To Trash or Not To Trash?

Posted by Azure on March 11th, 2009
Special Feature from Forever Photography by Kylene

Your wedding is over. It was a huge success with lots of great memories, and you’ll see your proofs in a few weeks. Now what?

What will you do with that beautiful wedding dress? You searched months to find the perfect one. You probably spent a good bit of money on it too. Will you preserve it with the hopes of your future daughter wearing it at her wedding? Will you donate it to charity? Will you sell it on eBay? Will you trash it?

The “trash the dress” concept is a fairly new one, and it’s gaining popularity by the minute. I think the common misconception is that the word “trash” means that your dress will be ruined during the shoot. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Of all the sessions I’ve done, not once has a dress been ruined. It actually gets dirtier on the wedding day than during the session! Just wait to have it cleaned so you don’t have to clean it twice.

I have opted to call these sessions “glam sessions” so they don’t sound too unappealing. Since I live in Florida, most brides want to get in the ocean with their dress, which is always fun! I learned the hard way from my first session: take all the dry pictures you want and get into the ocean last! Once your dress gets wet it, will weigh a TON! Fortunately, it was with my sister and was a great learning experience.

Here are a few tips for planning your trash the dress session:

Pick a location that you didn’t have access to on your wedding day. Maybe the beach was too far, or you didn’t have time to go by that cool abandoned warehouse. Since the pressure of getting to your reception is off, you have time to explore cool places!

Convince your hubby to participate too! I’ve done sessions with just the bride, but it’s always more fun when your man is involved. Even if you still have the wedding day tuxedo, I’d be a little worried about getting it wet and incurring extra cleaning fees. Hubby can just wear something a bit more casual. Maybe khakis and a bright colored shirt to coordinate with your wedding colors. A tie is always fun to grab onto as well!

Choose funky accessories! On your wedding day, you probably wore grandma’s pearls and kept it classy. But for this session, jazz it up a bit! Pick some bright crazy heels and eye-catching jewelry! Maybe try a birdcage veil if you didn’t have the courage to at your wedding. Style your hair differently so you’ll have two totally unique sets of images in your dress.

If you’re doing this shortly after your wedding, you might be able to reuse your bouquet! But if not, just go to the store and get some bright flowers, or pick some of your own wildflowers if they’re available to you.

If you have a destination wedding, check with your photographer about planning a “day-after” session. For me, this falls into the same category as a “glam” session, but it’s literally the day after your wedding. Plan to stay in the same exotic location and utilize the natural beauty around you! Explore the area and get some locals to recommend a fun spot – but don’t leave a photo opportunity behind! Most photographers would love the chance to check out a new area too!

My own personal experience: plan your session around your honeymoon! My husband and I planned our honeymoon almost a year in advance and knew we were going to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – a beach location! We don’t have a beach near us and loved the idea of having professional pictures taken on our honeymoon. So we skipped out on traditional engagement pictures and had honeymoon pictures taken instead! After a lot of Internet research, I booked a photographer online about six months in advance. At the last minute, I shoved my wedding dress into a duffel bag and we brought it with us for the shoot. We had an hour of shooting time and explored our hotel and then got into the cold ocean! We had a blast and got some amazing pictures to prove it.

I’m planning to put my honeymoon images at the end of my wedding album, and that’s what most of my clients do too. You’re in your dress — it just adds a new flavor to your already beautiful book!

Here’s a list of online resources: To donate a dress To donate a dress

Here’s a few of my own sessions, plus one of my husband and me on our honeymoon:

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