Show off your wedding dress in a whole new way

Over the past few years, more and more brides are giving their gowns new life by wearing them in a post-wedding photo shoot that showcases all that lace, satin and chiffon in a whole new way. While some women have been known to literally destroy their dress, most new brides see a trash the dress shoot as a fun way to reinterpret their frock – either alone or with the groom. Read on for some insight into how to do more with your dress.

Drown the gown

From formal to funky

We got the inside scoop from photographer and designer Harleene Bonales about brides who want to showcase their dress in a whole new way after the ceremony. “We’re so used to seeing dresses in a church or at the reception, etc. that, as a photographer, it’s so fun to take it out of such a formal setting and basically just play with the idea of showcasing it differently,” she explains.

Bonales sees the trash the dress trend as something that’s here to stay. “I can see this type of shoot evolving and growing in a huge way,” she says, adding that she’d like to see trashing the dress go in an even more creative direction. “For me, I see more thought and production going into the shoot. I get tired of the same old, and I don’t want to just see another dress be trashed at the beach.” For her, the ideal trash the dress shoot would go beyond the basics in favor of a theme or more stylized shoot. “If a bride is down to trash her dress, then I’m more than sure she’s down to get more creative too,” the photographer adds.

Why trash the dress?

There are lots of reasons to do a photo shoot that takes your dress out of the context of tradition and allows you to have fun with your fancy frock. A trash the dress shoot allows brides to be themselves and relax, Bonales says. “They get to take all the seriousness of throwing a wedding and just have fun.” After months of planning and prep (and often stress), it’s nice to have an opportunity to let loose and do something totally different.

Bonus: You’re likely to get some great shots. Couples are often more comfortable during a trash the dress shoot because they’ve just spent a whole day in front of a camera for their wedding, so you end up getting some great intimate shots that you might not have gotten during the ceremony or reception. One of the best trash the dress shoots Bonales has done was at the beach, but she said what set that one apart is how into it the couple was. “It never felt like I was shooting a trash the dress. It felt more like a sexy fashion shoot. They were covered in sand and had so much fun with it.”

Other post-wedding dress trends

If you don’t feel like doing a post-wedding photo shoot to show off your dress in a new way, there are a few other options brides are opting for lately.

Drown the gown

Up at Lake Tahoe in California/Nevada, a new trend is making a splash at weddings. Brides, grooms and even whole wedding parties are jumping into the lake pre or post nuptials in the new drown the gown tradition. Zephyr Cove Resort at Lake Tahoe does a number of weddings where brides have quite literally taken the plunge.

Dress donation

If you’re feeling charitable post-ceremony, you can always donate your gown. Brides Revisited is a non-profit bridal gown donation and resale salon where former brides can donate their gowns and receive a tax deduction, explains director Gayla Breslauer. “We resell these gowns at greatly reduced prices and our proceeds are donated to charity,” she says. “In this economy, I think brides are more budget aware, and our organization provides a way to benefit brides as well as those less fortunate.”

Tell us

What did you (or will you) do with your wedding dress after the big day?

Share with us in the comments section below!

More wedding tips & trends

The anti-bride: Planning a non-traditional wedding
Top 5 celebrity wedding trends
Planning a summer wedding reception

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