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The average American spends about $26,720 on their wedding, with total costs ranging between $10,000-$33,000. Understandably, more and more people are becoming fed up with the massive expense that hosting a ceremony to publicly express their love for one another now entails.

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In an episode of Adam Ruins Everything, Adam perfectly breaks down the nonsensical idea that you have to be frivolous with your money when it comes to ‘keeping tradition’ on your wedding. In fact, Adam explains that what we know today as ‘tradition’ wasn’t always so.

Weddings used to be informal and when a woman wore white, it didn’t mean that she was a virgin, but that she was rich. Queen Victoria was the first woman to wear white to her wedding, spurring a trend for future generations that would allow them to showcase how wealthy they were and which even influenced wedding cake colour, as white sugar was too costly for the average person.

Who’s to blame for the rise in wedding prices? Wedding magazines, of course. They helped establish a standard for couples everywhere to ‘marry like the wealthy,’ and build a wedding industry that takes advantage of young couples looking to make their big day memorable by overcharging them for photos, food, and venues.

With all this being said, it’s perfectly acceptable to spend your money how you wish and if you choose to host a beautiful ceremony for your family and friends to witness the proclamation of your love, then you should feel free to do so.

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Sarah Cummins had this exact idea in mind over the two years she spent planning her wedding to her fiancé, Logan Araujo. The bad news is, they had to cancel the wedding due to unforeseen circumstances, and to make matters worse, they were stuck with a nonrefundable contract for a venue and a plated dinner for 170 guests at the Ritz Charles in Carmel.

The good news?

Instead of continuing to wallow in sorrow and worrying about what to do with the food, she decided to work together with her event planner, Maddie LaDow, to rearrange the reception area, then started contacting homeless shelters in Indianapolis and Noblesville and inviting residents to her party.

After reaching out to a few homeless shelters, Sarah was pleased to hear that she could potentially be expecting 150 guests. Cheryl Herzog, development director at Dayspring Centre, one of the local shelters contacted, was so touched that Sara was able to turn a painful experience into a joyful one for families in need. “Being homeless is stressful for an entire family. 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,” she said.

Not only were families invited, but a dozen veterans from a local organization were counted among the guests, too. In order to complete the swanky party, several local businesses and residents participated by donating suits, dresses and other items for the guests to wear.

“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,” Cummins said.

Guests feasted on bourbon-glazed meatballs, roasted garlic bruschetta, chicken breast with artichokes and Chardonnay cream sauce, and, of course, wedding cake!

Sarah welcomed the guests at the door and received support from three of her seven bridesmaids, along with her mother and aunts.

Her ex-fiancé Logan also commended Sarah and agreed that it was a selfless way to handle the situation. “I’m happy through my grief and also Sarah’s that she was able to make a selfless and very thoughtful decision in such a hard time,” he revealed. Logan’s mother passed recently, so the dinner also served as a memorial for her.

The story originally appeared on the Indy Star.

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