It’s November 1st, 2014.
I wake up excited and nervous for the big day ahead.
I get together with my close friends and family as we do our own hair and makeup, chatting and laughing the whole time. And then it’s time to put on my wedding dress.. My ma helps me step into the beautiful lace dress, zips me up, and then proceeds to tackle the tiny little buttons along the back (that seem like they were designed for small toddler hands instead of adult ones). I step out of the bathroom to show off the dress, because up until this point no one had seen the dress (not even a picture) besides my ma and sister. Immediately there are “oohs” and “aahs” all around.. even some tears.
This is how every bride usually starts her wedding day.. Except I wasn’t getting married.
I’ll admit, it was an odd feeling. The whole time I kept thinking, “This is what my wedding day would have actually been like.” I was feeling almost every emotion out there and my mind was running 100 MPH. And then it was time to head to the photo shoot.
I pulled up to the park feeling anxious, scared, and excited. I wasn’t completely sure how it was going to go, but I knew that the group of people that were with me loved me and would make this experience fun and awesome for me. My dad even surprised us with champagne and cigars! Lizz, my photographer, gave us a little speech about how she wanted the photo shoot to be in stages so the experience would not be over too quickly.
STAGE 1: Formal shots-This was honestly the weirdest part for me, because it reminded me again of what my actual wedding day would have been like. I was still a little uneasy at this point, and then Lizz told us it was time to pull out the paint.
STAGE 2: Paint the dress- Lizz gave us a little pep talk, and then we lined up to get ready. My nerves were through the roof at this point. I had a million thoughts going through my brain- “OMG is this really happening?”- “Ah! This dress is so beautiful.”- “I hope paint doesn’t get all over my face.”- “Man, it’s really cold out here.”
And then the countdown started- 3… 2…
Before Lizz even got to 1, my friend Carol threw a bright blue streak of paint on me. Immediately all those little thoughts that were consuming my brain vanished. I was in that moment completely and felt absolutely free. All the hurt, disappointment, anger, fear, and sadness was gone. My other bridesmaids starting throwing their paint as well, and as more and more paint hit my dress, I could feel my happiness taking over.
(So this above picture… Someone suggested I put my feet up and cross my legs, so I did. And because I am not graceful whatsoever, my dress flew up. So I apologize to the nice family that was doing their sweet family photo shoot near us for showing you my knickers. I hope your kids aren’t scarred for life.)
STAGE 3: Paint war- Now it was my turn to throw some paint! My bridesmaids and I grouped together with our paint and did not hold back. It was awesome. Everyone was having fun and laughing- not thinking about anything but being together and making the most of the moment.
STAGE 4: Parents- I could not have been happier to have my parents with me that day, and it made it even better that they were 100% involved and not just watching the action from the sidelines. My family has always been a “go big or go home” kind of people, and I love them immensely for that. I honestly think that the whole trashing the dress experience helped them move on as well.
STAGE 6: Pop the champagne and light the cigars- As I said, we are “go big or go home” kind of people. My dad brought the Cubans and some expensive champagne, and we had a party right there in the middle of the park. (By the way, it was FREEZING outside and we could barely feel our fingers at this point, but we didn’t care one bit. We made the most of it and enjoyed just being together and celebrating the love of family and friends.)
My favorite part about these pictures is that you can see our emotional transition. This whole experience was beneficial to everyone involved, not just me. My friends and family hurt for me when they saw me hurt, and as my happiness took over so did theirs. I can’t imagine a better way to have spent November 1st, 2014, surrounded by people who love and support me.
Trashing the dress was such a cathartic experience for me, and I honestly think it played a huge part in helping me get over everything as fast as I did. But more on that later!