Watson, 25, was married on Oct. 1, 2010, on a campground owned by her grandmother in Saltsprings. She staged a ‘trash the dress’ photo shoot shortly thereafter on the trails behind the former Nova Scotia Agricultural College.
“When my grandmother was in her fourth battle with cancer, I spent a lot of time in the Truro, Bible Hill and Salmon River area,” said Watson, whose maiden name is Munro. “After I got married, I knew I had wanted to go back to the Truro area.”
Growing up, Watson said her biggest relationship was with her grandmother, Anne Munro, and basically grew up on the family farm outside Westville.
“She was my everything,” she said from Hamilton, Ont., where she lives with her husband, Phil. Anne passed away five years ago.
Because she was spending so much time with friends and family in Colchester County while her grandmother was sick, Watson became friends with local photographer Ashley MacPherson, who wanted to use Watson as a subject in a photo shoot.
“The timing was perfect. It was one of the first sessions I had gotten to do with my dress.”
She said the area behind the agricultural college reminded her of growing up with her grandparents.
“There was a big field with a bunch of horses and fences. We started walking along the trails and we stopped for a lot of photos – me up against the fence, up in a tree – I actually climbed up a tree and fell out, and then we found a marshy area.”
When photographing in the marshy area, Watson said she lost her shoes in the muck and realized she might not be able to wear her dress back up the hill.
“So right in the middle of the field I changed into the clothes I had been wearing. I decided to put my dress, along with the veil, train and headpiece I was wearing into the garment bag and hung it on a branch.”
That day was the last Watson saw of the dress, aside from photographs.
“I hope it didn’t scare anyone when they came across it. It was pretty dark when we finished. I would’ve been creepy to see a wedding dress floating from a tree.”
While it was a huge investment, Watson said it wasn’t a hard decision to make when she was there.
“I think about what happened to it all the time. Every time I see a post online about a wedding or a ‘trash the dress’ shoot, I get vivid flashbacks from that day and the places we took pictures in – the way the ground was squishy, the tree I fell out of. I’ve been wondering what happened to it for so long.”
She’s hoping someone came across the dress, veil, train and headpiece and was able to recycle the items for either another wedding or prom.
“Somebody somewhere knows what happened to it and I would love to hear about it if anybody knows.”
Although she now lives in Hamilton, Watson plans on returning to the area someday to take over her grandmother’s campground, which Phil’s parents purchased so it could remain in Watson’s family.
Anyone that may know what happened to Watson’s dress can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.