A Habitat for Humanity home dedication turned into much more Friday when a blended family surprised their kids with a wedding.
The Twemlow-Allen family not only celebrated taking possession of their new home built by Topeka Habitat for Humanity but also the chance to say “I do” in front of their forever home.
Family and friends attended a home dedication Friday at 3335 S.E Powell St. for parents Danielle Twemlow and Tyler Allen and their five children, Charlie, Malcom, Isaiah, Owen and Ramona.
Cheers erupted as the surprise wedding was revealed and the couple got married on the front porch of their new house with their children standing nearby.
Twemlow said being able to get married at their new home felt like the right thing to do and “felt like a fitting opportunity to do it.”
Allen said he hopes the five kids enjoy little things about living in a new home, such as being able to invite friends over again. They had stopped because of the condition of their previous home, where people would leave not feeling well.
“Home is where the family gathers, and we are very lucky that we have such a large family, and having a space of our own to bring everyone together is one of the most important things,” Danielle Twemlow said.
The home was fully furnished by Advisors Excel.
Janice Watkins, executive director of Habitat for Humanity, said it was exciting for this family to move into safe, affordable housing.
“We know what the outcomes of affordable and safe housing is on health, and this particular family has experienced some health issues based on the environmental factors in their rental, so we are really looking forward to what all they can accomplish once they are in safe housing that meets their needs,” Watkins said.
She said the family’s two teenagers were previously living in an unfinished basement with mold.
Families who are chosen for a Habitat for Humanity home complete 750 hours of sweat equity, home ownership and budget counseling education.
Watkins said applications are given to the selection committee without any identifiers, and they don’t learn the family’s name until after their selection.
Watkins said what makes this family special is that Danielle Twemlow has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in the past and advocated for Habitat in the Topeka community.
“This particular family is a large family, and our community does not serve large families in a very affordable way in the current rental stock,” Watkins said. “So during the process it became very abundantly apparent this family needed something safe and affordable that fit their family needs.”