On April 8, Angela Tan should have been marrying her partner of eight years but instead she’s using the deposit on their reception venue to host a massive charity ball there.
The brave 24-year-old, from Sydney, called off her engagement three months ago after realising she had drifted apart from the man she was about to spend the rest of her life with.
They were six months into planning their $55,000 wedding day, she had bought the dress, booked the flowers, food, and entertainment but at Christmas, they agreed to call the whole thing off and part ways.
Angela met her ex-partner through mutual friends when she was a 16-year-old schoolgirl and he was 19-years-old.
He was “so persistent in the chase” that he would pick her up from the train station every day and walk with her home, with the pair falling blissfully in love.
“We did a lot of growing up together. We went through different life stages together,” Angela told Be.
“Going to university, getting our first jobs and then we’d gotten to a stage where we’re young adults now and planning ahead for our future.”
It was eventually their discussions on their aspirations and goals that led to the downfall of their relationship, as after starting a conversation about their future, Angela soon realised that the were on a very different path.
“Even though the conversations were uncomfortable, we felt that it’s best to have these conversations now rather than later,” she said.
“It became obvious that we weren’t able to fulfill each other’s needs, wants and aspirations because fundamentally people change really depending on their social networks and their life experience at that point in time.
“Our end goals became increasingly different and they were no longer aligned and my gut was telling me that it didn’t feel right and not to be afraid in making a decision where I put myself first.“
Angela said she sat down and asked herself whether she was with her fiancé because “It’s just the way it is” or whether she really believed they could be with each other forever.
“Marriage is a huge decision and essentially what I had to do was put the emotional and financial burden aside and ask myself, if I weren’t afraid and I didn’t care about what other people thought, what was the life I wanted for myself?,” she said.
Her doubts about the relationship crept in about six months before the big day when she claims they were at the “let’s stick with it” phase because 75 per cent of the wedding was already booked.
“All we really needed to do was show up on the day and have a fantastic time but a wedding day is really only 12-hours of your life whereas marriage is for a lifetime,” she said.
“10 years in it’s all about you, your husband and your kids and you can no longer be selfish anymore.”
The couple had agreed to not ask family for financial help with their wedding and when Angela told the suppliers she had paid upfront what she planned to do with the money, they agreed to use the funds to support her charity ball instead.
Now instead of walking down the aisle on April 8th, Angela will host the Something Borrowed charity ball with her colleague and friend Bec Badcock.
Angela will raise money for Opportunity International Australia, which gives small loans to families living in poverty.
“All I needed to do was find a charity that resonates with my experience,” Angela said.
“I mean you could just sit in bed watching Netflix and eating ice cream or you see an opportunity to do good with it, rise above, learn from your experience and help other women by empowering them with a choice.
“Through my journey and experience if I’m able to help all the other women in need that’s more important to me than the wedding.”
As for her beautiful wedding dress, while Angela says she dreamed of dying it and wearing it to the ball, she couldn’t bear to see it ruined and it is currently on consignment in a Leichhardt store.
“I’ll find a way to repurpose it or auction it off and give the money to the charity,” she said.