- Classifieds – Main
by Nicole Economos
A date was set, venue booked and invitations sent out. But three months out from her wedding, 24-year-old Sydneysider Angela Tan and her high-school sweetheart of eight years made the mutual and “terrifying realisation” that they were not meant for each other.
While broken engagements are not uncommon, Tan made the unusual decision to turn her “unfortunate story into life-changing positivity,” saying “I do” to a charity event instead of losing her venue deposit.
“I could have easily just hidden on the day that was supposed to be my wedding but for me it was about turning my story into something positive. Life [can] throw us curve balls and you can decide to either go into darkness or rise above and do good with it,” says Tan of her decision.
“We made a mature decision to break off our relationship when we realised it wasn’t working out and we had outgrown each other. Things were slightly unravelling but one of my colleagues helped me come up with the idea because I wanted to make sure I turned the unfortunate into positive, making lemonade out of life’s lemons as they say.”
The digital product manager will host a black tie charity ball with a five-course dinner, called Something Borrowed, on April 8, with her colleague and friend, Bec Badcock in support of Opportunity International Australia. The organisation works to empower people around the world and help them out of poverty. All funds raised on the night will be donated.
For Tan, the “Something Borrowed” theme comes from the double meaning of wedding tradition and the work Opportunity International do in providing microfinance loans to families in impoverished conditions to help them start a business.
“There are women in different socio-economic situations overseas that often don’t have the same freedom to say ‘no’ to marrying Mr Wrong which is why I chose Opportunity International after coming across it online,” says Tan.
“I felt a wholehearted connection to the organisation who empowers women and thus their family and children with something as simply life-changing as a loan for a sewing machine or shop front. I had a choice about my marriage and I hope that giving women some financial freedoms gives them opportunities to make similar decisions. It is where the concept of Something Borrowed came from, a sustainable solution giving women borrowed money to change the course of their life.”
Tan and her fiance had laid down deposits to the two main suppliers for their wedding including the reception venue. However Tan says she was overwhelmed that other local businesses she was using for the wedding extended their services when learning about her story.
“The other suppliers including florist and entertainment have been really supportive. When I told them my situation that all came on board with elements we could include in the event without full payment. It just goes to show how we can help change lives,” she says.
Tan’s advice to other people in similar predicaments is not to let “the emotional and financial burden” or fear of judgement associated with wedding cancellations dictate your long-term happiness.
“If you’re having doubts and cannot picture yourself [together] down the track in ten or twenty years time then it is okay to let go now,” she says.
“It wasn’t that I no longer loved him [her fiancé], we love each other enough to muster up the strength to do what was right for the both of us moving forward because we weren’t on the same page. It is a disservice to yourself not to be honest and embrace change wholeheartedly.”
Despite their relationship not lasting, Tan says that her ex-partner is “proud of her event and will be supporting from afar.” And while the event’s success is Tan’s short-term focus, afterward she plans to travel solo to reconnect with who she is on her own.
“I am no longer relying on someone to help fulfil part of my happiness, which I think is something we forget, just to be happy on our own,” she says.” (-SMH.com.au)