Tough calls to make for pandemic wedding


IN LIMBO Achill man Seán Grealis and his fiancé Rosina McBreen, from Cavan, have moved their wedding from next month to August in the hope they will be allowed 25 guests at their wedding reception.

Anton McNulty

With no change in the number of guests (six) allowed to attend wedding receptions in last Thursday’s announcement by the Taoiseach, Achill man Seán Grealis and his bride to be Rosina McBreen have no regrets with their decision to move their June wedding back to August.
The couple, who got engaged two years ago, were due to be married on June 5. They had their hearts set on the date and only reluctantly decided to move it in March to August 5 when there was little sign of restrictions being lifted.
Last week’s announcements saw the number who can attend the wedding service swell to 50 but only six can attend any wedding reception.
“Before the New Year we thought it might be fine but everything went wrong at Christmas time,” Seán told The Mayo News. “We held tight for a month for two and then we had to really talk about it. We were adamant we would go ahead with June but if we only had the six [permitted guests] we would only have our own parents there and we really wanted our siblings at it.
“To give ourselves an opportunity we decided to push it out two months and it looks a bit more positive now with the new guidelines announced. I think we will be in a better place in August and people will be more comfortable in a group of 25,” he added.
Both Seán and Rosina are secondary school teachers and are currently teaching in Dublin. For three years they lived and worked in Dubai and only returned home last July and into the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic.
When they got engaged two years ago, they were set to invite up to 200 guests for the wedding reception in the Crover House Hotel on Lough Sheelin in Rosina’s home county of Cavan.
“When we got engaged and got our date we never anticipated anything like this happening. It was when we returned to Ireland and starting back in school we got a sense this [coronavirus] is not going to be gone any time soon,” said Seán.
“I did feel it was going to be affecting the Leaving Certs so if it was going to affect the Leaving Cert it was going to affect the wedding in June. We knew before the start of the school year that it wasn’t going to be the 200 we wanted. Yes we would have like to have the big wedding but it hasn’t really bothered us that much. It is bothering us more trying to have the 25 rather than the 200.”

Whittling down the numbers
Deciding who to omit from the original list of 200 was not an easy task but Seán said they are happy they have chosen a mixture of their immediate family and close friends.
“We want to make sure we have a couple of our friends there and we have managed to accommodate as much as we can. Most of our family acknowledge we can’t invite everyone but we want to invite our friends and people we really want there. There was a few tough calls but we have to go with what we want at the end of the day,” he stated.
Like so many couples around the country, Seán and Rosina have seen many details of their dream wedding change due to the pandemic. They lost out on the non-refundable deposit from the wedding band and because of the low numbers, their wedding meal will take place in the front bar of the hotel instead of in the function room with its stunning views of Lough Sheelin.
Despite this Seán says he cannot praise the hotel management enough for the way they have accommodated them and ensured them the reception will be the same as if there were 200 at it.
Both Seán and Rosina know of friends who were due to get married last year who kept postponing the wedding in the hope the restrictions on numbers will lift. However, in many cases, the opposite occurred and the number fell from 50 last August to just six.
Whatever the summer brings, Seán says that they will be getting married in August and there will be no postponements.
“My vice principal got married in November and he had the 25 and he was delighted with it. He thought it was a better wedding with the 25 than a bigger crowd because he was able to get around and spend more time with everybody.
“We had made our peace with the idea of not having a large number at the wedding and please God we can have the 25. If we can’t get the 25 in two months we’ll just go ahead with the six.”