Wedding capacity limits lifted: A good day but the ‘cuts have run deep’

Planner says there will be ‘fallout for years’ from weddings where guests were uninvited

Tara Fay has conducted monthly Instagram live chats with wedding couples throughout the restrictions

The lifting of the cap on wedding guest numbers has come as a huge source of relief with wedding planners indicating the “cuts have run deep” when couples were left with no choice but to uninvite friends and even family members to their nuptials arising out of changing Covid 19 restrictions.

Dublin-based planner Tara Fay, who has conducted monthly Instagram live chats with wedding couples throughout the restrictions, says that there is finally a degree of clarity in the sector.

On Tuesday the Government announced weddings and other religious ceremonies will now be allowed to proceed without any limits on capacity.

The Government had hoped to fully lift the vast majority of Covid-19 restrictions from October 22nd but the recent surge in cases has seen these plans amended. Instead, many restrictions will remain in place.


A Covid-19 vaccine certificate will still be required for indoor hospitality and events, while the use of face masks and social distancing will remain in place until 2022.

Ms Fay believes couples have really struggled with limitations on guest lists.

“Couples have been holding their breath. It has been really challenging. I know there was a real backlash against wedding couples during the summer with people saying ‘why is a hundred people not enough?’

“But these are once in a lifetime events. It is a special experience for people that they want to share with friends and family. It is their day and their money.

“I have heard of people disinviting one member of a couple. Considering ‘well who am I more friendly with in that couple?’

“There were brides and grooms cutting their weddings at seventy or eighty because they didn’t want to go in to the next group of friends (and then be forced to make cuts in numbers.) Most people understood but there are people with big families where those cuts have run deep.”

Ms Fay says that there will be “fallout for years” from some weddings where offence was caused when a family member or friend wasn’t invited or uninvited because of the restrictions.

She emphasises while the problem has been seen as trivial by many it has caused anxiety among couples already facing numerous practical issues in their bid to tie the knot in the middle of a pandemic.

“It has been very difficult for people in larger families. And difficult in terms of friend groups. Then you have had people who have had to postpone weddings as family members were abroad and couldn’t get back.”

Ms Fay says the situation has also been worrying for suppliers.

“If you take for example a florist who had ordered flowers in. If the numbers were going to be cut where did they stand? And couples who had already paid their venue. It is all money and stress.”

She adds that the wedding sector has been overlooked by the Government during the pandemic.

“This year has been more difficult than last year. It is going to take the wedding industry another two years at least to recover.

“It (the industry) was seen as frivolous but we when we put a value of €2.3 billion annually on it they said ‘oh well okay.’ It is a substantial amount of money.”

‘Absolutely delighted’

Meanwhile, hotelier Michael Magner, of Vienna Woods Hotel in Glanmire, Co Cork, was feeling joyful on behalf of wedding couples who are set to have their receptions at the venue this weekend.

“We have four weddings on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Thursday or Friday your wedding is subject to the current restrictions. Our wedding on Saturday was tentatively booked for 180 people and our poor bride and groom were on tenterhooks. They didn’t know what to do.”

Mr Magner stresses that couples who have receptions lined up for Saturday and Sunday are “absolutely delighted.”

“While they understand restrictions are still in place around personal responsibility they are very happy that their wedding day, which for many had been postponed many times, that they are now at a stage where those people who are important to them can be there to celebrate.

“Today is a good day but to stay open we all now need to continue to play our part on personal responsibilty.”

Mr Magner says the practice has been for couples to send out 100 invitations and then subsequent invitations read “subject to restrictions.”

“In fairness to wedding guests they have been fantastic. Guests have been really understanding on it.”

The news on the lifting of wedding guest numbers has also been welcomed by catering companies.

Jacinta Lynam, owner of the Green Olive Catering Company in Roo, Craughwell, Co Galway, says that the move is badly needed.

“It is good for our industry because it [the industry] has been annihilated. We are happy about it. It has been challenging for brides and grooms as well.”