September 29, 2006

Positivity: A Canceled Wedding Its Transformed into a Celebration

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:02 am

How about this for a psychological recovery? Kyle Paxman fought through betrayal and sadness to turn a canceled wedding into a charity fundraiser:

In Vt., a canceled wedding is transformed into celebration
Fund-raiser is held to honor strong women
September 10, 2006

VERGENNES, Vt. — Bottles of Zinfandel lined the bar, hotel workers set up giant speakers by a parquet dance floor, and chefs in white hats prepared a lavish meal of Vermont cheddar cheese soup, filet mignon, and crab-stuffed shrimp.

This was to be Kyle Paxman’s wedding day, a day she had dreamed about for years and planned for months. She had sent out 180 invitations to guests from around the country, booked a reggae band, a florist, a trio from the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, a photographer, and the venue, the Basin Harbor Club, on the shores of Lake Champlain.

Then, six weeks ago, Paxman, 29, called off the wedding. According to her mother, Patricia Carbee , the bride-to-be had found out her fiancé, her boyfriend of four years, had been cheating on her. Paxman was heartbroken, but Carbee still had to pay the Harbor Club for the reception .

Rather than scrap the event, they decided to turn it into a charity fund-raiser to celebrate strong women — “beautiful, powerful, charismatic, and charitable women,” as the large green card in the club lobby puts it.

One hundred and twenty-five women were expected to show for the charity bash last night.

“We decided to hold this event after days of tears and sadness, to turn a bad situation into something positive,” Paxman said yesterday in a function room at the 120-year-old club, where she arrived, smiling, in an embroidered white dress, silver earrings, and a light blue shawl.

Her brother, Keith, 32, walked by her side. Her mother followed close behind.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Kyle,” Carbee said, beaming at her daughter. “I think she’s amazing. I think she’s beautiful from the outside in, and I think this really shows her strength.”

….. Carbee said she started canceling the events — the trio, the reggae band, and a golf outing that had been planned for the men. But they were stuck with the bill for the food, open bar, and the rooms at the Harbor Club. “Because of our contract, we had to pay for everything,” Carbee said.

Days later, over dinner at a restaurant, Carbee suggested an alternative plan to her daughter. “I said we could try and make it something else, something positive,” Carbee said, admitting that she was not sure what her daughter’s reaction would be.

After days of reflection, Paxman, manager of a spa in Carlsbad, Calif., said she agreed to turn her wedding into a charity fund-raiser.

The only thing left to decide was which charities they wanted to support, said Carbee.

Paxman, who grew up in Barre, Vt., and studied early childhood education at Castleton State College in Castleton, Vt., chose the Vermont Children’s Aid Society as one beneficiary. The other, she said, came to her one night when she and her mother saw an advertisement for CARE, the international relief organization that focuses on helping poor women. The ad shows women striding purposefully toward the camera and declaring, “I am powerful.”

“We both started crying and she said, ‘I found my second cause,’ ” Carbee said.

Soon, Paxman and her mother had contacted 125 women — family, friends, coworkers, from as far away as Florida and the US Virgin Islands — to invite them to Paxman’s fund-raiser.

Last night, as evening settled on the resort, the women started to arrive, dressed in shimmering gowns. As they entered the resort, many slipped checks into a donation box that Paxman had set out.

After the event, mother and daughter were headed to Tahiti for what would have been Paxman’s honeymoon.

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