Where Did “Trash the Dress” Come From and How Does It Work? Guest Blog by McKenzie-the-Intern

Hi there!

Love it when my interns do research for their blogs and I learn something new editing them. McKenzie’s not joking – I’m not sure we’ve had a dress leave this island intact yet this summer. This trend is here to stay… at least for awhile. But if anybody gets near my Richard Glasgow original hidden away in a box in my closet, I’ll kill them!



“Trash the dress,” also known as “fearless bridal” or “rock the frock” depending on where you live, is a trend that has become very popular within the wedding scene over the past few years. The concept is a style of wedding photography that consists of an elegant gown or formal wear in a contrasting environment, such as a beach, downtown rooftops, and junk yards.

Kasey Barnum's floating gown picture is legendary around here. Loved it!

Kasey Barnum’s floating gown picture is legendary around here. Loved it!



During these photo shoots, the dress usually ends up destroyed by getting wet, dirty or completely torn apart depending on where you have your “trash the dress” photo shoot. Sometimes they have the flowers girls paint the dress with chocolate syrup or Spaghettios – nope, not joking.

So where did this whole “trash the dress” idea come from? According to the New York Times, John Michael Cooper, the Las Vegas-based wedding photographer, gets all the credit. In 2005, Cooper became bored with the typical wedding photos he was taking and wanted to do something different with his brides. So Cooper convinced some of his clients to take pictures in their dresses after the wedding in unconventional places. The pictures came out beautifully and ever since, trashing the bride’s wedding gown has been a trend!

The “trash the dress” photo shoot is usually done after the ceremony or the next day as a substitute for keeping the dress. Trashing your wedding gown can be a great idea especially if you are thinking about having a destination wedding – hauling that gown all the way back home can be a hassle. And you’re already in the perfect location for a fabulous “trash the dress” photo shoot!

However, some brides purchase two dresses so they can change out of their precious wedding gown and demolish another in its place. Or depending on the material the dress is made out of (and what you did to it), simply taking it to the dry cleaners will make it look like brand new again.

While I’ve been on my internship in Vieques, Puerto Rico, with Weddings in Vieques, I have learned that many of our brides love the idea of a trashing their dresses. Vieques is a gorgeous island filled with some of the most amazing beaches I’ve ever seen. Most of them are planned out and will do it after they are done taking their formal pictures after the ceremony or on another day.

Randee, one of our most recent brides, planned to trash her Vera Wang dress after her intimate beach ceremony, but lost her balance and fell in during the formal photo shoot. No harm done as she planned to end up in the Caribbean anyway. But check out this amazing video of their wedding and great splash!

Randee and Mitch trash the dress

Sometimes informal “trash the dress” moments just happen. We have encountered it multiple times this summer. Many brides just can’t resist jumping in the villa’s pool after getting wedding caked smashed in their faces and all over their wedding dresses. I mean, the best way to get cake off of you is to plunge right on in, right? Or having their new hubby pick them up in his arms during the last dance of the night and toss them in the pool can be fun too. I saw both happen at weddings while I was here and it was entertaining and made for some great pictures and some serious laughs.

Photographed by Rance Elgin

If you want to do something different and unique on your wedding, a “trash the dress” photo shoot can be perfect. Heck, even if it isn’t planned, nothing makes for better pictures than the bride, groom and all their guests jumping in a pool and splashing around!

Randee trashing her dress

Just make sure if you want to keep your real wedding dress pristine, you purchase two dresses. One for the wedding, ceremony, and reception, and one for the next day to trash! Or get a dress that you can dry clean after you take your pictures. If you’re one of those brides who thinks “who cares, I’m only gonna wear this thing once” then go all out during your trash the dress photo shoot! Don’t hold back and have fun with it!

McKenzie Gacki

Intern, Weddings in Vieques

McKenzie-the-Intern is a student from University of Wisconsin - Stout, but she's really from Chicago

McKenzie-the-Intern is a student from University of Wisconsin – Stout, but she’s really from Chicago

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