Can­celled wed­ding be­comes party for needy

Toronto Star - - NEWS - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Cou­ple called off nup­tials at last minute, de­cided to in­vite home­less to swanky re­cep­tion

IN­DI­ANAPO­LIS— An In­di­ana woman didn’t want her can­celled $30,000 wed­ding to go to waste, so she threw a din­ner party for the home­less.

Abus pulled up to the swanky event cen­tre on Satur­day that Sarah Cum­mins had booked for the re­cep­tion in Carmel, a sub­urb north of In­di­anapo­lis. About a dozen veter­ans from a lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion were among the guests who dined on bour­bon-glazed meat­balls, roasted gar­lic br­uschetta and wed­ding cake.

Cum­mins told the In­di­anapo­lis Star that she and her fi­ancé called off the wed­ding a week ago. She de­clined to give a rea­son, but she said they were left with a non-re­fund­able con­tract for the Ritz Charles in Carmel and a plated din­ner for 170 guests.

“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 said.

Cum­mins said she de­cided that rather than throw away the food she would bring some pur­pose to the event and con­tacted area home­less shel­ters. She cheer­fully greeted and wel­comed her guests when they ar- rived Satur­day.

Sev­eral lo­cal busi­nesses and res­i­dents do­nated suits, dresses and other items for the guests to wear.

Char­lie Allen, who has spent three months at a home­less mis­sion, re­ceived a do­nated jacket.

“I didn’t have a sport coat,” he said, tug­ging gen­tly at the lapels. “I think I look pretty nice in it.”

Like other guests, Allen said he was grate­ful for the in­vi­ta­tion.

“For a lot of us, this is a good time to show us what we can have,” he said. “Or to re­mind us what we had.”

Three of Cum­mins’ seven brides­maids, along with her mother and aunts, came to sup­port her at the event. Guests also dined on chicken breast with ar­ti­chokes and Chardon­nay cream sauce and wed­ding cake.

Cum­mins, a 25-year-old Pur­due Univer­sity phar­macy stu­dent, said her ex-fi­ancé, Lo­gan Araujo, footed most of the bill for the wed­ding con­tract, with Cum­mins and her par­ents, along with one of Araujo’s friends, pay­ing the rest. Cum­mins said that when she ap­proached Araujo about do­nat­ing the din­ner, he agreed to what he be­lieved was a self­less way to han­dle the sit­u­a­tion.

Cum­mins said she is not sure yet what she will do with the wed­ding dress.

“It’s too painful to think about.”

KELLY WILKIN­SON/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Guest Jan­ice Williamson-Cox, left, hugs host Sarah Cum­mins as she ar­rives at the Ritz Charles where Cum­mins had planned to cel­e­brate her wed­ding.

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