Waiting it out: Ceremony on hold amid crisis
When Aislinn Fell woke up on the morning of May 29 and saw the gloriously sunny weather outside, her heart sank. One of the hottest days of the year, it was picture-perfect conditions for an Irish wedding.
But the 32-year-old, who works in HR, and her project manager fiancé Fionn Power, had been forced to postpone the original date for their big day as the Covid-19 pandemic continued to wreak havoc on people's lives.
"I was praying it would rain on the day but the weather was glorious, just perfect," she explained.
She had been due to tie the knot that day with her fiancé of two years, whom she has known since she was 15.
Both from Waterford, they have been together for eight years.
He surprised her with a proposal on the eve of her 30th birthday.
Aislinn and Fionn were due to have 130 of their closest family and friends join them at the Haven hotel in Dunmore East for their €15,000 wedding followed by a honeymoon spent hiking in Norway.
But as the spring progressed and Government limitations on weddings remained unchanged - as have the social-distancing restrictions - they decided to postpone it until July and then September. That was the month they were due to emigrate and start their new lives in Canada, plans that have also been put on the long finger.
Now Aislinn and Fionn have accepted that their dream wedding, which was also meant to be a farewell party, is just not on the cards for 2020 and they have postponed it until April 2021.
Ms Fell accepts it's a decision that has been taken out of their hands by the pandemic, but admits there is some disappointment about having to effectively put their lives on hold for a year.
"I've rearranged the date now three times," she said. "We're both in our 30s and we had a set plan for our lives together. We were going to go to Canada, we were saving for a mortgage, we want to have kids in the next couple of years.
"So there's a whole sequence of events there that have to be put on hold now."
Aislinn explained how they also had lots of guests coming in from overseas, so there was a sense of urgency when it came to making a final decision on their big day to give people enough notice to change their travel arrangements.
The uncertainty surrounding the Covid crisis just added extra stress to all her wedding plans, but she still has her hopes pinned on eventually having a big celebration with her long-term partner.
Although some of her friends are pushing ahead with their scaled-down weddings, the idea of a 'micro wedding' wasn't for her.
"I didn't want a small wedding, as lovely as they are," she continued.
"I come from a big family and we have lots of mutual friends. We wanted to have a big wedding, with that great atmosphere and everyone enjoying themselves and dancing away and that crowd element of it.
"My father said to me, even before the lockdown, that I may have to postpone my wedding.
"At that stage, I was very defensive about it. I had a five-year plan, I was going to stick to it.
"But then I had to postpone my hen in March and then it started to look like the wedding might not happen. I spoke to the hotel and Karen, the manager there, was amazing about it, letting me postpone.
"So we pushed it out until July and then again until September, but then there was talk of the potential of a second wave so we decided to just postpone it until April next year."
"If things are still bad then, we'll just do a small thing," she said.
She is philosophical about what has happened and accepts that everyone has to make personal sacrifices in the face of the crisis.
"I just got so tired of trying to reorganise everything, but Covid and what's going on takes precedence," she said.
"It was disappointing because it totally changes what we had planned. Hopefully, we'll get our day in the end."
THE restaurant where Leo Varadkar and partner Matthew Barrett enjoyed their first meal out after lockdown has slated Government restrictions, saying the measures will wipe up to another 30pc off trade.
In the end, they had no choice - the pubs had to be sacrificed to ensure the schools could open. The fear is that the current resurgences of the coronavirus would continue to increase in the coming weeks and eventually make it near impossible to safely open schools.