Trash that expensive dress

Once the wedding day has been and gone, what’s next?

Many couples spend weeks, even months preparing for the big day. A thousand tiny details from invitations to caterers, flower arrangements and seating plans have to be taken care of. And of course there is the bride and groom themselves, who want to look absolutely perfect in beautiful outfits they will wear on that day only.

But once the ceremony and reception is over and the happy couple ha

s changed back into their regular clothing, what happens? The wedding dress will most likely be zipped up into its protective bag and hung in the darkest recesses of the wardrobe, never to see the light of day again. A wedding dress is an expensive garment and its sentimental value is priceless, so a new bride is hardly likely to simply give it away or sell it on ebay. And it’s not exactly appropriate attire for any occasion other than getting married, so the chances of wearing it again are nil.

Unless, that is you choose to Trash the Dress.

It’s something more and more couples are choosing to do, once the wedding formalities are over. If you’re not going to wear it again, why not have some fun in it, and get some exceptional photos at the same time?

Jean Nguyen, 30, and Anthony Turner, 38, flew to Cayman to tie the knot in a beautiful setting. “I wanted crystal blue and beautiful water and sky. Sure enough, Cayman gave it to me,” says Jean. “I live in Los Angeles and our water is murky and our sky is full of smog.”

A couple of days after an idyllic beach ceremony, they booked another photo shoot, this time to trash the dress. “We thought it would be a lot of fun and good to get a different type of picture. We are the type of people who strive for the unique. Although our Trash the Dress wasn’t the first, it’s not as common,” Jean said of their motivations for doing this.

Although people are increasingly choosing to Trash the Dress’ all over the world, it’s not always quite as picturesque as a Cayman trashing. Depending on where you live, Trashing the Dress can make for some striking photographs, due to the unlikely backdrops and locations used for the shoots (junk yards, muddy fields, derelict buildings, for example) and can involve a good deal of mud, grime or worse. Trashing the dress in Cayman, however, is a much cleaner, prettier affair: Couples dress up in full wedding attire and then jump off a dock or walk right into the sea, fully clothed. It’s a fun, lighthearted way to bring the wedding celebrations to a close.

Stephen and Tyra Smith, from Frederick, Maryland, also trashed the dress in Cayman recently. “I’ve seen countless stiff, boring wedding photos,” said Tyra. “We wanted to look back on our wedding photos and just remember having fun and being adventurous.”

Not everyone was as keen on the idea, however. “My girlfriends thought I was insane for wanting to jump into the ocean wearing a Vera Wang gown. They assumed most people covet a Vera Wang gown so much they would never take a chance on ruining it.”

As it turns out, she says, the dress got a little tattered at the edges, but is not ruined at all. Stephen’s suit came through the trashing just fine although, that is not the point, says Tyra. “No one is ever going to wear my dress anyway and it didn’t matter to us if it got ruined.”

Jean and Anthony said nobody raised an eyebrow when they chose to trash the dress – even the bride’s sister who had spent hours making the dress for her. “I thought she wouldn’t have wanted me to ruin the dress that she put all her hard work into. Surprisingly, she thought it was a great idea!”

Although the couple took a leap off a dock fully clothed, Jean says her dress barely suffered. “We just had to shake off the sand and let it dry. It doesn’t have any stains or discolouration. We, for sure, thought it would smell like fish, but it is as if we never jumped in the water. I guess that just goes to show how pristine and clean Cayman waters are.”