One of my biggest fears (short of death and violence occurring to my loved ones or myself) is the idea of my wedding being called off, whether it’s by my partner or myself (either way, there will be devastation all around). However, the parents of a bride who cancelled her wedding did something completely unexpected and totally beautiful with the reception that they had already paid for: donated it.
Because the food, entertainment and location of their daughter’s now-called off wedding had already been paid for with non-refundable deposits, Willie and Carol Fowler decided to give the celebration to people who could actually use it. They changed up the guest list a bit; instead of bored cousins and drunk uncles, they invited 200 people from Atlanta who are homeless. To do this, the Fowlers called Hosea Feed the Hungry, a non-profit their daughter had worked with in the past, which facilitated the repurposed event.
The administration initially thought the call was a (very messed up) joke:
“When they first called, the administration thought it was a prank call because it was too good to be true,” Quisa Foster of Hosea Feed the Hungry said. “It’s a very creme de la creme wedding venue, so to say that you’re going to host 200 homeless individuals at Villa Christina — it sounds like a prank call.”
But it wasn’t! (Thank goodness.) So, buses transported 200 people, including homeless men, women and children, to the swanky event. There was excellent food, face-painting, juggling and all sorts of other wonderful things. According to Foster, seeing the difference between typical weddings and this special celebration was striking:
“All the plates were empty and there wasn’t any leftover food at all. It was an eye-opening experience. You go to weddings sometimes and you see a lot of people really waste food. We take so many things for granted. These clients or guests, as we call them, they don’t.”
The Fowlers felt so happy that the event went well that they’ve decided to pursue doing one every year, except they wish to make it two days each time. Awesome. Totally awesome.
I hope that this great idea inspires other people to perhaps take a similar route in the event of an unfortunate situation like this, or perhaps to simply jump ahead to the end game and just volunteer (if you happen to live in Portland, I can personally recommend an incredible place to do so). Try looking at Volunteer Match or another site like it to discover your options!