Real Weddings

'We're devastated' - Heartbreak for couple who made the difficult decision to pull plug on wedding

Swords couple Rebecca and Eric were due to tie the knot in the gardens of Malahide Castle

Rebecca Durham and Eric Cunningham booked their wedding in September last year. They found it easy to plan everything, discovering 'by accident' that they could actually get married legally on the grounds of Malahide Castle.

For Rebecca, having visited the castle since she was a child, the idea of getting married in an outdoor ceremony in the walled gardens was a dream come true, however this week just as everything was coming together, they've had to pull the plug on the entire day.

The couple spent five months organise their dream wedding, with Rebecca having made her own centrepieces for tables and personalised the bridesmaids robes and sleepwear for the night before. "The invitations alone took me two days to complete," she said.


"Obviously we came to terms with it on Monday or Tuesday that it wasn't going to be an outdoor wedding - we'd freeze everyone to death!" she says, having just taken the heartbreaking decision to go ahead and cancel the entire wedding that was due to take place tomorrow.

"There's an indoor place where we could get married and then have our photos outside, so I was actually going to Arnotts to find wellies to get some nice pictures when I got a call from Malahide Castle to say they were holding a meeting to see if the park is to be closed on Thursday and Friday. I ended up buying nothing and headed home as I was too upset."

Rebecca spent Wednesday morning on the phone, desperately trying to rearrange plans to get married somewhere else instead.

The couple's reception - which they had expected over 150 guests to be attending - was to be held in the Malahide Rugby Club however as they couldn't find the form to say it was legal to be married there, it wasn't an option.

"For the registrar we needed to find a place that was legal," said Rebecca, "they've had legal weddings in the rugby club before but they needed the form to say so and they couldn't find it."

"In the end our registrar said 'this is very stressful for you and I'll try my best to go out...' and she would have tried," said Rebecca, "but she advised me to consider rearranging it."

The couple offered to go into the city centre to be married in the registry office, but Rebecca says they were already rearranging couples who were booked in for there, so she turned again to her reception venue for advice.

"They said if we leave it any later to postpone it, we might lose out on the money because the food would have been delivered with nobody to eat it. But if we cancel now we could rearrange the date and not lose as much. I had a pig on a spit coming and all!"

"My cake has been made already by Susan friend of mine who is going to eat that now I cant get to her?!" she jokes. "And cheese tower is in Supervalu Pavilions need to put that on hold as well."

While they could have done with a chance in the menu, when the couple realised that it would have been 'unsafe' to ask family travelling from Cork, Sligo and Leitrim to make their way to Dublin and out to the estuary at Malahide, they decided that enough was enough, and that the wedding had to be postponed.

"So when I heard that I just thought it just wasn't safe. They were going to get trains and drive and I just couldn't put them through that but my dad said 'just cancel it while you won't lose that much'," said Rebecca.

"I think we are still in shock but we felt we had no other option but rearrange another date that was safe for people to attend rather than wait for the weather to change," said Rebecca. "The main thing was to have the people there safe, and if we can't guarantee that... If anyone broke their leg even slipping in the snow. It just wouldn't be a happy day."

They broke the news to to guests by speaking to close friends and family and getting the word out, but for Rebecca the hardest part was telling her daughter it wouldn't be going ahead.

"My poor 10 year old daughter Caylin was out in the snow having the time of her life but we had to tell her that the wedding was cancelled," she said. "She was devastated for a good while as she really wanted to see all the family and friends and have fun preparing to be my little bridesmaid!"

It's not just the wedding that the couple are possibly missing out on either - they were also due to fly to Budapest and visit Vienna on their honeymoon on Monday, but aren't sure if they'll get to go.

"I couldn't sleep last night checking the weather. We don't know we have to wait and see... We haven't cancelled that yet."

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