Surely one of the more special days of a couple's lifelong commitment to each other is the very start of it — their wedding day. From dress measurements to guest seatings, it marks an occasion in adulthood that many people want to be magical (Bridezilla would not be marketable otherwise).
But instead of a lavish wedding party filled with food, dancing and general merriment with their friends and family, one Turkish couple spent their wedding day feeding thousands of Syrian refugees.
On the border town of Kilis, the couple, Fethullah Üzümcüoğlu and Esra Polat, distributed food to some 4,000 Syrians who fled their homes amid the ferocious civil war next door.
In a culture known for its opulent, lively wedding celebrations, why did the couple decide to do this instead?
The groom's father, Ali Üzümcüoğlu, came up with the idea. Ali is a volunteer at Kimse Yok Mu ("Is Anybody There?" in English), a charity organization that has fed thousands of Syrians who have flooded the border.
Ali approached the organization and on behalf of the family, offered to cover part of the costs of feeding the Syrian refugees for a day, The Daily Beast reported.
Hatice Avci, the international communications manager for KYM told The Daily Beast about that the bride was shocked when her groom suggested it:
You can imagine, as a bride you wouldn't think about this — it's all about you and your groom. In southeastern Turkey there is a real culture of sharing with people in need … They love to share their food, their table, everything they have. That's why the bride also accepted. And afterwards she was quite amazed about it.
Turkey is one of the few countries that has opened its borders to the flood of Syrians fleeing their homes.
With Kilis as their central entrance point, there are now almost 2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, of an estimated 9 million Syrians displaced. In what the United Nations described as the worst crisis of its kind in a generation, the bloody Syrian civil war has gone on for four years now with no end in sight.
Those like Üzümcüoğlu and Polat give glimmers of hope to the beleaguered population. The groom's father, Ali, told local media that he hoped it would encourage others to think of their special wedding days with their Syrian neighbors.
"We thought that on such a happy day, we would share the wedding party with our Syrian brothers and sisters," he said. "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."