We're talking about Trash The Dress Photoshoots today! There's a lot of polarizing information out there, a lot of negative blogs about why you shouldn't trash the dress. I wanted to bring you two experiences that were nothing but positive. Aubrey (Seas Your Day Events' Grand Party Overlord) and bride Shauna both did very different trash the dress shoots. Aubrey and her Hubs are water babies so theirs was nautical/water themed while Shauna's Hubs is a fireman so their shoot was fireman themed! Aubrey got INTO the water and soaked the dress and Shauna got it dirty and dusty. There are so many ways to do fun photoshoots in your dress and give it second life. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to totally ruin your dress in order to have a fun Trash the Dress shoot. Aubrey's came out cleaner than her wedding day and Shauna's was able to be cleaned and preserved. I interviewed both ladies and have shared their answers below. Aubrey is in blue and Shauna is in red. Enjoy!
Why did you decide to trash the dress?
Aubrey: A couple of reasons, the Hubs surprised me with a photographer for the actual engagement. So we got lots of photos from that day (of me in my finest neon green sweatpants) and we aren’t really the “pose pretty” type of people. He proposed on our boat, we got married on the lake, so it just seemed fitting to do the trash the dress in the water. Our photography package included an engagement session, and since we'd already done that Castaldo was more than happy to do a post wedding session so that’s what we did!
Shauna: At one point in my planning I was thinking about a vintage Vegas theme in Vegas since we got engaged there. When I was searching I found Chelsea’s photos of other trash the dress shoots that she did and I knew right away that I was going to hire her and do one. She is based out of Vegas. She is insanely talented and I knew I wanted to hire her immediately — and I truly had nothing else figured out. She was the first decision I made for our wedding planning. Aside from deciding to marry Dustin of course.
How did you get your husband on board for yet another photoshoot?
Aubrey: Our shoot was super fun; out on the boat, all around the lake, jumping into the water. It’s all stuff we love doing anyways so it wasn’t too painful. I think by the 6th or 7th boat jump Hubs was a little over the reenactment… but the pics were worth it!! I’m pretty sure we like our TTD shots better than actual wedding day.
Shauna: He didn’t really care either way. I am blessed because he likes to make me happy. The one caveat was that there was an idea floated around about doing something with grease and he vetoed that idea. Too messy for his OCD tendencies. Haha!
What was your theme?
Aubrey: Party on the water! Laid back but classy, tropical mixed with nautical vibes
Shauna: We enjoy rock climbing, hiking, and canyoneering and we love the red rocks out west. So we hiked at Red Rock Canyon for part of it and then we went to the Neon Boneyard for the other part. We were the last photo shoot at the boneyard before they closed it to reopen it as a museum.
How did you find a photographer?
Aubrey: One of the venue recommendations. I still scoured the Knot for comparisons and we talked to a couple different options. I was just obsessed with the way Costaldo captured colors and light.
Shauna: I found her before I found anything else. Before the dress. Before anything. See answer to first question
Did you buy a second dress?
Aubrey: Nope! I wore that thing AS LONG AS AS POSSIBLE! Shoot, I’d still have it on if it wasn’t frowned upon to wear the same thing every day.
How much did you spend on your dress and was trashing it a factor in your budget?
Aubrey: $1,000, I actually had my dress made because apparently I’m too high maintenance to just buy one and alter it. I did not want a ton of lace and heavy detail, so my dress was already suited for submerging. If I had chosen something with more layers and was heavier I probably wouldn’t have done quite as much “trashing”. But that’s not really my style so it worked out perfectly. (Dress maker: Prestige Couture) I did factor in having hair redone though (B U 4 Me Services). I did my own my makeup for the shoot.
Shauna: I never intended to spend a lot of money on the dress. My dress was less than $1000 including alterations. I found it on the clearance rack and had it altered from a size 6 to a size 0.
How long into your shoot before you actually trashed it? How did it go down?
Aubrey: Maybe 45 mins? We planned all the above water shots first and then deeper and deeper until we jumped!
Shauna: We trashed it gradually as we walked around in the canyon rocks, dirt and dust.
What did he wear?
Aubrey: The Wedding Day Suit, no shoes of course
Shauna: For the Red Rock Canyon shoot he wore the same clothes he wore at our wedding. He put on his firefighter bunker gear for the shoot at Neon Boneyard.
Was your dress totally trashed afterwards or was it salvageable?
Aubrey: It was actually cleaner after the shoot than it was after the wedding!
Shauna: It wasn’t totally trashed. It was ripped and filthy. It could have been worse. I wore my red heels (same ones I got married in) for part of the shoot and those were pretty beat up from the rocks. Eventually I changed into approach shoes, made for scrambling on rocks.
What did you do with your dress after trashing it?
Aubrey: Cleaned it back up and saving it for an anniversary celebration where I can bust it back out!
Shauna: My mother insisted on having it cleaned and preserved. So now I have a dress in a box.
Any surprises on shoot day?
Aubrey: We had a surprise shark dog guest! Also, when we scheduled the shoot our photographer’s admin left out the the tiny detail about us getting in the water so they were surprised when they realized exactly what the plan was, but they were champions about it and hopped right in with us no questions asked!! We also got to create our unity ceremony because it got forgotten on wedding (plug for why having a full day coordination service is so important). We wanted to “tie the knot” at the alter, but we at least got to get a photo in the water, which worked out being all nautical and such.
Shauna: We had to rush to get to the boneyard before sunset to catch the lighting so we had a fun car ride through the canyons. And it was HOT outside. Vegas in mid June so it was about 110 degrees. Dustin was melting in his bunker gear. But those photos were worth it!!! Am I right?!?
Aubrey: 10/10 recommend this type of trash the dress shoot. I loved being able to do something super fun that was so special to us and still be able to keep my dress (because I am DEFINITELY wearing it again!)
Shauna: We went viral on Pinterest afterwards. Our photos were very popular for firefighter themed weddings and photo shoots. It was Dustin’s idea to pin our last name to the back of my dress, and that has since become a very popular thing to do in firefighter weddings. We started that trend and Dustin is responsible for it. Huge shout out to the incredibly talented Chelsea Nicole. I will forever be grateful for the beautiful photos she gave us. Here is the link to our page on her site: https://chelseanicoleblog.com/trash-the-dress/shaunas-trash-the-dress/
I hope this blog encourages you to have a Trash The Dress photoshoot. Find a photographer who is willing to have fun and take chances and research a good wedding dress restoration specialist. This is a once in a lifetime chance to make an amazing memory! You can work it into your wedding budget and prioritize it if it's something you really want to do. Your wedding portraits will be whatever theme your wedding will be. This is a chance to show a different side of you and your partner. Show the world who you are and most of all, have FUN with it!