Is it a birthday? A surprise show of affection to your significant other? It could be a baby shower, bridal bouquet or just a wonderful way to cheer up a neighbour who’s feeling under the weather. Perhaps there’s an event you would love to attend, but it’s just not going happen. There are all times when we need to send flowers.
A very few of us have the necessary garden resources (and talents) to put together a flower arrangement worth sending! That’s where our local florist comes in. He or she can help us choose an appropriate floral arrangement that suits our budget and is sure to impress the receiver. Is the bouquet a gift for a mother or a lover? Different flowers and colours send different messages. Equally important is ensuring that the flowers arrive on time and in pristine condition.
Sadly, sometimes we need to send a floral arrangement to console our friends and family when we lose a loved one. In this situation, an understated, conservative arrangement is far more appropriate than a dozen red roses. White flowers traditionally make up a large proportion of a funeral wreath or bouquet. Perhaps you wish to personalize the wreath, and include a small memento. Maybe your friend had a soft spot for sunflowers? Why not include them? Your local florist will work with you, on a one on one basis, to make sure your sympathy floral arrangement is received and remembered.
In our increasingly multicultural societies, we will be sending floral arrangements to our Asian business clients and friends. You may not know (but your florist probably does!) that flowers (or anything else) should never be sent in sets of four. The number four (when spoken or written) is very much like the word for death in China and Japan. Sending flowers in fours is believed to bring bad luck.
Similarly, sending white flowers is a serious faux-pas. White is a colour that Asians often associate with funerals. Never send white flowers to an Asian friend who is recovering from illness. It’s almost as if you were wishing them dead! Red is always a good choice. It brings prosperity, and does not necessarily have romantic overtones as it does in Australia.
Your local florist often has decades of experience sending and receiving orders for flowers from all over the world. She or he will know that lucky bamboo (always alive!) is the perfect gift to an Asian friend or family starting a new business. In many situations, cut flowers are not appropriate at all. A knowledgeable florist will suggest a live flower, perhaps an orchid. Gifts that are used for cutting, sharp,(and by extension flowers that have been cut) are bad luck to many Chinese who hold more traditional beliefs. The message such a gift sends is that the giver wants to sever or cut the relationship. Certainly not what you are trying to say!
Send Flowers Online; The Virtual Florist Option
In recent years thousands of online florists and flower delivery services have popped up. Some offer discounted prices, “free” delivery and other offers that seem to good to be true. And as they say; “if it’s too good to be true, than its probably not. There are reputable online companies that can be helpful. There are at least as many that you should probably steer clear of.
They may have professional photos of spectacular floral arrangements on their website. One of the problems with online floral companies is that they rarely, if ever have any stock on hand to actually create the floral arrangements they are selling. Instead, they will use whatever flowers they can source last minute to put together your order. What you see when you send our flowers online may be very different from what the receiver actually gets.
Chances are your local florist has built up a relationship with many other local florists over the years. They know who can provide the level of service and premium products that they promise to source for their clients. They communicate directly with each other and they know what flowers are seasonal and available and what colours are in stock.
Looking to Buy Local? The Resources are Available
If you’re lucky, you already have a favourite local florist that you know and trust. If not, you may need to do a little homework to find someone you’ll feel comfortable with. Word of mouth can provide some leads, or if you have time visit the shops in person to get a feel for the florist and the services they provide. Of course, you can “Google” your city with florist and turn up many leads. Beware that many of the results may in fact be ordering centres or businesses based elsewhere hoping to bump up their own sales. Take the time to call or visit in person.
Another option is to check the websites of florist’s associations. Collaborations between local florists have been formed to combat the onslaught of web-based service providers. These online companies may bill themselves as “virtual florists”, online florists or “floral order gathering firms”. Many local floral shops would like to see the use of “florist” prohibited by online companies that do not have physical shops and do not carry any stock. It’s been suggested that “floral marketing agencies” or “floral relay companies” would be a more accurate description of the services that these online entities provide.
The choice is yours when it comes time to purchase and or send flowers online. The internet can give us instant access to a world of options when it comes to sending floral arrangements to our friends and family. And when online shopping works, it works well. What is important to remember is how difficult it can be to track down the supplier of an item you’re dissatisfied with. A relationship built with a local florist means that it is his or her best interest to make sure you are well taken care of. In the unlikely event of a problem, you’ll have an address to go to and know the name of the person who you’ll want to speak to.