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Example from a "trash the dress" shoot with a burnout on a motorcycle
Example from a "trash the dress" shoot on a hayloft on a farm
Example from a "trash the dress" shoot on a beach
Trash The Dress session in Havana, Cuba

"Trash the dress", also known as "fearless bridal" or "rock the frock", is a style of wedding photography that contrasts elegant feminine clothing with an environment in which it is out of place creating a photo essay of contrast, beauty, and dramatic transformation. It is generally shot in the style of fashion or glamour photography. Such photography often takes place on a beach, but other locations often include lakes and streams, city streets, rooftops, water falls, muddy fields, tub-shower units, garbage dumps, fields, and abandoned buildings. The woman often wears a ball gown, prom dress or wedding dress, and may effectively "trash" the dress in the process by getting it wet, dirty, or, in extreme circumstances, tearing, cutting, or destroying the garment, or entire outfit. However, in the great majority of these photo sessions, the dress is not ruined and is easily cleaned.[1]

The motivation for brides is symbolic representing the end of the wedding and her transformation of a bride to a wife rather than storing it forever never to be seen again.[citation needed] The session can include her husband, the bridal party or flower girl and can be romantic, elegant, comical, and even sensual.

Some sources claim that the trend was originally started in 2001 by Las Vegas wedding photographer John Michael Cooper.[2] However, the idea of destroying a wedding dress has been used by the American film industry symbolically since at least October 1998 when Meg Cummings (played by Susan Ward) of the show Sunset Beach ran into the ocean in her wedding dress after her wedding was interrupted.

On 26 August 2012, during a photo shoot at the Ouareau River in Rawdon, Quebec, Canada, Maria Pantazopoulos, a 30-year-old Montreal bride, drowned[3] when the dress she was wearing dragged her downstream. The photographer, as well as others, tried to help but were unable to rescue her. Her body was later recovered by a scuba diver.[4]


  1. ^ "What Is Trash The Dress?". Archived from the original on 10 January 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  2. ^ Krista Stryker (April 15, 2008). "Trash the dress". The Columbian. Archived from the original on May 26, 2008. Retrieved May 14, 2008.
  3. ^ Magder, Jason. "Maria Pantazopoulos, "a really fun girl," drowns in her wedding dress taking pictures in Rawdon" Archived 2019-01-25 at the Wayback Machine Montreal Gazette (December 21, 2012)
  4. ^ "Canada bride dies at 'trash the dress' photoshoot". BBC News. August 26, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2012.