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Posted: January 02, 2015

Jilted bride's trash the dress party becomes viral hit


WHBQ-TV - Memphis


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Shelby Swink's trash the wedding dress story has gone from simple to international sensation overnight.

The Memphis woman turned being jilted from a pity party to a paint party with her trash the dress photo shoot. Her fiance left her the week of the wedding, but after her colorful dress went international, she may not be single much longer.

"I've gotten some marriage proposals, quite a few," said Swink, whose story was first reported by Memphis TV station WHBQ in November.

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It started with a little paint and turned into a big hit. 

"From everywhere," Swink said, "'Hey from The Netherlands,' or, 'Hey if I wasn't married I totally date you,' and I'm like, 'Okay?'"

"BuzzFeed. I follow BuzzFeed on Facebook," Elizabeth Hoard said, owner of Elizabeth Hoard Photography. "I read their articles and videos every day. I'm sorry, BuzzFeed contacting me? That's amazing!"

Swink's colorful show of strength following tragedy captured the attention of news outlets and blogs nationally and internationally. 

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"My friends and family were constantly texting me, like, every time it went other mile marker: 1 million, 1.5 million," recalled Swink, "And then they were like, 'Number 1 for the week.' I mean, that was when I was like, ‘Whoa.'"

Currently, BuzzFeed's post with the photos has more than nine million hits. 

"You have your friends and you have your family, but what is nine million?" Hoard said, "What is that? I don't know what that is!"

"Very surreal," Swink added, "It's crazy. I still can't fathom it."

Hundreds of emails soon poured in to Hoard's photography studio, many grateful to her for sharing the inspiring story through her photography. 

"Then every once in a while I receive a, 'Shame on you,' 'I hope you jump off a building and die,' 'I can't believe you exploited your client like this,'" Hoard said, "Every once in a while I receive one like this."

People are even mad Swink painted her dress instead of donating it.

"It just is what it is," Swink said, "People are going to say negative things. You just have to let it roll off your back."

The hits and haters aside, these ladies just want to keep sharing their life lessons in life after going viral. 

"It's very neat to see these people saying thank you, thank you for telling the story through your photography," Hoard said. 
"That's what photography should be about in the end is being able to share expressions of love and sorrow."

"I think people want a little light in their lives and they find that light in my story," Swink said.

As if the growing social media numbers weren't surreal enough, Elizabeth Hoard Photography's Facebook page tripled its followers just within 24 hours. 

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