An Australian bride has revealed why she gave away her lavish $20,000 wedding to a complete stranger.
Speaking exclusively to New Idea, Ann Ngo, 32, says the dress had been made and the venue booked when her fairytale big day was called off just three months before she and her partner, Nathan, were due to wed.
The couple had been together 10 years when they realised neither of them was ready to marry – but with $20,000 already spent on a lavish ceremony, it was too late to get a refund.
‘Looking back, it was more for our kids and our family,’ Ann tells New Idea, of their decision to get hitched.
‘We knew even with all the money that had already been spent, it wasn’t the right thing to do.’
Instead, the selfless couple made a vow - to donate their big day to My Wedding Wish, a national charity that gifts weddings to couples facing a terminal diagnosis.
The CEO of My Wedding Wish, Lynette Maguire, was floored by the generous gesture but it was a race against time to find a deserving couple who wanted to wed.
The charity’s emails and calls remained unanswered, until New Idea stepped in – just nine days before the wedding!
When New Idea published an online story about the search, a couple read it and got in touch in the hope the charity would make their dream of becoming husband and wife come true.
The groom - who is facing a terminal diagnosis of bowel cancer - desperately wanted to marry his soulmate and after sharing their story, the couple were chosen to receive the special day for free.
Operations manager at My Wedding Wish, Ingrid Nichols, said: ‘In addition to Ann and Nathan’s generous gesture, our amazing suppliers contributed in excess of $20,000. Once they heard about this couple's plight, they didn’t hesitate to get on board.
'Oatlands House put $8000 in to make sure the day was extra special, Lisa and Des from Just for Him Formal Wear donated the groom's suit and even dressed their children so they could be part of the wedding party.
'The photographer Dale from DC Images left a weekend away for his son’s birthday so he could contribute. These are just a few examples of the incredible generosity My Wedding Wish suppliers gift us every single time.'
As a result, the deserving couple – who tell their story exclusively in this week’s New Idea magazine - wed in a joyful ceremony earlier this month.
An emotional Ann was there too.
‘It makes me so happy that I could do this for someone. They have got two young kids as well so it kind of really hit me,’ she says. ‘That’s a feeling that you can’t pay for.’
Meet the deserving couple who were given Ann’s wedding and read their heartwarming story in the latest issue of New Idea magazine – published Monday 20 November.
To find out how you could donate or get involved with My Wedding Wish, go to: www.myweddingwish.org