By Dan Coles
This bereaved bride got together with her girls to wear their wedding dresses and recreate an iconic scene from the hit show Friends – to keep her smiling after her husband tragically passed away.
After her husband, Brett, 29, died in a kayaking accident in June, Katie Swantek, 31, from Genoa, Nebraska, decided to make new memories in her wedding dress after deciding she didn’t want it to make her feel sad.
Together they spent the evening recreating the iconic scene from friends where Rachel, Monica and Phoebe spend the evening drinking in their gowns telling tales of past relationships.
Not only this, the x-ray technician and a volunteer EMT also called a professional photographer to snap the entire evening and says it has been one of the best things she has done as a way of helping her deal with the loss of her husband.
Katie said: “We got married in 2015, had our first son in 2016, and Brett was unfortunately taken from us in June 2019.
“I was going through my house and came across the dress after my friend advised me to have a clear out, I remembered how happy I was the last time I was wearing it.
“I knew that I needed to make some new memories with the things that were important to me and Brett, so I ripped the dress out and put it on for the day.
“It seemed like if I was just to wear it for no reason everyone would just think I was crazy, so I figured best not to do it alone.
“We didn’t cry, we weren’t sad, we were just happy together in our dresses, it was so needed.
“You would have thought that it would become sad and emotional, but we just laughed for hours and hours.
“One of my friends couldn’t zip hers up to the top anymore, well a few of us couldn’t and we were in hysterics over that.
“I have new pictures of my dress, and me in it, so now I can look at my dress and smile again.
“It was one of the best things I’ve done since Brett’s passing, I learnt how supportive and wonderful my friends are.
“Friends is one of my favourite shows, I watch it every night and that episode where they’re in the dresses resonated with me so much at this point in my life.
“I would highly recommend this to anyone, I was bawling for an entire day but when my friends got there it became fun – you don’t move on, you move forward.”
The photo shoot happened earlier this month, where just like Rachel, Monica and Phoebe did, Katie and her friends got together in their wedding dresses and drank beer until midnight, talking about their special days.
Katie said: “I messaged my pals in the daytime, and by 6pm everyone had arrived.
“I couldn’t do it alone, it would have been too upsetting, I knew I needed support from my girls.”
For the entire night they traded stories of their wedding, from the good to bad and everything in between.
Katie said: “One of my friends had a huge jack and coke stain on her dress, obviously from when things got a bit wild on her special day.”
“It reminded me of that friends’ episode so much, we were laughing, crying, smiling, and just acting however we wanted to with no judgement from anyone at any point.
“It was the only way I could make new memories with a dress I put on to marry the love of my life.”
Brett, a sales manager and volunteer firefighter who passed away in June 2019 loved kayaking, the couple had seven kayaks all together and would often be in the water together.
Unfortunately, during one kayaking session, Brett fell under the water and didn’t come back up. He was found 10 days later.
Katie said: “We knew it was him, the only thing we saw was his hand above the water with our wedding ring on.
“He was amazing, everything I could have ever wanted, we would have been married for four years this year.
“My drunken, wedding dress wearing evening was amazing, I never expected to be able to smile in that dress again.
“It became a tool of what is my on-going recovery.”