Wedding's off? Then party with homeless

Ms Sarah Cummins paid $41,000 for a dinner for the homeless at the Ritz Charles.
Ms Sarah Cummins paid $41,000 for a dinner for the homeless at the Ritz Charles.PHOTO: RITZ CHARLES

INDIANA • A woman who had to cancel her wedding decided to host a dinner for the homeless instead of letting it go to waste.

Ms Sarah Cummins paid US$30,000 (S$41,000) for a 170-seat plated dinner last Saturday at the swanky Ritz Charles in Carmel, Indiana.

She told the Indianapolis Star that she and her fiance, Mr Logan Araujo, called off the wedding a week ago, but declined to give any reason.

She said: "It was really devastating, 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."

Left with a non-refundable event on her hands - Mr Araujo had paid for a large part of it - Ms Cummins decided to host a dinner for the homeless instead. She worked with the venue's wedding planner and contacted homeless shelters. Buses were arranged to pick them up.

Local businesses and residents donated clothing for the new guests to wear, and a cheerful Ms Cummins welcomed them at the party. "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," she said.

On the menu were chicken breast with artichokes, bourbon-glazed meatballs, roasted garlic bruschetta and, of course, wedding cake.

Mr Araujo, whose mother reportedly died recently, said he had agreed to Ms Cummins' proposed solution. "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," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2017, with the headline 'Wedding's off? Then party with homeless'. Print Edition | Subscribe