Southern Smoke Styled Shoot

Photoshoots are always something new, and they’re a fantastic way to bring out all the local vendors! For this shoot, Southern Smoke reached out to our Bridal Studio, requesting  a gown that would align with their company’s vision.


Southern Smoke is a luxury cigar service. They offer a mobile cigar lounge perfect for a variety of events, from corporate functions to weddings. Inside the lounge, clients will find a space large enough for 16-18 guests, comfortable seating, and a 6-foot long humidor.


In keeping with the traditional, yet edgy vibe, Emily Kotarski created a custom V-neck dress with a macramé lace appliqué bodice. For the skirt, our designer chose a soft and flowing silk georgette skirt. We think the femininity of the delicate straps and skirt meshed well with the simultaneously gruff and refined idea of cigars!



Photoshoot Contact: Southern Smoke Cigars, Photography: Stefanie Morris, Models: Amanda Brown and Mickey Brown, Bow Ties: Brackish Bow Ties, Bride’s Hair: Nick’s Hair Salon, Groom’s Hair: Holy City Barber, Makeup: Bonnie Ferrell, Florals: Petaloso, Jewelry: Sandlers Diamonds & Time, Barware and Accessories: Polished! Table Top, Furniture: The French Eclectic, Clothing: Dandy Boutique and Ro Sam Beaux, Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids, Additional Jewelry: ZINNIA, Hats: Goorin Bros., Cake: Jessica Kelly, Signage: The Creekside Home

Elopement in the Lowcountry

Beneath the moss-laden trees, romance abounds.


Sometimes an enormous wedding filled with everyone the bride and groom has ever known and loved is appropriate, but other times, the couple wants something a little quieter, a little more intimate. Sometimes, eloping is the enchanting choice.

The Cottage Hill Magazine shoot, styled by Cayleigh Hopkins of Sage Innovations, focused on the theme of elopement. In the tranquil and open expanses of Runnymede Plantation, the duo celebrated their love surrounded only by candles, flowers, and their auspicious future.

Although it may look like one seamless gown, the bride’s custom dress is actually composed of several unique pieces. She wears a strapless lace-up bodice beneath a petal appliqué organza topper, complete with hand-pleated details. Her A-line skirt is made of chiffon, and the cathedral veil is trimmed with European embroidery. These separates come together to form an authentically one-of-a-kind ensemble!


Florals: Branch Design Studio, Makeup: Kelly Campbell, Photography: Emily Ann Hughes, Hair: Rosa Martinez, Styling: Sage Innovations, Wedding and Event Planning Blog Post: The Petal Report, Magazine: Cottage Hill, Laser-Cut Sign: Paper Birch Designs, Location: Runnymede Plantation, Rentals: Snyder Events

For Those Warm Summer Days

There’s something about summer that just makes you think of romance. Maybe it’s the change in the weather and the late sunsets, maybe it’s the flowers in full bloom…maybe it’s a bridal photoshoot with a side of ice cream!


To prepare for this wedding-themed photoshoot, a team comprised of a designer, an event planner, a photographer, a florist, a stylist, a lovely couple, and an ice cream vendor was assembled. We met at the Cedar Room in the Cigar Factory, a historic space from the 1880s with a full view of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. Laughing with her partner in front of the Scoops ice cream cart and Purple Magnolia floral designs, the bride looked stunning in an Emily Kotarski Spring style customized gown with macramé appliqué. Taylor Rae’s photography expertly captured the gentle cascades of the tulle overskirt in the glowing summer light.

Seeing this beautiful Southern bride bring the gown to life was truly something special, and working with the rest of the photoshoot team was such a blast! Can’t wait to work with more summer brides!


Location: Cigar Factory Cedar Room, Ice Cream: Scoops Wheely Good Ice Cream,  Flowers: Purple Magnolia, Photography: Taylor Rae, Wedding and Event Design: Ashley Nicole Events, Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls, Model: Jessica Oakley Chandler

Signature Summer Soirée

Though sketches may be beautiful, it’s often difficult to imagine what the dress is going to look like in all of its tangible glory. Even a picture doesn’t always give the same feeling as seeing the garment in person.


This was the idea behind the Signature Summer Soirée. The EK Studio partnered with Coastal Bride’s Gillian Ellis to host a celebration targeted toward industry professionals as well as brides, bridesmaids, and wedding enthusiasts. As visitors munched on Scoops’ ice cream sandwiches and sipped champagne, two models demonstrated how the Emily Kotarski process works. Throughout the evening they changed bodices to show how customizable the gowns are.

It makes a difference when you can see the design process in action, and for a day as special as your wedding, you want to have absolute confidence in your dress. This event was a great way for brides to familiarize themselves with the custom design process, while also indulging in some sweets and bubbles!


Photography: Rachel Red Photography, Blog: Coastal Bride, Model: Natalie Taylor Humphrey, Ice Cream: Scoops Wheely Good Ice Cream, Hand-Lettering: The Town Serif, Champagne: One Hope

Customizability Is Our Specialty

Have you ever heard the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child?” Conceptualizing a bridal collection and bringing it to life is a bit like that, and its photoshoot is basically graduation. Collaboration with local vendors helped bring out the magic in our look book photoshoot!


The Emily Kotarski Signature Bridal Collection was complemented perfectly with an ivory bouquet by Purple Magnolia and elegant accessories from Candy Shop Vintage. In this collection, the emphasis was on the customizability of each gown. Although two dresses might be the same in structure, they could look completely different depending on choices made by the bride! Our photographer, Jennifer Collins, expertly captured the sequence of trying on a base gown, then adding different skirts, bodice styles, and embellishments.

So much can be done with every dress. You might start with the basic Spring gown, then add a keyhole bodice, sleeves, and some traditional alençon lace. It’s always exciting to see what people dream up!


Photography: Jennifer Collins, Flowers: Purple Magnolia, Accessories: Candy Shop Vintage, Model: Brienne Friedman, Hair and Makeup: Lashes and Lace and Hillary Parker,

Where It All Begins

This is it, the moment that months of preparation and anticipation have led up to. On March 21st, 2016, Emily Kotarski Bridal Studio opened its doors at 236-D King Street for the first time with a grand opening celebration during Charleston Fashion Week.


Emily Kotarski, the namesake designer, specializes in semi-custom designs. Have you ever found a dress with the most perfect silhouette, but with a few details that you were uncertain about? Or maybe the lace is incredible, but there is a style that better suits you? At Emily Kotarski Bridal Studio, brides collaborate with the designer throughout the process; they create the dress they’ve been envisioning. Brides choose from numerous silhouettes, necklines, bodices, fabrics, and embellishments to develop a gown that will make them feel their best on that special day.

At the mid-morning opening, brides, their family members, and industry professionals excitedly browsed Emily Kotarski’s custom bridal collection while enjoying chilled mimosas and the electric atmosphere. As people looked around and enjoyed themselves, Emily Kotarski was there to answer any questions about the untraditional design process and to celebrate the brides-to-be!

Emily welcomes brides to bring family members or friends to share in this special process. Upon the conclusion of the opening event, Emily Kotarski Bridal Studio is now open for appointments!