Couple give single life the boot

Couple give single life the boot

By Aimee Walsh

Faced with constantly changing restrictions due to Covid-19, Dee Lewis (32) and her now husband Richard Lewis (37), decided to get married with just six guests in attendance.

With a quick change into wellies, they held their unconventional but memorable wedding ‘reception’ at Corkagh Park.

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Richard and Dee held their wedding reception in Corkagh Park. Photo by Sharon Crowley

Speaking about her initial wedding plans pre Covid, Schoolteacher Dee told The Echo: “We wanted to get married in the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone.

I was going to the Hodson Bay since I was a teenager so I was always going to get married there. We had met the wedding planner and we had 112 people on our list. It was full steam ahead for the Hodson bay for July 2021.”

Foreseeing problems ahead with Coronavirus, Dee from Clondalkin and Richard from Newry County Down felt it was best to bring the wedding forward six months.

Dee and Richard’s wedding plans were then thrown into turmoil when new restrictions came in that only allowed 25 people to attend a wedding.

Instead of postponing the wedding, Dee and Richard made the tough decision to shorten the list from 112 people to just 25.

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Dee Lewis arriving in Corkagh Park on her wedding day dressed for the weather. Photo by Sharon Crowley

“We had the Hodson Bay Hotel planned for 25 people. The hotel said we can have the 25, but you can’t have the DJ, you can’t have the photobooth, you can have a playlist and you can have dinner,” Dee explained.

Unfortunately for the couple, another blow came for their plans as tougher restrictions were brought in as coronavirus cases rose in Ireland.

“Then the restriction came in that only allowed six people at a wedding. We live in Newry, Richards parents are in their 70s, and they live an hour away from us – so why would we bring them three hours to Athlone for six people to be there?

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Dee Lewis Photo by Sharon Crowley

“I said let’s ring the celebrant and ask what our options are – the celebrant turned out to be based in Ballymount which was perfect for us as I grew up in Clondalkin and have spent most of my life there.

“I said let’s go ahead and get married next week. We went ahead and picked January 9 – we actually only picked the 9th because my mam was off work.” Says Dee.

For most people, planning a wedding in normal times can be stressful, but Dee took the setbacks and endless restrictions throughout her journey in her stride.

“I don’t think we could say we were stressed, we were really excited.

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Richard and Dee Lewis Photo by Sharon Crowley

“We are the type of people that think you only live once and thought wouldn’t it be gas if we got married with just 6 people, and if we got masks saying Mr and Mrs Lewis.”, Dee told The Echo.

“The six people were my chief bridesmaid, the groomsman, my mam and Richards parents. My friend was our Photographer so we included her in our six people.

“We had about 110 people on zoom, my friend got the link and sent it to everyone. Our family got dressed up in their wedding gear, and everyone had a glass of prosecco watching us. We know they were celebrating with us.”

Speaking about their unconventional wedding reception at Corkagh Park, Dee explained that they chose Corkagh Park as they would often walk their three dogs there, and it held a lot of great memories for them over the years.

“The second we changed the date I said, were getting us wellies and comfy socks. We were so buzzing to be in the park. It was such good craic. We picked a spot where the sun was shining and we got amazing pictures,” said Dee.

With the current restrictions, Dee and Richard were able to enjoy a holiday to Dubai for a week for their honeymoon, taking all necessary steps including isolating upon return and essential Covid tests before departing and returning home.

Reflecting on their wedding day, Dee and Richard say they have no regrets. “I don’t think you should put your life on hold. Just because Dee and I only had six people were not any less married.” Richard told The Echo.

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