An Ohio couple is calling their wedding day "the most beautiful day ever," after their original plans were ruined by the state's COVID-19 lockdown.
Melanie and Tyler Tapajna had paid for their wedding in advance, including a food truck caterer, with plans to serve about 150 family and friends on their big day. But in early July, they were informed that the venue they had booked would not be open for their wedding due to pandemic precautions.
"Since we'd prepaid for the food, we could have had the wedding somewhere else and still invited everyone, but it didn't make sense," Melanie Tapajna said. "I turned to Tyler and said, ‘What would you think of donating the food instead?'"
And that is exactly what they did. The Tapajnas contacted a Cleveland, Ohio, shelter for single women and mothers with children called "Laura's Home" to arrange the event. The couple requested that they be allowed to come and serve the food themselves.
So after saying their "I do's" in a small family ceremony in the backyard of Melanie Tapajna's grandparents, the pair arrived at Laura's Home with the owner of "Betty's Bomb-A** Burgers" food truck and served $2,000 worth of fried chicken, mac ‘n' cheese, green beans, potato salad, and chocolate cupcakes to all the residents.
"They could have just donated the food and gone their merry way, but it was important to them to come and meet everyone and serve the meal," said Rich Trickel, chief executive of the City Mission, the organization that runs Laura's Home.
The residents, particularly the young girls, were as excited about meeting the Tapajnas as they were the catered meal.
"As everyone came through, the little girls were standing on their tiptoes, excited to see Melanie's beautiful lace wedding gown," Trickel said.
The Tapajnas said later that they did not donate the food for publicity, but still hoped "it inspires others to do the same."
The City Mission posted images of the Tapajna "wedding reception" to its Facebook page: