Turning adversity into a thing of beauty
Getting dumped at the altar = Every bride to be’s worst nightmare. But, when it does happen? What do you do? That’s exactly what happened to Shelby Swink, a bride to be from Memphis.
After dating her boyfriend who she met at Uni for 2 years, the pair decided to move in together. Things were going so great, that Shelby’s boyfriend popped the question three months later to Shelby’s delight. As expected, she poured her heart and soul into planning the wedding of their dreams and everything was fine until suddenly, the unthinkable happened.
“Five days before the wedding the unexpected happened.” Shelby told wedding blog The Offbeat Bride. “My fiancé and I sat down and he told me that he was not in love with me, and did not want to marry me, or spend the rest of his life with me.”
Those are arguably the most heartbreaking words any bride wants to hear. Where do you even start from? What to do with the guests? The venue? How do you break the news to your loved ones?
Fortunately, Shelby’s friends and family rallied around her after the unfortunate incident. But rather than wallow in self-pity, this bride to be took her fate in her own hands and flipped the coin in her favour.
“I was in complete shock and had no idea what to think or do. I was numb,” said Shelby.
“The next couple days were a blur of calling guests, cancelling services, and figuring out our living arrangements. Fortunately, my friends and family surrounded me and showed me endless love and support.”
As the day of the wedding drew near, this tough cookie knew that the last thing she wanted was a pity party, so she thought of a spectacular idea to mark the day instead. She turned her wedding dress into a work of art.
She cancelled everything booked for the wedding- except the photographer. Got a her family and her bridesmaids all dressed up in their wedding attire and they sprayed paint all over her beautiful dress. The wedding party weren’t spared either.
Shelby says getting the first spray of paint on her dress was the most exhilarating feeling ever. “The moment the paint hit my dress… I was free. 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.”
“I am a strong woman who believes that everything happens for a reason. We all face adversity in our lives, but what really defines us is how we decide to overcome that adversity. I decided that I will not let this tragedy and heartbreak consume me, and bring me down in life.”
Now, Shelby’s work of art is being displayed in a top bridal shop in Memphis and a portion of all sales while the dress is being displayed will go to a charity that helps women learn how to find inner strength.
What a woman.