Wedding guests have defended a Northern Beaches’ bride who flouted the Covid lockdown to get married because ‘no one tested positive to the virus’.
Diana Falasca, 28, left the Northern Beaches to tie the knot with Mark Bonifacio on Sunday in front of dozens of guests at Doltone House at Jones Bay Wharf in Pyrmont.
Police have now handed out 21 fines for wedding guests who made the trip south in breach of the public health order.
Gym owner Angela Murray, who legally attended the wedding with her partner, defended the ceremony.
‘There are plenty of things happening in the world worth reporting than the same wedding for three days straight with no positive cases,’ she said in a message to Daily Mail Australia.
Groom Mark Bonifacio (left), gym owner Angela Murray (centre) and her partner (right) at the wedding at Doltone House at Jones Bay Wharf in Pyrmont. It is not suggested any of them breached Covid-19 restrictions
Ms Murray legally attended the wedding ceremony with her partner (right). She defended the wedding, pointing out that no cases have emerged from the event
Masked Sydneysiders wait for a bus in the CBD. Harsh restrictions for New Years Eve were introduced after the state recorded 18 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday
Another guest said she is going to get tested after finding out that people from the Northern Beaches attended the wedding, which she had ‘no idea’ about at the time.
No Covid cases have been linked to Sunday’s wedding in Pyrmont.
But the Northern Beaches cluster has been linked to 138 coronavirus cases, prompting the glamorous community into lockdown and restrictions for the rest the Greater Sydney region on New Years Eve.
Weddings have been strictly regulated events amid the Covid-19 pandemic and are completely banned in the Northern Beaches.
In Greater Sydney, the Central Coast and Wollongong weddings must have one person per 4sqm while the rest of NSW is two square metres.
Currently at wedding parties, a maximum of 20 people are permitted on the dancefloor and must be the same group of 20 for the whole event.
Pictured: Diana Falasca, 28, and her new husband Mark Bonifacio at their wedding celebrations on Sunday
Doltone House (pictured) is a a glamorous setting with a stunning view that really does cultural weddings very well, a wedding planner told Daily Mail Australia
Pictured: The ultra-stylish Doltone House venue at Jones Bay Wharf is seen fully decorated before a big wedding
A Sydney-based wedding planner to the rich and famous, who did not want to be named, broke down the cost of the wedding on Wednesday.
‘It’s a glamorous setting with a stunning view. It really does cultural weddings very well and it’s in a prime location in the heart of Sydney Harbour,’ the wedding planner told Daily Mail Australia.
‘It would be a minimum spend of $50,000 just for the venue and catering.’
The events manager said Ms Falasca’s boutique wedding dress is likely to have been specially made and cost anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000.
Family members told the Nine network the couple had been trying to get married since July and had been forced to postpone their wedding twice this year due to coronavirus.
Had they postponed the event again, they claim they would have lost thousands of dollars.
‘The hair, the makeup, the photographer, the videographer… there are so many things that are tied to that day and they would definitely be losing money if they had to move it,’ the source said.
‘That could be as much as a 30 per cent loss.’
Officers crashed the celebration at Doltone House at 5pm after receiving a tip-off. Pictured: Bride Diana Falasca (left)
It would be a minimum spend of $50,000 just for the venue and catering, an expert said
Pictured: A massive floral display is seen at Doltone House in Pyrmont, Sydney
While the flagrant breach of lockdown restrictions has sparked outrage across the state, some working within the struggling industry do sympathise with the young couple.
‘Rules are rules and they would have known they were breaching the rules,’ the source said.
‘But I definitely feel sorry for them, they would have planned for a year in advance and then the outbreak happened.
‘That would have been very difficult. It’s not that easy to just cancel a wedding, it’s not like cancelling a backyard BBQ.’
On Wednesday nine more guests were slapped with heavy fines, bringing the total number of slugged guests to 21.
‘After speaking with staff and attendees, police recorded contact details for more than a dozen guests, who are Northern Beaches residents,’ NSW Police said in a statement on Wednesday.
