Incorporate blushing bride protea, palm fronds, Italian ruscus, and more into your big-day design.
wedding coupe

From the bohemian influences of Palm Springs to the beaches and forests of Mexico, tropical inspiration can be found all over the globe—and has been a major wedding design trend for quite some time. While there are a myriad of ways to pull off a tropical big day, using relevant leaves and flowers is one of the most straightforward. Ahead, Joey Corrigan, the founder of Sticks and Stones Floral Design, shares the best tropical leaves and flowers to consider—and explains how to use them throughout your celebration.

Types of Tropical Leaves and Flowers to Use at Your Wedding

Corrigan recommends monstera deliciosa, fan palm, Japanese aralia, croton, palm fronds, Italian ruscus, and salal lemon leaf to bring in a look that's tropical, modern, and beautiful. The tropics are bursting with florals, too—think bougainvillea and its bright, vibrant colors, any of which can be incorporated into your big-day décor. "Tropical blooms come in every color from soft white to blushing bride protea to the strongest reds and oranges of haleconia," Corrigan says. "Deeply colored gerbera daisy feel tropical too, as do the colorful leaves of the croton plant."

How to Use Tropical Foliage in Your Ceremony Structures

To create a tropical, leafy ceremony structure, Corrigan says to "choose the shape of your arch carefully—you don't want it to look like Gilligan's Island!" The more circular moon gate shape, he explains, will soften the look. And if you're building a chuppa? "You can have green bamboo poles cut for the uprights and cross bars, with tropical greens bouquets at the upper four corners," he notes.

How to Create a Tropical Flower Wall

A lush, tropical flower wall can be used as the backdrop for a myriad of tables—from the cake to the sweetheart station—or even the photo booth. To construct yours, start with a layer of salal lemon leaf to cover the wall then add monstera leaves in various sizes. "Next, add a layer of palm fronds, fan palms, and Italian ruscus for texture and depth," shares Corrigan.

How to Put Together a Tropical Bouquet

There's no shortage of ways to incorporate tropical blooms and greenery into all of your personals, including bouquets, posies, corsages, and boutonnières. Corrigan loves crafting these pieces to be complementary: "My favorite is a tropical bouquet made from masses of blushing bride protea. The groom's boutonnière should match."

How to Incorporate Tropical Elements Onto the Tablescape

Corrigan enjoys the look of an extended dinner table, since they allow you to create tropical runners from end to end. "You could start with some interesting twisty grapewood then add the leaves and the heads from pincusion protea, cockscomb celosia, and various banksia," he says. "Use fruit such as pears, mini-pineapple, and kiwi to add to the abundant look." A tablescape that calls on these tropical elements do well in harsh, bright environments, he adds, since they don't need water to stay fresh.


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