As every newlywed will tell you, weddings can be expensive affairs, and for a jilted bride, the cost amounts to more than cold, hard cash. What’s a person to do with the debt of an unused venue and catering, not to mention a non-refundable honeymoon?
When Quinn Duane found herself ditched a week before her big day, though, the bride-to-be turned what was at first a nightmarish situation into something amazing and, ultimately, inspiring.
When Quinn’s prospective husband got cold feet shortly before their wedding, the would-be bride was left with the stress and humiliation of a wedding dinner, party and honeymoon to un-plan.
The event was set to take place on October 17, 2015 at The Citizen Hotel, a four-star hotel in Sacramento. However, last-minute jitters had the groom, Landon Borup, backing out less than a week before the wedding.
According to Richard Markel, who has 30 years’ experience in the wedding industry in Sacramento, it’s incredibly rare for weddings to be canceled at the last minute. Even wedding insurance, he said to local station KCRA News 3, doesn’t cover the cost of getting cold feet. This all meant that the event’s $35,000 price tag could not be refunded.
With what was meant to be Quinn’s big day looming, then, solutions were limited. Should she have a party with her friends anyway and try to make the best of a bad situation? Or just try to sell the package at a cut price to another couple getting married?
However, as her reception was booked for 120 guests, she decided to do something far more incredible and heartwarming instead – something, in fact, that would turn her nightmare into a positive for others.
Quinn and her family chose to give something back to the community by opening the doors of her reception dinner to the city’s homeless. The mother-of-the-would-be-bride, Kari Duane, therefore contacted local homeless assistance agency Next Move to ask them to extend the invite to those in need.
As a result, around 90 homeless people turned up to the “wedding” feast in the plush settings of The Citizen Hotel, where they dined on food such as salmon, gnocchi and steak from the establishment’s gourmet restaurant.
“When I found out on Monday that the wedding would not be taking place, it just seemed like, of course, this would be something that we would do to give back,” Kari would go on to tell KCRA News 3.
And while some guests made an effort to dress up, the lavish hotel didn’t turn anyone away for their appearance. “They didn’t judge by the way we looked or nothing. So it was wonderful to me,” said Anitra Cole, a mother of four who lives in a shelter residence.
In fact, the dinner was open to whoever was in need of food and shelter. All were welcome – from those too old to work and who can’t afford rent, to individuals and families struggling to feed their children.
Another attendee, Tamara Dotson, said, “They told us a little bit about it, that somebody had backed out of the wedding and somebody had donated the meal. I’m not judging a free meal.”
The one-time bride’s parents also turned up to the dinner. And upon reflecting on what she saw when she got there, Kari said, “Oh my goodness! It’s heartwarming. I’m making something good out of a bad situation.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Rashad Abdullah, who attended with his wife and five children. He said to KCRA News 3, “When you’re going through a hard time and a struggle, for you to get out to do something different with your family, it was really a blessing.”
Rashad’s wife Erika also acknowledged the generosity of the Duane family by adding, “To lose out on something so important to yourself and then give it to someone else is really giving, really kind.”
And although it was a difficult time for her daughter, Kari said that she “hope[s] that when [Quinn] looks back at this, she knows she was doing something good with a bad situation.”
Quinn, however, didn’t attend the dinner with her specially invited guests. Instead, she opted to stay at home with some of her closest friends while the impromptu wedding party feasted.
Kari would go on to remark, “I feel lot of heartache and heartbreak for her [daughter], but I will take away something good from this, I will.”
Part of the $35,000 price tag of the wedding, meanwhile, included a honeymoon to the Central American country of Belize. However, this was one part of the deal that Quinn wasn’t going to give away completely.
In fact, she decided to take a well-earned break to her honeymoon destination with her mother – and was making the most of it, if her Twitter updates on vacation are anything to go by. On October 24, for example, she tweeted, “Chocolate bliss body wrap at the spa? Umm yes please!”