Nine more guests have been hit with fines after a Norther Beaches bride flouted the area’s Covid lockdown and got hitched at a swanky CBD venue (pictured, Northern Beaches bride Diana Falasca)
Family members said the couple had been trying to get married since July and had been forced to postpone their wedding twice this year due to coronavirus (pictured, Doltone House in Pyrmont, Sydney)
‘Police issued 12 [fines] on Monday (28 December 2020) to attendees who are Northern Beaches residents.
‘Following further inquiries, another nine guests were identified as Northern Beaches residents and were spoken to by police before $1,000 fines were issued either in person or by post.’
The guests stung with fines include three men aged 31, 41 and 75 and two women aged 42 and 71 from Narraweena.
A 32-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman from Collaroy Plateau were also slapped with penalties, along with a 36-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman from Frenchs Forest.
The groom, Mr Bonifacio, did not breach the health regulations and was not fined.
Video showed the happy couple dancing in front of family and friends while celebrating their nuptials at Jones Bay Wharf in Pyrmont.
Mr Bonifacio (pictured) did not breach the health regulations and was not fined
The following morning, Ms Falasca and a number of guests were each fined $1,000 for defying health orders and leaving the region following a Covid-19 outbreak on December 16.
Ms Falasca’s family and members of the bridal party were among the people hit with penalties.
Officers crashed the celebration at Doltone House at 5pm after receiving a tip-off, with pictures showing guests mingling on a balcony.
They waited until the ceremony was over before they began speaking with guests and staff, and handing out fines.
Ms Falasca’s parents refused to comment when contacted by Daily Mail Australia at their home in Narraweena on Tuesday, and both bride and groom did not respond to messages.
Doltone House maintained the venue was compliant with all of the state’s lockdown rules and statutory obligations, but was misled by the wedding party.
The northern zone of the Northern Beaches will remain locked down until January 9 to stop the spread of Covid-19. The southern zone will be released from lockdown on January 2
Pictured: Mr Bonifacio and Ms Falasca with friends at an engagement party
‘These people, and all guests for that matter that attended the wedding, were required to, and did in fact, register their attendance at the venue through the NSW Government QR Code App,’ the venue said on their Facebook page.
‘Had Doltone House been advised that any person attending the wedding was doing so in breach of government restrictions, then it would have taken all necessary steps to protect the health and safety of its guests and the broader community.’
Premier Gladys Berejiklian lashed out at the rule-breakers on Tuesday labelling their actions ‘the type of behaviour that risks it for everybody’.
‘I think all of us were shaking our heads, absolutely aghast that that occurred,’ she said.
‘We appreciate that those milestone events are special times for people, but please consider the greater risk you are posing to every person in NSW and the broader community of our nation.
‘Please know that if you do the wrong thing, you will get caught, especially when it is so brazen as to do that.’
Fears are growing such breaches could put the whole of Sydney in jeopardy, after 18 new Covid cases were recorded on Wednesday.
Pictured: The bride and groom (pictured centre) surrounded by friends at their wedding in Pyrmont
Police crashed the nuptials at Doltone House in Pyrmont at 5pm on Sunday after receiving a tip-off. Pictured: guests at the reception
Nine cases are linked to the Avalon cluster while six patients, all members of the same extended family, are part of a new mystery cluster in Croydon in Sydney’s inner-west.
Two further cases are members of the same household from the Wollongong area and another unlinked case is from northern Sydney.
‘After speaking with staff and attendees, police recorded contact details for more than a dozen guests, who are Northern Beaches residents,’ NSW Police said.
NSW police minister David Elliott said the group of Northern Beaches residents committed a ‘bastard act’.
‘You have been living in an area where there has been a cluster… and now everyone at that wedding has to worry if they have been exposed to Covid-19,’ he said on The Today Show on Tuesday.
Mr Elliott warned police can fine or jail people who breach the rules and pointed to a number of ‘disgraceful acts’ of ‘blatant disregard’ for health orders over the Christmas holiday period.
‘There have been disgraceful acts of what I believe is just blatant disregard for the health orders,’ Mr Elliott said.
‘They are simply unacceptable levels of misguided behaviour when it comes to the public health orders.’
Fears are growing such breaches could put the whole of Sydney in jeopardy, after 18 new Covid cases were recorded on Wednesday (pictured, Premier Gladys Berejiklian)
Some 15,000 NSW residents got tested on Sunday. Pictured: Testing in Bondi last week