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Couple Trades Lavish Wedding for Thanksgiving Meals to the Needy



  • A generous couple decided to forego a lavish wedding for a simple one at City Hall to shower Thanksgiving blessings amid a pandemic.
  • Their non-refundable catering deposit of $5,000 turned into 200-boxed Thanksgiving dinners for the needy!
  • The couple’s gesture has started the ball rolling for other people to scale down on celebrations and donate to charity instead.

Wedding preparations entail a lot of payments — to wedding planners, suppliers, flowers, catering, gowns, photoshoots, and a whole lot more. These payments are often made months in advance, but the coronavirus pandemic has created big changes in plans, including the refundable and non-refundable wedding-related deposits and purchases.

But one Chicago couple, Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis, found a way to make their wedding still significant even when they scaled back on their plans and opted to have a small ceremony at City Hall.

Photo Credit: Sophie Cazottes Photography

They wrote off the dress and the D.J., but for the reception venue, wedding photographer, and catering deposit, they opted to use for a worthy cause.  One that makes the couple special.

The reception venue deposit was to be used for a charity event. The wedding photographer chronicled their City Hall ceremony.

Photo Credit: Sophie Cazottes Photography

And the $5,000 catering deposit? They used it to provide a Thanksgiving dinner for residents dealing with mental health issues.

Photo Credit: Heidi Coudal/Big Delicious Planet

Emily is an outreach worker at Thresholds so she knows this would go a long way. The non-profit organization focuses on bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other psychiatric illnesses sufferers.

And it came to pass— the grand wedding turned grand Thanksgiving dinner was hatched with the help of caterer Heidi Moorman Coudal, owner of Big Delicious Planet, and the blessing of Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Boschma

Ishaug told the Washington Post, “Other people start asking themselves, ‘What can I do for others at Thanksgiving?’ There’s been so much anger and fear this past year … and then we have something like this from Emily and Billy, which is just about humanity and kindness.”

The couple has set “the copycat effect” with their gesture. Other people have opted to forego grand celebrations and donate to charity instead.

It is not just the human community that has benefited from the couple as they have adopted a rescue dog named June before they got hitched. Their hearts are really not just for their kind but also for the four-legged kind!

And although she may not have walked down the aisle in her wedding dress, Emily says the non-traditional start to their married life was still beautiful.

Photo Credit: Sophie Cazottes Photography

And this makes Billy even more proud to have her as his wife: “I’m lucky to have a wife who is clever and thoughtful enough to change a not-so-good situation into something positive for a lot of people.”

Source: Good News Network