After months of planning leading up to one beautiful day, the wedding is over and your life as husband and wife has begun. You already put your gifts away, sent thank you notes, and ate the rest of the cake. Now what are you going to do with that dress?

You could hang it up in the closet, where it will take up space for the next fifty years or so, but more and more brides are opting for a trash the dress photo shoot. It’s exactly what it sounds like: you get to have fun with activities that could (or do) destroy the gown, and I’m there to capture every moment of it with the camera.

Trash the dress shoots invite your personality to shine. There are no rules: we can do any activity you enjoy and trash your dress to any extent. You can be in the photos alone, or ask your husband or members of the wedding party to participate. These photos can be funny or serious, goofy or high-fashion.

Trash-the-dress-photo

Now, if you wore your mother’s wedding dress, or if you’re hoping your daughter will one day wear yours, then trashing the dress is not a good option. But if you’re not really sure what you’re going to do with it, let’s have some fun.

Water, Water Everywhere

Many couples choose underwater settings to trash the dress, and no wonder: with all that fabric floating up around you, underwater photos are incredibly beautiful. But there’s no need to dunk your head if you don’t want to. You could run down the beach, wade into the lake or the ocean up to your waist, or have a water balloon fight with your groom.

Down and Dirty

You know you want to play in the mud, and here’s your chance! Stomp and kick, sit and splash, make mud pies, or throw handfuls of dirt in the air and let it rain down on you. The contrast of the dark mud against a white dress is striking in both color and black-and-white photos, and the child-like joy you get from playing like this will light up your face in every shot.

Nature Lover

Climb trees, play with farm animals (maybe some horseback riding?), or roll down a hill. The more grass stains, the better! If you love to garden, this is a nice opportunity to multitask and get some flowers or vegetables planted.

bride-on-horse

Food Fight

This is a great way to get your husband involved, and it could provide an alternative use for that leftover cake if you’ve had all you can eat for a while! But think beyond the frosting: chicken wings, chocolate syrup, shaken cans of soda (or bottles of champagne), or some good ol’ fashioned spaghetti are all deliciously messy.

Handywoman

Get under the hood of a classic car and up to your elbows in grease. Change a tire or wash the car by hand.

Sports Fan

Wear your dress as you slide into home base, race your husband through a field, or score a winning touchdown (Bride and Bridesmaids, 6; Groom and Groomsmen, 0). If you’d rather watch than play, paint your face in your team’s colors and cheer from the sidelines, complete with some spilled nacho cheese down the front of your dress. (It’s not a game until someone spills the nachos.)

Paint Party

Invite your bridesmaids to participate in this colorful and creative event. You can choose paint in your wedding colors, your favorite colors, or every color in the rainbow. Hand out some brushes and get to work on your trashed dress masterpiece.

Keep in mind that in some cases, a wedding gown can recover from a trash the dress photo shoot with a good professional cleaning, so if you choose the right trashing materials you can get the best of both worlds: a beautiful set of creative photographs and a clean dress to donate or keep for a while.

Comment below and tell me if I left any good ideas out!