The bride who died during a photo shoot near a waterfall in Quebec last week was participating in a growing wedding photography trend called “Trash the Dress.”
Maria Pantazopoulos, 30, had married in June but two months later she organised a wedding photographer to capture her one last time in her beautiful wedding gown.
Family friend Leeza Pousoulidis told the Montreal Gazette that Maria had wanted to take part in "Trash the Dress”, which is a style of post-wedding photography that features the bride in her dress in an environmental which is unconventional. Brides usually use water or other environmental factors that effectively ruin the garment.
“She’s a really fun girl, and she just didn’t want her wedding dress sitting in a box in the closet,” Pousoulidis told The Gazette.
“She said ‘I want to have fun with my wedding dress. I want to have great pictures and memories of me in my wedding dress.’”
The National Post reported the frantic attempts by the wedding photographer, Louis Pagakis, to save Maria.
Badly shaken, he told how as she walked into the Ouareau River in Rawdon, 75 kilometres northeast of Montreal, to get some photos taken.
“She had her wedding dress on and she said, ‘take some pictures of me while I swim a little bit in the lake,” Pagakis told CTV Montreal.
Maria then asked for some photos to be taken of her floating in the dress. She moved out to a deeper part of the river where she could not touch the bottom.
“The dress was getting heavy, so (Pagakis) went in to try move her (back to a shallow part of the river).”
Pagakis said she became caught in a strong current and the weight of the wedding dress dragged her under. He tried several times to rescue her, but eventually, Pantazopoulos ran out of strength and let go.
The new bride had recently returned from her honeymoon in the Caribbean, and the new couple had bought a house in Laval.
She had also started working as a real estate agent.
“She was really, really happy,” said family friend Leeza Pousoulidis.