Couple Feeds 200 People on Thanksgiving With Cancelled Wedding Deposit | They Tied the Knot at City Hall Instead

Couple Feeds 200 People on Thanksgiving With Cancelled Wedding Deposit | They Tied the Knot at City Hall Instead

A couple in their 30s, who met in 2017, used their non-refundable catering deposit to do a good deed.

Having a big wedding with all our friends and family is a dream for many people. They save up for years to make it come true. After all, who doesn't want to throw a big party to show the world that we have found the person we want to spend the rest of our lives with? However, circumstances change and people might prioritize helping others than having a big celebration when folks around the world are still battling a virus.

One couple from Illinois spread some cheer this Thanksgiving by canceling their big wedding and using the money for something humane. The young couple, Emily Bugg, 33, and Billy Lewis, 34, bought 200 Thanksgiving dinners for clients of Thresholds, a nonprofit mental health provider dedicated to helping people with serious mental illnesses and substance use conditions, with their $5,000 non-refundable catering deposit.

"In the grand scheme of things, canceling a big wedding isn't the worst thing that could happen," Emily, an outreach worker at Thresholds, told Good Morning America. "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," she added.


They had initially planned to wed at a warehouse in the West Town neighborhood, which would have brought 150 guests from across the country, The Chicago Sun-Times reported. With the COVID-19 pandemic, it became obvious that they can't do the big wedding. “It just didn’t feel like it was in the cards,” said Emily.

They had met through online dating app Bumble in 2017 and decided that they would rather get married in 2020 in a small ceremony rather than wait until after the pandemic subsides, The Washington Post reported. “We had come to a place where we had some big decisions to make,” Lewis told the paper. “We decided to just go ahead and get on with our lives.”


Instead of the warehouse wedding, they married on October 1 at the City Hall, something many other couples have done in the pandemic. They were going to lose the deposit but got the best use out of it. Emily and Billy convinced their caterer, Big Delicious Planet, to package 200 meals for clients of the non-profit. The Thanksgiving meals included turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, and cranberry sauce, according to the report.

Emily and her co-workers personally delivered the food. "She took what could have been a really sad situation for herself, her husband and her family and she turned it into something magical and beautiful," Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug, her boss, told the paper.


The lovely couple also managed to convince their venue partner, Salvage One, to use their deposit toward a future event for the Epilepsy Foundation, another cause Emily is associated with.

"Emily's donation is an incredible example of the generosity and creativity that the pandemic has inspired in so many," said Mark. "I know that Emily's act of kindness will inspire others to do the same and build love and connection in a difficult time, in any way we can."


The 33-year-old woman said she and her now-husband were "disappointed" but "realized we still have so much."

The world needs more people like them right now!





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