(CNN)Yiru Sun had made all the arrangements for her special wedding day: the food, a DJ, a swanky venue reserved in New York City's Upper East Side.
Bride cancels wedding over prenup, throws party for needy kids
But when a disagreement in the pre-nup caused her and her fiancé to call off the engagement, she wasn't about to let that rain on her big day.
Instead, she turned her wedding reception into a pre-Mother's Day luncheon -- for needy kids and their families.
Using the $8,000 down payment for the venue, she invited more than 60 guests: children from low-income homes, teen moms and foster families.
"It was really good. I could have been sitting at home, sad, thinking 'This was supposed to be my wedding day,'" Sun told CNN. "But so many kids and their moms came. I laughed the whole day."
Sun is tight-lipped about why she called off the wedding. But she knew right away what she wanted to do next.
When her friends and colleagues heard her plan, they jumped in.
One colleague from New York Life, where Sun is an actuary, paid for a face-painter and a balloon artist. Another brought children's books as party favors. Yet another acted as the official photographer.
And amidst them mingled Sun, looking radiant in a bridal white dress Saturday.
"Although I can't be the princess of my wedding day, all these kids can have the 'princess or the prince' feeling today," she said. "So I feel very happy about that," Sun said.
Guest William Natal called it an "incredibly selfless act."
"Just to turn around and do something that helps other is an amazing show of character," Natal told CNN affiliate WCBS.
Sun calls it "pretty natural thinking."
Like she told the guests at the luncheon, she had a similar past: a difficult childhood.
Sun grew up in China where it was difficult for her to get resources or money for higher education.
But that changed when she was offered a full scholarship to Princeton University to pursue a PhD. in electrical engineering.
"Princeton fulfilled my dream for school," she said. "And I told them if they have similar dreams, you can do it."