Helping Others

El Dorado Hills family turns canceled wedding into banquet for people in need

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An El Dorado Hills family overcame their own emotional turmoil to turn a canceled wedding into a special event for approximately 100 less fortunate people Saturday night.

David Duane said his 27-year-old daughter, Quinn, announced Oct. 12 that the groom had called off the wedding, five days before the event.

The reception venue, the Citizen Hotel in downtown Sacramento, had been booked months in advance. Duane said he and his wife knew they could not expect a refund at such a late date.

“We said, ‘Hey, do we just not do anything, or do we go down and do something?’ ” Duane said.

His wife, Kari, came up with the idea of hosting people who were homeless or in need at what was intended to have been the wedding dinner.

She contacted Next Move, formerly known as the Sacramento Area Emergency Housing Center, and program director LaTisha Daniels. The organization’s mission is to provide shelter and other services to help people transition out of homelessness.

Daniels took charge, inviting individuals and families, and providing bus passes so they could get to the dinner, David Duane said.

Duane and his wife were on hand at 5 p.m. to welcome people to the buffet dinner that would otherwise have been served to wedding guests.

“It was a fabulous night, a great evening,” Duane said.

He talked to a number of the guests and listened to stories of the difficulties they have faced.

“They were just fantastic people. … I felt like they gave a gift back to us,” Duane said.

Wedding costs, including the honeymoon, he said, totaled more than $30,000. His wife and daughter left Sunday for Belize, which was to have been the honeymoon destination.

Duane said he is amazed at the attention the event has attracted from news outlets nationwide and abroad.

Quinn is the eldest of the couple’s five daughters. Although she didn’t feel up to attending the Saturday night banquet, her father described her as “an amazing kid” who will rebound from the experience.

“As a family,” Duane said, “we took away something good from this.”

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy