Club Tropicana

Well what else are you going to do on a rainy day in May than try and create a tropical paradise in the heart of the Sussex countryside? This photo shoot was a creative collaboration with other like minded wedding suppliers at the hidden gem of a venue, Decoy Ponds near Arundel. The owner Karen and her husband have been in residence for some 25 years, but it’s a relatively new venue, established after their daughters got married in the grounds of their stunning home. The beauty of this shoot was captured by the one and only Jacob Malinski who captures light like no other photographer. I want to personally thank him for the way that he managed to hero my flowers, oh and manage to take an off the cuff portrait of me….but more of that later.



The shoot was organised by the indomitable Nicola Austin Weddings & Events. I met Nicky through a mutual friend and was really impressed by her organisational skills and ability to just get the job done. The brief was quite open but I knew I needed to include a mix of hot pinks and oranges so chose Heleconia, Gloriosa, Ginger Lily, Dendrobian Orchids, Nutans and Peonies with a mix of palms, ferns, monstera and banana leaves. I designed an unusual assymetric bouquet with trailing ribbons in complimentary colours. I also felt that this wedding style would lend itself to a heavier, opulent flower crown which is very on trend. (Fun Fact: The beautiful models Stephanie & Ben are actually a real life couple who recently got married themselves!!) Stephanie’s hair was created by the talented Glamour by Martine and her make up was by the formidable Olivia Agate.



For the ceremony, I chose to decorate the beautiful birch arch hired from The Beautiful Day with tropical palms with went really well with the lush green foliages of the grounds. They also supplied the lovely vintage oak barrels on top of which I added pedestal arrangements. The beauty of these is that they can then be easily moved to the reception afterwards. Small sprays of tropical flowers then lined the aisle to carry the colours through the whole design. Again, these can be moved afterwards to the chairs at the top table.




The exquisite marquee, handmade in nearby Chichester, supplied by Tents N Events provided the perfect canvas to the bold, bright colours. I really loved creating the hanging installation using a vintage ladder, palms and orchids. When the tent is this beautiful your guests really should be looking up!



For the top table, I created a triptych of wooden woven baskets containing mini pineapples and bamboo amongst other tropical flowers. Bold, orange hemmed hessian runners made by Eloise at The Beautiful Day complimented these perfectly and I positioned Fatsia leaves on each place setting along with beautiful acrylic placecards handmade by You Make My Dreams.


The tropical sunset inspired four tier wedding cake was created by Kasserina Cakes and it took pride of place in the marquee setting, ready to be cut by the bride and groom.



Finally, here’s the pix of me larking around on set (not quite acting the model but more of a fool). Kx


Top Tip: Fake Peonies!

So what do you do if you LOVE peonies but you’re not getting married in season. That’s May-July by the way. No problem. Just fake it. Here’s a handy tip…..just use carnations. I know. I know. They’re the scourge of many a modern florist, best known for their presence on the petrol station forecourt. But they are making a comeback honest. And if you’re careful using the right colour and tone, they can be turned into the most convincing blousy peony. Particularly handy when the cost per stem is too high or it’s the middle of October. There’s basically two different methods; 1) The Cut Down and 2) The Tie Together. In the image below, you can see three flowers; far left is the original sized carnation still in tight bud (the older the carnation, the more full the effect), middle is the cut down method and the far right is the tie together method.



1) The Cut Down Method

Take a single stem carnation and using a florist knife cut down the green part that connects the petals to the stem. The part that holds the blossom all together). Cut clear from the top to the bottom. Stop at the part that attaches the stem and only cut through the green part.



Use your fingers to “fluff” the flower out. Since you’ve cut the base of the stem, the petals now have a little breathing room and can properly spread out.



That’s it! The more you fluff, the fuller the bloom. I’ve used one tone carnations but this method looks even better with variegated carnations.


2) The Tie Together Method

Hold three stems of carnations together at the base of the flower head. Group each flower head together, placing and replacing until they perfectly fit in unison. Tape together. That’s it!! Talk about simple.



So what do you think? I hope you can see that the overall effect is much more than a single carnation on it’s own. Happy creating. Hope it helps you. Kx