Trash the Dress? Yes!

A variety of different wedding dresses hanging on a rack.

The whats, whys, and hows of this edgy wedding trend



Is “trashing your dress” after your wedding REALLY as amazing as people make it out to be?

As a destination bride who actually bought a second dress just to ruin it, I can personally tell you guys it was totally worth it. Hubby and I had a blast—so much fun that my strap actually broke in the water! (See pics below 👇)

I know plenty of you brides-to-be are probably thinking, oh, hell n—well, you get the picture. I totally understand the concern! To be clear, I’m not saying let’s have a free-for-all with your $5,000 designer gown (the dress I trashed was from David’s Bridal and it cost a whopping $99). All I’m saying is, if you’re down with wearing a less expensive dress in order to trash it (or if you can swing buying a trash-worthy second dress in addition to your actual designer wedding gown), you won’t regret it!

Let’s back up for a second. What is “trash the dress,” exactly?

TTD is a trendy kind of photo session that takes the bride and groom away from their pristine wedding venue to a different, more rugged environment—think white-capped ocean waves crashing over sand; the cool tumble of a waterfall hidden in the lush, green jungle; craggy volcanic cliffs high over deep blue water. Some creative newlyweds have even gotten crafty with things like glitter, spray paint, and colorful powder.

The idea is to let loose, be imaginative, and give that pretty white dress of yours the send-off of a lifetime! Not only is trashing your dress hella liberating and fun, it will also leave you with some insanely gorgeous photos to look back on. You will basically be the star of your own high fashion photo shoot—love, love, LOVE IT!! I felt like a total model the whole time, not going to lie.

My favorite part of the whole ritual was just how much of a BOSS I was able to be while the photographer took the shots! There was no pressure to be prettily perfect like there is during your actual wedding—you are free to be fierce, raw, confident, and sexy, and it’s amazing!

Your dress will be trashed (that’s the whole point!), your hair might come loose, and you may end up covered in mud or water or paint… but you’ll be grinning from ear to ear and loving every minute of it. Imagine hanging those pictures in your home and the little boost of happiness you’ll feel every time you look at them! (Not to mention the oohs and ahhs you’ll get from everyone who comes over to visit 😉)

Another reason I loved trashing my dress? It was SO MUCH FUN. Like, ribs-hurt-from-laughing, kick-ass fun. Rolling around in the sand, getting my feet wet, the waves washing over me, my bae right there by my side, the sound of the ocean… it was seriously magical. I love the beach, so I was totally in my element—a fish in the sea. We laughed and laughed and to this day it’s one of the only moments between the wedding and the reception I actually remember (which could have something to do with the drinks but, hey, who’s counting?).

While we’re on the topic of trash the dress sessions, there are some myths floating around out there that I want to take a minute and tackle head on.

Myth #1: My dress is going to be ruined for good.

Okay, sure, a bead might fall off, some lace might get torn, and if you dive into the ocean wearing silk, your dress might come out looking a little worse for wear. But the idea that TTD means your dress is definitely going in the garbage afterwards is just not true!

“Trash the dress” means different things to different people. While some brides might choose to literally light their dress on fire (yeah, that’s one stunt your dress won’t be walking away from), others may want to go with something a little more serene, like a walk through the woods or a quick dip in a lily-studded pond. Splashing around in the ocean, draping yourself over logs or rocks, or rolling around in a meadow will leave your dress dirty, no question—but nothing that a good dry clean can’t fix!

Trashing your dress without ruining it is totally doable, it just requires a little bit of planning. Choose fabrics and detailing carefully, or plan to have a second (cheaper!) dress on hand just for trashing!


Myth #2: Things are gonna get messy, so why bother doing my hair or makeup?

If you love the way you look au naturel, you do you, girl! Rock that dress makeup-free and own it.

That being said, if you’re not keen on every bump, line, and stray hair being immortalized in super hi-res photos, it’s definitely worth it to have your makeup and/or hair done professionally beforehand.

A hint of color here and there, some beachy waves or a casual updo, maybe even some false lashes—all of these things will add a nice, subtle glamour to your pictures. Plus, looking your best also helps you feel your best, and that’s exactly the kind of mindset you want to go into a TTD photoshoot with.


Myth #3: I don’t need to hire a photographer. DIY 4 lyfe, baby!

Hang on a sec, Annie Leibovitz! While nixing the professional photo session and opting for a disposable camera instead will definitely save you some cash, those shots are not going to turn out at all like the gorgeous, frame-worthy pictures you’re dreaming of.

Professional photographers bill for their time for just that reason—they’re professionals! They know how to capture the perfect lighting, how to position their model (in this case, you!), which poses look flattering, and what scenery will make a killer backdrop. If you fill them in on what you’re looking for ahead of time, some photographers might even arrive at the shoot with props and ideas of their own!

An expert touch is the key to bringing your trash the dress photos to life. While you can DIY all you like when it comes to accessories, makeup, and even the dress itself, don’t skimp on the photographer!

Trash the dress TL;DR

Trash the dress is a fun, edgy, and fabulous end to your wedding day that will leave you with beautiful photos to treasure for years to come.

It’s kinda like swimming with sharks, in that only a handful of people have taken the plunge and can now say they’ve done it. It’s a once in a lifetime chance to go all out! Why not seize it?

We are destination brides, after all! We aren’t trying to be like everyone else. If we wanted the cookie cutter wedding experience, we’d get married in a church back home and stick our spotless wedding dress in the closet afterwards, never to see the light of day again.

Your wedding is supposed to be one of the best days of your life, and I’m so happy that I have these beautiful, funny, joyful photos to remind me of it. When I look at them, all I can think is damn, I was a beautiful bride and our wedding location was perfect!

It was the best decision I ever made—and if you decide you want a TTD session of your own, I know it will be the same for you, too!

BONUS: Here are a few Different Ways To Trash The Dress FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Mexico: Dive into a Cenote   Europe: Stomp in Grapes    Costa Rica: Go Ziplining  Hawaii: Climb up a Waterfall    

Jamaica: Jump off the Cliffs at Ricks Cafe



Need some trash the dress inspiration? Hit up Pinterest or check out some of my photos below. They’re bound to give you some #travelinspo for sure! 👰🌊✨

(And if you're ready to take the leap and start planning the destination wedding you've always dreamed of, let's talk!!)