Should brides "trash the dress"?
- “Trash the dress” is a trend brides did for dramatic photo shoots to quite literally trash their wedding dress.
- John Michael Cooper, Las Vegas wedding photographer, is alleged to have started the 'trash the dress' trend around 2001. Cooper is believed to have been inspired by an episode of Sunset Beach, where character Meg Cummings threw a tantrum that landed her, in full bridal wardrobe, into the ocean after her wedding was interrupted.
- The national average cost of wedding dresses are $1,631. Dress prices are determined from a variety of factors, but generally range between $500-4,000.
- US wedding photographer prices can cost between $1,150-3,000, with the average wedding photographer costing ~$2,000. Wedding photographers can soak up 12% of the big day's budget.
- Many people criticize the trend of trashing the dress due to the danger, waste, and loss of sentiment. In one tragic 2012 case, Canadian bride, Maria Pantazopoulos, drowned in a river during her photo shoot. Her wedding dress, heavily soaked with water, dragged her under.
Social media challenges and trends are a great way to stay entertained. With new challenges gaining traction every day, life on the internet never seems to get boring. But one must realize that not everything on social media is a trend to be followed. Some of these challenges can prove to be seriously harmful in many ways.
A recent example of such a trend is 'trashing the dress' where brides destroy their wedding dresses for a unique bridal photoshoot. Trashing an expensive wedding dress that you spent days trying to find is not only extremely disrespectful, but it's also wasteful. In a world where so many are struggling financially, destroying dresses worth thousands of dollars just for pictures is insensitive. These dresses can easily be re-sold or passed on to someone else to promote sustainable fashion, but instead are rendered useless.
Other than that, these brides put themselves in hazardous situations to get the perfect shot. A bride in New Jersey almost drowned during the process and had to be rescued by several people. These photoshoots are often unprofessional and can be dangerous. While some trends are harmless and fun, others aren't, and trashing wedding dresses is an evident example. A wedding dress has not only symbolic value but also a heavy financial one. Following a trend just because it's popular on social media isn't worth putting your own life in danger while also ignoring everything a wedding dress costs and represents.
Coining the trend 'trash the dress' may not have gained as much criticism had it been called 'embrace a bride's choice.' Any trend's enemy is popularity because with popularity comes criticism. The loudest voice assessing the act is simply proclaiming that it's 'socially irresponsible.' The average cost of a wedding gown is $1,600. The average cost of a wedding (excluding the honeymoon) is $34,000; these costs are 'socially irresponsible.' Focusing criticism on women, who are already a consistent target of endless societal critique and judgment, is shameful—but getting a little creative with the wedding album? That's going too far? Let's be clear: if grooms were trashing their garments, the public would be silent. What's the real issue here? That women are doing what they want? Or that dresses are expensive and symbols of antiquated notions?
'It's your dress!' exclaimed Gina Young, 35, an avid wake surfer on the lakes of Minnesota. 'Some people leave it in the closet; I took mine surfing.' And why not? If Queen Victoria, the mother of the classic white gown, didn't allow herself to be governed by the patriarchal ethos of the 1800s, why should anyone be doing so in 2020? A trendsetter herself, her gown was white rather than the bright colors that were en vogue at the time.
The issue with trends is that they are taken too seriously; marriage itself is an institution that's in decline. Personal expression through clothing has long been at the forefront of representing how one wants to be perceived by the world. Let's leave pristine in the closet and instead ride a wave.