In the run up to a wedding, searching for the perfect once-in-a-lifetime dress is for many women one the most exciting and important parts of the planning process.
That’s why when Kilee Manulak, from Tampa, Florida, learnt just hours before the ceremony that her husband-to-be wanted to call the whole thing off, doing something with her beloved dress played a big part in the grieving process.
“I got a text message saying he didn't want to marry me. I just kind of went numb and my maid of honour, my mum and all my friends just helped me call people and let them know the wedding was over. I was just so devastated," she told Indianapolis news station WTHR-TV Channel 13 in a video clip.
But instead of clinging on the hugely symbolic gown, Manulak managed to make the most of the sad situation, destroying her dress in the brightest way possible. Alongside her bridesmaids also dressed up, she headed to Tampa’s Color Fun Fest and decorated her white dress in every colour powder possible - a far reach from her original plan to keep her dress after the wedding, perhaps having it altered.
"It was actually very liberating. I don't want a pity party, I just want to have fun with it," she explained.
Making light of her dress has also helped her see the positive in the situation, as she explained:
"I definitely want to tell him thank you for sparing me anything...heartaches down the road and thank you for letting me go so I can find true happiness."
Kilee’s bold reaction is part of a rising trend in America, as she is not the first person’s story dress-destroying story to go viral. Last year Shelby Swink, from Memphis, Tennessee, was jilted several days before the big day. So instead, she spent the day splashing bright paint over her gown alongside her parents and bridesmaids while her wedding photographer captured it all, a story that also took the internet by storm.
And the concept is not just one gaining momentum for women who never made it down the aisle, but for those going through divorce, too.
Joelle Caputa, a journalist based in New York, America, runs a website and support group named Trash The Dress, encouraging young divorcees to get creative with their dresses after the breakdown of their marriages, and has documented the stories of many young women who have done this in her same titled book.