A US bride who called off her US$30,000 wedding has thrown a party for the homeless at the swanky event centre she had booked for the reception.

Sarah Cummins from Indiana said she cancelled the wedding a week ago, but declined to give a reason. She was left with a nonrefundable contract for the Ritz Charles in Carmel and a dinner for 170 guests.

Cummins says she decided that rather than throw away the food she would bring some purpose to the event and contacted area homeless shelters. A school bus pulled up yesterday from one organisation and about a dozen homeless veterans stepped off to join the party. "For me, it was an opportunity to let these people know they deserved to be at a place like this just as much as everyone else does."

Several local businesses and residents donated suits, dresses and other items for the guests to wear. Three of Cummins seven bridesmaids, along with her mother and aunts, came to support her at the event. Guests dined on bourbon-glazed meatballs, goat cheese and roasted garlic bruschetta, chicken breast with artichokes.

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Cummins, 25, a pharmacy student, said her ex-fiance, Logan Araujo, footed most of the bill for the wedding contract, with Cummins and her parents, with one of Araujo's family friends, paying the rest. Cummins said she is not sure yet what she will do with the wedding dress. "It's too painful to think about."