée Hannah McKenna should, by the 11th hour, disappoint one of 210 guests who were due to attend their wedding in Co Leitrim on Saturday.

He said Lough Rynn Castle, which hosts the reception, “kept saying ‘stay positive’ – but they weren’t the ones who would call people up saying ‘sorry, you can’t come after all. ‘”.

McKenna was not at all surprised when the government announced that today will mark the end of coronavirus-related limits on the number of guests.

Throughout the pandemic, as allowed attendance dropped from six to 25 to 50 and ultimately to 100, she remained confident. Her father, Oliver, is one of 17 children, 15 of whom survive, so Co Monaghan’s teacher would never have agreed to make her big day on a smaller scale.

Maguire, an accountant, said his father came from a family of nine, so many aunts and uncles were going to be disappointed if, as many had predicted, the limit stayed at 100.

“Hannah’s mother, Eithne, passed away in 2019 before we got engaged and she kept saying her mother looked down on us and would fix things. Hannah remained calm, calm and serene, ”he said.

Relaxation of restrictions

Maguire, on the other hand, had to refrain from watching updates on his phone as the number of cases skyrocketed and speculation grew that a delay in easing restrictions was imminent.

“I was going through the guest list in my head thinking who would we cancel and when would we call them,” said Corcaghan native Co Monaghan, who was stressed out about offending people who wouldn’t. the cup.

The couple booked the date ahead of the December 2019 pandemic and have since seen other people’s marriages either canceled or continued with a small number present.

“We could have gone down to 100 but we never wanted that. Hannah always wanted a fairytale wedding, so we stuck to the plan,” Maguire said.

Ruth Conlon, director of sales and marketing at Lough Rynn Castle, has seen wedding plans change several times over the past 20 months.

“We had couples who went ahead with six guests and we opened the castle for eight,” she said. “We have had couples about to get married in April, who postponed it to July and then to December. Some have moved [the date] five times . It has been a complete roller coaster ride.

However, some couples saw the foreclosure rules as a blessing and took the opportunity to have a low-key wedding without having to offend extended family, neighbors, or acquaintances they felt compelled to invite.

“We picked up additional weddings this way,” she said. “People called and said I never wanted a big day, but this is my opportunity to marry only 25 people.”

Marlena McKenna and Paul Ennis, of Dunboyne in Co Meath, say it was a coincidence that they chose today, the day the restrictions are due to the easing, as their wedding date.

Stress and worry

Normally they would have invited up to 160 people, but don’t regret sticking with the 100 who will join them at Lough Rynn Castle after the ceremony at St Patrick’s Church, Mohill.

“We couldn’t count on the government to lift the restrictions because they have already changed their minds,” Marlena said. “We didn’t want to invite people and then maybe have to uninvite them. There is plenty to stress about without having to worry about it.

The couple had a son, Liam, who is now 13 months old, during the lockdown, so they had a lot on their minds aside from the ever-changing rules on marriages.

“We are very lucky because it was always our date and luckily we never had to cancel,” she said. “We knew 2021 was going to be very busy for weddings with so many cancellations last year and we feel lucky we got the date. . . we are just looking forward to the day now.

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