Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Trash the Trash-the-Dress Concept

There are some pictures over at Elizabeth Anne Designs of a Trash the Dress session.

This whole trash-the-dress idea is a phenomenon that, frankly, I can't wrap my mind around.

I tried to do a little Google research to answers my questions. Unfortunately, it only led to more questions. Here are some snippets of rationale for why one would have a Trash the Dress session:

From a YouTube video: It's a way to get "more than one use out of a very expensive gown." And "the reality of a wedding dress is you wear it for two and a half hours or so...you take it off and hang it up in your closet that night and it's sad and lonely."

Then there's this bit from a Trash the Dress website:

You’ve made a commitment to your husband. He’s your one and only true love, right? Then you’ll never need the dress again. And no, your daughter won’t wear it in 20-30 years. So you have two choices: 1) Suffocate it in plastic and throw it in a closet 2) Show your husband how committed you are by trashing the dress, and get some great fun pictures while you do it!

Really? There are really only two choices?

What about:
  1. Actually buying a dress you will wear again. Is that really such a crazy idea? It seems like the most rationale idea of all. If you're going to drop a lot of money on a dress, it seems logical to get multiple uses of it (editor's note: one narcissistic photo shoot where you proceed to ruin the dress does not constitute "multiple uses"). If you know of someone who wears their wedding dress in real life, please e-mail me!
  2. Selling your big, fancy dress that you're never going to wear again so a) you at least recoup some of the money and b) someone else can have a big, fancy dress and go into less debt.
And the other ideas I generated last month.

I really am worked up about this. It is so incredibly wasteful and narcissistic and self-centered and vain to spend thousands of dollars on a dress that you wear for a couple of hours and then proceed to ruin (or make it so dirty that it then requires hundreds of dollars in dry-cleaning fees).

Please, please, please: Before you get married, figure out what you are going to do with your dress after the wedding. If you're only going to wear it on your wedding day, do some quick math to figure out how much you are paying for that dress per hour. Is it really necessary? I know it's a big day and you're going to be the center of attention and you want to feel beautiful, but there are lots of inexpensive dresses out there that can accomplish the same thing. Or rent the damn thing!

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Kathryn said...

I'm so glad someone is saying this! Thank you! How about re-selling your dress on eBay or Once Wed or somewhere like that? Sort of lets you have your cake and eat it, too, getting part of your money back on an expensive dress...

Anonymous said...

I agree, though I know that I wouldn't mind taking some funkier shots...but I'll either do them on my wedding day (no mud), OR one of the other days that I wear my dress.

I plan on picking something comfortable, pretty, and something I feel confident in. My other hopes is that it becomes my "Pretty Dress I Wear Out with the Mister" since we're foodies and enjoy going out now and again.

All I know is that if I'm going to spend more than $50 on it, I better get multiple wears out of it!

ami @ elizabeth anne designs said...

I'm SO selling mine once I'm done with it! And one thing to note for those that want it, you don't have to "trash" it - most of the sessions don't actually damage the dress and it can be restored to its original glory with a simple cleaning. :) now those that set their dress on fire.... that's a different story.

Unknown said...

Seriously... thanks for speaking up about this. I think the TTD Session is kind of a disgusting phenomenon. To me, it basically says, 'Hey, I had alot of money to spend on this dress, that ultimately I care so little about I am willing to ruin it just to show how much money I have and how little I value it!' I think it's wasteful and tacky. Interesting for a photographer, yes. But I don't see any more value in it than that.

CaitStClair said...

Wow. To be honest, I'm surprised at how harsh you guys are being! What happened to each their own?
The way I view a trash the dress session is as a chance to integrate some of your other interests. I'd love to include my horse in the wedding day photo shoot. Am I going to go tearing around on my wedding day (fancy dress or not)? Not like that! Does a trash the dress session require a big, fancy, expensive dress that you're never going to wear again? No. Some girls go pick out a cheap dress, have fun, clean it up and sell it again or keep on wearing it! You don't have to actually TRASH it. Does it mean you're narcissistic? No. I am not a huge fan of being the center of attention but this is something I would like to do.
Basically, all I'm trying to say is be careful with your generalizations. I do appreciate your frustration with the ridiculous amounts of waste surrounding weddings though. I'm in the same boat.

pasadena said...

I think the TTD is a symbolic gesture, an adieu to the dress, which was so important for us. My dress wasn't so expensive, but I can't use it in my normal life, and I don't like the idea to sell it or simply suffocate it in plastic and throw it in a closet. I don't think I'm a narcissist or a spendthrift for that! I simply believe in the symbolic gesture, that's all...

...and sorry for my English!!!!

Brittany said...

Oh Sara, I love you!! You just say it like it is, and (lucky for me) I always agree with you!!

This is ridiculous to me as well. I think re-selling or passing it down to a family member would be fine with me. OR GOD FORBID- DONATING IT!!

