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Couple Downsizes Big Wedding to Sponsor Syrian Refugees

They're raising $27,000 to sponsor a family of 4 instead
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2015 7:48 AM CST

(Newser) – The idea came to them in September, when Samantha Jackson and Farzin Yousefian saw the tragic photo of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi's lifeless body washed ashore after he and his family fled their home in Syria. Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars on a big, catered wedding in March, the Toronto couple immediately downsized to a small gathering at city hall in early October, reports Yahoo Canada. Their civil ceremony (see the Yahoo link for photos) was followed by a simple dinner with friends and family and a small cocktail reception.

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In lieu of traditional wedding gifts, they asked friends and family to help them raise the $27,000 needed to sponsor a Syrian refugee family of four in the Toronto area via the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge, where Jackson had been volunteering. They have raised $17,500 so far, reports ABC News, and say their friends and family have been "absolutely thrilled and supportive" of their decision. "Our wedding was perfect," says Jackson, who admits she loves the traditional standard, too. "It was definitely the perfect way to start our marriage." (This wedding-that-wasn't also benefited the less fortunate.)

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