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Behind The Scenes: Bridal Photo Shoot

In an effort to “keep it real” here on Botanical Brouhaha for the sake of all the fine working floral and event designers who look to us for practical information, we’ve decided to begin a new series of blog posts revealing a behind-the-scene glimpse into a few working-designer scenarios (since you asked!). Today we’re going behind the scenes with Heidi Inabinet, owner of On a Limb in Charleston, South Carolina as she shares how she found an opportunity to showcase her floral designs in a professional bridal photo shoot.

A bridal photo shoot model in a veil holding a bridal bouquet

According to Heidi, Charleston is the #2 wedding destination in the country second only to Las Vegas, Nevada, which makes it the perfect location for On A Limb Studio – an independent custom floral design studio focusing on weddings and curated events.

As a wedding and event professional in Charleston, Heidi has known Brittany from Wild Ivory Beauty for several years, and has a deep appreciation for her work. She says Brittany is her personal go-to when she needs “that little extra for special occasions”. Heidi also admires photographer Clay Austin for his inspiring talent and Fine Art style. Recently, Brittany reached out to Heidi looking to shoot a “casual one-bouquet type of shoot” for fresh content. As the driving force behind this bridal photo shoot, Brittany chose the model and guided the vision while Clay helped choose the gown which would be paired with Heidi’s cascade bouquet (below) from Lovely Bride.

Clay suggested securing a memorable location for the shoot such as Fort Moultrie, a venue he’d wanted to capture for quite some time. From there he left most of the details up to Brittany and she in turn left the floral design details up to Heidi.  Clay was required to get special permission, pay a fee, and a get a permit to shoot inside Fort Moultrie. An escort/employee walked the photo shoot team through the grounds privately after hours during the bridal photo shoot.

Clay really wanted to get some ocean shots and dress designer Emily Kotarski was gracious enough to lend a dress that could be traipsed through the ocean!

A bridal photo shoot model walking toward the ocean on the beach in a wedding dress

Model Lauren Patrick is a natural in front of the camera. Heidi says, “There’s so much to be said for having a professional model… honestly …. she brought everything to life. It was a freezing cold afternoon and she was standing in the ocean liked it was a balmy 89 degrees.”

A model for a bridal photo shoot standing on rocks on the beach A bridal photo shoot model standing by the water on the beach in her a wedding dress

Heidi strongly believes in re-purposing flowers for photo shoots. In general, she only participates in shoots scheduled around weddings so she can use leftover and recycled material which would usually be headed for disposal. Instead the blooms are utilized to their full potential and end their life cycle being captured as fine art.  Heidi says, “I may purchase one or two statement / fill-in blooms but most of the flowers used are basically headed for donation or the compost pile. All that said, I rarely have any idea what is going to come out of the pile of ‘trash’.”

So, where does Heidi find inspiration? She says she looks at her source material and determines what her options are and proceed from there. The objective on this particular shoot was an ‘editorial style bouquet’ and so she chose the cascade as her first project. She really wanted it to be an inverted “C” with a heavy curve, but it came out nothing like she was hoping for!  So, she says she’ll try again in the future.

Once the primary objective (her first design) is made, Heidi looks to see what’s left and makes a second design. She says the second bouquet for this shoot was “like the B-side of an album that went straight to #1!”

A bridal photo shoot model holding a large bouquet with rose, Lunaria, and Hyacinths

Photo shoots are costly and time consuming, but Heidi tries to use her marketing budget wisely in this area – “over the years I’ve found simple shoots such as this one to be my most successful,” she says.

Recipes for Heidi’s Bridal Bouquets

Bouquet #1 (Cascade)

A model for a bridal photo shoot holding a white bouquet


Genistra – 1 bu – (only thing Heidi purchased go in this design)
jasmine vine – 1 bu
African boxwood – 7 stems (wired)
French Tulip ‘Maureen’  – 3 stems
French Tulips ‘Happy Generation’ – 2 stems
‘Purity’ garden rose – 2 stems
‘Playa Blanca’ rose – 3 stems
Scabiosa Scoop – 7 stems
Freesia – 8 stems
Peony -3 stems
Lisianthus ‘Excalibur double’ – 4 stems
Hybrid Delphinium – 3 stems (clipped low)
‘White O’Hara’ rose – 1 stem

Design tip: Heidi used an oblong ball of chicken wire as an armature to hold stems securely in place.

Bouquet #2

A model for a bridal photo shoot holding a large white bouquet


Nigella pods
Pampas grass
Dried Spirea branches
Fern curls
‘Wendy’ spray roses
‘Quicksand’ roses (from Pajarosa)
Hyacinth (three weeks old)
Heuchera leaves (from Heidi’s garden)
Cymbidium orchid bloom – 2 stems (5+weeks old)
Hellebore (3 weeks old)

Design tip: Bouquet #2 was made from leftover flowers and odd bits that had been in the cooler for weeks. Heidi wanted to do a soft color palette that felt clean and on trend. She had some white bleached Sea Star fern that she hadn’t been able to use successfully (to her eye)
and decided to pair it with some old partially dried sea star fern and build her base from there by adding a looped nest of bare Carolina  jasmine vine that had overwintered and was tough but playable.

Vendor Credits: 

Location: Fort Moultrie | Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina

Photography: Clay Austin

Flowers: On a Limb

Hair and Makeup: Wild Ivory Beauty

Model: Lauren Patrick 

Gowns: Emily Kotarski Bridal | Lovely Bride

See more behind-the-scenes here!



  1. Oh this is stunning! I love the loops, the colors, the fern-so, so beautiful! So inspiring thank you!


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