Why are you afraid of getting your wedding dress dirty? Is it because people will judge you for walking around and enjoying your day? Is it because you spent £2000 on it and want to hang it in your wardrobe getting covered in dust, opening it a crack every now and then to let your new friends who weren’t at the wedding have a peek before closing it again lest the sunlight discolour it? Is it because you’re going to sell it afterwards and give your future daughter nothing to try on when she’s 12 years old?
A dirty wedding dress tells stories. A red wine stain is memories of when your best mate made you laugh so hard you spat it out all over yourself. Mud stains are memories of when you wanted to get some fresh air and wandered through a field at sunset (hey you probably got some kick ass photos of that too). Grass stains are memories of when it all got too much and you just had to have a lie down as the sun started to go down while your mate twanged a guitar. That tear in the hem is a story of when your photographer had an idea about breaking into an abandoned building for cool photos and it caught on the barbed wire. That grease stain is the story of the moment your partner showed up with a brand new BMX as a wedding gift and you just had to ride it. That black grime around the bottom is a memory of when you walked from the town hall to the London pub for your reception and London is gross and dirty and you took some of it home with you.
My most recent couple Amber and Josh went to a skate park and she ran up a skate ramp in her dress and landed on it – “ah well” she said. I’ve never loved her more. Rachel and Steve had powder paint thrown at them. Daisy and James climbed a barbed wire fence to get into a wheat field for photos. And last year I shot a London wedding where we walked through the city getting awesome photos (you might remember them, we went to the tube station!). The bride Audrey emailed me recently in response to my skate-park bride with a photo of her filthy dress and said that she wouldn’t be dry-cleaning it. Why? Stories! Here’s her dress before the wedding (followed by an “after” photo).
So enjoy your wedding day, let your dress get dirty, have that glass of red, eat that red velvet cake, run through the meadows, dance like a crazy person and jump in the pool.