GALLERY: Making mess of a dress

A GROWING number of Hunter brides are taking up the "trash the dress" tradition - destroying their wedding gowns in theatrical style during a dedicated photo shoot.

Some use water, mud, coloured paints or fire to bring on their dresses' demise; others tear the fabric to shreds or even crush wine grapes in their gowns.

The trend reportedly started in Las Vegas in 2001 but gained international attention late last year when a Canadian woman was drowned under the weight of her waterlogged wedding dress.

Newcastle photographer April Werz said most of her clients went for salt water shoots to ruin their one-day-only outfit.

Kathryn de'Zuna, of Lake Munmorah, said she and husband Joel did a shoot in November last year about 12 months after their wedding.

"It was a good excuse to put the dress back on again.

"My husband and I are a little silly, a little bit eccentric, we like to do things quite differently," she said.

While the $3000 silk-taffeta number did get muddy, Ms de'Zuna was able to resurrect it in the wash.

"The dress was heavy before I got into the water. "Trying to get out of there was really quite funny. I couldn't see what was at the bottom, that was my concern."

Shari Chapman, of Belmont North, used a dress she bought online for $38 because her mum "would have killed me" if she ruined the real one.

"It's very difficult to swim in a wedding dress," she said.

"I would recommend everybody does it because it's heaps of fun."

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