YouTuber and best-selling author Melanie Murphy had to cancel her wedding amid the COVID-19 crisis. Here, she speaks to Caitlin McBride about her last minute decision to reschedule and announcing her pregnancy
Like all brides, Melanie Murphy was looking forward to celebrating one of the biggest milestones in her life surrounded by family and friends.
But, like hundreds of other couples in Ireland and around the world, she had to make a pain-staking decision to cancel her dream wedding in favour of a smaller ceremony amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Ms Murphy is a well-known YouTuber and best-selling author and had documented her upcoming nuptials to pilot Thomas O'Rourke at length on her social media channels.
Their big day, which was scheduled to take place last Saturday at Wicklow's Ballybeg House, has been postponed indefinitely and instead celebrated with just two guests and a celebrant at a Dublin Registry Office.
"We really made the most of the 'official bit' because the big day had to be called off! It was simple, personal, special...stripping it all back made us realise that all the other frills aren't important," she told the Irish Independent.
"Of course, we were really disappointed at first, but we celebrated our love regardless of all that's going on, and we plan on taking this resilience into our future together."
Their original plans had been to engage in the legal requirement at the registry office and marking the reception with a humanist ceremony in which her aunt was celebrant.
Throughout their one-year engagement, they had hand-picked a medieval-style room, selected a poem which would be read by a bridesmaid, and had chosen a hand-fasting ceremony and warming of the rings.
Every little detail was considered, but they decided they couldn't go ahead with it "in good conscience" after Government directives were introduced to minimise social interaction as the coronavirus pandemic hit Ireland.
"The registry office ceremony was super short and rather formal, not at all what we had in mind. We added in one reading, by my brother, and a little walking-down-the-aisle song so that my dad could still take part, but otherwise, it was nothing like our planned wedding," she said.
Ms Murphy, who took her husband's surname legally but will operate under her maiden name professionally, said her honest advice to couples is to postpone.
"We have no idea how long this is all going to go on for and to go ahead with such a big social gathering would be to willingly put loved ones at risk, to go against Government advice," she explained.
"It is such a difficult decision when there's so much on the line but the stress of having people pulling out and of associating such a special day with a horrible virus...it's not worth it. Have a simple ceremony if possible and kick the big day down the road, that's what we're doing. We'll still have our massive celebration but when the time is right!"
As for when the timing will be right remains to be seen as Ms Murphy has a looming deadline for her third book and announced on Friday that she is three months pregnant with her first child.
"Re-organising a wedding certainly isn't high on my list of priorities, especially now that we're married. I have my husband, he has me, we're focusing on that and on work and on the baby, for now," she said.
Walking through Dublin city centre with Darren Kennedy, you feel like you’re in an Irish episode of Queer Eye. Quare Eye, you might call it. For the straight guy — we bump into Craig Doyle, who immediately gets a full skin and haircare audit. For the gay guy — Darren marches me down to a pharmacy on Grafton Street and buys me a selection from his own range, which he then demonstrates right there on the street (“work it from the roots right through to the tips”). And for everyone in between (“I honestly can’t remember who he is,” he confesses through clenched teeth, as another fan waves to him across the restaurant).