Belfast Telegraph

Would you do this to your dress? Brides trash their gowns after snap decision

BY AMANDA FERGUSON

Trash the dress. Three words that would strike fear in the hearts of most brides – but not three best friends from Ballymena.

Rather than sell their wedding gowns or let them languish at the back of a wardrobe, Mary-Frances Bell, Ann Quinn and Orlagh Brady have deliberately ruined their once-in-a-lifetime dresses.

The craze for quirky brides to trash their dress at a photo shoot has spread from the US.

Just a few weeks ago the mischievous trio organised a paint fight and the results were captured by photographer Ursula McCollam.

Northern Trust administration officer Mary-Frances married husband Paul on Friday, August 13, 2010. "We picked Friday 13th on purpose," she said.

"My husband was born on Friday 13th and my birthday is on a 13th, so it was significant to us.

"I had looked into trash the dress after we got married. I knew it was big in America, but didn't know too much and then the idea was put on the back burner.

"Then the other two girls got married and just recently we decided to go for it."

Mary-Frances told the Belfast Telegraph the photo shoot was "a bit of craic and a great excuse to wear our dresses again".

"Mine had been in a vacuum pack in the spare room doing nothing," she said. Now it's in the boot of the car.

"It was a very liberating experience, I really enjoyed it. and Ann really enjoyed it too. She's my sister-in-law. She married Thomas on November 16, 2011."

Mary-Frances' friend and colleague Orlagh married her husband Connor on September 24, 2011. "He thought the photo shoot was a great idea," Orlagh said. "I wasn't going to be doing anything else with my dress."

Orlagh said she enjoyed trashing her wedding dress with her friends and hopes to frame a section of the paint splattered gown as a reminder of the day. "I loved it," she said. "It was something fun to do and I would definitely recommend it to others."

Photographer Ursula McCollam, who usually does traditional wedding, portrait and commercial shoots, said: "The girls were a scream," she said. "The craic was mighty. It's my third trash the dress shoot."

FACTFILE

* Trash the dress is sometimes referred to as 'fearless bridal' or 'rock the frock'. It is a style of photography contrasting with elegant wedding day images.

* It is thought to have originated in Las Vegas in 2001.

* Mass 'trash the dress' events involving hundreds of women gathering together have taken place in Australia, Canada and the Netherlands.

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