Turkish Couple Spend Wedding Day Feeding 4,000 Syrian Refugees

Instead of splashing out on a fancy wedding last week, a Turkish couple chose to share their special day with 4,000 Syrian refugees instead. After exchanging vows in their hometown of Kilis, near the Syrian border, they went on to feed thousands of refugees through the Turkish charity Kimse Yok Mu (KYM).

KYM has been offering hot meals to Syrian outcasts who fled the nation’s bloody civil war and are now struggling to fulfill their basic needs. Having seen these people suffer at close quarters, it only made sense for Fethullah Üzümcüoğlu and Esra Polat to allocate a portion of their wedding budget to the charity. The thoughtful couple contributed to the cost of the food being served that day, and arrived at the venue to help serve the food themselves with their guests in tow.

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A video clip shows the couple, still dressed in their wedding outfits, spooning food into buckets for the hungry refugees. KYM also tweeted photographs of the event, and released a statement from the newlyweds. “We wanted to help our Syrian brothers,” it read. “We’re really surprised that the photos of our wedding dinner went around the world. We didn’t expect that. We would like to thank everyone for the best wishes. We think we’ve made an investment in happiness by sharing our dinner with Syrian refugees living in our city.”

It was the groom’s father Ali Üzümcüoğlu, an active KYM volunteer, who came up with the idea that the couple spend their wedding day among refugees. Fethullah, 24, had never done anything of the sort before, and Esra, 20, was just as surprised. But they both decided it was a special way to celebrate their union and, after the event was over, they realized that what they’d done had meant as much for them as it did for the grateful refugees.

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“The groom told me that the moment of the hot meal distribution was the best moment of his wedding day,” KYM spokesperson Hatice Avci told Mashable. “He was especially impressed by the happiness he saw in the eyes of the Syrian refugee children… and the bride was amazed about it as well. They started their journey to happiness by making others happy.”

“Syrian refugees living in Turkey outside the camp are more in need than the refugees inside the camp,” he added. “Outside the camps, they are in need of the most basic things.” The Syrian civil war, which has been raging since 2011, is displacing millions of citizens from their homes. In fact, according to the United Nations, the refugee crisis is currently the worst that the world has seen since WWII. By the end of 2015, the number of Syrian refugees is expected to reach a whopping 4.27 million.

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And that’s why Fethullah and Esra’s contribution couldn’t have come at a better time. Traditional Turkish weddings last between Tuesday and Thursday, with a lavish banquet on the last night. But Ali thought this would be highly inappropriate with millions suffering next door. “I thought that sharing a big delicious dinner with our family and friends was unnecessary, knowing that there are so many people in need living next door,” he said, speaking to i100.co.uk. “So I came up with this idea and shared it with my son. I’m very happy that he accepted it and they started their new happy journey with such a selfless action.”

“I was shocked when Fethullah first told me about the idea but afterwards I was won over by it,” said the happy bride said “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.”


The newlyweds revealed that their friends were so impressed by their act of kindness that they are now planning similar events for their own weddings.

Photos: Kimse Yok Mu

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