[Hpn] Wedding Called Off Bride Throws Party For Homeless

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Wed, 29 Jun 2005 16:44:32 -0400


June 29 2005

Bride calls off wedding, throws party for the homeless


EVERETT, Wash. -- 

A young woman decided to call off her wedding 12 days before the event and
her parents knew they'd be stuck with the bill, so they decided to have a
party anyway and invited the homeless.

Residents of the Interfaith Family Shelter, housed in a former convent
across from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church where the wedding had
been scheduled, attended the bash thrown by Katie Hosking, 22, a medical
assistant at the Everett Clinic, and her parents, Bill and Susan Hosking of
Lake Stevens.

"They had a DJ and really good music. It was a warm, friendly atmosphere.
The food was delicious. It was a nice break with people not worrying about
anything for one night," shelter manager Carol Oliva said. "Toward the end
of the evening, they packed up all the leftover food and we got to bring it
back to the shelter."

One homeless woman got her son out of a wheelchair, "took that child out on
the dance floor and picked him up and danced with him. It was a beautiful
sight. Our kids realized that even when something bad happens, somebody else
has something worse," Susan Hosking said. "It was an eye-opener."

The almost-bride would not say what led to the breakup, only that it
happened June 6, 12 days before the scheduled date of her wedding.

Planning a reception for 150 guests at the Echo Falls golf and country club,
her parents had made a $2,500 down payment and written another check for the
$6,200 balance. Club policy requires full payment for any event that is
canceled less than 60 days before the scheduled date.

"Personally, it's a really hard time for a family," said Jessica Gamble, the
club's catering sales manager. "It's a really awesome thing that they did.
They made the best of it."

Susan Hosking said that once she and her husband "got past the panic," they
took a suggestion from her brother-in -law in New York and decided to invite
the staff and residents of the shelter operated by the Interfaith
Association of Snohomish County to share in the evening.

More than 50 family members and close friends were joined by about 40
homeless people, shelter workers and volunteers. The shelter staff arranged
rides to the club.

Instead of a wedding cake, chef Michael Greb produced strawberry shortcake
to top off a menu that included baron of beef, salmon, shrimp cocktail,
fettuccine and fruit.

"Oh my gosh, we had so much fun," Katie Hosking said.

Shelter residents, she said, "came up and thanked us several times - thank
you, thank you, thank you. We all danced. I still got to dance with my dad."

Her mother said she was happy to demonstrate an alternative to the case of
Jennifer Wilbanks, 32, who got cold feet and vanished shortly before a
600-guest wedding in Georgia. Wilbanks pleaded no contest this month to
telling police a phony abduction story and was sentenced to probation and
community service.

"That food would help feed people at the shelter for another three or four
days," she said. "With the notoriety of the runaway bride, I would like
people to know that these things do happen, and there is another outlet. The
money is spent."