When 23 year old badass Shelby Swank was left by her fiance five days before their wedding, what did she do? Well, she knew “a pity party was the farthest thing from what [she] wanted or needed.” So at her photographer Elizabeth Hoard’s suggestion, she gathered her family and friends on November 1st, the day of the intended nuptials, and together they trashed her wedding dress.

ADVERTISEMENT

A day that could have been spent in mourning, with plenty of ice cream and wine, was instead embraced. After being armed with tubes of paint and feathers, the bride and her party showed they were not afraid to get messy, and were soon covered in what Swank saw as her liberation.

“The moment the paint hit my dress…I was free. All the disappointment, all the hurt…I just felt it leave me,” says Shelby.

Despite the money that went into the wedding and the dress, Swanks parents were happy to be there to support their daughter, eventually becoming covered in paint themselves. From the parents of a woman so brave and self-assured, we wouldn't expect anything else.

ADVERTISEMENT

Anyone who has ever been dumped can attest to the strength and courage it takes to heal and rise above, especially the way Shelby Swank has. (Because, let's face it, breakups suck.) Instead of feeling bitter resentment, Swank is thankful for her ex-fiance and college sweetheart for leaving her; it's made her stronger. 

"We define our own happiness, not who we're with," Swank says, "You have to face life head on and use the lemons it gives you to make some awesome lemonade! Everything happens for a reason."

You go, girl. 

Images C/O BoredPanda and HuffPost