Paradise Found: Tropical Wedding Flowers + Fashion

Three local florists turn up the heat with tropical blooms and fresh, bold designs. Shot by Heather Nan on location at HSL Restaurant in downtown SLC.

With words by Tessa Woolf and photographs by Heather Nan Photography March 24, 2017 Published in the Winter/Spring 2017 issue of Park City Magazine


It was this leafy, jungle-like wallpaper that first caught our eye and set our hearts aflutter when HSL Restaurant opened in downtown Salt Lake City last spring. Allison Baddley of La Fête Floral & Design shares our affection for the restaurant’s verdant décor; the bold wall treatment at HSL inspired the design of this bright, textural bouquet. “I was guided by the colors and lateral floral shapes of the restaurant's awesome wallpaper,” she explains. Her bouquet includes a mix of tropical and timeless blooms for a modern-exotic arrangement: nerine, protea, garden roses, calla lilies, ranunculus, Canterbury bells, orchids, fancy carnations, and parrot tulips. For extra texture, she included foliage snipped from palm, fern, and acacia plants purchased at a local nursery. When it comes to nailing a tropical aesthetic for mountain events, she says that less is more: “Just palms and ferns could be used for a minimal approach without looking over the top,” she suggests. “And I love adding orchids or a king protea to arrangements for an exotic feel.”

Nouvelle Amsale ivory slim crepe gown with illusion lace cutaway shoulder and sheer back ($2,715), Bitsy Bridal. Rahaminov greenish-red diamond drop earrings in 18K rose gold ($24,000), O.C. Tanner Jewelers

Have It Here

Stepping into HSL Restaurant is like stepping into an urban oasis—the stylish, verdant space is an escape from the city, and the inventive menu offers an adventure for the palate. It was partner/creative director Melissa Gray and partner/executive chef Briar Handly’s own destination wedding in Tulum, Mexico, that inspired the design of HSL (Handle Salt Lake), the sister eatery to the couple’s first restaurant, Handle, in Park City. In collaboration with their partner/head of operations Meagan Nash and Cody Derrick of Cityhome Collective, they embarked on designing a space that was interesting, calming, and comfortable; evoked a sense of nature; and complemented Handly’s cuisine. “I walk in every day and think, ‘I love this space,’” says Gray, whose favorite décor detail is the tropical wallpaper. “However, HSL is so much more than just the interior. It’s an overall dining experience. We put as much thought into our product and service as we did into the design.”

HSL and Handle are available to rent for engagement parties, rehearsal dinners, and receptions; both can accommodate about 100 guests. Off-site catering is also available.


Allison Baddley designed this marble vessel of striking stems, palms, and ferns to match her bouquet. When it comes to budgeting for your blooms, she notes that flowers like these can be costly. “Tropicals should be ordered in advance from your florist to ensure the best pricing.” The perfect complement to vivid florals? An equally bold dessert, like this artful confection by HSL pastry chef Alexa Norlin featuring Solstice milk chocolate cremeux, lemon pith purée, candied lemon slices, sweetened labaneh, and lemon-buttermilk ice cream.


“When I’m designing, I like to incorporate plants that feel natural in the environment in which they’re used,” explains Amber Dickson of Amber Reverie Floral & Event Design. “Since tropical flowers don’t grow naturally here, I wanted to create a design that felt tropical but wouldn’t seem out of place in a Utah landscape.” To achieve her signature romantic-organic aesthetic for our shoot at HSL, she chose a soft palette that mirrors colors in nature but still nods to something more exotic. “The muted white and ivory hues fade into sand and dusty coral tones—the colors remind me of a beach at sunset,” she says. Her bouquet features blushing bride protea, nerine, antique hellebore, delphinium, delicate plum orchids, whirling butterflies, pepper berry foliage, and locally sourced reeds and silver lace vine, plus large palm fronds and pink variegated Aglaonema Etta Rose leaves for sculptural structure.

Kite and Butterfly French lace tiered gown ($945), Harlow Brides. Ole Lynggaard 18K rose and yellow gold chandelier earrings with rutilated quartz, moonstone, citrine, and diamonds ($11,700) and O.C. Tanner Signature Collection Victoria ring with 1.70ct center diamond and diamond band ($24,200), both O.C. Tanner Jewelers


For her bouquet and this matching side-table arrangement, Amber Dickson sourced most of her stems through the wholesale floral market, but she says some of the more interesting foliage came from houseplants found at local greenhouses. “Plant stores can be a great place for couples and their florists to find cool colors and textures that you don’t often see in floral design,” she notes.


While garden-inspired florals are her forte, Karley Parker of Scenemakers happily stepped outside of her comfort zone to design something new and exciting. The result? This wildly romantic bouquet and centerpiece featuring Protea Banksia Burdettii, Sea Star fern, grevillea, pink astilbe, James Story orchid, yellow oncidium orchid, caladium foliage, maidenhair fern, cymbidium orchid, and pink antherium. “I think tropical style is a breath of fresh air in a wedding world of blush and ivory,” she says. “I loved playing with these bright colors and unique shapes.” She notes that many of these stems come in multiple hues, and she encourages couples to explore their options. And because most tropical blooms are available all year, she says they’re a lot easier to order than other popular wedding petals, such as peonies, which have a limited growing season.

Karen Willis Holmes “Zoey” cropped bodice ($1,036) and “Julian” skirt ($1,693), Harlow Brides. Armenta magnesite bead necklace with Tahitian pearls and cognac diamond and blackened sterling silver clasp ($1,990), Roberto Coin Princess Collection 18K rose gold and black and white diamond earrings ($10,450), and O.C. Tanner Signature Collection Athena diamond band ($5,400), all O.C. Tanner Jewelers 

Tropical style is a breath of fresh air in a wedding world of blush and ivory. —Karley Parker, Scenemakers

Photography: Heather Nan Photography

Stylist: Tessa Woolf 

Stylist’s Assistants: Bailey Carver, Laura Poch

Makeup: Anya Zeitlin Makeup

Hair: Vince Abram

Model: Rebecca Lima Grant / NIYA Models