All of my girlfriends are so depressed that they spent so much on a dress that they are having tri-yearly "wedding dress wearing parties"


Mrs. Andi said...

I have a local photographer friend who does great work & took pictures of us a while ago. She has a set-up for trash the dress, mostly at the beach. Some of her pictures are so beautiful & it's such a unique way to view a bride & her dress or the couple together.
Granted, I wouldn't want to drop that much money & then roll around in the dress, but some people get them from thrift shops or on a really good sale. I could also see doing it in a dress like yours that can be easily cleaned.

Becca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Becca said...

I think TTD says highlights the profoundly wasteful mindset in our current consumerist society. H&M, Forever 21, David's Bridal - all produced cheaply overseas by underpaid labor, and all dispensable by the end of the season. I can't imagine our mothers or grandmothers trashing a wedding dress - or even a cheap white dress from the store for a single photo session. Clothes and housewares and general items were purchased with the intent to be used - not disposed of. TDD is a thoroughly modern and ugly phenomenon.

I also can't image the need for THREE wedding photo sessions - engagement, wedding and TTD. It does speak to a narcissism and the "my perfect princess day/week/two years of planning" mentality.

I respect the artistic result and images than can result, but stunning photo shoots are art. And last time I checked, weddings were supposedly about the marriage of two people and their communities, not art. They should focus on the emotional, and not on the purely artistic aesthetic. Or is a wedding just an excuse for multiple occasions to dress up, show off your recently starved-down body, and memorialize the excess on film? Blerg.

Thanks Sara. I apparently needed a forum to vent.

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more with this--not only is it disgustingly wasteful, but all TTD wedding shots I have seen simply further the already-sexist feminine (and heterosexist) construct weddings depend on in the first place. I cannot begin to fathom how anyone can justify these photo sessions. It reminded me of when I first found out about these things last year on Pandagon: http://pandagon.blogsome.com/2007/06/30/wedding-dress-trashing/
I think they're awful.

Anonymous said...

I too can't understand the idea of trashing a dress. I highly recommend donating! This is what I am going to do. Several organizations accept dresses to resell them to raise money for charity such as Brides Against Breast Cancer or The Bridal Garden.

Allure Event Consulting said...

I actually bought my dress thinking that I would reuse it again. It is a two-piece dress and I always thought that the top portion can be paired with a white A-line skirt for anniversarys, special occasions, etc.

Hadeel said...

Usually, I really like this blog. I really do. It has some great money saving ideas. But recently, all of the posts come off as judgmental and holier-than-thou.

You seriously come off as pretentious when you lump everyone into a category like this. Sure, centerpieces don't make a wedding, but it doesn't make someone self-centered for having them. Same with a TTD session. Had you done your research, you'd know that a dress can be cleaned pretty easily and donated. Why not get more mileage out of a dress by having a fun photoshoot.

Seriously, just because someone did something different that how you did it doesn't make them any less worth of a happy marriage, which is what I'm getting from your post. It's like, every post has an air of "Oh, I didn't do this, so I'm a better person and everyone who does this is a selfish asshole."

Get off the high horse.

Anonymous said...

I think the TTD concept is rather stupid myself. Then again I think spending thousands of dollars on a dress that actually looks like everyone elses dress but in your mind is your princess dress that you will wear once is stupid too - BUT each to their own but don't expect us to all endorse it.

You go Sara.

Event Girl said...

amen sister! I will never, ever understand why you would want to trash your dress. Doesn't it seem disrespectful in a way?
But then, I also don't understand why you would spend $4k on a dress either. My god - think of all you could do with that dough :)
So happy to see there's a place to air my feelings!
My head is held high.

Anonymous said...

this girl asia--

there are some things that deserve judging, and wasteful activities, particularly TTD photoshoots--are one. particularly in a country, to say nothing of an economy, that is so unbalanced, where far too many citizens struggle monetarily to feed themselves and fund proper shelter and have health insurance and so much more. so if you feel like you're being judged and it makes you uncomfortable, why not examine it more thoroughly. it's not about having a better wedding, it's about being a better person and making the world better for your presence in it. spending your money on unnecessary things--which actually includes most aspects of a wedding (hence the title of this very blog and its purpose!)--is greedy, selfish, and self-centered. i probably don't speak for sara nor claim to, so don't put my words in her mouth, but i do think that her post is not judgmental enough to be honest.

Cate Subrosa said...

I'm so glad to see you got such a great response to this post. I'm absolutely with you.

The quote from the Trash The Dress website was ridiculous. Show your husband how committed you are by trashing the dress? WTF?! So if you don't trash it, he's going to be worried you're going to wear it to another wedding to someone else?!

I'll be selling my dress, like eveything else we don't need after the wedding. I don't trash anything else I no longer want, so why should this be any different. "Because it's a wedding" is not a reason for anything.

K_Streams_Her_C said...

My once-worn dress was $300 and came from a consignment shop and our photographer offered to do the TTD photos gratis since she's never done them before. I am ecstatic (and I don't feel guilty).

