Every year in America, 2.5 million people get married and spend of thousands of dollars on catered food and open bars, all in the name of a contract stating that they will spend the rest of their lives together.
Not surprisingly, this leads to a lot of waste, both human and financial. Some estimates peg those numbers as high as 600 pounds of garbage and 62 tons of carbon dioxide for every wedding in the US, with an average price tag of over $26,000. But what do you do when you've already paid a $35,000 deposit and your fiancé calls you at the very last minute to say he's gotten cold feet?
The first step, presumably, is to drink enough chardonnay to numb the pain. The second is to figure out what you're going to do with food that you paid for and was originally meant for the 120 or so guests who were invited to the wedding. As nightmarish as this sounds, it's exactly the scenario that Kari Duane's 27 year-old daughter found herself in last week, according to local news outlet KCRA.
But instead of just taking the hit financially, Duane's family decided to use catering services for the forces of good, by having hotel staff serve the food to homeless people in a banquet hall at Sacramento's Citizen Hotel. "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 Duane told KCRA.
This gave a number of families a rare chance to eat a wide selection of foods which are usually way the budget of homeless and family shelters. Among the typically abundant dishes of wedding food were appetizers, salad, cauliflower, gnocchi, salmon, and steak.
"This is not coming out of our kitchen. We love our chef Leo, but he wouldn't be preparing nothing like this," Tamara Dotson, a homeless mother, said, comparing the four-star hotel food to the usual homeless shelter offerings. Rashad Abdullah, a homeless father of five, told KCRA that the Duanes' wedding food was a rare break for him and his family. "When you're going through a hard time and a struggle for you to get out to do something different and with your family, it was really a blessing."
"I feel a lot of heartache and heartbreak for her, but I will take away something good from this, I will," Kari Duane said of her daughter. While this charitable move is not likely to make the break-up any easier for the would-be bride, it does show just how far elaborate wedding menus can be stretched when they are not being served to drunk rich people.