This Bride Did a Stunning Solo Photo Shoot on the Day of Her Wedding After Calling It Off
"I felt more powerful than ever."
"June 8th, 2019 was meant to be the happiest day of my life," Chandley Brelsford, 22, wrote on Facebook on August 31st. "The day I would marry my best friend, soulmate, my person. I wanted to wake up giddy and nervous, excited to see the man of my dreams at the end of the aisle…But none of that happened."
In the emotional post, which has since gone viral, Brelsford explained that she had called off her wedding three weeks before the date, and opted to do a solo photo shoot in her bridal gown on the day of her wedding instead.
"I already had everything planned and my friends and family had already requested the day off, so I figured that rather than sitting around being miserable that day, I'd go through with it," Brelsford told Best Life.
In her Facebook post, Brelsford chronicled what led her to finally end things with former fiancé after four years together.
"He wanted to know who I was hanging out with and where I was at all times," she wrote in the Facebook post. "If I did not answer my phone right away, he would immediately interrogate me. He would become greatly upset if I chose to see my family for a night rather than be with him…I became more and more isolated…[and I] lost myself along the way."
When he proposed, Brelsford was elated that the man she had been infatuated with since she was a teenager wanted to marry her, but she also felt increasingly trapped. "There was no say in my own life anymore," she wrote. "If we had fun, it was on his terms."
In a phone interview with Best Life, Brelsford said that when she finally called things off, she was initially very depressed, but the support of her friends and family members carried her through.
"So many people called me to say they were proud of me," she said. "It felt so good to be reaffirmed."
And when she told wedding photographer Chelsey Burgess that she wanted to do the bridal photo shoot alone, she "hopped right on board."
Brelsford initially thought about doing a "trash the dress" photo shoot, a way some women have celebrated their independence following a divorce or breakup. But, looking through photos of the trend, she felt like the concept didn't really suit the message she was seeking to send.
"I didn't feel vengeful," she said. "In many ways, I felt more powerful than ever."
So, instead, Brelsford came up with her own ideas for how to express herself, including wearing shoes bearing the hopeful message on the soles, "Some Day, But Not Today."
And some very relatable images of her consuming a nice glass of wine.
Brelsford said that she posted the photos and the story on Facebook mostly because she wanted to "explain what happened." But then the post began to go viral and, as of now, it has more than 100,000 likes.
"I was shocked," she said. "But I'm glad it went viral because I've had messages from people saying, 'I'm about to get married and I can't do it. Your post inspired me.' I got a lot of responses from women who went through the same thing."
Today, Brelsford is looking forward to the future and to new adventures. She has a bachelor's degree in kinesiology and is hoping to get into graduate school for physical therapy.
She also hopes the photos will continue to remind both men and women that "no one should make you feel trapped or unhappy with yourself, because no one deserves to feel that way."
As she eloquently wrote in her Facebook post, "Every person is deserving of a love that sets their soul on fire, as well as provides a place to rest when weary."
And for another empowering photo shoot, read the story behind these viral photos of a husband and wife's battle with breast cancer.
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