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Wedding day blues as couple forced to postpone big day

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Aoife Chapman and Nicky Haberlin from Mountross, who had to cancel their wedding due to Covid-19,
with their son Sam.

Aoife Chapman and Nicky Haberlin from Mountross, who had to cancel their wedding due to Covid-19, with their son Sam.

Aoife Chapman and Nicky Haberlin from Mountross, who had to cancel their wedding due to Covid-19, with their son Sam.

Aoife Chapman was due to marry her soul mate, Nicky Haberlan, on the Saturday of the May bank holiday weekend and had every detail planned to a T, but it wasn't to be due to Covid-19.

With 240 invites sent out, she had been looking forward to her big day for two years and had already spent around €6,000. In the end, her only option was to get changed into her wedding dress in a registry office bathroom and have a short ceremony in front of immediate family.

As the days ticked down to May 2, she was busy making preparations, including getting her wedding dress and organising a band and a DJ, but when the restrictions were announced she - like all brides-to-be in Ireland this spring and summer - was left with a real dilemma.

'My Dad [Jim] lives in Australia so he wouldn't have been able to make the wedding. When we postponed it, we felt relief. Beforehand it was really hard. I got a bit upset. We had been saving for so long but if any of our family had gotten sick [at the wedding] how would we feel? I wanted to be that bride waiting at the end of the aisle hugging people who'd be congratulating you.'

The couple are together six years. 'We are both from town and met through friends. We knew each other long before we got together.'

Aoife and Nicky announced their engagement at their son Sam's christening in August 2018.

Aoife had her hen party in February and Nicky was supposed to go to Swansea for his stag party on the weekend before St Patrick's Day. He didn't go in the end, opting for a night out at Spider O'Brien's pub instead with friends.

Aoife and Nicky decided in mid-March to postpone their wedding. The fun loving couple are known to be the life and soul of the party and are the first up singing at social events.

The reception was due to take place at Riverbank House Hotel, with music by Route 66 and Jim FitzGibbon booked as DJ.

'The whole emphasis of the wedding was about us becoming a family and celebrating that with a civil ceremony at the Riverbank House Hotel.'

A former member of New Ross Musical Society, Aoife had invited many society members and was excited about having a sing along with them in the hotel function room.

She had also picked her wedding dress, which is currently with an alterations lady.

'She has been told not to take anything in! All this sitting around isn't great,' Aoife joked.

The bridesmaid dresses were also arranged.

'Our suppliers were amazing. We have changed the date twice: to October 2020 and then to October 2021. They came back to us every time within 24 hours and were absolutely amazing.'

Photographer Shane O'Connor of OC Photography in New Ross and a videographer had been booked and both said they will try to accommodate the new date.

'I know of a lot of other brides who didn't have such a positive experience. We spent six grand. We chose October 2021 as we wanted to make sure that this was all completely gone. Everything is too much up in the air at the moment.'

Nicky and Aoife had booked a three-night break as a mini honeymoon and had planned a family holiday in September.

Aoife said her 'wedding day' on May 2 was difficult.

'It's hard to look at the bigger picture sometimes. That Friday evening and Saturday was tough and it was especially tough as we were in the middle of the lockdown which meant we couldn't go out for a nice meal or have a night with family and friends, but they came to our wall with presents. My Mam made me a "It's not a wedding cake". By three or four on Saturday we had the mindset that the wedding would be over by now anyway.'

Aoife and Nicky exchanged presents. Aoife gave a poem she had written for him for her wedding speech and put into a book. Nicky presented Aoife with a book of contributions from people who were going to speak at the wedding.

They were overwhelmed by the kind gestures and loved the wine bottle holder from Nick's mother Gertie.

They are philosophical about the wedding having been arranged, focussing instead on the positives in their lives - their son Sam (2) being front and centre in this regard.

'Hopefully he will be able to do a bit of talking when we eventually get married. In October 2021 we might have the wedding we had planned. We are lucky we have our house and our boy so that puts things in perspective. So long as he is healthy and everyone is well, that's all that matters.

'For any other bride and groom it's going to be tough. I have two friends who are still planning on getting married in July but I don't think they can do it in comfort. Like everyone else, we're coping and doing things we never would have before like having Zoom parties with close friends and family.'

New Ross Standard