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Wedding parties increased to 100 people from August 5

The Cabinet has agreed in principle to relax restrictions.

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Brides-to-be Ali O’Mara and Orla O’hundhaigh from Dublin, outside the Government Buildings in Dublin, before presenting health and safety guidelines seeking to raise the guest limit for wedding receptions to 100 guests from August (Damien Eagers/PA)

Brides-to-be Ali O’Mara and Orla O’hundhaigh from Dublin, outside the Government Buildings in Dublin, before presenting health and safety guidelines seeking to raise the guest limit for wedding receptions to 100 guests from August (Damien Eagers/PA)

Brides-to-be Ali O’Mara and Orla O’hundhaigh from Dublin, outside the Government Buildings in Dublin, before presenting health and safety guidelines seeking to raise the guest limit for wedding receptions to 100 guests from August (Damien Eagers/PA)

The Irish government has said that from August 5, 100 people will be able to attend both wedding ceremonies and receptions.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said that the Cabinet this afternoon agreed in principle to the relaxation of restrictions on weddings.

He said that Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly will now work on putting the changes into law before next month.

Currently, attendance at weddings is limited to 50 people.

“We want to make an exception for weddings because we said we would and we want to follow through on that,” Mr Coveney told RTE Radio 1.

“I think weddings are special and need special treatment and that’s what they’re getting.”

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Earlier today, a group of brides staged a protest in Dublin city centre calling on the government to expand the number of guests at weddings to 100.

The protest saw brides make the short walk from the Department of Health to the Government Buildings, where industry figures called for greater engagement from the government.

Vice-president of the Wedding International Professionals Association (WIPA), Michelle McDermott, said that restrictions have been damaging for couples and the industry.

“We appreciate that there are so many issues in the world and so many people are worse off. But a wedding day is one of every couple’s most memorable days,” she said.

“It is their day and they’ve dreamed about this day, particularly the brides, for so so so long.”

She also said that current restrictions had been damaging to the hospitality sector.

“The world thinks Ireland is closed and that Ireland is closed for wedding,” she said.

Weddings aren't the biggest thing in the world, but it is a big day for couples that are getting married,Anna Killeen

Brides dressed in white made their way through the city centre to Government Buildings, with some carrying placards and signs.

Anna Killeen and Dave Hare, both aged 31, are getting married in Galway in August.

At the protest on Tuesday, they said that “uncertainty” around numbers had made planning their wedding extra stressful. Many of their friends had experienced the same difficulties.

“Lots of our friends have either postponed their weddings for a couple of years or had to go to a wedding of 25 (guests), so it was a lot more difficult for them than it maybe was for us,” Mr Hare said.

He welcomed the fact that weddings could now take place with 100 guests.

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Brides-to-be Orla Hogan, Ali O’Mara, Briana Cullen, Anna Killeen and Orla O’hundhaigh outside the Government Buildings in Dublin (Damien Eagers/PA)

Brides-to-be Orla Hogan, Ali O’Mara, Briana Cullen, Anna Killeen and Orla O’hundhaigh outside the Government Buildings in Dublin (Damien Eagers/PA)

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Brides-to-be Orla Hogan, Ali O’Mara, Briana Cullen, Anna Killeen and Orla O’hundhaigh outside the Government Buildings in Dublin (Damien Eagers/PA)

He said that a guestlist of only 50 people did make organising their special day something of a challenge.

“If you took that as 25 people each, it fills up very quickly between brothers, sisters, groomsmen, aunts and uncles,” he said.

Ms Killeen said that while there are more important things to worry about than weddings, it was still a major part of people’s lives.

“Weddings aren’t the biggest thing in the world, but it is a big day for couples that are getting married,” Ms Killeen added.

“It is important and also there’s a lot more people than just the bride and groom getting married who are involved in a wedding.

I haven't worked at a wedding properly since 2019.Tony Barry

“There’s so many suppliers and their last year and a half has been completely diminished.”

Staff from the hospitality industry also attended the protest.

Tony Barry, a waiter who works in Dublin, arrived at the demonstration in a full tuxedo carrying a sign that read: “Weddings without you.”

“There’s no industry at the minute, it’s not there,” he said.

“I haven’t worked at a wedding properly since 2019. We had one over the weekend I was working at it. There were only 50 people, so it didn’t actually require a huge amount of staff.”


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