How to Plan Your “Trash the Dress” Session in Hawaii

How to Plan Your “Trash the Dress” Session in Hawaii

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What Is a “Trash the Dress” Session?

Ok, so you’ve heard of trashing the dress, but I bet you’re also wondering what this type of shoot would look like and if it’s something you’re even interested in. Ok, I hear you! This type of session is definitely non-traditional and isn’t for every bride, so I won’t force you to do it! 🙂 BUTTTTTT, if you’re down for exploring, you’re not afraid to get some dirt on your dress, and you’re up for a super fun photoshoot with your partner, this is FOR SURE for you! If that sounds like something you’re up for, keep reading, friend! It gets better! I can tell you — from personal experience!

The idea of trashing the dress originated from the photographer, John Michael Cooper back in 2001 when he turned his idea — placing brides in unconventional wedding settings — into a trend. The term, “trashing the dress” has definitely evolved since then. How Ryan and I like to think of a “trash the dress” session is a little different than you may be envisioning! Don’t worry! We’re not going to set your dress on fire or anything! I promise! We do, however, love the idea for a “trashing the dress” session to be more of a fun experience for couples to have after their wedding day in an epic location! It’s a time for you to really let loose, explore the stunning nature surrounding you, and have a blast adventuring while not having to worry if your wedding attire gets a bit muddy or wet in the process.

To Wear Your Actual Wedding Dress or Not?

This is totally up to you! I wore my dress on my “trash the dress” session and absolutely loved my entire experience! For my bridal adventure session, Ryan and I went adventuring into the valleys on the Big Island two days after our wedding after it had rained (A. LOT).  At first, I was definitely nervous about my dress being ruined and getting mud caked on the bottom of the beautiful lace. After talking to Ryan about it and thinking about the memories we would have captured from this special time in our marriage, I was ready for our session! Also, once I found out I could easily dry clean my dress for less than $100, I was totally on board for that whole #dirtybootsmessyhair vibe!

At the end of the day, our adventure bridal session was TOTALLY worth it, whether the mud came out of my dress or not. And you want to know why? Because the day was exactly how I envisioned and so much more than I could have ever expected! I couldn’t think of anything more “us” truthfully — running around together in nature, being surrounded by the vast valleys of the island we call home, and soaking up those first days of marriage in an intimate setting, while having it all captured so I can look back on that moment in time forever. It felt like an actual dream. There was definitely a thick layer of mud on the bottom of my dress at the end of our session, but I was so proud of myself for letting go, having a total blast, and not worrying AT ALL about how muddy I got during our session. FYI: The dress looked as good as new after getting it cleaned. 😉

Find an Inexpensive Wedding Dress Instead

For those who don’t want to take the risk of wearing your actual expensive wedding dress on a “trash the dress” session, fear not! I totally get you, girl! We have had couples who have opted out a more adventurous session because they were worried about ruining their actual dress. They were either going to wear it again when they celebrated with family and friends or they wanted to create something unique for their children someday with the material of the dress. We understand this completely, but we still want our couples to experience this type of session if they’re up for it! So, we’ve done some research on our part! I found some beautiful wedding dresses for less than $200 that you can wear on your “trash the dress” session! Most of them are less than $100! WHAT?!

Top Inexpensive Wedding Dresses to Trash

Here are some of our favorite inexpensive wedding dresses that would be perfect for a “trash the dress” session in Hawaii!

Natural Beauty White Lace Long Sleeve Maxi Dress ($114)

Flynn White Lace Maxi Dress ($94)

Carolyne White Embroidered Maxi Dress ($98)

Awaken My Love White Long Sleeve Lace Maxi Dress ($86)

A-Line/Princess Lace – Magnificent Wedding Dresses ($170)

ASOS EDITION embroidered bodice maxi wedding dress ($151)

Why Do a “Trash the Dress” Session in Hawaii?

What’s super unique and awesome about Hawaii is that you can literally have a “trash the dress” session anywhere — whether that’s the beach, mountains, on the ridges of the valleys, or even at a waterfall! If you’re still like, “WOW! That sounds awesome, but I want to see some pictures. Is it actually as fun as you’re making it out to be?!”, I’d love to show you some of the super fun “trash the dress” sessions we’ve done in Hawaii!

Jump in the Ocean with Your Wedding Dress

Alina and George got married on a beautiful private property in Hawaii. They had a small, intimate wedding with forty of their closest family and friends there to celebrate with them. After we had captured most of the “big moments” of their wedding, it was time for their sunset portrait photos on the beach. We took Alina and George to an isolated part of the beach and started capturing some sweet sunset photos. Once the session was almost done, Alina mentioned she wanted to “trash the dress” and jump in the water with George. Without much hesitation, Ryan and I jumped in the water with them to capture the end of their sunset bridal session in the ocean. It was absolutely perfect and such a fun way to end our bridal session. After we finished capturing sunset photos, Alina and George both went to change into separate outfits and continued to dance the night away with their guests. I loved how much fun Alina and George had with their session — and how spontaneous it was for all of us!









Explore with Mountain Views as Your Backdrop

Leslie and Jay’s “trash the dress” session is definitely one that Ryan and I will never forget! It was one of our first times taking a couple to this exact spot, and Leslie and Jay were absolute champs about this entire hike. We captured their ceremony the day before, but we waited until the following morning to capture this adventurous “trash the dress” session. Leslie and Jay started in their hiking clothes on the way down to our location and then changed into their wedding attire once we got to a safe place for them to slip into their easy-to-carry wedding attire.

It had definitely rained the night before on this trail because the ground was wet and muddy. Leslie didn’t seem to mind as she hiked the rest of the trail in her sneakers. Leslie and Jay were totally blown away by the views and were totally captivated by their surroundings to notice much about the dirt gathering on the bottom of her dress or on Jay’s pants. These two had such a rad time and I still can’t quite get over the magic of this day.














Hike Up a Stunning Ridge Trail

If you’re not totally convinced to jump in the ocean with your wedding dress on, what about hiking up a muddy trail to an epic ridge in Hawaii?! But seriously, this adventure session with Lauren and Ryan was an actual dream and probably one of the most intense/muddy “trash the dress” sessions WE’VE. EVER. HAD! Ryan and Lauren got married in Oregon a few months before our session together, but they wanted to plan an elopement styled session when they came to Hawaii for their honeymoon. We discussed several different options for their ideal location, and they landed on this particular trail for their “trash the dress” shoot.

It was gloriously rainy and moody and insanely muddy morning, but Ryan and Lauren were 100% up for it all and totally embraced every moment of their session together.

We met Ryan and Lauren in a random parking lot in the middle of the night before heading to the trailhead. We headed up the trail with only our headlamps leading us. What I loved about hiking in the dark is the fact that Lauren and Ryan were totally surprised by the incredible landscapes once we reached the top. It wasn’t raining at the time that we started, but once we reached the top, it definitely rained off and on during the whole session. Instead of being worried about the rain or the mud, Lauren and Ryan weren’t bothered by it and continued to hike, frolic, dance, and jump into each other’s arms like newlywed lovers. Ryan (not to be confused with Lauren’s Ryan) and I stood back to capture the sweetest moments between the two of them.
























To be honest, no matter where you are in Hawaii, you are going to find beautiful places to capture photos. If you are a little bit more on the adventurous side and don’t mind getting some mud on your wedding attire, “trash the dress” sessions are so much fun! Whether you only want to get your dress a little bit wet or a little bit muddy, if you’re even slightly thinking about, DO IT! I promise you won’t regret once you’ve gone through with it!