Choosing Flowers for a Caribbean Destination Wedding

Hola Brides and Grooms!

Today was sooo busy — Sara Patterson and Mario Hernandez are getting married tomorrow afternoon and today was their beach party.  It was a lot of fun — excellent food and fabulous rum punch!  The guests were having a fantastic time when I bailed out on it halfway through and left my crew to finish up the party.  I headed home early to start working on Sara’s flowers because I knew I had a challenge ahead of me.  I’ve never worked with peonies or ranunculus in the Caribbean before, but my wholesaler told me they would be fine.  She lied.  When the flowers arrived yesterday afternoon, the peonies were already open wide.  Not a good sign.  The orange ranunculus were looking pretty darned sad too, but I hoped water would perk them up.  Unfortunately, that was not to be.  Fortunately, Sara had lots of different flowers in her decor scheme so I had enough other things to substitute and make it all turn out right, but I’m really sad about the disastrous results of the peonies and ranunculus.  That inspired tonight’s blog topic — choosing the right flowers for a wedding in the Caribbean.

The weather down here is warm and humid, and not every flower responds well to that environment.  Tulips, for example, are a no-no down here.  They’d lose their petals before the bride got to see her bouquet.  They just aren’t sturdy enough to handle the heat.  Apparently, that’s also true for peonies and ranunculus.  Anemones don’t do too well either — learned that at a December wedding last year.  Bummer.  I’ve always assumed peonies were too delicate, but my flower lady said they would work.  She was wrong.  Lesson learned.  Sorta like the live fish centerpieces.  Not gonna do that again.  Thank goodness I had enough of the other flowers the bride had chosen to compensate.

So what does work in the Caribbean?  Plenty of other beautiful flowers.  Let’s make a list of some that I know look fantastic and hold up well in the Caribbean.  This list is by no means complete — be sure to ask about whatever specific flowers you have in mind when talking to your wedding planner or florist about your flower selections.  Okay, things that I KNOW work well:

– Roses of all shapes, colors and sizes hold up beautifully down here.

– Orchids are fantastic — and many of the orchids we get are locally grown on flower farms in Puerto Rico.

– Gerbera daisies are great.

– Calla lilies, and lilies of pretty much any vareity, hold up beautifully in the Caribbean.

– Lysianthus are beautiful and get prettier in the heat as more blooms open up.

– Hydrangea work, although they look pretty sad after they’re out of water for awhile.  They’ll hold up long enough for you to carry your bouquet and do pictures, but don’t expect them to look anything but dead by cake cutting time if they’re not in water.  They’re fine in the centerpieces.

– Tropicals like “birds of Paradise,” protea, anthirium, gardenia, ginger, gloriosa, heliconia, and a variety of others hold up really well down here.  But don’t expect to cut local flowers like hybiscus and bougainvilla — those are very heat sensitive and must be kept in water from the moment they are cut.

The list above is by no means complete — there are lots of other flowers that can be beautiful used in the Caribbean.  Talk to your wedding planner or your florist when you  make your selections and listen to the advice they give you.  We don’t have any motive to lie — we don’t care what you choose.  We just want to make sure that they’re going to look as good at your event and in the wedding pictures as you’re imagining in your head when you made your selections.

I’ve gotta scoot to get ready for Sara and Mario’s big day tomorrow — until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra.


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