What Your 'Trash the Dress' Shots Really Look Like (Photos)


According to reports, the ‘Trash the Dress’ trend of wedding photography “started in 2001 when Las Vegas wedding photographer John Michael Cooper began photographing brides in unusual environments,” but has become increasingly popular around the world over the last five years. To trash a dress, or rock a frock (as it’s also called), brides typically don their dress a final time after their wedding ceremony and roll around on the beach, splash in waves, cover themselves in mud, walk through abandoned buildings or stand in the middle of traffic to make themselves look like a tragic and beautiful Queen of Filth. The goal of these shots is to evoke something ethereal or glamorous. It’s about adding a rock-and-roll element to a woman’s quiet pledge of domesticity. It’s about brides showing the world their individuality … all of them using the exact same formula to do it.

So to trash the dress or not? That is the question. Let me help you decide by sharing this slideshow of what ‘Trash the Dress’ shots are supposed to look like vs. what they end up looking like most of the time. You decide:

  • Trash the Dress? No or Yes? 1 of 23
    trash the dress
  • You’re supposed to look like Ophelia. 2 of 23

    Albeit with smelly armpits.

    Photo credit: Flickr user Eduardo Pavon

  • You’re supposed to look like a mermaid. 3 of 23

    Like this girl. She nails it. She's got the whole sweet Disney mermaid princess washed to shore in a wedding dress thing goin' on. (Cuz that's totally reasonable. Fairy tales *do* come true!) This is what every bride wants their 'Trash the Dress' shots to look like. Gorgeous, otherworldly. The problem is, most of them end up on the more ridiculous side, making it look like the bride accidentally fell in a lake or got really upset and ran to the nearest beach to throw a tantrum in the sand. Here are some examples ...

    Photo credit: Flickr user Sean McGrath

  • You end up making sand angels. 4 of 23


    Photo credit: Flickr user Daniel Stockman

  • Sometimes dogs come up to you mid-shoot. 5 of 23

    "Hi, buddy! What are you doin' here? Me? Oh I'm just standing in the water wearing a wedding dress! Like you do."

    Photo credit: Flickr user Daniel Stockman

  • And they kiss you and splash you and get you more wet than you thought you’d get. 6 of 23

    Dog the dress.

    Photo credit: Flickr user Daniel Stockman

  • Sometimes you just look mad about the fact that you wore gloves. 7 of 23

    "I never even wanted to wear gloves! I just did it because my mother said they looked good with the dress! Why didn't I trust my instincts???!!!"

    Photo credit: Flickr user Daniel Stockman

  • Sometimes it looks like your husband found a dead body. 8 of 23

    "Uh, I think something's wrong here? There appears to be a dead girl floating in the river? Did someone order this? I thought we were having a party."

    Photo credit: Flickr user Eduardo Pavon

  • Sometimes you look like a clown. 9 of 23

    This couple painted each other during their 'Trash the Dress' shoot.

    Photo credit: Flickr user J.K. Califf

  • A sexy, sassy clown. 10 of 23


    Photo credit: Flickr user J.K. Califf

  • Sometimes you look like you just jumped in the water cuz you wanted to go swimming. 11 of 23

    "Hey man! This is what parties are all about! Come on in!"

    Photo credit: Flickr user Samantha Lauren Photographie

  • Sometimes you look like you tripped and got lost. 12 of 23

    "I was wandering through the forest deep when I tripped and fell, muddying my dress, and then I came up ... and ... these blades of grass, they were just so tall! I couldn't find my way after that. I'm scared that the witch is coming! Oh no! I've got to go. Come on, animal friends, follow me!"

    Photo credit: Flickr user Randy Kashka

  • Sometimes you look like you couldn’t wait for the honeymoon. 13 of 23

    "Forget going to Mexico. You know what sounds like a great idea? Let's get soaking wet in this waterfall wearing these really heavy clothes and see what happens!"

    Photo credit: Flickr user The Wedding Traveler

  • Because sometimes you want to trash the dress … 14 of 23

    But not the shoes.

    Photo credit: Flickr user Kristina Daley

  • Sometimes you look scared to fall in. 15 of 23

    Or like your dress is stuck on a rock.

    Photo credit: Flickr user CASA FRAGMA

  • Sometimes a really big wave comes up … 16 of 23

    and you can't even see yourselves at all.

    Photo credit: Flickr user CASA FRAGMA

  • Sometimes you don’t even have to be wearing a wedding dress. 17 of 23
  • The trend appeals to bridesmaids and foot models alike! 18 of 23
  • Who doesn’t just want to lay down in a stream wearing diamonds? 19 of 23

    Why not?

    Photo credit: Flickr user Tanna Valentine

  • Sometimes you look like you wonder if you’re doing it right. 20 of 23

    "So, just, kinda lay here and look like I'm taking a nap? In the dunes? Wearing my wedding dress? Is this it? I want it to look natural."

    Photo credit: Flickr user Kristina Daley

  • Sometimes you look like there’s no way to do it right. 21 of 23

    "Oh man. Okay. So I ball myself up but then also lean back? I'm trying to look like a wave. Do I look like a wave?"

    Photo credit: Flickr user Kristina Daley

  • And sometimes your boobs hang out. 22 of 23

    To be fair, my chicken cutlets were popping out of my wedding dress, too, at my reception. I didn't even need to lay down in the surf! I was just dancing! Which is also how I trashed my dress - the old-fashioned way. ON THE DANCE FLOOR!

    Photo credit: Flickr user Kristina Daley

  • As a thank you … 23 of 23
    trash the dress

    A sincere thank you to all the brides and photographers who shared these photos via Flickr. In exchange, here's a picture of me trashing my wedding dress on the dance floor looking like hot sweaty garbage. It sure was fun, though!


Follow Carolyn Castiglia on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest.

More relationship posts from Carolyn on Babble:

15 Reasons Couples Should Go On Vacation Instead of Buying Stuff

20 Photos from a Modern, Vintage Wedding

Tagged as: