It’s the wedding craze that’s sweeping America, and now more and more brides on this side of the Atlantic are trying out the ‘trash the dress’ ethos.
It’s all about breaking the rules, and turning their wedding dreams into outrageous artwork by wearing their outfit in the great outdoors or ruining it in an imaginitive way. Now the idea is attracting some women in our region, according to one wedding photographer. Laura Jones speaks to him to find out exactly why brides are so keen to ‘trash’ their dress.
WHEN the big day finally ends, most brides usually hang up their dress and settle into life as a new wife.
After experiencing a raft of emotions and stresses on their wedding day, a chance to relive the experience all over again in their wedding gown, minus the stress, is a dream come true for most brides.
Increasingly, the modern woman takes years to plan her wedding day down to the finest detail, with one eye on the photographs which record the happy day for posterity.
Details like picking a ‘statement’ cake, the colour for her bridesmaids’ dresses, and the size and style of the bouquet, are among the considerations faced by any bride-to-be.
But increasingly brides are on the lookout for something different to add to the album.
Photographers across the USA have been offering the chance to set up photoshoots where women wear their treasured dresses in weird and wonderful locations, to create images to remember.
And with the craze coming to our shores, we spoke to a woman who decided to take the plunge and ‘trash’ her dress, and a photographer who’s been making the vision a reality for brides across the region.
‘Express the Dress’ is part of Buckley based photography company Digital Dreams, founded by photographer Steve Grindley in 2006.
Through its services ‘Trash dat Dress’ and ‘Express the Dress’, Steve offers the bride a chance to relive her happy day, post-honeymoon, in her own special way.
All it takes is one blushing bride, a wedding gown, a totally personal and unusual location and a good imagination.
“This really is the latest craze in wedding photography and we have
jobs booked up to 2010,” says Steve, 38.
“Although it began in America, we are one of the only companies in the country that I know of, offering the service in UK and in Flintshire.
“It takes the bride to her wildest location, wearing her wedding dress, for a chance to capture her in various locations and situations.”
Locations for the ‘Express the Dress’ shoots have varied from more traditional spots, such as Whittington Castle and Wepre Park, to the more dramatic likes of the mountains of Snowdonia to isolated rapeseed fields.
‘Trash dat dress’ has taken daring brides wading through water, as well as devilish divorcees getting covered in grease in scrapyards, splattered at paint ball centres and even swinging from ropes and dropping into muddy streams.
“We have had a really positive response from people who are interested in the ‘trash the dress’ idea and people tend to be excited about it,”
“Brides often feel that their wedding day ran away with them, and this is a chance to take some time and really enjoy the dress they worked so hard for.”
One Buckley bride decided to use the trash the dress service to put her expensive bridal gown to good use.
Tracey Walker-Whitley, who married husband Kevin Whitley in September 2007, headed off with Kevin and Steve to Llanbedrog, near Abersoch, to relive her happy day two months after she got wed.
“We wanted to get married on this little bay so I told Steve I would love to go to the beach with my dress,” said Tracey, 36.
“I had such a wonderful day reliving memories and being the centre of attention again.
“I saw my dress in all its glory – well, I did before I walked into the sea with it!
“I just let my imagination run away with me. I was sitting on rocks, walking in the sand and splashing in the water.
“Although my dress weighed a ton with all the sand at the end of the day, I stuck it in the wash and it came out fine, so technically, I didn’t trash my dress!
“The photographs turned out to be amazing, they were so natural.
“My husband wants to blow one of the pictures up for our first anniversary, and I just thought ‘trash the dress’ is something a bit different to remember one of the most special days of your life,” said Tracey.
Digital Dreams, and its sister companies, marked a complete change in lifestyle and direction for Steve after he and his wife Siobahn were involved in a life-changing accident three years ago.
They were driving back from the airport after their honeymoon in Jamaica when the accident happened.
Steve says the accident, which involved a lorry jack-knifing and crushing the couple’s car, is the significant moment that changed his perspective on life and the work ethic.
Steve said: “I managed to escape with back and neck injuries but my wife’s foot went through the windscreen and her foot was badly crushed.
“After the accident I realised that being with my family was more important than working the silly long hours I was doing being a computer engineer.”
In 2006 Steve turned his life around and started Digital Dreams (www.digitaldreamsuk.com), a Buckley based photography company, which offers website design and is also registered with the League of Professional Image Makers.
“I started expressthedress.co.uk and trashdatdress.co.uk alongside Digital Dreams and we have just gone from strength to strength.
“I now work in a job I love and work from home.
“For the amount of time we have been running we have come a long way quickly. I couldn’t be happier.”
The company has also taken Steve to a charity project in Gambia, which saw him donate some of his photographs and a website to
www.gambiareality.com, a charity which supports Gambian children and has provedto be a phenomenal success.
Steve says he has enjoyed three years as a photographer, and is hoping to help many more brides ‘trash’ their dresses in the years to come.