Couple Donates Wedding Meal to Local Food Bank When Coronavirus Cut Guest List by 170

"We're so happy that our setback was a gain for people who really needed it."

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The positive part about difficult times is they often bring out the best in people—and one Miami couple is living proof. Due to coronavirus, Miryam Dreyfuss and Ari Dach saw their guest list drop by 170 people just two days before their wedding on March 14, 2020. But the suddenly small guest list allowed the newlyweds to do something otherwise unimaginable: Feed 170 people in their community by donating the uneaten food from their big day.

Donating unused goods and meals from the wedding was always part of the couple's plan in part thanks to their planner, Jassi Lekach Antebi of J Group Events, who regularly donates leftover food from events to a local food bank. "From the get-go, we wanted our planner to donate or reuse anything and everything possible," the couple tells Brides.

There's not much you can do with 170 unused chairs and table settings but imagine how many people you could feed with all that surplus!

But in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the couple didn't realize how much of an impact their wedding could have on their local community. "In the face of the COVID crisis, we ended up with 170 fewer guests than we had planned for," the couple adds. "There's not much you can do with 170 unused chairs and table settings but imagine how many people you could feed with all that surplus! Of all the things that were paid for and couldn't be used, the food was the one thing that never phased us. If it's getting eaten, it's not wasted!"

One of the services that Antebi works with the most is the JCS Kosher Food Bank in Miami, a food bank that delivers meals to homebound seniors. "They’re always happy when they get good fresh produce and food," Antebi says.

Before the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all weddings be postponed for the next eight weeks, Dreyfuss and Dach also hoped to donate their wedding flowers to other nuptials that couldn't afford them.

Even if you are a couple forced to postpone your wedding in the wake of this crisis, Antebi reminds you that nothing should go to waste. Have favors branded with a now-inaccurate wedding date? Donate them to your local homeless shelter, senior living home, food bank or hospital, where applicable.

We're so happy that our setback was a gain for people who really needed it.

Right now, she adds that the nicest thing any couple can do is postpone their big day—and not cancel. "I think that the kindest thing [couples] can do is reschedule and not cancel because I think a lot of couples are spending a lot of money and they just feel like they’re going to lose money," she explains. "But what they’re doing by postponing is really giving small businesses an opportunity to redraft what they’re doing in the next few months and giving them hope and knowing that they have future business."

To all the couples faced with adversity during this difficult time, remember this reflection from Dreyfuss and Dach: "We're so happy that our setback was a gain for people who really needed it."

The current outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a pandemic by The World Health Organization. As the situation remains fluid, we’ll be sharing tips and stories from industry experts and couples who are experiencing cancellations to give you the most up-to-date advice on how this can impact your wedding.

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