Saturday, April 2, 2011

Your wedding dress: trash or treasure?

This post was originally written in July 2009 and is another I've bought back for the Weekend Rewind at Life in a Pink Fibro.

Image source:

Has anyone taken part in a ‘Trash the Dress’ event? If so, please tell me why otherwise sensible people partake in such a procedure.
Wondering what is a Trash the Dress, exactly? I did. A quick search on the net reveals it’s when a recently married bride puts the wedding dress back on, gets glammed up again, and proceeds to ‘trash’ the dress. As in, roll about in mud and surf, tip paint on it, massacre it with scissors and such like. While being photographed.
Also wondering why the hell any (presumably happily married) person would do that?
Apparently it serves several purposes: provides a chance to wear the dress one more time and do something else productive in it, rather than leave it hanging in the wardrobe for all eternity. The bride also gets some unique and stunning photographs (which don’t come cheap, what with the professional photographer following up the wedding with a handy little Trash the Dress package).
And – my personal favourite – it makes a statement that she is committed to her husband. That in destroying the wedding dress she’s saying she’ll never have need of one again. I’m sorry, but isn’t that message covered by vowing “to love and cherish, etc etc, til death to us part” and exchanging rings?
Call me old fashioned, but I simply do not understand how someone recently married can destroy the dress. If, some time down the track, the marriage has gone pear-shaped and it signifies nothing but painful memories, by all means take to it with shears and a soft-focus lens. But while it’s still a thing of beauty? Insanity.
Because, allowing for those few truly heinous creations that should never have left the designer’s imagination, most wedding gowns are beautiful. The heavy, forgiving fabric. The tiny buttons, delicate ribbons and ties. The bits of antique lace.
Sitting in a dark cupboard forever may seem like a waste. But at least it’s there and can be revisited and admired from time to time, much like a piece of art.
If I ever got such a notion in my head, the shooting would be done by my mother. And she’d use equipment much deadlier than a camera. She made my dress and I assume is just as satisfied to have it left in the wardrobe in peace. Her own dress, (which being from the ’70s leans dangerously towards the heinous category but is saved by its simple design and gorgeous fabric), also remains tucked up among tissue paper in her wardrobe.
Granted, scissors can be the best thing for the situation when a wedding gown has outlived the marriage. Take the dresses of three women in my family. These sisters each married and lived happily for a while. But the happiness didn’t last. Each split no doubt brought much heartache to their mother, but it did mean their dresses were up for grabs. Being a doll collector, she merrily cut and restitched the pieces into miniature gowns. And has since won several awards in the local show’s doll competition.
Of course, each woman is entitled to do as she pleases with her dress. And brides and the photographers do get some beautiful, striking photos from the trashing process. But honestly? It’s just indulgent.
I can understand the narcissistic attraction of starring in your own photo shoot and getting yet another set of beautiful portraits (because all the dosh you spent on the actual wedding photos just wasn’t enough). But justifying it as something more symbolic is simply a con. The same thing could just as easily be achieved by getting a gown from Lifeline and shredding it in front of the camera.


  1. I wouldn't purposely destroy my dress, like cut it up, but I'd happily do some other fun stuff.

    The original idea is not to destroy the dress, but to be able to take some nice shots that you couldn't really do before the wedding (or at the wedding).

    Like in the water at the beach etc.

    I'd still like to be able to keep my dress. But I'm pretty keen on getting photos done up a tree. Yes, I want to climb a tree in my dress. If it accidentally gets a few holes or stains, it will just add to the character of it. But I would not want to ruin it :$

  2. dress is over 40 years old...hasnt fitted for 39 years..but has been useful from time to time as a dress-up!
    Just found your blog through Weekend Rewind.
    Will follow you now.
    Im on wordpress, so if you'd like to get my posts, there's an email addy.
    Denyse - in NSW
    Good luck with your bloggy life...Im a recent starter!

  3. Goodness me - I've never heard of such a thing. But I'm so glad you told me about it. I'm going to research it now - purely for interest's sake, you understand...

    Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro.

  4. The first I heard of this was when Kellyansapansa talked about it on her blog. Then after she got married late last year hosted an event with other brides - there were some great shots.

  5. I'm a firm believer in "each to their own", but I really don't get this either.

    Having said that, six years later my dress is still sitting in the box it came home from the dry cleaners in. I'll figure out something to do with it, but it won't involve house paint or peat bogs.

  6. Just went and had a look at the Kallyansapansa piece - the brides certainly got some gorgeous pics and looks like they had a ball.
    Not sure it's something I could do though...

  7. Trash the Dress? Truly? That would have to be one of the craziest things I've heard of. It's up there with some American weddings I've seen where the bride & groom rub wedding cake into each others faces. WTF??? I LOVED my dress & I'd love one of my girls to wear it one day. If they don't want to, no big deal, but it will be there as a momento.
    p.s. I did have an idea once that I'd chop mine up to make a Christening gown for my children but I couldn't bare to destroy it.

  8. I really want to do this. Although I'm with Liz, I still want to keep my dress, I wont be cutting it up but I love to have a shoot in a river or a waterfall.


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