Trash the dress sessions are becoming more and more popular. For most beach destination weddings it seems to be a must; the appeal of a sunset portrait at the ocean’s edge is just too much to pass up when in the tropics. I find even here in the Canadian Rockies, brides & grooms are showing interest in a “Day After” portrait session, which is a more linguistically friendly term than “trash the dress”.
Is a “day after” portrait session right for you?
Here are some of the pros & cons to consider:
The Pros of a Trash the Dress / Day After session:
1. The experience alone is worth it. Brides and grooms have a ton of fun at their day after photo session. So much so, that I’ve been told by clients that it was one of the most memorable and favorite experiences of the entire wedding!
2. The stress of the wedding day is over and you can relax and let your hair down, so to speak. I suspect this is why brides & grooms get so much out of it. With the Big Day behind them and all their family and friends gone, the happy newly weds finally have time to be alone and play; Because they are more relaxed, the pictures are often more expressive emotionally.
3. The sky is the limit when it comes to creativity. Since you don’t have to worry about keeping the dress clean, your photographer can have free reign to create wedding pictures that are more unique to who you are.
4. The dress does not have to be ruined! They are amazingly robust for such delicate things. After a cleaning, it is often in surprisingly good condition. You can still save it to pass down to future family members, turn into a quilt or donate it as long as you don’t go hog wild at your photo session!
This bride & groom really let it all out and thoroughly enjoyed the sense of liberation and playfulness the session had to offer. Despite having a ball and rolling around in the tide like little kids, the dress cleaned up nicely. You can read about their amazing experience in this article: “To Trash or Not to Trash…the Dress!”
5. It’s a nice event to look forward to after the wedding. It keeps the magic going and off sets post wedding blues.
6. You get to wear your dress again, and who doesn’t want to do that?
The Cons of a Trash the Dress / Day After session:
1. Scrutiny from parents, especially if they paid for the dress, and others who feel that trashing your beautiful wedding gown is sacrilegious at worst and just plain stupid at best. Some people have strong opinions against trashing the dress and aren’t afraid to share them with you.
2. Sentimental attachment to your wedding gown may be too high to risk damaging it. It is your WEDDING GOWN after all!
3. If you are thinking about reselling the dress, donating it, saving it for future generations or turning it into something else, a trash the dress session puts the dress in danger of being irreparably damaged.
4. It’s an additional cost to consider. If you are certain that a trash the dress session isn’t for you, but one comes with your package, you can often negotiate for a comparably priced alternative, such as coverage at a rehearsal dinner or extended coverage on the wedding day. Many photographers are customer service oriented and will work with you to meet you needs best.
5. You may be too tired, both physically and emotionally , the day after your wedding to want to have the photo session.
In any case, it’s your decision to make. Trash it with abandon and have a sublime experience of non-attachment that liberates your soul and connects you deeply to you new husband. Enjoy a fun, yet modest experience where you have the freedom to create unusual pictures that speak to your creativity and still keep your dress intact for future use. Respectfully say “You’re crazy to even suggest such a thing—No thank you!” and lovingly know that your heirloom remains safe and sound as the day you wore it on at your wedding.
As for me, I love shooting “Day After” sessions. You can have a lot of fun without “trashing the dress”. Often the images I create in the session are my clients absolute favorites and some of my signature images. I couldn’t personally completely destroy my wedding gown as some brides do, but I respect their liberated thinking and wild, poetic abandon. I find it very Buddhist. Like a sand mandala—beautiful, yet impermanent.
What to do with a wedding dress after the wedding?
If you have a pro or con to add to this list, please add it in the comments box below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject so please don’t be shy!