What it's like to have your wedding cancelled due to coronavirus

We spoke to two brides-to-be who had to cancel their weddings in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. From telling families to dealing with suppliers, they are here to help other couples facing similar decisions over the coming months

Dearbhla Toal


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"It wasn't an easy decision by any means, but as the news broke of the two-week isolation request and cases increasing day by day, we knew we were going to have to start thinking about it. I am a very risk-averse person by nature, my fianceé, on the other hand, is the opposite.

So in uncertain times like these, we did have to work together to try to come to a conclusion that we were both happy with. The health and safety of my friends and family have always been my priority and I think that really drove me to cancel the wedding and postpone to another date. My own mother falls under the 'vulnerable' category so we did not want to put her in danger or anyone else with vulnerable loved ones.

In my opinion, we had two options. Have a small intimate ceremony and dinner and then plan a party later in the year or completely postpone the wedding in its entirety to a later date. We finally decided that postponing to a later date was our preference. We wanted all 300 guests to be given the invite and the option to be with us on our special day.

We used a postponing checklist to make sure everything was covered when it came to rearranging and cancellations."

Postponing checklist:

  1. Check with your venue for a few dates. Don't overwhelm yourself with too many, we factored in friends and family weddings and narrowed down 3 months in the next year we would like to reschedule to.
  2. Check with the church or civil service for available dates. This was so important to me as the church held equal importance to my venue so I needed to make sure the dates aligned.
  3. Think of the core suppliers you don’t want to have your day without and run the dates you have chosen with them. This will help you narrow down to one final date.
  4. Make a decision on what date you want your new wedding to be on.
  5. Contact the rest of the suppliers to check their availability.
  6. Check insurance. In the event that some suppliers are not willing to move your deposit to a new date or they are not available on your new date, then check your insurance to see if you are covered for this loss.
  7. Contact guests. Let your guests know via text, WhatsApp, and social channels to get the message to them as soon as possible. We wanted our overseas guests to know asap. You can send an e-vite or physical invite closer to the time.
  8. Cancel accommodation for suppliers and guests
  9. Check wedding details and what has been happening lately that needs taken care of. For example, my dress is in with alterations, Harry's suit is being made, wedding accessories with engraved dates in production. Touch base with these suppliers and let them know you're postponing
  10. Cancel or postpone all plans for a honeymoon. We are taking the no-travel guidelines very seriously so we are going to plan our honeymoon at a later stage.

"Once all this is done ask for up-to-date contracts from everyone and finalise all outstanding details. Then take a deep breath and relax.


We were very fortunate that we picked a date that suited all of our original suppliers so we were able to move our date with no issues. Suppliers in the wedding industry have blown me away with their empathy and compassion during this time."

Orlaith McCarthy

"The 4th of April this year was to be my wedding day. A day I have dreamed about all of my life like so many other people.

"I suppose the 4th of April was to be more than a wedding day for us for different reasons. I was unfortunate enough to have been involved in a very serious road traffic accident earlier this year. Being completely honest, I was lucky to have survived the accident. It really was a miracle. So, I have some perspective. I am alive. I am here. And I can and will get married on another date – I have the ability to reset.

"I hear that many couples are cancelling, postponing and rescheduling their weddings for different dates later in the year. Yes, it is hard and it is upsetting but we will all have our big day. We, like so many others, would love for all of our guests to be well and be able to attend. We don’t want anyone to be afraid to venture outside of their homes and travel during these uncertain times. The threat of the coronavirus is ever-present, but almost completely invisible to the naked eye.

"This is bigger than all of us. As event organisers we all have a social and ethical responsibility to ensure that our guests will be safe and virus-free.

"We, like so many other couples, have family members and friends working at the front line of our health care service. Our collective focus as a nation should be on supporting the everyday heroes who have to go to work.

"Their offices do not close. As this pandemic inevitably spikes, they will work harder and longer hours and shifts in tougher conditions. They will not waiver in their commitment to their patients. They will report for work and keep going in so far as they possibly and physically can. Let us all remember that we all have our own role to play.

"I would like to sincerely thank our wedding venue – Darver Castle in Co. Louth and all of our suppliers who have literally bent over backward to make themselves available for our new wedding date. We have been overwhelmed by the genuine and speedy efforts made by our larger and smaller suppliers. I have never been to a Catholic Church wedding on a Sunday – but as our priest said these are unusual times and we can begin our dream again. There is always a first time for everything.

"I am sure we won’t be the only couple getting married on a Sunday later this year.

"For anyone in the difficult and unenviable position of having to rearrange or cancel your wedding, my best advice is: stay calm, watch the advice from the Government and communicate with all of your suppliers. The wedding industry is struggling too. In our experience, they were all more than happy to work with us to come up with workable solutions. Wedding suppliers need business too so they will actively work with you. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with them.

"I have my fingers crossed that I will be the 'Dancing Queen' in six months’ time at my wedding and that, quite simply, will be my silver lining."

Image: Rashida Keenan


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