Trash The Dress {Yes or No?}


Would you do this to your wedding dress?


Or this?

Or this?

I have to admit I was a bit shocked the first time I saw photos of this unusual trend! If you’re not familiar with the “trash the dress” concept, here’s a great explanation from Wikipedia

Trash the dress, also known as fearless bridal or rock the frock, is a style of wedding photography that contrasts elegant clothing with an environment in which it is out of place. It is generally shot in the style of fashion and glamour photography. “Trash the dress” is the art of destruction or deconstruction of a brides wedding dress to create a new artwork that the bride would be proud to display on their wall. The new masterpiece is formed in the creative destruction of the dress. Trash the dress is all about limitless expression.

Although it may appear that this trend is all about destroying the wedding dress, that is actually optional. Brides who simply want to capture a series of artistic images but still preserve their bridal gown, often purchase an inexpensive or used dress for the shoot, or stop before the dress is ruined. Professional dry cleaners should be able to restore the dress to its orginal state. Within reason of course.

If you are intrigued by this idea, Brenda’s Wedding Blog recently featured an article with great inspiration for an urban decay trash the dress session, along with several great tips to make your photo shoot a success.

The more I researched this idea, the more I came to realize that it’s all about artistic expression and freedom. I’m still not sure if it’s something I would do, but I admire the adventurous spirit of those who do. And the results are simply stunning! What do you think about this growing trend? Would you trash your wedding dress? We would love to know your opinions, so please leave a respectful comment on this post and tell us what you think!


  1. Victoria Sturdevant says

    If I paid for the dress myself (I did) I’d say I can do what I want. If my parents spent big bucks then I’d ask them about doing that.

  2. says

    I’m getting married in October and I’m terrified my dress will be ruined before the wedding. Being thrifty, I can’t imagine deliberately destroying something so expensive. Each to her own I guess. I’m not sure I’m going to keep my dress or sell it. It seems silly for it to sit in the closet for years. A wedding dress is such a personal choice that I can’t imagine too many brides would want to wear someone else’s dream gown 20 years later. I think it was Rita Rudner who did a stand up routine in a wedding gown. She said she wore it for everything so that she could get her money’s worth from it. I guess trashing the dress for art’s sake is great if you can afford it.

  3. Kymberly says

    When my husband and I got married a couple years ago we were on a tight budget and had an amateur photographer. Her pictures were good, but they were far from great. I’ve thought a lot of going to a photographer and doing some new portraits in our wedding clothes. I think if we ever do I’d want to do something a bit more artistic like this rather than trying to make it look like they were shot at our wedding.

  4. says

    i think the pictures are fun and I love all the different ways that people photograph their families now, as opposed to the posed photos of yesterday. My husband and I were married by a Justice of the Peace, so I’ve never owned a wedding dress. We’ve been married for almost 20 years and even now I can’t imagine spending hundreds of dollars on a dress and then trashing it. I would probably do the “buy a used dress” option for the pictures, but money is tight so not even sure I would do that. LOL! The pictures really are cool though.

  5. says

    I believe in personal freedom of expression.
    I do see a waste of the fabric that could be recycled or donated.

    Just my opinion:
    Started as fashion photography, some wedding photographer saw it and said I can make money on this, and someone who wanted to be different said I’ll pay for that.

  6. says

    I think my favorite of these pic sessions is the one at the car dump…love the colors of it. As far as trash the dress, I’m kind of torn. I would love for my girls to use my dress in some way, whether having a piece of it or incorporating it somehow into their wedding…(high hopes right?) but I do like the idea of making the photo shoot more like art. So perhaps I would be of the thought of getting a cheaper dress to trash.

  7. Marla says

    What a waste of money!!! There are individuals in this country and world who do not have decent clothes let alone good food and we chose to do this!! Truly the USA has been blessed let’s be good stewards of our blessings.

  8. Frances says

    My daughter did this very thing about 15 years ago. The reception was held lakeside. She and her new hubby walked out on the dock and jumped in-in all their finery! She kept saying to her groom” My mom is gonna kill me!” lol The dress was a beautiful silk taffeta. And after it came back from the cleaners-you could not even tell it had been swimming! One note- her dress was a halter style-with a built in bra- But silk taffeta gets quite sheer when it is wet! She was gallantly given her groom’s jacket to wear out of the water! As far as my feelings-well-it was her wedding, dress and day . Not sure I could have done it-………..

  9. Becky Green says

    For the amount of money a wedding dress costs, I think not!!!!!!!! Even if you buy a dress at discount! Although, I do think this is interesting also. I guess IF I had the money to throw away….but even then, I would have a hard time “Trashing the Dress!” As I’m one who was raised not to waste!!!!!!!!So, I guess if I did do this, I’d HAVE TO BE FILTHY RICH!!!!!!!!:)

  10. says

    Bridal Gowns cost any where from $1000 to 10K or more if you want to trash your wedding gown why not just get a $50 dollar white dress and save your money. My daughter just got married in my wedding dress.

  11. says

    I heard about Trash The Dress several years after I got married. If I had heard of it before I got married I think I would have done it. My wedding dress has been taking up closet space since the wedding. If I had done that then I would have great pictures to hang instead of something wasting space lol

  12. Elizabeth says

    How incredibly wasteful. Why not donate it to charity? I sent my wedding dress to Africa with an African friend, where it was worn many times as a wedding dress by women who were too poor to buy one. I’m so happy that my simple wedding dress brought so much joy to so many people instead of being selfishly destroyed.

  13. Zita says

    I was brought up with a kind of symbolic superstition. I would not trash the dress I got married in because wouldn’t that be like asking for my marriage to be trashed as well? But I like the idea of wearing the dress to all sorts of every-day tasks, it being stowed away in a plastic bag in the basement is actually not such good symbolism either hehe. Other than that, I really like some of the photos, especially the ones on the beach.

