Trash the Dress Sessions. Why would I do it and do I really have to trash it?

Sometimes also referred to as the “day after” or the “rock the dress” session and many other names that are similar it is at this point something many of you have now heard of. What is it exactly and why as a bride would I bother doing this? The word “trash” seems to scare many brides and grooms (and all moms) away but the concept has come a long way since John Michael Cooper first lit his brides dress on fire with her still in it. When I first heard about it I was immediately excited and wished that every bride and groom would be interested in absolutely destroying their dress and I knew the images would be awesome. At first it seemed like every session had to end with the bride soaking wet in a body of water but it has evolved into much more since it’s first few sessions.

Why I recommend it.

Because it’s liberating and super awesome! The first few sessions I shot I did exactly what I mentioned earlier, I was going to try and wreck your dress and then throw you in the water at the end. Sounds fun and fashionable doesn’t it?haha It was great but what actually happened was over time I started to see the huge merit in these sessions that exceeded the artistic and edgy nature of it. You are given the opportunity to take your time, you can get dirty without too much concern, there is no rush to be back for the reception and we can control the locations. Due in part to this some couples have even connected with me to just shoot their trash session instead of their wedding if I was already committed to a wedding on their wedding day It’s a very flattering thing to have that happen and it helped give me new insight. What I first asked myself was why not? Why not do some wedding images after the wedding as well and do we really have to trash your dress? And if we’re doing some wedding images well after the wedding what effect does that have on the wedding day itself?

What effect does it have on your wedding day?

I feel the biggest and most positive effect that it has is that all of a sudden a couple can focus on the most important part of the wedding, at least in my opinion, spending time with close family and friends. If you think I’m lying you are very wrong and I wholehearted believe this. The more weddings I shoot and attend the more I appreciate and advocate taking time to be with the people you have invited to be there. This is most likely the only time you will have these people together all at once. How do I mean? Instead of sneaking away for many hours with just you and the bridal party we may only leave for a short while and come back a bit sooner so you can mingle with family and friends that you may not have seen in many years. The whole while we can be journalists and capture the special, candid and intimate moments that happen around you. I’m not saying that we don’t capture some beautiful portraits of you and your bridal party but we just split the focus on your wedding day , you and your bridal party and the amazing gathering around you and save some of the epic images for the next day. I personally think it takes the pressure away from you to say hi to everyone and makes you more involved with the wedding that you made happen.

What’s my favourite part of a trash the dress session?

People that know me know that I speak my mind and say what I’m thinking and that I love to have fun and climb stuff. On a selfish and artistic note the trash the dress sessions are truly an amazing and expressive outlet for wedding imagery. When I’m given the time to be a spider monkey and trusted to create something unique with two beautiful people it’s like a christmas gift. All of the images included in this blog post are from various sessions over the past three years and are examples of that. Each couple probably had a hard time convincing either each of other and/or their family that this is what they were considering but in the end I can safely say that everyone was extremely happy that they decided to go ahead with it.

Things to consider

One thing I highly suggest is that you “roll with it”. You are going to get dirty, you may tear your dress ( or fully destroy it if want us but at the end of the day it will probably come clean, and why not get all the miles out of it that you can before you store it away or sell it. Heck, at the end of every session I’m pretty certain I’m more dirty that you are and I wear my clothes many times over (however I doubt my pants are anywhere near as special as your wedding dress).haha One other thing I tell potential couples is that you should try and get some rest in advance. Although many of these sessions we encourage letting your hair down, the last thing you want is too be exhausted from the wedding and night before so sleep in and and start a little later in the day. The wedding day takes it’s toll on you as it’s such a emotional and long day so give yourself some time to decompress and savour some time as newlyweds. The last thing you want is heavy bags under your eyes for the session, unless you are going for that hobo-chic thing.

My final thoughts

These sessions are not for everyone and although I personally love them I truly understand that each couple has different feelings and not all will consider it an option. If you do consider it though take the time to make it personal and incorporate something about you and your new spouse in the session, you control where and what (I may have suggestions As a photographer, a husband and as a father I value my family and photography as the two most important things in life and any chance you have to save a moment in time it’s never a waste. Enjoy the speical and magical moments I’ve help create for others.