A recent trend in post-wedding activities has nothing to do with the honeymoon or unwrapping gifts – although it is being called fun, therapeutic, wild, edgy, even fashionable by some. Others are calling it wasteful, astonishing, and destructive. It’s called “trash the dress” (or TTD) and it usually involves exactly that – trashing the wedding dress in some manner, usually while getting pictures taken by a photographer – although “trashing” can mean a lot of different things, as we’ll explain further below.
The trend started several years ago when a Las Vegas wedding photographer, John Michael Cooper, bored with taking the usual sort of wedding photos in clean, formal settings, asked some of his clients if they’d be willing to take pictures in more unconventional settings – ugly settings, in fact, dirty, rundown places that would provide a dramatic backdrop to the polished beauty of a bride in a wedding dress. Several of his clients agreed, and they not only loved the unusual pictures he took (which looked like gorgeous pictures from high fashion magazines), but also liked the opportunity to be casual in and sometimes even destructive with the wedding gown. It was a great way to relieve stress after the wedding, and it was nice to not have to worry about the dress anymore.
Some brides choose to sling mud or paint at their dresses – or have someone do it for them, maybe even their husbands (sometimes the husbands are included in these photography sessions, some not). Some brides don’t even do a photo session – they just choose to destroy the dress on their own, by rolling in the mud, or ripping it to pieces, or spray painting the dress as an elaborate art project.
Some brides choose a middle ground – they have a photography session done in a beautiful (but not scrupulously clean) setting, and they don’t destroy the dress. They may choose a woodland setting, for example, or even pose in the ocean, on the beach, or in a beautiful lake or stream. The dress does get dirty in the process, but depending on the setting and the care taken in posing, the dress may still be restored by a good cleaning and gown preservation service.
A wedding dress is one of those rare purchases that is both expensive and used only once – and therefore often considered wasteful (although you won’t hear that said too often around a bride-to-be). Most brides choose to preserve their dresses, hoping that maybe their daughters might wear it, or simply because they love the dress and don’t want to part with it. Other brides believe that the dress will probably not be fashionable a generation or so later, and therefore see no point in saving it. Many donate their dresses to charity, but not all women want to do that, since a wedding dress is such a personal item. Although they had spent a lot of money and put a great deal of thought into their dresses, some newly married women view the opportunity to trash the dress as a way to make a statement against what they see as a hyper-materialistic culture. Others view it as a way to relieve much of the stress that went into planning, and of course being in, the wedding. And others see it simply as a way to say, “The wedding’s over – time to move on with my new life.” Whatever the motivation, “trashing the dress” is certainly a unique ending for one of the most important life events.