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Welcome to Racked's third annual Weddings Week, where we'll be discussing all things wedding-related, from our favorite outfit ideas to the batshit craziest wedding traditions around. Happy wedding season!
Dock trashers, via Pinterest/Azy A.
Against all likelihood, Trash the Dress photography (TTD) has endured for more than a decade. Unfamiliar? It's a phenomenon whereby a bride destroys her $1000+ gown—and destroys it good—all in the hope of generating pretty-ugly images worthy of the pages of Vogue. You know, to show the grandkids one day.
The most popular motifs involve water and/or beaches, mud, paint and/or paintballs. Also getting dirty in various natural environments, like a field or a forest.
Credit for originating the trend tends to go to Los Vegas wedding photographer John Michael Cooper, who, when bored with traditional wedding photography, convinced clients to pose in dirty settings, submerge themselves in freezing water, or light themselves on fire, all while wearing their bridal whites. "In fashion photography, they often put really pretty people in very ugly places. I'm applying that technique to weddings," he told the New York Times back in 2007.
Though Cooper first started trashing dresses in a pre-a-lot-of-things 2001, the "trend" has managed to outlive a recession, plenty of detractors, and one mid-shoot death. Paintballs got involved. There's at least one wedding film that doubles as a Lana Del Rey music video. It's huge in Germany.
Recently, Pinterest has embraced the trend—though the term "trashed" tends to be loosely used on that particular platform, where any dress that makes it within three feet of un-mowed grass is considered fit for the rubbish bin.
And in a natural evolution of sorts, it has now been adopted by a group of women that it probably should have belonged to all along: divorcees in their twenties. The images are nearly indistinguishable from the original TTD photos, but they're symbolically different, and involve mud more often. The book is forthcoming.
See below for a selection of our favorite Trash the Dress photos and feel free to let us know what you think about the trend in the comments.
- We'll start with the most traditional of the unconventional photography. Above, see a bride partially submerged in water. Image via Andrea K.
- Or totally under water. Image via JB and Mikey
- In grimy locales. Image via Stephanie U.
- And creeks. Image via Lisa D.
- Sometimes "trashing" just means "grass stains on the hemline." Image via Shanna M.
- Ditto. Image via Dani N.
- Or light water stains. Image via Shanna M.
- Paint is another popular choice of destruction. Image via Leilani J.
- And this is what happens when creatives mess with the dress. Image via Emily A.
- And sometimes the paint is on the walls of a dank building instead. Image via Chibi J.
- Taking the plunge, nudge nudge. Image via Julie M.
- And now let's step out a little more. Image via Lisa D.
- Points for personal flair. Image via Pat
- LOL Giraffe. Image via Kate C.
- Image via Perfect Wedding Guide
- A light mudding. Image via Lisa Dunham
- A heavier mudding. Image via Trash The Dress Book
- Trashing dresses, divorce edition. Image via Sarah M.
- Nacho cheese. Because in the end, it's about love. Image via Lori J.