How to Create a Floral Fantasy


September 4, 2019
Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of Sylvia Guardia Destination Wedding Photography

International event designer, Karen Tran is known for her over-the-top, jaw-dropping style of abundance and creativity. Sought after by couples around the world, this floral architect not only designs destination weddings but teaches a professional master class, The Floral Experience, in exotic locales fit to tie the knot in. On the heels of a recent class at Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo, we asked Karen to share her secrets to designing a destination wedding.

What should couples know before planning their floral design when getting married abroad?

Couples need to know what flowers are available at their destination. That’s very, very important. Certain types of flowers are banned from import in some countries. It is best to check with the local florist on availability first.

Couples also need to know what to expect from a wedding designer, as well as the level of expertise of the wedding designers at the destination where they’re getting married. If the skill level and expertise do not align with their expectations or needs, then they will need to bring in an international wedding designer.

What questions should couples ask their florist when interviewing someone in a destination?

Some florists focus solely on flowers and do not feel comfortable going beyond providing flowers. A floral designer takes everything into consideration to create the vision and design for your wedding. It is best to ask each florist how involved he or she will be with the florals and beyond for your wedding and make sure that aligns with how involved you want him or her to be. Also, make sure to ask what each florist’s style of design is because one is unique in how they arrange and design. You want that uniqueness to coalesce with your style preference.

You’re known for over-the-top design. Are there ways couples can achieve that “wow” factor on a limited floral budget?

Perhaps you cannot have an abundance of florals everywhere, but you can create a statement piece. Consider creating a canopy of florals rather than using drapery or adding towering, cascading floral pieces to your tablescapes. A vibrant floral backdrop for photos can create a striking accent piece and exudes a fun and playful aesthetic.

When you have a limited floral budget, you can also use color to create a timeless, elegant and romantic ambiance where your love story can unfold. Consider using hues of white in your color palette. White is an intrinsically striking and elegant color. When you use pure white, cream, ivory, eggshell and other white hues you can delight and awe your guests.

What should you not skimp on in destination wedding décor?

Perhaps I am bias, but flowers of course! Destination weddings have the innate luxury of having access to some of the most remarkable and divine flowers and foliage that we do not always see at weddings in our home countries. Do not skimp on using native florals.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Second to flowers, travel is my passion and I get inspiration from everywhere I go. From the majestic, tropical flora and fauna in Costa Rica to the beautiful wineries and dolce vita flair in Italy, I gather inspirational treasures in every place I visit.

What trends have you spotted in 2019 destination wedding décor?

I truly believe weddings are a classic occasion and everything must remain classic, timeless and elegant. However, I am seeing more couples trending toward using more flowers. Not only more flowers, but an abundance of flowers and that makes me very happy. I also see more couples using flowers in unexpected locations, such as growing from the ground or on the ceiling.

The location of these photos is Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo. Support florals came from Artflower.

This article first appeared in Destination I Do’s Spring/Summer 2019 issue. You can order a copy here.

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