PUBLISHED: 7:17 PM 17 Jul 2017

Couple Breaks Up, But Wedding Reception Ends In $30,000 Success


A woman and a young girl walk into the Ritz Charles, the upscale venue where Sarah Cummins hoped to host her wedding reception. After the ceremony was called off she donated the party to homeless shelters.

An Indiana couple broke off their engagement just days before the intended ceremony. Rather than wallow in their heartbreak, the pair decided to give back to their community. They donated their lavish, $30,000 wedding reception to the city’s homeless.

Sarah Cummins, 25, declined to say why her relationship ended. She did, however, explain that after the split the former couple was left with nonrefundable party plans at the Ritz Charles in Carmel. For the past two years, Cummins had dreamed of sharing a decadent meal with her new husband and her loved ones.

After her romantic hopes were smashed, Cummins realized that she was in a position to help a lot of people. The meal could no longer be enjoyed the way that she had originally intended, but she could still have a positive experience. 170 guests had been expected to attend the Saturday reception.

It was really devastating,” said Cummins, a pharmacy student at Purdue University. “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.”


A chef at the Ritz Charles slices tomatoes in preparation for the event. Happily, attendees reported that the meal was delicious. Cummins was there to personally greet her guests.

The menu included chicken breast with artichokes and cream sauce, goat cheese and roasted garlic bruschetta, and bourbon-glazed meatballs.

“I was so touched that Sarah had taken a painful experience and turned it into a joyful one for families in need,” Cheryl Herzog, development director at one of the centers contacted by Cummins said. “It is truly a very kind gesture on her part…I suspect having the chance to experience a delicious meal with your family in a beautiful space like the Ritz Charles will be very special for them.”

Being homeless or food insecure can erode your pride. People who become inured to the hard parts of life sometimes forget about the good. It might have been years since the people who attended Cummins’ revised reception experienced such an indulgence.

Cummins attended the reception with a few of her closest friends. It must have been hard being in the venue had once promised to be so significant to her, but she managed to keep a cheerful face regardless.


A woman and daughter enjoy their meal. The extravagant experience began with a salad and continued for multiple courses, culminating in wedding cake slices for desert.

Cummins isn’t the first bride to call off a wedding, but she might be the only one who hosted a party for the homeless in the aftermath. The fact that the reception was nonrefundable hardly lessens the luster of her generosity. Couples who find themselves in similar situations usually just host a party for themselves or let their money go to waste.

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,” she said.

Nearly a dozen veterans were among the attendees. Cummins’ simple good deed affected a lot of people.

Cummins’ and her ex-fiance weren’t the only people who displayed amazing generosity. Local businesses donated evening attire. A bus provided transportation.

I didn’t have a sport coat,” an attendee who received a donated jacket said. “I think I look pretty nice in it.”

According to the Daily Mail “Cummins…said her ex-fiance, Logan Araujo, footed most of the bill for the wedding contract, with Cummins and her parents, along with one of Araujo’s family friends, paying the rest. Cummins said when she approached Araujo about donating the dinner, he agreed to what he believed was a selfless way to handle the situation.”


Cummins, right, hugs one the women who attended who her reception. Cummins’ smile never wavered during the emotional event. Her ex-fiance did not attend.

The world doesn’t stop turning because a relationship ends, no matter how devastating the event is to the couple involved. People who are able to look past their pain and help others set an example for the rest of us.

The event went off wonderfully.