Samantha Jackson and Farzin Yousefian had a nice big fancy wedding planned for March.

We’re talkin’ the works—beautiful venue, caterer, and all that extra gorgeous fluff that makes weddings the exquisite and expensive extravaganzas that they are.

The big day was planned for March…but then Samantha saw this picture:


And her heart broke for Syria.

“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,” she said. “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.”

Of course she would have loved to have all the fancy bells and whistles, but she didn’t need them—and they both agreed wholeheartedly that this was the right thing to do. It was a no brainer.

The Toronto couple used the money to sponsor a Syrian refugee family’s settlement in Canada. They would rather bless the family of four, than spend money on a lavish wedding that they didn’t need.

“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.

Samantha, a doctorate student in public policy, had also been volunteering for Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge, which is an organization that fundraises to help pay for food, shelter, and clothing for refugees for a year.

Instead of the March wedding they had planned, Samantha and Farzin decided to have a small City Hall wedding last month.

They dined casually, invited a few friends, and had a low-key reception at a local bar.


“Our family and friends were absolutely thrilled and supportive,” said Jackson. “And rather than giving the traditional gift, they made donations to help fund our sponsorship of a Syrian refugee family.”

So far, they’ve raised $17,500 of the $27,000 needed to sponsor a Syrian family in the Toronto area. With the support of others, they’re hopeful that they will reach their goal soon.

Their wedding was small, but their hearts sure are big.

“Our wedding was perfect,” said the bride, “and it was definitely the perfect way to start our marriage.”

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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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