31 Trash the Dress Ideas! ( Free Kit)

Trash the Dress DIY Ideas


Despite the name, “Trash the Dress” is really about taking photos in very unusual situations while wearing your wedding dress. Should you choose, some of those ways can be fairly dramatic… and the dress might not make it out alive. But others are not so final in outcome and can even have very personal and lasting meaning.

No matter which route you choose, we’ve got a wonderful unique list of trash the dress ideas below that you can read and download plus a printable planning sheet and the list of ideas to help you decide how you want to handle this special tradition.  Then you can take a peek at our daughter Jennifer’s beautiful Trash the Dress session below.

our trash the dress idea list!

  1. Rollin’ In It Squirt paint onto a large area covered in plastic sheeting and roll in it.
  2. Hit Me With Your Best Shot! Get shot with paint ball guns.
  3. Go Hog Wild! Roll in the mud.
  4. Back to the Future: The bride and groom write messages to their future selves all over the dress in permanent sharpie markers.
  5. Hanging With the Homies Spray paint it with one large piece of graffiti art.
  6. Ease On Down the Road Ride a three wheeler through the dirt or mud.
  7. A Picture Paints a Thousand Words Let little kids surround you and finger paint all over it.
  8. Out On a Limb! Climb a tree.
  9. Here Kitty, Kitty… Let kittens attach themselves to the lower part of the dress.
  10. Piece of Cake! Sit on the ground eating a huge piece of your wedding cake, chocolate is best, with cake and icing smeared all over your face and the dress.
  11. Can I Have Your Autograph? Everyone at the wedding or reception autographs your dress with sharpie markers. You can buy them in various colors too!
  12. Taking Root Compost your dress and plant a tree with it. (Natural fabrics such as wool, cotton, hemp etc.)
  13. Last Kiss Have guests put on red lipstick and cover the dress in kisses.
  14. Security Blanket Have a quilting party and cut it up and make a quilt out of the pieces.
  15. Don’t Burst My Bubble Sit in a bathtub overflowing with bubbles.
  16. New Beginnings Make a christening or blessing gown or suit for a new baby.
  17. For the Birds Sitting on the ground with the dress spread out, cover yourself with bread or birdseed near a pond with tame ducks or near a spot with lots of pigeons.
  18. No Strings Attached Give guests silly string. They squirt the bride with it while photos are taken.
  19. Full of Hot Air Attach helium filled balloons all over and around the dress.
  20. I’m Kinda Buried Right Now Bury the bride in a semi filled shallow hole with the dress sticking out in places.
  21. High Five! Guests dip hands in paint and place handprints all over the brides dress.
  22. You Light Up My Life String twinkle lights all around the bride.
  23. Head Over Heels Bride climbs monkey bars, hangs upside down. (Make sure the bride has underwear on. Ü)
  24. In Your Face Everyone tosses cream filled foil pie plates at the bride.
  25. Over My Dead Body Photograph the bride in a graveyard at night.
  26. Peeping Tom Eye Holes are cut in the dress and the groom gets under it and peers out.
  27. Come Rain Or Shine Photograph the bride in a rainstorm.
  28. Tie the Knot Bride is tied up completely with rope.
  29. A Drop in the Bucket Give guests buckets of water. Take photos at everyone pitches the water onto the bride.
  30. Zombie Apocalypse The bride is made to look like a Zombie with Halloween makeup and the dress is likewise converted to Zombie wear.
  31. Close To My Heart Purchase pendants that allow you to put photos in them. One’s with clear fronts are perfect! Put pieces of our wedding dress into them to keep and/or give to female family members. blank

Download Planning & Idea Kit

 Contains a pdf of all the above ideas plus a sheet to plan your own Trash the Dress.Trash the Dress Planning Kit Thumb


Fairyland Wedding Ideas SQ


Jennifer was married on our property on a secluded hilltop in Hot Springs, Arkansas. She had a beautiful Fairyland Wedding which we wrote about previously.

For her Trash the Dress she choose the nearby Gulpha Gorge which is a stunning area complete with a creek. Her sister Amy did the photography.


The Photographs















Trash the Dress Planning Kit









  1. Stephanie

    It took me a long time to make my wedding gown 17 years ago and I am definitely looking forward to “trashing” my dress. Thanks for the ideas. I want to do a photo shoot of the experience. None of my kids want it because their daddy was cheating ALL ALONG. Pathetic.

  2. Sandra

    How wasteful, I’m all for taking pictures and getting the dress wet/dirty, that can be cleaned, but actually wrecking it? All I can think of are the brides that can’t afford a dress, if you don’t plan to keep it, why not donate to them?

    1. Nancy Author

      That’s certainly a legitimate point. This idea would not be for someone who had to scrimp and save for their dress… or who, like myself, made it from scratch. Generally this idea is done as an art form or an unusual way to to make it a memorable keepsake… such as having people sign it or put hand prints on it. Donating it would also of course be a wonderful option!

  3. Lisa E

    The pictures shown are beautiful and her dress would probably hold up to it, however, the rest of the suggestions? Uh no……wedding dresses are not cheap!

    1. Nancy Author

      This one was pretty cheap… but yeah many have that opinion. Some thing this concept is crazy! I can see the fun of it though I would never have done it with mine! I made it by hand. Ü

    1. Steve Nilsen

      I’ve done a few trash the dress shoots in a few different ways. I had purchased for a small amount (no more than $20) a couple of dresses from a charity thrift store, and used them with models. Another time I photographed a bride who had just gotten divorced. The dress had been very inexpensive for her and she just wanted to see it destroyed like her husband, who had cheated and destroyed the marriage. Both interesting ideas on the concept

    1. Nancy Author

      I found it a bit strange when I first heard of it. Our society does do some odd things. I’m sure there are many just like you who want to keep the dress pristine for posterity! Including me. I handmade mine. Ü

  4. I absolutely love these ideas as a photographer and a bride. One of my photography friends and I plan on doing session the trash/anniversary session next March for my five year wedding anniversary.


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