I have a little saying that I tell all of my brides on their wedding day: “A dirty dress is the sign of a good day!”. Okay, okay, it’s a little corny, but I promise, it’s also so, so true! At their first look, they are typically super cautious, having myself and my second shooter carry their dress across the grass to avoid any marks. And by 10PM? They are running through their exit without a care in the world because they just had the best. day. ever. And I just love that!! At my wedding, we had cupcakes with purple icing. Cupcakes got dropped (why!?) and icing inevitably got all over the floor. I was too busy enjoying the night to even notice the purple staining the bottom of my dress. You know what? It ALL came out! Without even a professional cleaning, I might add – handled by yours truly in the bathroom of her apartment. See, I’m more than just a Washington, DC wedding photographer :)
The reason I didn’t send it off for a professional cleaning is because I knew I was going to put that dress on again! It was too beautiful (and too expensive!) not too — it was a huge purchase and I wanted to enjoy it! We were lucky enough to get selected by Abby (that’s how we first met!) to model for her in our wedding clothes while she practiced the art of film photography in a gorgeous sunrise session. And then we were going to Hawaii that following summer and I wanted to wear it on their beaches and in their ocean as a “trash the dress” session. I think people get scared when they hear “trash” because they automatically assume you’re going to ruin your dress. Which, of course, you can do anything you want during a TTD session from throwing paint to even lighting it on fire! That definitely wasn’t my intention and the ocean did absolutely no damage. We simply had to remove all the sand and then sent it back home.
I knew that my dress had had it’s fun and we decided it was time to get it preserved. I think there is a small part of every woman that hopes she will one day have a daughter who will wear her dress is so way – whether that’s as a veil, shawl, etc – I know I did! We took it to a small professional cleaner who shipped it off to the largest wedding dress preservation center on the East coast. A few days before Thanksgiving, we got a call. There had been an enormous fire and my dress was gone. Along with the leftover cake and rented tuxes, it was another piece of my wedding that was gone; no future daughter would ever be wearing my dress. Of course this isn’t the end of the world, but it’s still sad! Luckily, however, I was able to take solace in the fact that this dress was well loved. It wasn’t just worn once and put away, it got to travel halfway around the world and be worn time after time. So brides — wear that dress! Find a reason and put it back on, you’ll thank me one day!