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Most brides and grooms-to-be have been forced to scale back wedding plans due to the coronavirus pandemic, with shorter guest lists, cancelled venues and smaller receptions.

But US couple Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis had an idea to turn around their wedding celebrations for the greater good – by giving back to others.

The Chicago couple had been planning a large wedding reception for family and friends, but with the pandemic getting worse in the US, they realised their big day wouldn’t go ahead as planned.

The couple ended up getting married last month in a small city hall ceremony, with only a photographer.

The couple were left with a $5,000 catering deposit, so they asked their caterer if they could turn the wedding food into donated Thanksgiving dinners for those in need.

The newlyweds and the catering company helped serve 200 meals to people with serious mental illnesses and substance use conditions.

“In the grand scheme of things, canceling a big wedding isn’t the worst thing that could happen,” said Bugg in a statement. “We’re happy to be married, and we’re so happy that we could help Thresholds’ clients feel the connection of a Thanksgiving meal as a result of the wedding cancellation.”

“They said, ‘Is there any way we could do something good with our deposit?'” recalled caterer Heidi Moorman Coudal, who owns Chicago-based company Big Delicious Planet. She said most couples ask for their money back, or they simply think of the time and resources caterers put into planning their wedding menu as another sunk cost.

“For them to think about doing something for the greater good is just really heartwarming,” Coudal told CNN.

“Everybody was really excited because they knew this food was going to a really good cause. I think of Big Delicious Planet as a company that gives a lot back to the community — we donate our time, our food resources, our locations and community garden, so I was happy to get on board with this.”

Bugg is an outreach worker at Thresholds, a nonprofit mental health provider in Chicago that helps people with conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and major depression.

This article originally appeared on Over60.

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