One Dress, One Man: Why I ‘Trashed’ My Wedding Gown

“Ummmmm, Patty. What are you doing jumping in the water…in your wedding dress?!!!”

That’s a response I’ve grown quite accustomed to when people see this photo hanging in our home for the first time.


Having a ‘Trash the Dress’ session was something that never occurred to me. However, once the idea was presented I knew I had to go for it.

John Michael Cooper is credited for the emergence of the TTD trend as a way to break free from the traditional wedding photography.

Over the last decade or so, photos of brides wearing their elegant gowns in a contrasting environment have definitely been making a splash. See what I did there. 😉 With everything from high fashion and elaborate shoots, to some dangerous photo-ops involving fire (eek!), the creativity is boundless.


But why do it?

Why potentially ruin this dress that cost xxxx amount of dollars, was fitted to perfection, photographed to a tee and holds so many memories? What about preserving the gown that’s the centerpiece of your very special and no doubt highly anticipated day? What about passing it down to your daughter? All valid arguments, but none that swayed me personally.

I thought it would be a fun, once in a lifetime opportunity. Besides, who ever gets to wear their dress twice?! But far beyond the fun of it there was a deeper, much more compelling reason prompting me to do this. You see, I heard one interpretation of the “why?” behind this type of photo shoot and for me that superseded the rest.

Photo Courtesy of: Squint Foto

One dress, one man.

I don’t remember who said it and frankly it doesn’t matter. All I know is that this thought resonated deep within me.

As much as we try to go into marriage with our eyes wide open, what do we really know?

What did I really know?

I didn’t know what a terrible wife I could be. How much I’d have to die to self when living with someone so vastly different from me in many ways. I didn’t know how hard I’d have to fight to remain secure in the face of disparaging opinions because our relationship didn’t operate the way some thought it should. I didn’t know how ridiculous I was with so many of my expectations. I couldn’t comprehend how much children would change things. I had no point of reference for the amount of  stress and strain that would go hand-in-hand with moving, joblessness, loss and grief. I had no idea that I knew so little, and just 6 years in, there’s still so much that I simply don’t know.

In spite of the uncertainties and the circumstances that we never saw coming, I knew I loved this man. I also knew that we both loved God more than we loved each other, and that our marriage would be built on the firm foundation of His Holy Word. I knew that marriage was a covenant, more than a mere commitment. I knew that even when I wanted to retreat, the Lord would give me the strength to continue to press in. 

I knew if he asked me again I would absolutely say yes, and that dress I wore was for our love, our marriage, our vows. It was for him.


We decided to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary with this photo shoot. I had a replica of my bouquet made and my honey rented out the same tux he had worn the year before. I wasn’t thinking about the potential damage that would come to the dress, rather, the memories and sentiment behind that day. I was also thinking about how hot it was and how dehydrated I felt, because I was 5 weeks pregnant with our oldest! These shots of us in the water were the grande finale, and perhaps one day I’ll share the rest. image


All Photos Courtesy of Squint Foto

These pictures bring me joy, not regret when I see them. I see one dress for this one man, that I pray God will graciously allow to forever hold my heart.









27 thoughts on “One Dress, One Man: Why I ‘Trashed’ My Wedding Gown

  1. I love this idea! And yes to One Dress One Man- I always thought what was the point of keeping the dress once you’re done because you’re married for life! <3

  2. I’ve seen trash the dress photo shoots and think they are the coolest idea, but those were with paint. I love the water so much better! Those images are amazing!!

    1. Thank you!!! We also took some with a hay stack, in front of a graffiti wall and near a railroad track! But these were my favorites as well!

  3. I think I want to do this for my 10 year anniversary or something. I just think it looks so fun! I am pretty sentimental, and I just need to get over that little mental wall before I could fully commit. But, honestly…my wedding dress is just hanging in the closet, so it’s not like I have it preserved or anything. I think the ONLY thing holding me back is what if my daughter wants it at a later date? I don’t know…!
    I love this photos, though, and I think it’s SO FUN that you did this! Was your dress ruined after all, or did you still keep it?

    1. The funny thing is that I’m extremely sentimental too, but for me this was just so different. I’m sure you’ll have a blast if you do decide to do it! The dress wasn’t completely ruined, but I didn’t really go through hoops to clean it after the fact.

  4. This is such a fun and beautiful idea! You look gorgeous in these photos and I love how much fun you both are having. I just want to jump in that pool!

    1. Thanks Chanel. ❤️ And this pool was AMAZING!! It was actually in the backyard of one our photographers former clients!

  5. I love this concept! I was wondering why you guys were jumping into a pool with your wedding attire on when I saw it on Instagram. LOL! This is a beautiful post, Patricia! The pictures are beautiful, too!

  6. This is such a unique idea and I love the reason behind it. When I got married (I was too young and didn’t really know him or me), my sister loved my dress. So 6 months later she wore it. Then a year later my sister-in-law wore my dress, when at the last minute, she and my brother-in-law decided to share the wedding day with his sister. Unusual, I know. I just celebrated my 24th anniversary with my second husband. I would marry him again in the same street dress and backyard, with a thrown together, last minute wedding on the 4th of July!

  7. I love this it gave me chills Patricia and what a fun thing to do! You are a beautiful women my friend. I too pray often that God will grant me and my Kevin many years as well. Thank you for sharing this special memory. May God always bless your marriage.
    xo, Nicole

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