With less than a week before their wedding, Shelby Swink’s then-fiancé called off their November 2014 nuptials. He told her that he wasn’t in love with her, didn’t want to marry her or spend the rest of his life with her. Just like that, their four-year relationship was over. But a pity party was the last thing Swink wanted after calling guests and canceling wedding services.
So, the idea of a “trash the dress” photo shoot came up. Swink decided that it was the perfect way to mark the occasion of their non-commitment and let go of the pain. Her parents and bridesmaids were supportive, too, and participated by trashing their dresses and suit as well.
Photographer Elizabeth Hoard captured the event on the originally-scheduled day of the wedding. But instead of walking down the aisle, the group of seven convened at a grassy field in Collierville, Tennessee. Armed with paint, confetti, champagne, and cigars, they let loose. The results are colorful, joyous, and highlight the bonds of family and friendship.
Did this whole thing make Swink feel better? “The moment the paint hit my dress… I was free,” she writes on Offbeat Bride. “All the disappointment, all the hurt… I just felt it leave me. I can't even describe how liberating and cathartic the experience was for me. I let go of all the hurt and became myself again.”