Anonymous said...

I just have to say that you really don't have to be so frigging rude. The trash the dress idea is sometimes taken to over extremes and is a sad thing to do to a beautiful dress. But I purposefully found my dream dress for cheaper just so I could afford to have a trash the dress shoot. And why the hell would I buy a dress that I can re-wear? I have waited my whole life to get married, and saved myself (kissing and all) for this day to be joined to one man. So hell ya I am gonna spend some extra money (my dress was only $197) on something that makes me feel extra beautiful. Don't put yourself in someone else's shoe before you truly understand them. Besides, I didn't get any gorgeous posed pics at my wedding, so I want some to have and hand down to generations. Besides, once my shoot is done, I am going to get it cleaned and donate it or save it for my daughter. You should really find out more before you judge others.

Me said...

I, too, bought a two-piece dress and intend to wear the top again. I spent quite a bit (around $600 after taxes), but I plan on wearing it as part of my Honeymoon Outfit, and again on my anniversary, maybe even with a miniature version of my bouquet. The only problem is matching my definitely non-white shade! I haven't decided quite what to do with my skirt yet, but it will probably end up transformed. For instance, we're taking my mother's dress and making it into handkerchiefs for my sister's wedding and mine (both next year).

Anonymous said...

All of this non-sense is absolutely ridiculous actually! There's such a lack of knowledge and a ton of regret from what I've read. First of all, TTD DOES NOT actually trash the dress!! Do your homework people! It is cleaned and restored back to its original condition (unless as someone else said, you start it on fire)
Having a TTD session is not UGLY at all, when done right they are very stunning actually. Its a pity you obviously didn't do things the way you want and have a lot of regrets Rebecca! I couldn't believe reading the things you said, right down to starved body?? C'mon are you for real? You have issues...sick!
We are getting married in the Mayan Riviera in 3 months, yes doing TTD to my $1500 (which I will have cleaned!!) to wear to our reception back home a months later! Oh and YES Rebecca!! I am working out at the gym and my goal is to look like I starved myself for 6 months!
A wedding is about the union and commitment of 2 people. The art is the happiness caputured by the photographer. I can understand how an ugly person wouldn't want a lot of photos taken of themselves. Pictures are forever, the only thing you have after the wedding day. The more you have, the better. That's just my opinion! A simple photoshoot in beautiful ocean water doesn't make anyone self-centred! Get a grip!

CHEERS!! This Girl Asia!

rachel box said...

you know... you dont actually have to literally TRASH the dress in a trash the dress session.

i for one love the idea would love to take pics in dirty alley ways in the city or riding public transportation (heh). it gives brides the opportunity to take funky and unconventional pictures (since you already took the stuffy timeless pics on your wedding day). maybe you should look up more trash the dress pictures.

some brides literally roll around in dirt and in the water (i would never)...

but some take pictures in dirty alley ways, playing near traffic and in the street, at a baseball game eating a messy hotdog and drinking beer, playing by the train tracks... places where you wouldnt find a bride everyday.

it really has nothing to do with people just throwing money away.... but more with brides throwing away being a poised lady in their wedding dress...

and so what if it costs money to clean the dress... who cares... what you decide to do with your dress is really none of my business...

Anonymous said...

those who think no one should "trash their dress" are missing the point. women are not trashing their dress because it means nothing to them. The option of donating or selling their dress is besides the point. chances are yes, you will never wear your dress again. I know in my case, I will consider trashing my dress, but I would never consider selling it. Trashing it would be a sacrifice I made to preserve my dress in a different way. No one is trashing their dress because they don't want it. They are just willing to trash it to get those amazing, beautiful pictures instead. so giving the dress away or selling it defeats the purpose. It is just another way to keep your dress. think outside of the box sometimes people. And really, if you don't like it, then don't do it.. it's as simple as that. but there is no need to bash people who feel that trashing their dress is a more favorable option, and I know it's your opinion, but people come on here looking for supportive advice,tips and unique ideas; not your knee jerk reactions.

Kb_Mal said...

Well said! I ended up trashing my dress after all (soooo wonderful and I love the photos).

Believe it or not, my dress was fine afterwards and I gave it away.




Anonymous said...

I'd like to know why it's always WOMEN, participating in stupid WASTEFUL things. You will never see a "trash the TuX" fad. Why? Because it's WASTEFUL, and guys are smarter than that. Also, are the photographers pushing this trend? If so, two words, MORE MONEY! They did your wedding photo, now you get a TTD "session"? As a male, i read this, LMAO!!!

proudbirde26 said...

I absouletly love the idea of trash the dress!! I love my dress and wouldn't sell cause that means someone else would be wearing it! As far as the photographers pushing this idea, my brother took my pics for free and I asked him to take my trash the dress pictures. And the reason why men would never have a "trash the tux fad is because they already do that on the wedding day!! LOL

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