Canceled wedding leads to a special lunch for some homeless

Posted at 5:37 PM, Oct 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-29 22:27:07-04

A would-be-bride never got to celebrate her wedding day, but her parents thought someone deserved to enjoy what the family had already paid for.

“It happened for a reason and better things are in-store for her,” said someone who got to enjoy the meal.

It was supposed to be a celebration of marriage. 

“You are actually sitting in a room that really a bride and groom and their reception party should be in eating and celebrating,” said Candace Gregory, President/CEO of Open Door Mission, based out of Omaha, Neb.

The groom got cold feet and a wedding was canceled. 

“The family had already paid for the reception and they were wondering, okay what do we do with this reception,” said Gregory.

The bride’s family decided to turn a negative into a positive and reached out to the Open Door Mission. 

“My heart goes out to the bride and we just feel very grateful to be here,” said Tara Batenhorst.

A would-be-wedding celebration turned into a celebration of sobriety.

“I just thought it would be a great opportunity for our 76 students to come together and celebrate already how much they've achieved and remind them that they have a long ways to go,” said Gregory.

Everyday participants in the Open Door Mission’s Recovery Program have to fight a battle with addiction.  But, on Thursday they were able to relax and just focus on their progress and great food.

"It's exciting for me to see them treated special and to feel special, because they are special,” said Gregory.

Program participants were grateful for the opportunity.

“There are several people that deserve it, like they have been here longer than I have.  These are some of the people who are inspirations for us and I thought it was a good event,” said Shawnte Wellon.

A would-be-marriage is broken, but despite the heartache, a family still felt the need to bless their community. 

“This is a perfect example of how God takes bad and turns it into good,” said Gregory.