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Canadian couple cancel wedding to donate money to help Syrian refugees

'It was definitely the perfect way to start our marriage,' the pair say

Ashley Cowburn
Monday 23 November 2015 11:19 GMT
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Samantha Jackson and Farzin Yousef had a smaller wedding at Toronto City Hall.
Samantha Jackson and Farzin Yousef had a smaller wedding at Toronto City Hall. (Jim Martin)

A couple have cancelled their expensive wedding to donate money to help the plight of Syrian refugees settling in their country.

Canadians Samantha Jackson and Farzin Yousef decided to give the cash they would have spent on thier nuptials to charity after being moved by the photo of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy found dead on a Turkish beach in September.

The couple, who got engaged in the summer of 2014, had already booked the venue, hired a caterer and drawn up a guest list of 130 people. But instead of going through with lavish wedding, they cancelled it all and had a small reception at Toronto’s City Hall last month.

Speaking to ABC News, Mrs Jackson said: "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.

"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 cancelled the wedding and redirected the funds."

The couple volunteer for Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge, which has been raising money to help cover essential costs for Syrian families resettling in the area. So far the newlyweds have raised $17,500 towards the cause.

Mrs Jackson added: "Our family and friends were absolutely thrilled and supportive… and rather than giving the traditional gift, they made donations to help fund our sponsorship of a Syrian refugee family."

"Our wedding was perfect…and it was definitely the perfect way to start our marriage.”

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