Weddings typically take months of planning, organizing, and spending — and when an engagement is called off or a ceremony is cancelled, it can be a traumatizing experience. Some brides and grooms are taking control of this situation, though, and proving that the end of an engagement doesn't mean the end of their happiness. Kiley Manulak, for example, epically destroyed her wedding dress when the ceremony was cancelled — and she's just one of a growing number of women and men whose responses to called-off weddings take something potentially heartbreaking and turn it into something magnificent.
Manulak, of Tampa, Fla., told NBC News that she and her fiancé had been engaged for two years before he ended the relationship very close to the ceremony. The real kicker? He did it via text message.
Understandably, Manulak was devastated. She spent time grieving before a brilliant idea struck her: Destroy the wedding dress. No, there was no fire or sharks involved; instead Manulak performed her catharsis in perhaps the coolest way possible. She and her bridesmaids dressed in their wedding finery and headed to Tampa's Color Fun Fest, a 5K run that leaves participants doused from head to toe in an array of brilliant colors. Manulak and her party were no exception.
Breakups are hard enough as it is, but when you have to call everyone on the guest list and let them know it's over, well, I think that's something we all hope we never have to experience. Manulak and these other women and men who have found themselves in this predicament, however, are choosing to cope with the grief in brilliants ways. The uniting feature of these stories is the resilience and peace people have expressed after going through something so difficult.
1. A Splatter-Paint Dress
Shelby Swink was just five days away from marrying her fiancé when he called the relationship off. Lost and confused, Swink was unsure of what to do. Elizabeth Hoard, the woman who was originally scheduled to photograph the wedding, suggested "trashing the dress."
Hoard photographed Swink and her wedding party as they splatter-painted all over each other. The results were beautiful, and the photos reveal the love between Swink and her friends and family. The painted dress was even later displayed at a bridal salon.
2. A Feast For The Underprivileged
The only thing worse than a fiancé calling off a wedding is remaining stuck with a $35,000 bill. Quinn Duane of Sacramento, California had the brilliant idea to turn the gourmet buffet she'd ordered for her wedding into a feast for the homeless community. Those in need were invited to dine in the four-star hotel that had been reserved for the wedding reception. Those served voiced their immense gratitude.
3. A New Life For A Dress
After one woman's engagement was called off, she turned to eBay, hoping to sell the dress intended for her big day. The owner of the dress kept her spirits high and didn't wallow in pity. Rather, she continued to believe in the power of love. She wrote the eBay ad from the perspective of the dress itself, and the results were the perfect combination of humorous and heartwarming:
I was supposed to be worn at City Hall in New York. I was going to be the main attraction of a 60s wedding theme. I was going to be low-key, but elegant (I still am, for that matter). I am a constant reminder to her of what could have been. So she wants to sell me. Not necessarily to a bride, but to anyone looking to give me the home I deserve. A home where I'll get worn and admired and dry-cleaned (as and when necessary).
4. An Auctioned Honeymoon
John Whitbread and his fiancée were scheduled to say "I do" on Valentine's Day. Over Christmas, she broke the engagement, and Whitbread was left to sort out the reservations and ceremonial plans. One element of the wedding plans he couldn't return was the honeymoon. So, rather than waste his ex-fiancée's half of a two-week, all expenses paid vacation to the Dominican Republic, Whitbread auctioned off the experience on eBay. "The downfall," as Whitbread put it, was that the winner of the auction would technically have to spend the two weeks with him. Apparently, this wasn't too much of a downfall, as the auction ended up closing at £8,000.00. Whibread and the winner went on the trip, had a grand old time, and became friends.