Newlyweds spend their wedding day serving their community

Newlyweds spend their wedding day serving their community

December 29, 2020 by Cathy Stack

Cleveland, Ohio - Tyler and Melanie Tapajna said “I Do” then headed straight to Laura’s Home Women’s Crisis Center in Cleveland where they spent their wedding day serving catered food to those in need in their full wedding attire – he in a dapper tux and she in an elegant white lace gown. Upon arrival, the couple put on hair nets, gloves and masks and were hard at work.

When the couple’s big day was drastically changed due to COVID-19 restrictions, instead of being disheartened, they continued with the wedding celebration in a unique and special way.  Newlywed Melanie said, like most brides, she had been meticulous in her wedding planning. All her well-thought-out plans abruptly changed when their reception venue closed.  Instead of finding another venue and postponing their wedding they decided to switch plans.

The couple swapped out their large romantic style lodge venue wedding for a quaint and simple backyard ceremony.  Instead of getting a full refund for the food catering for their expected 150-guests they instead made the generous decision to donate it all.  

“This is the perfect time with all that is happening, why not spread the love?” the bride said of the couple’s motivation for their generous gesture.  “Pay it forward, do your part, give back when you can,” the groom added.

The couple had arranged for their wedding’s catering team to alternatively prepare a community style meal.  Melanie then researched and selected a nonprofit named Laura’s home which aids homeless single mothers and children for the donation.  She contacted the crisis center directly and discussed the details. Together they adjusted the menu to fit what the children preferred to eat. “They picked fried chicken, mac and cheese, green beans, and cupcakes" Melanie said.  The menu changes allowed the center to continue providing meals to its residents for several days after.

Within an hour of saying their marital vows, the couple was whisked off to start serving the meals to over 130 women and children.  The crisis center decorated the center to resemble a wedding reception for the couple’s special day.  The children’s eyes lit up with excitement at the sight of the bride and groom in their glamorous wedding attire.   

“They were very welcoming, they were clapping for us and saying, welcome to your reception!” recalled the bride. “The happiness that we received walking in was awesome, but as far as working in the kitchen and seeing all the smiling, appreciative faces, that was fantastic," said the groom.  The couple was thrilled with the opportunity to personally see the smiles on the children’s faces which in turn put a smile on their own. 

The couple have no regrets about their decision.  “It turned out to be the most beautiful day ever,” said Tyler. They couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the start of their life together than jointly doing something positive for their community.

Rich Trickel, the mission’s CEO said he was moved by the couple’s kindness and by their offer to serve their donated food.  PassItOn was also inspired by the couple’s generous act.  The Trickels’ exemplify the value of sharing.  Grateful for what they have and fueled by the desire to help their community; they eagerly shared what they could when a unique opportunity arose.  Please help us honor these caring heroes by sharing their heartwarming story.  

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photo credit: Facebook

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