Know Your Flower Etiquette

We all know that flowers make wonderful gifts for a variety of different circumstances. It’s hard to go wrong with choosing flowers as a gift, but there are a few rules of etiquette that should be followed when giving flowers on certain occasions.

Choosing the right flowers

  • While there are no definitive rules about what kind of flowers to send, certain types or colors of flowers may be inappropriate depending on the circumstance. A dozen red roses typically suggest romance and may send an unintended message if you are giving them to a co-worker or casual acquaintance.
  • White or light yellow flowers are usually the best choices for sympathy flowers. You certainly will want to avoid bright colored flowers in most instances.
  • Bright colored flowers, however, are almost always appropriate for happy occasions or milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, congratulations, or thank yous.
  • When thanking someone, choose their favorite flower or favorite color instead of the cheapest option, the extra effort on your part will be appreciated and it makes your gratitude appear more personal and genuine.

Timing is everything

  • Some hospitals prohibit flowers, so check to make sure they’re allowed if you are sending them there. The local florists should know which hospitals accept them, and which do not. If the recipient’s hospital visit is brief, consider sending them to the home after they are dismissed.
  • While many people prefer to send sympathy flowers directly to the funeral home, it is perfectly acceptable to send them to the family’s home afterward. It’s even okay to wait a week or two in order to let the family know you’re still thinking of them.
  • Birthdays, holidays and anniversary are obvious occasions for sending flowers, but giving flowers “out of the blue” or “on a whim” are more impactful, especially if the recipient is not expecting a gift.
  • If you are late hearing about an occasion, but still wish to send flowers, be sure to mention that to the recipient – otherwise, the timing may seem odd to them.

Consider the recipient

  • Size matters, so consider where the flowers are going and what will happen to them after they’re delivered. Designs that are too small may not send the appropriate message you wish to convey, but larger gifts may be intrusive in small offices or rooms – especially if they’re shared with other people.
  • Putting yourself in the recipient’s shoes and asking yourself how you would feel receiving the gift should give you a good idea of what is appropriate.
  • Do some research when sending flowers to people from different cultures. Some cultures have stigmas against certain colors or flowers, and you don’t want to misconstrue your message or create an obligation to reciprocate.
  • Sending sympathy flowers If a family specifically asks for donations in “lieu of flowers” is a breach of etiquette, even if you mean well. In circumstances such as this, a fruit basket or other memorial item may be appropriate if you would still like to send a gift.

Flowers are such an excellent way to convey a personal sentiment, so it’s important to consider the message you are wishing to express. When in doubt, give us a call and let us know the circumstance and we’ll help you select the perfect gift!

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