Creative Wedding Photography: Trash the Dress

In recent years, the creative wedding photography trend in wedding planning, “Trash the Dress,” photo session has become popular with newlywed couples. Although the name conjures up visions of brides hurling their beloved wedding gowns into garbage bins or lighting it afire, it’s actually a post-wedding photo session where photographers capture newlywed couples sporting their bridal attire in a sequence of interesting and intriguing poses and locations.

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Trash the Dress—or TTD—offers a unique opportunity for brides to wear their gowns again, but this time in a less restrictive atmosphere. Since pre-wedding and day of photo sessions are about posed shots taken in pristine environments, Trash the Dress is a more candid experience, allowing couples to let their hair down and flex some serious creative muscle.

“When you do a Trash the Dress session it can be whimsical, fun and dirty. . . it allows you the freedom to act, dance and do whatever you want with your dress and not worry about the consequences,” says Lisa Schneider of Orlando’s Scoobie's Photographic Images. “Whatever your idea of trashing a dress is, DO IT! You can let it all hang out.”

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If you’re considering a Trash the Dress photo shoot, here are a few tips for creating a memorable experience:

Be open to everything, advises wedding photographer Lisa Schneider. TTD photo sessions are much more informal than pre-wedding shoots. So laugh, play and have fun with each other so that the photographer can capture your energy on camera.

Never trust your TTD photos to an amateur. Find a trained photographer who can carry out your vision and listens to your ideas. But, give them the freedom to scout locations and offer suggestions. They are the professional, after all.

Include “props” like a fantastic pair of flirty heels (for shoots on land) or sparkly jewelry to add a little kitsch to your photos.

It’s OK if you choose to go the DIY route with your hair and makeup—especially if your TTD session takes place in and near (or under) water!

“A lot of brides do not want to trash something they have spent serious money on,” says wedding photographer Lisa Schneider. For TTD alternatives, consider a “newlywed after shoot.” These sessions still allow for creative photography and, but don't require you to get quite as dirty.

Lastly, if the “final destination” of the dress involves selling it to a consignment shop, donating it to charity or keeping it as a family heirloom, be sure to have the gown professionally cleaned soon after the session. If you do plan to keep your dress, consider having it preserved to help it stay in tip top shape for years to come.