Quick! What’s the best wedding you ever attended?
Youtube archives threaten to break the internet with flash mob proposals, bridal party dance antics, and epic fail toasts. Meet a young Turkish couple that refreshingly flipped their big day on its head, making a naturally narcissistic milestone into something all about others. They invited 4,000 Syrian refugees to their wedding feast!
Fethullah Üzümcüoğlu and Esra Polat got hitched last week in Kilis, a Turkish town on the Syrian border. Ali Üzümcüoğlu, father of the groom, came up with the idea of sharing their celebration with local refugees who had fled Syria since the start of its civil war four years ago. He said that he hoped others would do the same and share their wedding celebrations “with their Syrian brothers and sisters.”
“I was shocked when Fethullah first told me about the idea but afterwards I was won over by it. It was such a wonderful experience. I’m happy that we had the opportunity to share our wedding meal with the people who are in real need,” she told Serhat Kilis newspaper.
Nearly two million Syrians have emigrated to Turkey. In Kilis, there are 4,000 refugees. The United Nations estimates there are now four million Syrian refugees, with another eight million displaced within the country, calling it the worst crisis of its kind in a generation.
“We thought that on such a happy day, we would share the wedding party with our Syrian brothers and sisters. God willing, this will lead to others doing the same and giving food to our Syrian brothers and sisters. For us, it was an interesting wedding dinner,” said the groom, “Seeing the happiness in the eyes of the Syrian refugee children is just priceless. We started our journey to happiness with making others happy and that’s a great feeling.”
To pull off the party, the family teamed up with Kimse Yok Mu (translates to “Is Anybody There?”), a Turkish charity which provides aid to millions of needy across the world. Spokesman Hatice Avci told i100.co.uk that the couple pooled their wedding gift money to pay for the unusual reception. Wedding guests trucked food to different sites around town. The bride, groom, and local singer Reşit Muhtar also jumped in serving up meals to the special guests.
Groom’s dad Üzümcüoğlu said he was glad that the couple began a new life “with such a selfless action”. And he may have kicked off a trend; his son’s friends told him they hope to do the same during their wedding celebrations.
Hasanat? Mitzvah? Plain old good karma? This story leaves us happier than if we caught the bouquet.
Images by @kimseyokmu