Trash the dress, drown the gown, rock the frock, fearless bridal—whatever we’d like to call it, trashing the wedding dress after the ceremony is a phenomenon that is rising world over, all in the name of one thing—art.
And why not? We all enjoy a good piece of art. The best part of trash the dress is that we don’t have to be Picasso or van Gogh to create our own artwork. Instead, the day after our wedding we can get a little wild with full creative license, making that dress worth every penny spent. What else would we do with our dress after the wedding day? When all the razzmatazz fades the dress is usually packed up and left in the back of our closet for years.
For those who haven’t yet been exposed to this insane yet refreshing ritual—it’s when a bride (and groom) go on a photo shoot wearing their wedding attire in an unusual environment. It’s about the creation of art in the act of destroying the dress—well not completely, there’s always the dry cleaning service after the photo shoot for those of us who cringe at the thought of being parted from our beloved gown.
So where on earth did all this insanity begin? Let’s just say a good soap opera never fails to hook its audience. Trash the dress was born in 1998 through the melodramatics of a well-known soap—Sunset Beach. It gained popularity when the wedding reception of one of the characters was interrupted by her husband’s supposedly dead ex wife. The bride, Meg Cummings, let emotion take over and ran out onto the beach, where she threw herself into the ocean, wedding dress and all, in the hope of drowning her sorrows. That scene soon became a work of art when photographers saw the beauty in the contrast created between the delicate fabrics of the wedding dress, its symbolic virtues and that of an environment where it did not belong.
John Michael Cooper was the first photographer to turn this idea into a trend and his unconventional take on the concept gained international attention.
Brides from all over the world began trashing their dresses, rocking their frocks and drowning their gown. In fact, the trend become so popular that it sparked a mass trash the dress: In 2009, more than 150 Dutch women got down and dirty in their gowns on a beach in the Netherlands.