This Couple Canceled Their Big Wedding to Help Sponsor a Syrian Refugee Family Instead

Couple Cancels Wedding for Syrian Refugees

Photo: Courtesy ABC News

When you hear of a bride canceling her wedding it's usually because of the couple having relationship issues, a death in the family or some other misfortune. But for one Toronto couple, canceling their own big day meant helping a family in serious need.

Samantha Jackson and Farzin Yousefian had everything planned for their traditional spring wedding in March — a caterer, a venue and a slew of other vendors that were costing the couple tens of thousands of dollars, ABC News reports. But this pair decided to forgo their grand nuptials after realizing that the money could be used for a cause greater than themselves, said Jackson, a doctorate student studying public policy. They wanted to help sponsor a Syrian refugee family of four settle in Canada.

"We were in the midst of wedding planning in September when that devastating photo of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi found on a beach came out," said Jackson, who volunteers for Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge, an organization that fundraises money to help cover the cost of rent, clothing and food for one year for Syrian refugee families resettling in the Toronto area. "Like so many other people, we became acutely aware of how bad the situation was getting and how important it was to act and do something positive, so we canceled the wedding and redirected the funds."

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The couple opted for a small City Hall ceremony last month, followed by a casual dinner with friends and family and a small reception at a bar in Toronto. "We realized how all the money we would've put to our wedding would be better used helping give Syrian refugee families the second chance they deserve," Jackson said.

But that's not all — in lieu of a registry or traditional wedding gifts, the couple asked their friends and family to help out with the cause, too. "Our family and friends were absolutely thrilled and supportive," Jackson said. "And rather than giving the traditional gift, they made donations to help fund our sponsorship of a Syrian refugee family."

Their selflessness is paying off — the couple has raised $17,500 so far toward their goal of $27,000, which is the amount needed to sponsor one Syrian family of four in their area.

"Our wedding was perfect," Jackson said, "and it was definitely the perfect way to start our marriage."

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