RAWDON, Quebec – A new bride was swept into a river and drowned while posing for pictures in her wedding dress.
Last week, 30-year-old Maria Pantazopoulos drowned while posing for “Trash the Dress” wedding pictures in the Ouareau River. When the subject of marriage ever comes up, I always suffer from a reaction akin to a vampire exposed to sunlight, so I was not aware of the “Trash the Dress” phenomena some recently married women partake in.
For those of you unaware, “Trash the Dress” is a a style of wedding photography that details a bride destroying her wedding dress instead of letting it rot in a closet while she slowly destroys a man’s soul. New bride’s will wear their dress one last time while on a beach, garbage dumps, fields, or abandoned buildings. A simple Google search pulls up tons of such images.
In the case of Pantazopoulos, the photographer she hired suggested a shoot at the Ouareau River. One account states she was standing on a rocky area in about a foot of water when her dress became so heavy from getting wet that she was pulled off the rocks and into the river. Another account states the dress got soaked after she got in the river so the photographer could take pictures of her floating in it.
Regardless of how the dress got wet, it quickly became so heavy that Pantazopoulos was unable to keep her head above water. Provincial policeman Jean-Michel Masse said the wet dress may have weighed at least 100 pounds. Unable to swim or pull herself out of the water, Pantazopoulos was pulled under the water and into the river’s current. The photographer, Louis Pagakis, says he jumped in and tried to save her.
“She was screaming and scratching and trying to stay above water,’ said Pagakis’ wife. ‘[Louis] tried to swim with her, but she was pulling him down. She was too heavy. He couldn’t breathe anymore.” Pantazopoulos’ last words before letting go of the Pagakis were reportedly, “I can’t anymore, it’s too heavy.” I can only imagine that happening. The terror of knowing you were about to drown, mixed with the surrealism of it happening while in your wedding dress.
A scuba diver would retrieve her body two hours later, 100 feet from where she went under, in an area where the water was 20 feet deep. She had sunk to the bottom. The Daily Mail has a photo taken of Pantazopoulos’s high-heel shoes and wedding gown sitting on the rocks by the river.
Pantazopoulos’ family said that Pantazopoulos would have never put her life in danger, and had trusted the photographers enough to go with them alone and had followed their instructions. They are also demanding that the municipal council of Rawdon put up more safety measures to prevent this from happening in the future. Provincial police told QMI Agency that there are no swimming signs posted at that part of the river due to the fast currents.