A wedding reception is usually the most enjoyable part of the whole ceremony; it’s certainly the part that I most look forward to. By then, the couple will have exchanged their vows, shared a tender kiss, and signed the register together. All the speeches have been made, the photographs snapped, and the best man will have thoroughly embarrassed the groom.
It’s time to cut the cake, turn the music up and celebrate. I can remember fondly the last wedding I was privileged enough to attend, when I danced like a loon, drank my body weight in wine, and made numerous toasts to the happy couple.
For many people, the reception is one of the highlights, but it doesn’t come cheap, especially when your average venue can charge approximately $25 per head. It’s enough to make you have second thoughts about having second thoughts. I often wonder how often people feel financially obligated to get hitched, even if they’re having grave doubts, and what would you do if you were forced to give it all up and forgo what’s ostensibly meant to be the happiest day of your life?
Recently Sarah Cummins, a 25-year-old pharmacist, was forced to give up her dream wedding after cancelling her plans. Cummins had been engaged to fiancé Logan Araujo, and the couple had booked a non-refundable wedding reception at the glitzy Ritz Charles in Carmel, Indiana. But rather than wallow in self-pity, Sarah decided to turn her wedding around and transfigure it into an act of stunning charity.
Even though Sarah was “devastated” that she’d been forced to call off her own wedding (due to circumstances which have not been made public), rather than remain depressed, Sarah elected to share her wedding reception with those who needed it the most, and donated her $30,000 dinner and party to charity. Sarah got in touch with a number of local homeless shelters , and around 170 people living in extreme poverty with no permanent address were attended the luxurious event as a result.
In an interview with the Indianapolis Star, Sarah stated:
“I called everyone, cancelled, apologised, cried, called vendors, cried some more and then I started feeling really sick about just throwing away all the food I ordered for the reception. 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 … I will at least have some kind of happy memory to pull from. I wanted to make sure it would be the perfect wedding.”
Those homeless people who attended the event were treated to a delicious meal, consisting of bourbon-glazed meatballs, goat’s cheese and roasted garlic bruschetta, chicken breast with artichokes and Chardonnay cream sauce, as well as a gigantic wedding cake. Sarah arranged for coaches to pick up and escort her guests to the venue, and a number of local businesses also pitched in, donating tuxedos, suits and gowns to those who couldn’t afford the appropriate clothes.
Erik Jensen, a resident of Wheeler Mission homeless shelter, shared his feelings regarding the altruistic gesture, stating: “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 … This is just a very nice thing to do.” Fellow attendee Charlie Allen, said: “I didn’t have a sport coat. I think I look pretty nice in it. For a lot of us, this is a good time to show us what we can have… Or to remind us what we had.”
Sarah has now flown out to the Dominican Republic with her mother on what would have been her honeymoon. Her former fiancé gave her his blessing, stating “I’m happy through my grief, and also Sarah’s, that she was able to make a selfless and very thoughtful decision in such a hard time.”
I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like my faith humanity has been restored hearing about this. It just goes to show that the kindest and most generous-hearted people can turn anything into an act of kindness, even if they’ve had their heart broken.