a romantic-boho-winter-flower-garden bridal-inspiration shoot

March 28, 2016  •  3 Comments


(and so on)

In December, I did my first styled shoot. I just had a vision of getting a model in a beautiful wedding dress and traipsing through gardens, holding lots of wild flowers, wandering in fields and capturing every minute of it. I found a model (who is GORGEOUS as you can see and totally WORKED IT) and finally scrambled the pieces together. I was afraid that every picture would come out horribly and I promised the model I could only pay her in giant Frappuccinos and if that wasn't going to be worth 8+ hours in uncomfortable clothes whilst possibly getting very odd looks, she should back out now.

And, y'all.

IT. WAS. AMAZING. Please. Just... look, will you? :)

I'm going to try to let the pictures do the talking, (heh) but you know I can't keep this mouth shut for long. So, let me tell you about the process. I knew the Birmingham Botanical Gardens were a must and I also had one other particular image in my head--so we went to Oak Mountain State Park at the end of the day.

I scoured thrift stores and e-bay and eventually found this GORGEOUS J.Crew wedding dress--with tags in perfect condition--for a STEAL.

I then gathered up some accessories--these gold hoop earrings and gold and pink bracelet from Wal-Mart (yup!); a gold bangle that I already had on hand; an embroidered shawl from my own wedding; and several feet of tulle for a homemade chapel-length veil. There was also a pair of shoes that never made an appearance...our day was all barefoot :) in love with these flowers..

The bouquet was made over a couple hours by my self. I gathered up seeded eucalyptus, berzillia brunia, coxcomb, football mums, and a few red carnations wired together to look like peonies. The ribbons were got from a local craft store--I wanted long, wide ribbons to blow in the wind and chose maroon and black to give it a moody and mysterious feel. <3 It was pure coincidence that this girl was getting married ONE WEEK later, so no, I didn't purchase the rose-gold diamond ring for the shoot ;)
wispy twisted & braided up do <3

  This amazing girl walked under those palm leaves about 236 times for me. but doesn't she look like a 1930s hollywood starlet here?

At the end of this post, I'm going to tell you how much I spent on that dress. And you're going to FREAK. OUT

I just love the golden simplicity of the bangle, made by baublebar

I had lots of foliage left over, and I decided to do a flower crown just for the fun of it. I'm SO glad I did! So thankful for many creativity-filled renaissance-faire costume sessions with my mom where I learned how to do these. <3 (And yes, I'm a dork)

an empty nest in a prickly plant... I love these stunning images of her in the wintery branches. It makes me think of something from a Pre-Raphaelite painting. 
The shawl is a beautiful silver beaded piece by Moyna that I wore in my own wedding--I was glad to get more use out of it! I bought 2.5 yards of ivory tulle from Walmart and trimmed the edges and sewed it to a simple comb to make this chapel-length veil. No need to spend $200 from David's bridal, amiright? in a woodsy part of the gardens.

fall leaves scattered the mild December day in the gardens. I was actually surprised by the lack of comments from anyone, but just down the hill to the left, we heard a little boy of 4 or 5 exclaim something as he pointed up at as. He was just staring at her absolutely enchanted--he was definitely in love! <3 Reflecting pool at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Back view of flower crown featuring eucalyptus, brunea, carnations, and faux berries. At the end of our day, we went to Oak Mountain State Park and explored the old stone outcroppings built by the CCC, along the edge of Oak Mountain Lake.

I mentioned earlier how I had a specific vision for Oak Mountain. I'd been inspired by this image from 1930 that I'd seen in a magazine. I cut it out and it's hung on my bedroom wall for ages. I knew I wanted a simple wooden pier jutting into a vast expanse of water, and it was so cool to see that vision realized!
I call this an inspiration shoot, because that's what I want it to be. I want this to be an inspiration to brides: you CAN create an amazing, fine-art and unique look for your wedding, for an amazing price! You just have to be open-minded and creative. Search e-bay and thrift stores for amazing deals; choose lower maintenance hair & makeup ideas that a non-professional (like me!) can pull off. And hit the wholesale places for flowers and details.  Remember that if you give your photographer some creative control, and even set aside a separate day just for bridal portraits, you can get some stunning bridal images in really amazing settings!

By the way, this entire look was created for about $100 or less! This goes out to the photographers, too: if you have an image in your head for a styled shoot, go for it! It CAN be done without breaking the bank. We had an amazing day and I'm so, SO happy that I went for it, despite my fears! I am forever grateful to the tireless and beautiful model Bethany, and to my amazing friend Christina Sloan as Official Floral Consultant, both of whom I could never have done this without. It was exhausting but so worth it.

Vendor and price list:


"Taryn" by J.crew (purchased NWT, e-bay, $35.00)

Mercury Bloom by Moyna (photographer already owned)

Gold slim hinge bangle: baublebar (photographer already owned)
Gold chunky bracelet and gold hoop earrings: WalMart. ~$6 for both.
Veil: tulle, comb from WalMart, $6. Handmade.

Florals, Hair & Makeup: Diana Martin
Bethany is wearing eye makeup from TooFaced and Stila and lips by OCC.



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