A bride who cancelled her wedding after refusing to sign a prenup decided to turn the planned reception into a party for families in need.

On Sunday, Yiru Sun was supposed to tie the knot in luxurious Harold Pratt House in New York's Upper East Side. Two months ago, however, the Princeton graduate called off the wedding after refusing to sign a prenuptial agreement.

The heartbroken bride decided that instead of losing the non-refundable US$8000 ($11,700) deposit for the wedding reception, she'd throw a feast for 60 New York children in need and their families.

With help from charity Inwood House and the Salvation Army, the insurance executive organised a pre-Mother's Day lunch at in the Upper East Side for families who would otherwise never have experienced such luxury.

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"I should have been the bride. It was cancelled," Sun told her guests at the elegant Harold Pratt House at East 68th Street and Park Avenue.

"Initially I felt frustrated.

"Three weeks later, I woke up with this idea."

The children, who had their faces painted and were also given balloons and iceblocks, said the day made them feel special.

"I cannot be the princess of my wedding day, but I can give the kids a fairytale." She told the New York Post.

Sun told her guests at the Pratt mansion that she grew up poor in China but studied hard in America, winning a full scholarship for a graduate degree at Princeton University.

Sun, a single mum with a 6-year-old daughter, insisted that mums, and their kids, can face difficulties in life and still do great things.