It was mere days until Shelby Swink was scheduled to say “I Do” to the man she thought was the love of
her life. The couple had been together for three great years and it was at last time to settle down
together, at least that was the plan. Then, only 5 days before the big day, Shelby’s fiancé called it
Shocked and devastated to say the least, Shelby wasn’t going to sit around and cry on what was
supposed to be the happiest day of her life. Instead, her and her wedding party came up with a much
better way to spend the day; have an awesome celebration full of laughter, love, and destroying their
fancy wedding attire.
On Offbeatbride Shelby writes, “I can’t even describe how liberating and cathartic the experience was
for me. The moment the first bit of paint hit my dress I was free.”
Shelby says, “As the day that was supposed to be my wedding day approached, none of us knew what to
do, think, or feel. I knew that a pity party was the farthest thing from what I wanted or needed.”
Several people told Shelby she should destroy her dress, but at first she thought the idea was
downright crazy. For starters, her mother had purchased the dress and spent so much money on it,
especially including alterations. She didn’t even want to bring up the idea of trashing such an
expensive and kind gesture from her mom.
But after giving it some thought Shelby decided destroying her dress was exactly what she needed to do
in order to take back the happiness she deserved. To Shelby’s delight, her entire family was on board
with the decision and fully supported the fun idea.
Shelby met her ex-fiancé back in 2011 while they were both attending the same college in Tennessee.
The two jocks quickly hit it off, and began dating. They even made it through an entire year living
long distance in different states while Shelby finished getting her degree and he moved back to his
Eventually, after a year of dealing with the distance, Shelby’s ex surprised her and moved to her
hometown to be with her in Memphis. Shortly thereafter, in 2013 the couple moved in together.
Everything was going so well for the pair that a marriage proposal was soon popped, wedding plans were
made, and the date was set for November 1, 2014.
Shelby was so excited as she worked hard planning the perfect wedding. It was just a few short weeks
before the official date when Shelby finally had everything planned, ordered, and ready to go. All that
was left at that point was to sit back and be super excited.
Then, just five days before the wedding, her fiancé wanted to have a talk. Shelby writes on
Offbeatbride, “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.”
The following days swirled into a blurry whirlwind, as long-awaited plans were canceled, and guests
were called to share the unexpected news. In between all of that Shelby and her ex also had to figure
out new living arrangements, since they certainly wouldn’t be living under the same roof anymore.
The day of, Shelby says her friend Carolyn didn’t even wait for Elizabeth, the photographer, to say
“go” before tossing some paint at Shelby’s dress. From that moment forward the day was a liberating joy
that Shelby says allowed her to, “…let go of all the hurt and become myself again.”
One thing Shelby would say to her ex-fiance: “Thank you for sparing me greater pain and loss down the
road. Thank you for pushing me to realize my own strength…”
After the celebration Shelby’s dress was put on display at The Barefoot Bride in Memphis. Every time
someone purchases a dress while Shelby’s gown is on display, a donation is made to Be Free Revolution,
a local nonprofit.
Shelby is a beautiful woman with a bright future ahead, clearly it was his loss!