Cancelling a wedding is never an easy decision – and it’s made that much more complicated if you’ve already booked the venue, caterers and music. But for one former bride-to-be, her wedding-that-wasn’t offered the chance to do something amazing for her community.
Sarah Cummins and Logan Araujo had everything organised for their 15 July wedding at the Ritz Charles, a luxury events venue in Carmel, Indiana. Just a week before she was due to walk down the aisle, however, the 25-year-old and her fiancé decided to call off the big day.
It was too late for Cummins and Araujo to get a refund on the wedding, which had cost them almost £23,000 ($30,000). But rather than let the event go to waste, Cummins decided to invite people from four local homeless shelters to enjoy what would have been her wedding day.
“For me, it was an opportunity to let these people know they deserved to be at a place like this just as much as everyone else does,” Cummins told the Indianapolis Star.
Guests at the event included people from the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation, Wheeler Mission, Third Phase Christian Centre and Dayspring Centre, all organisations that support the homeless in Indiana.
“It’s beautiful. We’re having a great time,” said homeless veteran Erik Jensen. “It’s just a really great opportunity for us, that was going to be a huge tragedy in her life.
“It’s a great opportunity to spread love,” he continued. “Being homeless is kind of a big loss for all of these guys. This is just a very nice thing to do.”
Sherry Harper, event manager at the Ritz Charles, said that the unexpected reception was carried out as originally planned. Guests snacked on hors d’oeuvres of bourbon-glazed meatballs and goats’ cheese and roasted garlic bruschetta, before enjoying a dinner of chicken breast with artichokes and Chardonnay cream sauce.
Wedding cake was also served, although it was sliced behind the scenes.
Many of the guests, including children, wore formalwear donated by Indianapolis residents who heard of Cummins’ plans for her repurposed wedding day.
Cummins was accompanied at the event by her mother, aunts, and three of her original seven bridesmaids. She said that her former partner had footed most of the bill for the wedding and ceremony, which included a DJ, harpist and photographer. She and her parents, and one of Araujo’s family friends, paid for the rest.
Araujo gave his blessing when Cummins told him of her idea for what to do with their abandoned wedding day, although he did not attend the event himself. Cummins said that she only decided to attend when one of the homeless programme directors said how much they were looking forward to meeting her.
“Everyone has done so much to give me the most wonderful experience and it just really sucks that they had to waste it,” Cummins said. “It was a huge loss. But you gotta do what you gotta do, I guess.
“And that was one of the reasons I wanted to do something with the reception, because it literally felt like I was throwing that money in the trash.
“At least we can use it somehow.”
Images: iStock / Ritz Charles / instagram.com/amybartner