Erin’s Trash the Dress session at the Virginia Beach oceanfront.

The rebirth of Erin, in her own words.

I’m turning this over to her so she can tell you about our Trash the Dress photo session.

My name is Erin, I’m 32, and am going through a divorce. With that being said, the split has been very amicable and we still remain good friends. However, people don’t get divorced for no reason and I had some feelings about it. Our wedding was exactly what I wanted, and so was the DRESS. I hadn’t even gotten it all the way on at the bridal shop and knew it was the one. But life happens and here we are.

I had heard of the trash the dress concept years ago, and loved it but had honestly forgotten about it. That was until my best friend, who also just got divorced, sent me some pictures of other women’s experiences and I knew it had to happen. My mind went straight to Mark, who I’ve known for years. There was no one else for the job, and he didn’t hesitate when I asked. It was meant to be.

erins-trash-the-dress-virginia-beach 5

More images after the break

I got a lot of interesting feedback when I told my friends I was doing this. So let me take a minute to tell you why. I’m not having children to pass this dress along to, and so it basically would’ve hung in a closet for no reason. Wedding dresses are very hard to sell these days, and while I could’ve donated it, I had a strong attachment to the dress. I’m a hairstylist, and am artistic and creative by nature. So when the opportunity presented itself to get some unconventional pictures of my dress, and have some bad-ass pictures in it, I knew it was the right decision for me.

It was liberating. It was freeing. It was everything I hoped for and more. When I saw the pictures that Mark had sent me, I felt beautiful, empowered, and most of all….they represented everything I was feeling. I’m not 18 anymore, and am nowhere near a size two. But I was so comfortable being vulnerable in front of Mark, and he put me at ease. When I left my dress in a trash can, I walked away free. Free of the grief, my low self-esteem, and of the 6-7 years that I didn’t feel alive. I hadn’t felt sexy in a long time, and when I saw the pictures, I couldn’t believe it was actually me.

And THAT woman in the pictures, is who I strive to be from here on out. Strong. Independent. Sure of myself and my choices. And I have Mark to thank for that.

Mark Knopp is a Virginia Beach-based portrait photographer covering the Hampton Roads community and beyond. Contact him at mknopp1(at) with any questions you might have or to book your session today.

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