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Wedding planning in 2020

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WAITING GAME Tiana Sheridan from Foxford and Ronan O’Boyle from Castlebar have to see if their wedding on December 30 can go ahead, depending on Covid-19 restrictions.

Mayo couple in Hong Kong unsure whether they can come home for Christmas wedding

Hong Kong

Edwin McGreal

For years the biggest concern about Irish weddings was the weather. Many is the Child of Prague that was sacrificed in the hope of sunshine for the big day, but in 2020, weather has been the least of concerns for prospective brides and grooms.  
Covid-19 has halted many nuptials already, and any big days planned in the coming months are faced with major uncertainty too.  
The traditional ‘big Irish wedding’ has been a casualty of Covid with the restrictions in place on indoor gatherings. The current Level 2 restrictions allow a maximum of 50 at a wedding. Only six are allowed at any wedding under Level 5 restrictions recommended on Friday last by NPHET.
For Mayo couple Ronan O’Boyle from Castlebar and Tiana Sheridan from Foxford, it is a period of huge uncertainty. They are due to get married on December 30 with the wedding in Foxford and the reception in Markree Castle in County Sligo.
Living and working in Hong Kong, they are playing a waiting game to see if their big day can go ahead.
“We’re not panicked about it. It is out of our control,” Ronan told The Mayo News. “We’re keeping an eye on how things are developing in Ireland and deciding on the basis of that. We’ve no flights booked. We’re leaving it until as late as we can to decide. Our plan is to fly on November 28 and decide in the middle of the month,” he added.
They booked their big day 20 months ago and had drawn up an initial guest list of 190 people. Under Level 2 restrictions, that would mean putting a line through 140 names. A Level 3 wedding simply won’t be going ahead.
“We would only be able to bring 25 guests to a Level 3 wedding and that’s much too tight in terms of numbers. There’s 16 in our bridal party alone, including partners,” said Ronan.
“It really is tough cutting names out but it is the same for everyone and there’s nothing we can do,” he added.

Plan B
The trip might be cancelled altogether if Ireland’s levels rise, admits O’Boyle, while any positive news in the coming weeks would come with no guarantees.
“We’re just going to see what happens. It’s very uncertain. Like, for instance, Ireland could be back to Level 2 and then two days before the wedding it could move to Level 3.
“The way we look at it, if it is Level 4 or Level 5 at home, what’s the point in going home for Christmas, even if the wedding is called off? What kind of Christmas would you have?
“A Castlebar couple we are friendly with, Stevie Keane and Emer Dolan, are in Singapore, and the two countries have opened a bubble to allow freer travel, so if we don’t go home, we might spend the Christmas with them,” said Ronan, a former Mayo minor GAA footballer and Castlebar Celtic and Mayo soccer player.
The couple have been together since their secondary school days, and they’ve lived in Hong Kong for two years now. Ronan works as a pre-construction planner for London-based JRL Group, run by Mayo man John Reddington. Tiana works in sales for American company, Blackrock Asset Management.
They have not sent out invitations yet, holding off on initial plans to send them in September. Other Mayos in Hong Kong, like Stephen Togher from Belmullet, Darren McHugh from Taugheen and Walter Ellicott from Manulla, are hoping to travel if the wedding goes ahead. So too are Ronan’s brother and sister, Ger and Lorna, who are both based in Toronto, Canada.
If they fly home as they hope to on November 28, they will quarantine before getting up and running with wedding arrangements such as the all important wedding dress, suits and any amount of other details.
Should the wedding have to be pulled, Ronan says they will probably postpone it indefinitely as there is no certainty with 2021 either.
“Back in March when Covid-19 was first hitting Ireland, we thought we’d be okay by the end of the year. It hasn’t turned out like that.
“We’re taking it as it comes. It is out of our control, we’re just going to sit tight and see what happens in the coming weeks. That’s all we can do.”