From heartbreak to happiness—how one Indiana woman "put on the ritz" for those in need.
Sarah Cummins and Logan Araujo would’ve been on their honeymoon this week, right after saying their "I do's" on Saturday, July 15. But the 25-year-old Purdue student ended up calling off the wedding a mere week before she was set to walk down the aisle, for reasons she rather not share. Cummins was left with a broken heart, and she was also left holding a pretty hefty bag: a nonrefundable deposit for her $30,000 ceremony at the Ritz Charles in Carmel, Indiana.
Two years spent planning, booking a venue, preparing beautiful table centerpieces by hand, ordering the cake, and giving the final head count to the caterer—all for naught. Cummins had no idea what she should do.
"It was really devastating," Cummins told the Indianapolis Star. "I called everyone, canceled, apologized, 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," she said.
But Cummins, however, was determined to not let her tears (or the food) go to waste. After coming to an agreement with her ex-fiancé, Cummins started calling homeless shelters, arranging bus transportation, and working with event planner Maddie LaDow at the Ritz Charles to turn the reception dinner into a feast for more than 150 homeless people and locals in central Indiana.
Obviously, this isn't the first time weddings have been canceled on short notice, LaDow said.
Some people throw parties, some completely walk away, but none have ever done anything this charitable," LaDow told the Star.
Although Araujo, Cummins, and the wedding party were not seated at the head table this past Saturday, there was more than enough seating in the hotel’s garden pavilion and decadent eats for all those guests who received an impromptu invitation. They were treated to a delicious five-star meal, including bourbon-glazed meatballs, goat cheese and roasted garlic bruschetta, chicken breast with artichokes and Chardonnay cream sauce, and, of course, wedding cake. Several businesses and residents in the area even donated suits, dresses, and other items for the guests to wear.
Cummins was there—along with her mother, aunts, and three of her seven bridesmaids—braving a smile and greeting guests when they arrived. But what about the honeymoon? Fortunately for Cummings, she didn't have to go it alone. She and her mother jetted off on Sunday, July 17 for the Dominican Republic.
“I will, at least, have some kind of happy memory to pull from," Cummins said. "I wanted to make sure it would be the perfect wedding."
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For the 150 homeless people, who were served a four-course meal and gifted with formal attire, we’re sure it was a perfect day they won’t soon forget.