  14. Traci says

    My wedding dress was very inexpensive and I still can’t imagine doing this to my dress. I mean it is definitely up to the bride whether or not she wants to do it but I just think its wasteful.

  15. Liz says

    How wasteful! Give it to charity — I donated mine to a church in Africa, and *many* women who were too poor to buy a dress wore my old one for their weddings. What a great feeling to share with others, and re-use our earth’s resources.

  16. Liz says

    My Mom & I made my dress so I am less inclined to say I would ruin my dress. She isn’t around any more and I treasure my dress all the more for having made it with her. The pictures look realty spectacular, however, and speaking as a person who didn’t have professional portraits taken, if you want those pictures have them done because you can’t go back in time. I wish I had gotten nice pictures!

  17. Mary says

    I designed and made my own formal wedding dress, and would not dare think of trashing it. That was 48 years ago. I hope to display it on our 50th anniversary! We have two married sons, but hope to one day have the dress redesigned for a granddaughter.

  18. says

    I love the dress, and it would be perfect to do to your dress just to celebrate your divorse too HA HA HA! great idea have a divorse party with the girls.

  19. JeanMarie says

    I wore my mother’s Priscilla of Boston gown (Vera Wang of the day), with a piece of my grandmother’s dress in my headpiece for the veil. Both were married more than 50 years. I have two boys, but yes, I have kept the dress (preserved, top shelf of the closet). My artistry went into the flowers and wild cake 23 years ago. They were both the same price done traditional style or not.

  20. Karol B. says

    I would not trash my dress. There are a lot of women out there who could not afford a wedding, dress and if I did not want it I would donate it. So they could have a nice dress

  21. crystal says

    oh come on girls, regardless of age. i am 58 yrs. old and i gave my daughter my dress and it is in her attic i am sure. and i am the lucky one to have closet space big enough to keep hers. what are we hanging on to them for? recycle, donate? i’d rather have beautiful photos and memories to share for many years to come instead of collecting cobwebs.

  22. says

    Not sure what to think about this trend in wedding photography, after all it’s not about the pretty pictures – it’s about the ceremony. There appears to be a disconnect between style and substance when I see this much energy spent on creating an image of an actual event. There also seems to be pressure on couples to get great photographs as if this is what is going to start them off right in their new lives together. Not! The wedding photos only stayed up for about a year among my friends, it’s considered decor for newlyweds only, so why is it so important to get them right? Perhaps when couples focus all their anxiety on this it’s serving a good purpose.

    Back to the trashing and arty photos. As long as a bride (and groom) create these artsy photos and also feel they are respecting the seriousness of the day, then why not. I searched Wikipedia “symbolism of wedding dress American”,

    When I looked at the wedding attire from other cultures, I could not imagine them trashing them. Is this trend worldwide? (of course only in countries where they can afford it)

    Scarlett (Quilting Editor, Craft Gossip)

  23. says

    I’m glad I didn’t trash my dress. My three daughters each want to wear it when they get married. Whether they’ll follow through on that or not remains to be seen, but I love the thought of being able to pass it on to one of them. I tried on my mother’s dress for my wedding but it had gotten badly stained and couldn’t be cleaned. I settled for carrying the Bible she carried instead. For me I guess that option of passing it on to my daughters is of higher value than the pictures. Besides, I got wonderful pictures without trashing the dress. lol

  24. Gretchen says

    So very wasteful, although I guess “the” wedding dress is in general (even if I loved mine and it’s just sitting in a closet).

    I’d also only heard of this from someone who was getting a divorce as sort of a break from the marriage/ weddding so that may color my answer.

  25. Serena says

    I guess what it comes down to is how you value this day. What is a marriage ceremony for? Before God and before the ones you love (family/friends) you are professing your commitment to the man you love. A Holy union. The wedding dress itself is symbolism. That is why it is white, standing for purity…I can’t even imagine doing this to the 99 dollar dress I had! That was the only thing I could afford. All in the name of great pictures?! Really??!! This is wasteful. I saw ladies comments earlier saying send the dress to Africa, the ladies pass the dress around over there. I’m all for this but shoot, there are ladies here that would be thankful for that dress too!!!

  26. says

    Weird, and mind-blowingly wasteful. If you don’t want to keep the dress, why not donate it as some of the other commenters have done, so that someone less fortunate can also wear a beautiful dress on her wedding day?

  27. Bianca says

    I have done it, this year in fact :)

    Althought I did not use my real dress I wore on the day!

    Me and 20 friends wanted to do it so we did it together, with cheap dresses from bridal shops closing down or eBay and a couple did use real dresses from the day. We did a cake fight, drown tue gown and paint fight.

    It was FANRASTIC fun!!!!!! Yes I know alot of people see it as a waist and I too can list a thousand reasons how the dresses could have been better used but we are lucky enough to ba able to and I would do it again in a heart beat!!! It was great having a paint fight in a wedding dress, I’m not sure I could have used my real dress 😛 but I know a few girls who have done shots with hubby and loved it too.

    I don’t know if It’s ok for me to post a link to share the photos on here, so I won’t, but it was a wonderful day and I still have the dress covered in paint and I hope to wear it to a fancy dress party one day 😀

  28. says

    I find this whole practice to be disgusting and wasteful. I donated my dress to charity. There are women out there who can’t afford a wedding dress. Why not give them your rather than make it unuseable. Ugh.

  29. says

    Hello! It’s all about the pictures, and the dry cleaners can take care of your dress and box it up afterwards, duh! I think it’s more of a waste to buy $1000 dress and NOT get the most out of it! Get all the photos you can in that dress, get it cleaned, then you can save it or donate it…the pictures and fun memories will last forever :)

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