Bride and groom serve their reception food at women's shelter after coronavirus disrupted their wedding plans

·4 min read
Just minutes after getting married, Melanie and Tyler Tapajna serve food at Laura's Home, a facility in Cleveland Ohio that helps women and children. (Photo: The City Mission Facebook)
Just minutes after getting married, Melanie and Tyler Tapajna serve food at Laura's Home, a facility in Cleveland Ohio that helps women and children. (Photo: The City Mission Facebook)

A Cleveland couple decided to pay it forward after they had to cancel their wedding reception due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Melanie and Tyler Tapjnahad had everything perfectly planned for their wedding day —Saturday, Aug. 15 — including their reception event, which was set to overlook the beautiful fields of Allardale Park in Medina, Ohio. But two weeks after sending out their invitations, they had to change their plans because of the pandemic.

On Saturday, the pair exchanged vows in front of about a dozen family and friends in the backyard of Melanie’s grandparents. “It turned out to be a beautiful day. It was supposed to rain [but] the skies broke and we had sun,” Tyler, 34, tells Yahoo Life. And the good mood continued after the ceremony, thanks to the generosity of the newlyweds.

Melanie and Tyler Tapajna celebrate their union in a smaller backyard wedding with about 12 close family and friends. (Photo: Melanie and Tyler Tapajna)
Melanie and Tyler Tapajna celebrate their union in a small backyard wedding with about 12 close family and friends. (Photo: Melanie and Tyler Tapajna)

Earlier, they had decided that they would donate the meals that had been meant for their reception — from the food truck Betty's Bomb Ass Burgers — to charity.

“So, it was kind of an idea even before we made the final decision,” Melanie, 27, tells Yahoo Life. “We donate a lot every year to a charity, so I guess it was one of those things where it was our chance to do it,

And so, just minutes after saying “I do,” the spouses, still in their wedding finery, were serving food at Laura’s Home, a Cleveland crisis center for women and children that’s run by the City Mission. According to CNN, the couple served fried chicken, green beans, salad and mac and cheese to a total of 135 women and children. Melanie credits both Betty’s and Laura’s Home for taking the reins and organizing the whole event.

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“They made me feel like a princess. I have never been told that I was beautiful as much as I had that day,” Melanie says. “The little girls loved seeing my dress.”

She adds that the kids also made Tyler feel good.

“I loved it,” he says. “The kids were cheesing hard. They were adorable. Everyone was appreciative.”

The couple admits that they are surprised by how widespread their gesture has been acknowledged in the media. And while some of those commenting have expressed confusion about why the two did not go through with holding their reception, Melanie stands by her decision.

“It’s a safety concern with the people that you love,” she says. “Whether you believe in [COVID-19 safety] or not, I couldn’t imagine anybody coming to my wedding and getting sick.”

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.

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