How Panic Turned to Profit with this Tropical Bridal Bouquet

Most Inspirational Wedding II Floral Design Traveling to a destination wedding with fresh flowers can get complicated, as OASIS Floral Products INSPIRE Showcase finalist Karen McIntosh of Flowers by Karen discovered. Karen’s moment of ‘Florist’s Panic’ came while she was driving from her shop in Monroe, Washington, to a resort in Santa Cruz, California, for the wedding of her daughter-in-law’s sister. The orchids she had purchased for the bridal bouquet were going down fast. Inspire tropical bouquet

A change in plans

Karen saw the sign of a local botanical garden. She knocked on the door of the garden office and asked if she could buy some orchids. When she found that Cattleya orchids were unavailable, she simply changed her design plans, as seasoned florists often do. “The bride was an interior designer, very creative and with a love of unique design,” Karen explains. “She’s a redhead with a vivacious personality. I needed flowers that were vivid and bold to match her energetic vibe.” The event would take place at a resort overlooking the ocean. A coral reef theme, with a beach and seashell motif, meant the bride needed a tropical look for her bouquet. “Texture, color, function and form—I knew I wanted to incorporate all those elements into her bouquet,” Karen says.

A perfect solution

Karen found gorgeous purple phalaenopsis and green dendrobiums that worked perfectly with the pincushion protea, Australian fern and lily grass she had brought along to use in the sumptuous bouquet. Using an Extra-Large LOMEY® Bouquet Holder with OASIS Floral Foam, she created a cascading bouquet. She turned the bouquet handle upside down to cantilever the weight, making the cascade seem less heavy as the bride carried it. She used FLORALOCK™ Plus Stem Adhesive to help secure the flowers into the floral foam of the bouquet holder. tropical bouquet web

An inspirational idea

The bride loved her bouquet. Karen submitted a photo to the OASIS Floral Products INSPIRE Floral Design Showcase 2015 and her design was chosen as the Most Inspirational Wedding Floral Design. Smithers-Oasis Design Director Frank Feysa AIFD, PFCI recreated the INSPIRE Tropical Bouquet for an ad featuring Karen’s bouquet. He offered creative ideas for other tropical styles, as well. Click the link and you can see the resulting advertisement.

An evolving design style

Karen is always ready to try new ideas. She began as a shop driver in 1976, worked as a designer and has now owned her own florist for 10 years. “I want to be on the cutting edge of design, not following the pack or getting into a rut,” she said. “Designing something exceptional attracts clients who want an original look and are willing to invest more in personalized designs.” “I am inspired by people who create great design. I follow people in the U.S. and Europe who are online, in magazines or doing local presentations. I admire people who are going places, doing fun things and bringing back new ideas. I study their work and use those techniques in my own design.” “I have clients who call asking for my ‘weird flowers’ for their special occasions … upscale flowers that aren’t your typical flower shop fare,” Karen shared with a laugh. “At the same time, for my everyday floral work, I try to use locally grown flowers whenever possible.” tropical bouquet web “We have lots of beautiful flowers available to us that are grown in our area. That is an important purchasing point for some of my customers.”

The ‘Aha!’ moment

“My design philosophy is to stand out as unique; to create the unexpected. If you see it over and over on Pinterest you need to do something different. This bouquet was different from our typical designs.” What did Karen take away from this inspirational experience? “That a bridal bouquet doesn’t have to be white, round or look like a weed. It can be dramatic and filled with exotic flowers. It should make a statement about the brides personal style,” she said. “I needed a statement piece for a vivacious girl. I pulled it off and she loved it!” For a designer, it doesn’t get much better than that. Need inspiration? Find new ideas and your favorite products on our newly launched home page on

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