SASKATOON – Mohamad Alnoury and Athar Farroukh were high school sweethearts. Now in their early 20s, the two had to speed up their wedding a year ago in Syria because of bombings in their hometown. There wasn’t time for photos or celebrations.
That all changed Sunday in Saskatoon with an impromptu wedding that was planned in less than 24 hours.
Eman Bare is a journalist and met the refugee couple Saturday afternoon. When she heard their story, Bare knew she had to help.
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“For my story, I starting taking a few pictures of them and then the bride, Athar, starting laughing, saying that she didn’t have her wedding pictures. So I said ‘why don’t we get together tomorrow and I’ll take some more wedding-looking photos for you.’ Then in about an hour it escalated into this,” said Bare.
The couple’s families are both in Syria, but that didn’t mean there was a lack of wedding guests in attendance.
Bare spread the word on social media and before she knew it, a wedding dress had been donated; along with food, gifts, flowers and a banquet hall at the Delta Bessborough.
“I just had to contact her and say ‘in what way can I help?’ and you know she said the bride needed a wedding dress and shoes and the groom needs a suit and shoes and everything too. We got all of that ready,” said wedding dress donor Amanda O’Leary.
Alnoury and Farroukh were overwhelmed and shocked by the impromptu wedding. Using a translator, Farroukh thanked everyone for coming, “I was very surprised but it is a very great feeling to share this with the people here. Even though we don’t know each other we’re kind of able to come together.”
Bare said she had to tell a white lie to Farroukh in order to get her makeup done and come into the hotel.
“I took her upstairs and showed her the dress and I was like ‘so there’s actually going to be a lot more people here.’ It took about a half-hour to convince them to come downstairs because they were so surprised,” said Bare.
“I mean they’re new to Saskatoon, it’s not really their community just yet, but I think by the end of the day they will definitely feel like this is their home.”