But Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis of Chicago had an idea to pivot their wedding celebrations to something even better — by giving back to others.
The newlyweds and the catering company helped serve 200 meals to people with serious mental illnesses and substance use conditions.
“In the grand scheme of things, canceling a big wedding isn’t the worst thing that could happen,” said Bugg in a statement. “We’re happy to be married, and we’re so happy that we could help Thresholds’ clients feel the connection of a Thanksgiving meal as a result of the wedding cancellation.”
“They said, ‘Is there any way we could do something good with our deposit?'” recalled caterer Heidi Moorman Coudal, who owns Chicago-based company Big Delicious Planet. She said most couples ask for their money back, or they simply think of the time and resources caterers put into planning their wedding menu as another sunk cost.
“For them to think about doing something for the greater good is just really heartwarming,” Coudal told CNN.
“Everybody was really excited because they knew this food was going to a really good cause,” Coudal said. “I think of Big Delicious Planet as a company that gives a lot back to the community — we donate our time, our food resources, our locations and community garden, so I was happy to get on board with this.”
The couple made another donation. Bugg and Lewis also asked their wedding venue to put the reception deposit towards a future event for the Epilepsy Foundation, another charity close to Bugg’s heart.
“It really couldn’t have come at a better time,” Ishaug said. “This is about Emily and Billy, but it really exemplifies my entire staff and how much the people who work at Thresholds care so deeply about the people they serve.”
He also said the couple’s example of creative generosity has inspired others to give back to the community as well.
“It’s an example of goodness begetting more goodness,” Ishaug said. “In this time of despair and this time of sadness and anxiety and frustration, we need more goodness. This is just one example of how we can take a really dark time and make it much brighter.”