That’s no way to treat designer couture!

Meagan Dill

Picture your dream wedding dress. Now imagine destroying it – despite having likely spent a small fortune on it, and even more likely feeling some sentimental attachment to the dress. Would you have the heart? How about if the result was the most amazing pictures of you ever taken?

You might think this is a little extreme – after all, what did that poor dress do to deserve such abuse? And wouldn’t there be photos aplenty from the wedding itself anyway? But this phenomenon is actually a fairly widespread practice known as “trashing the dress”, most often as part of destination weddings thanks to their typically exotic settings.

This isn’t totally as crazy as it might first sound, though. It’s actually really quite practical – most of the time the only real alternative is leaving the dress to sit in a plastic bag for the rest of, well, forever, or selling the dress. But what if you don’t want a stranger wearing your dress, or you think it deserves a more spectacular send-off than lifelong storage?

The most popular place to bid adieu to a wedding dress is the beach, with photoshoots featuring brides in various states of soddenness – anything from frolicking with the waves just at their ankles, to being fully submerged for underwater pictures. Some brides who stop at this point are lucky enough to pull off unruining their only mildly destroyed dresses by dry cleaning them. However, other settings like waterfalls, rivers, swamps and derelict city scenes are far less forgiving and just about guarantee that the dress will never be the same again – which I suppose is sort of the point of this whole thing, anyway.

Yet more extreme brides ensure that the dress has absolutely no chance of escaping with its life by dumping buckets of paint – or in one case, nacho cheese sauce – onto the dress. Or even setting it on fire. While I can totally understand wanting to emulate Katniss Everdeen by literally becoming “the girl on fire”, third degree burns are no fun and a trip to the emergency room is nobody’s idea of a good honeymoon. Just a thought.

Jokes aside, trash the dress photoshoots can too easily end up posing serious risks to those involved. In 2012, a Canadian woman was overtaken by disaster during her shoot. Swimming in a river, her dress quickly became extremely heavy. Before she could react, the weight of the waterlogged dress pulled her down into the rapids of the river. A few hours later her motionless body was pulled from the river by a search party.

Look, I love a pretty picture of myself just as much as the next girl. Who doesn’t want a new Facebook profile picture that is sure to garner triple-digit likes? Putting something beautiful and extravagant up against a gritty background is always a crowd pleaser, and having my own personal photoshoot to rival the ones I drool over in Vogue would be amazing beyond words… But not quite amazing enough to risk sacrificing my life – or even my dream dress.