What do you mean, Trash the Dress?


Tradition used to dictate that a bride would preserve her wedding gown after the big day, either for sentimental reasons or for the hope of future generations wearing it.  But, the times are changing.  There’s a relatively new trend taking hold of that unwieldy, expensive gown.  Trash the dress refers to photographing the bride (and often groom) in formal clothing in an unexpected location like beaches, ponds, city streets, farms, abandoned buildings, and the like.


What’s the Deal?

This movement isn’t as new as you might think.  While it’s really made headlines in the past few years, it’s been around for a while.  A Las Vegas wedding photographer is credited with having the first Trash the Dress session in 2001, but Hollywood did this in the 1998 show “Sunset Beach” (where a bride ran into the ocean’s edge after an interrupted wedding).  Another Trash the Dress first occurred in 2009 when a Netherlands photographer had 99 brides trash the dress en masse.  Why do brides like this trend?  You get some unique photos showing more of your personality, and get more use out of that expensive gown (that most likely won’t be reused).


What’s the Cost?

Trash the dress sessions are generally considered extra, in terms of your wedding photography package.  The price can vary depending on where you’d like to do the shoot, how many scenes you want to shoot, and when you want to complete the session.  If your wedding photographer doesn’t offer this service, you can also find photographers who will just do the Trash the Dress session.


Will my Dress be Ruined?

The end result of your gown really depends on what you do in your session.  If you take some romantic pictures indoors or just have simple outdoor pictures, your dress will definitely be fine.  If you get in water or on the ground, the dress will probably still be fine after a formal cleaning.  However, more rowdy shoots in the water, with paint, or with purposeful tearing of the dress will result in a permanently modified dress.  This trend is all about letting your creativity flow and embracing an attitude of wearing the dress one last time.  The general idea is to give life to the dress and going all out, instead of planning to store it as a treasure.


Great Ideas for Trash the Dress Locations

From Pinterest to YouTube (plus your good friend, Google), there’s plenty of inspiration to be found on the internet.  The most popular locations involve water–oceans, rivers, ponds, lakes, or even pools.  Other natural locations are popular as well, including fields, woody spots, and mountainous backdrops.  Beyond that, just look for what you’re interested in.  Love art? Go for a local gallery or have your wedding party make art on you with paint or chalk.  Want something more in line with urban art?  Go for an area of town with cool graffiti.  Intrigued by architecture?  Head to your favorite building or bridge.  You’re really only limited by your imagination (and your photographer).



The most important decision involves safety.  While water shoots are popular, you really want to avoid jumping into water or being deep in water with a current (especially if you have one of those big gowns with a veil and train).  Don’t take this lightly!  A woman drowned in 2012 when her dress dragged her downstream in a Canadian river best local movers in san diego.  Many other women have had narrow escapes and nearly drowned by miscalculating how heavy that dress can be in the water.  Here are a few other tips:

  • If it works with your schedule, it’s best to Trash the Dress either right after the wedding (for morning or afternoon weddings) or within a day or two.
  • Afternoon or early evening usually offers the best light for outdoor photography.
  • If you have no interest in saving your dress (and it’s salvageable), consider getting it professionally cleaned and donate it to charity.
  • If you really want to preserve your dress, you can always buy a used dress for the Trash the Dress photo shoot.
  • Not sure what you want to do?  Talk to your photographers, as they probably know of some great photographic locations.


While a Trash the Dress shoots is still unconventional (and somewhat controversial), don’t let anyone dictate what your wedding should look like.  No matter what you choose (from dresses to decor to photographs); one person may think it’s cool while another person may think it’s tacky.  Don’t worry about all that; just go for a day that represents the two of you as a couple and embrace the day for all the fun and excitement!