Caution urged after bride's photo shoot death
The recent drowning of a Quebec bride has prompted one photographer to caution newlyweds about modelling their wedding outfits near moving water.
Maria Pantazopoulos drowned last Friday after her wedding dress became heavy with water and she was swept away near Dorwin Falls in Rawdon, about an hour north of Montreal.
The 30-year-old Laval woman is believed to have been participating in a “Trash the Dress” photo shoot, a wedding photography trend in which brides destroy their gowns in a symbolic final send-off for the garment.
Previous brides have rolled around in mud and set their dresses on fire, but one of the most ubiquitous shots involves the bride splashing around in water -- sometimes with her groom.
Pantazopoulos, who was married in June, fell while posing in the Ouareau River near Dorwin Falls.
Her photographer Louis Pagakis said the weight of her soaking wet dress dragged her down.
“I tried to save her. I jumped in … I was screaming, yelling. Somebody else came … We tried our best to save her but we couldn’t save her,” he told CTV Montreal.
The current pulled Pantazopoulos into a nearby basin that was about eight metres deep. Police said Pantazopoulos knew how to swim, but sank quickly due to the weight of her dress.
Photographer Mario Michaud said he almost lost a client the same way last May.
Michaud recalled how the bride fell into a different body of water during their “Trash the Dress” photo session. Fortunately, he was able to pull the woman out.
He’s emerged from the experience with a word of caution for creative brides.
“Brides think they’re getting a beautiful picture, but they don’t realize how heavy a wet wedding dress can be,” Michaud said.
The “Trash the Dress” trend, also known as “Rock the Frock,” is intended to be a more playful take on the traditional wedding photos involving brides and grooms simply standing together.
At least seven people have died near Dorwin Falls over the last two decades. However, the spot remains a popular place among swimmers and creative brides alike.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Mark Shalhoub