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Impromptu wedding reception thrown for refugees

Posted: 5:54 AM, Dec 10, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-10 10:54:49Z

Instead of going on the perfect honeymoon, a Syrian couple spent the days after their wedding in refugee camps, trying to flee the unrest caused by the Islamic State group in Syria.

More than a year after getting married in Syria, Mohamad Al-Noury, 21, and Athar Farroukh, 23, had the perfect wedding reception among friends and strangers last weekend, according to the CBC.  The couple settled in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in the last year after spending time in a refugee camp in Lebanon.

Sunday’s wedding ceremony was organized by Eman Idil Bare, a journalist for the CBC, and based out of Saskatchewan.  She received help from a number of Canadians, including someone who donated a wedding gown for Farroukh to wear and a hotel that donated a ballroom.

The wedding reception was planned on one-day notice as Bare had interviewed the couple last Saturday for a story about escaping IS-held territory in Syria.

"I started taking pictures of them towards the end [of our interview] for my story and the woman, Athar, said that, 'I never got to have wedding pictures,’” Bare said in a CBC article. “I just started thinking, and I said, 'Well I have a camera. If you want tomorrow, I can take a couple wedding-type pictures for you.'"

And then Bare put a call out on her Facebook asking people to help. The response was overwhelming.

“I spent the afternoon with a Syrian couple who had to speed up their wedding because of bombings in their hometown,” Bare said on her Facebook. “They didn't get to take wedding pictures or have the wedding they planned. The couple is in their early 20s, and have been living in Saskatoon for the past year. Their family is all stuck in Syria. I offered to take photos of them tomorrow... But thought it would be so amazing to surprise them with a wedding celebration.”

Canada is expecting to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees. According to the Canadian government, 1,451 visas have been issued to Syrian refugees, with 416 Syrians who have already settled in the country.

Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs.