Syrian Refugee Mends Bride’s Gown on Her Wedding Day: “I Wanted to Show This Man Saving the Day,” Photographer Says

syrian tailor refugee(Photo / Lindsay Coulter Photography)

When her dress zipper malfunctioned just hours before her wedding ceremony, Jo Du didn’t have many options. Unable to find a tailor or dressmaker on a Sunday, the wedding party tried everything to salvage the situation. Then, the wedding photographer, Lindsay Coulter, suggested they ask around the neighborhood for help.

One of the bridesmaids saw that a neighbor’s garage door was open and went to the home to ask for a pair of pliers. That friendly neighbor happened to be hosting a Syrian refugee family at the time, and the father of that family, Ibrahim Halil Dudu, was previously a master tailor in Aleppo. It wasn’t long before the skilled tailor was at work again.

Coulter shared the events that followed in a moving Facebook post that has since gone viral. “After a few minutes of further attempts there was a knock on the door and the neighbor along with the tailor and his son arrived to help, sewing kit in tow,” the photographer recalled. “I went out to take some photos of the groomsmen and came back to find the tailor putting the finishing stitches on her dress.”  

Coulter captured touching images of Dudu sewing the bride into her wedding gown with his young son at his side. “The young boy looked at his Dad, the girls around him, at my camera and back to his Dad about a hundred times,” Coulter shared in her Facebook post.

syrian refugee bride

(Photo / Lindsay Coulter Photography)

The family had just moved from Turkey to Canada only four days before the incident. He seemed happy once he had completed his task and very grateful to those of us in the room – which was ironic since he was the one we were grateful for,” Coulter tells The Knot.

But to him, the last minute act of kindness was his pleasure. “I was so excited and so happy,” said Dudu, whose family had moved in only four days prior, said via a translator. “I like to help Canadian people from the heart.”

Having documented so many weddings and special moments, Coulter reflects on the experience of capturing such a meaningful moment. “This one was special because the energy in the room was so unique and the moment was one we wouldn’t forget any time soon,” Coulter tells The Knot. “I wanted to show this man saving the day, and really hoped that his kindness and determination to do a good job came through my images.”

Among the countless photos she’s taken over the course of her career, she has two favorites from this day. In one photo, Dudu is at the center and hard at work stitching a portion of the gown as others attend to the bride’s hair and makeup. “[He is] holding the needle and thread out with such a look of focus and intent,” Coulter tells The Knot.

Syrian Refugee Tailor

(Photo / Lindsay Coulter Photography)

Her other favorite shows Jo looking at the camera and smiling. “You can see how happy she is and also how grateful her friend is in the background,” Coulter says. “[Du’s] family is from China so to show their gratitude they were all bowing to Mr. Dudu and it was a wonderful universal symbol of thanks. That photo was taken just as [Halil Dudu] was leaving.”

syrian tailor refugee

(Photo / Lindsay Coulter Photography)

To show her support for the Dudu family, Coulter started and posted a GoFundMe link to her Facebook page.

It’s a moment that the couple will look back on with gratitude. “We’re so lucky that this happened to us,” the groom, Earl Lee, told CTV. Perhaps it was not just luck alone but the powerful extension of love, from welcoming neighbors to a refugee family and from a skilled tailor to a bride-in-need, that saved the wedding day.

About the Author

Catherine Jessee
Catherine Jessee is the Digital Editorial Intern at The Knot.