While 2020 has brought a lot of changes unwillingly to a lot of people, one couple decided to make the best of it and turned their cancelled wedding plans into a blessing for others.
Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis of Chicago were to exchange vows with 150 guests present last month. However, restrictions in the area meant that was out of the question, and the couple held a small ceremony at City Hall in Octobrer, instead.
But, they had a $5,000 non-refundable catering deposit to deal with. That's when they decided to feed 200 people in their hometown who were experiencing homelessness, the Washington Post reports.
“This just seemed like a good way to make the best of a bad situation,” says Bugg, 33. She's an outreach worker at Thresholds, "a nonprofit dedicated to helping people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions," the Post writes.
While the couple simply dealt with losses on many deposits and expenses, such as the DJ and Bugg's wedding dress, they knew the food could go towards something important. In the week leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, clients at Thresholds received gourmet meals to celebrate.
Wedding planner Jane Himmel tells the post that plenty of couples are making the best of altered plans in 2020.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, it was just total chaos. But as it stretched on, people started adjusting to reality,” says Himmel. “There’s been a mind shift. Couples want to turn lemons into lemonade.”
Mark Ishaug, CEO of Thresholds, says it was a very welcome gesture at what is already a difficult time of year for people with mental health issues. Ishaug says acts like this spur copycat giving. “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.”
While the wedding plans may have been dashed, the couple realizes they are fortunate, still being employed and having one another. “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,” Lewis says.
“So many people have told me this was a beautiful way to start our married life together," Bugg says.