Mum celebrates divorce by trashing her Alexander McQueen wedding dress with paint pistols

Anna O’Neill gave six pals water pistols filled with paint and coloured flares so they could completely ruin her pink Alexander McQueen dress (Picture: Ian Lim / SWNS)

How do you mark the end of a marriage?

A cake, perhaps? An Instagram snap of the two parties shaking hands?

For Anna O’Neill, the obvious answer was to absolutely destroy her wedding dress in a huge paint fight.

The mum gathered her friends in a park, armed them with water pistols filled with paint and coloured flares, and let them loose on her pink Alexander McQueen gown.

Anna chose the celebration to celebrate separating from her second husband, after realising they rushed into marriage.

She married her second husband in an intimate ceremony on a beach in Antigua, following a whirlwind romance. Just after having a baby, the marriage broke down.

That left Anna with a £1,200 wedding dress she had bought in London while on a trip with her 11-year-old son.

Anna and her second husband split when they realised they had rushed into things (Picture: Ian Lim / SWNS)

‘I know it’s not traditional, but I thought it’s not going to be a traditional wedding and I loved the dress, so we bought it,’ Anna explains.

‘We didn’t tell anyone we were getting married – it was just us and my 11-year-old son.

‘We came back, had a baby, and then divorced just before Christmas.

‘It wasn’t expected, but these things happen.’

She wanted a way to thank her friends for helping her through a difficult time (Picture: Ian Lim / SWNS)

To thank her friends who got her through the tough period of separation, and to make up for a lack of hen do for the wedding, Anna, from Kent, decided to throw a dress-trashing paint fight.

She put on the gown and stood in her back garden as a group of her friends pelted her with paint.

‘I just wanted to thank everyone who has been there for me,’ said Anna.

‘But the main reason for doing this was to inspire others to be positive and to celebrate everything.

‘I wanted to do it for other parents going through divorce, which can be tough, and who are holding the fort together.

Anna plans to have the dress cleaned and then sell it for charity (Picture: Ian Lim / SWNS)

‘The most important message is that things get better, and we can turn it around.

‘I filled up 12 Nerf guns with paint, and we had silver buckets full of different colours, and sponges and paint bombs.

‘We counted down, and then just had a great big paint attack. It was brilliant.

‘Then we had loads of food and drank Chapel Down.’

Anna now plans to clean the dress and will donate it to a fundraiser for 13-year-old Lily Wythe, whose family and friends have raised hundreds of pounds so she can travel to America for a potentially life-saving brain tumour treatment.

She has already donated the £10,000 Versace dress she wore to her first wedding, to her former husband who passed away three years ago, to Lily’s family, to help raise money.

Since posting photos of her celebration online, Anna said she has had an overwhelming response from other divorcees.

She said: ‘So many have got in touch saying “thank you, seeing this really lifted my spirits”. It’s been lovely.’

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