The pros and cons of trash the dress shoots

Shari and Trav decided to have an underwater Trash the dress shoot in Fiji. Image: Malia Johnson Photography

Shari and Trav decided to have an underwater Trash the dress shoot in Fiji. Image: Malia Johnson Photography

If rebelliously rolling around on the beach after your wedding like a pair of libidinous teenagers sounds like fun, a Trash the Dress (TTD) photography session might be for you.

Also known as Rock the Frock shoots, brides are increasingly getting down and dirty in their dresses to capture some romantic – albeit sandy – moments of their destination weddings. Here’s a list of pros and cons to consider before you commit to a game of post-wedding paint ball with your partner and well-armoured photographer:

Image: Blue Nalu Photography

Image: Blue Nalu Photography


  • Your dress could be ruined forever and you’ll never be able to wear it to another wedding, ever, ever again. But hang on, you want this to be the first and last time, don’t you?
  • You will not be able to re-purpose the dress into a christening gown for your first born or modified cocktail dress for a less formal occasion.
  • In 2012, a bride in Quebec went for a swim in the ocean during a TTD shoot and sadly died when her dress became so weighed down with water she was swept away by the current and ultimately drowned.
  • Your frivolity may be frowned upon by people who feel passionately about donating dresses – designer or not – to brides less fortunate who can’t afford a beautiful gown like yours (that you can hardly wait to mud wrestle your husband in).
  • You’ll have to invest in a new dress (even if you do ward off the comfort kilos in the 50 years in between) when you ultimately decide to renew your vows.
  • You won’t have a gown to pass on to any daughters you may have, should they wish to wear your gown.
Trash the Dress

Jessica and Nick had a Trash the Dress shoot the morning after their wedding and, the bride says, “It was so much fun and I highly recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity.” Image: Evoke Studios


  • In some cases, the dress may not even be ruined. A little sea water might actually do  cake stains some good and ushering it off to the dry cleaners when you’re done may well return it to its former glory.
  • Getting involved with coloured paint can be a great way to incorporate little ones on the big day, with mini hand prints leaving a lasting memory on canvases and clothing.
  • Incorporating props like quad bikes, animals and mud puddles can be a great way for country brides to let their hair down after a big day of prim and proper and get in touch with their rural roots.
  • Your vintage car can get in on the soapy, suddy, bubbly car wash action with a newlywed water fight.
  • You can slip into something more comfortable – and less expensive. Have an cheaper wedding dress to change into for your underwater Caribbean embrace, so your real one will live on forever unscathed!
  • Value vino over your Versace wedding dress? Have a wine fight. Go ahead, drink and douse – it’s totally legal.
  • You get the opportunity to combine two extreme activities in one day: weddings and water skiing. Or hang gliding, bungee jumping and skydiving; they’ll also appease adrenalin junkie couples and make for some incredible action shots.
Be safe and responsible during your Trash the Dress shoots. Image: Tal Zidgon.

Be safe and responsible during your Trash the Dress shoots. Image: Tal Zidgon.

So, over to our readers – what do you think? Is it a wasteful and hedonistic ritual that should be banished to give disadvantaged brides-to-be an opportunity to look and feel as glamourous as you? Or is it your day, your dress and your prerogative to have your cake and eat it too, so to speak? Let us know in the comments below.

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