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Expert Tips For Ordering Flowers

Updated on November 13, 2014
To order an arrangement like this, ask for  "a low, compact arrangement in lavenders, purples, white and lime green in a small, clear, glass cube with a leaf wrap inside it."
To order an arrangement like this, ask for "a low, compact arrangement in lavenders, purples, white and lime green in a small, clear, glass cube with a leaf wrap inside it." | Source

Getting the Freshest & Most Beautiful

Is the process of ordering a flower arrangement a mystery to you? Would you like some ideas for how to place a successful order? Over 20 years of experience as a floral designer has helped me to put these suggestions together for you. Read on for my insider tips on making sure you receive high-quality, beautiful flowers every time you order.

A Break-away Arrangement

This arrangement was part of a "breakaway" or "tablescape" for a dinner party. This refers to a collection of smaller arrangements which can be clustered together or separated and spread along the table, giving you lots of options for placement.
This arrangement was part of a "breakaway" or "tablescape" for a dinner party. This refers to a collection of smaller arrangements which can be clustered together or separated and spread along the table, giving you lots of options for placement. | Source

An Important First Step

Who, Where, When

Though it may sound obvious, remember that you will, first, need to be clear about what you want. This will help you to chose the right shop and it will make it much easier for the order-taker to give you the best service possible.

Before you make the call or stop in, get all your details in order and have them ready. There are so many times when people call or come in to purchase flowers without having this simple info written down. Include the following:

1. Who are the flowers going to?

2. What is their address and phone number?

3. When are they home? (Do they work?)

4. What is the occasion?

5. How do you want the card to read?

7. Do you have a color scheme and style in mind, or are you open to suggestions?

These are some arrangements I made for a college event using cymbidium orchids, green fuji mums and pincushion protea. Because it was an art school, the arrangements needed to be colorful and a bit unusual.
These are some arrangements I made for a college event using cymbidium orchids, green fuji mums and pincushion protea. Because it was an art school, the arrangements needed to be colorful and a bit unusual. | Source

Step Two

Choosing Your Florist

How do you know which florist to use? As is so often the case for everything, word of mouth is a great way to choose a florist. If your friends have had a good experience with the flower shop, you probably will too. Since preferences can vary, be sure that the person whose advice you are taking has similar taste to your's. While some shops are good with traditional design, others are excellent at a contemporary or more unique look. Some do both well. Ask your friend what it is they like about their florist.

If you don't have anyone in the area to ask for a referral, you can research a florist on-line through their website. This can often give you a very good idea of their style. Do they include examples of their own work? Are the photos of high quality? If you like the look of their site, you will probably be happy.

There are some excellent shops that have not yet invested in a custom-designed website, but use a somewhat generic site generated through one of the nation-wide floral groups. Don't rule them out because of that. Note how long they have been in the business, give them a call, ask them some questions and even do a trial run with them to see what you think. Of course, if you are in the area, visit their store to check them out.

Here are some questions you might ask:

1. Do you have a signature style?

2. What do you do best?

3. Do you ever go to the market to hand pick your flowers? (not all shops are close enough to a do this)

4. When do your new flower shipments arrive each week?

The photo here is of some arrangements I made for a college event using cymbidium orchids, green fuji mums and pincushion protea. Because it was an art school, the arrangements needed to be colorful and a bit unusual.

Communicating With Your Florist

Tips that will help the florist to remember you in a positive way...

  1. Tell the florist how you found out about their work and why you selected them.
  2. People want to help people who are friendly. Rather than appearing threatening by saying, "I want the freshest, nicest flowers you have, or else!", ask them what they like most among their stock right now. If they were making an arrangement for themselves, what would they use?
  3. Let them know a bit about your style preferences and, then, place an order for a "designer's choice" arrangement. Do not dictate exactly how it should look.
  4. Once you find a designer who's work you love and who understands what you like, consider requesting them every time you place an order. If you request them, it will be noted and the order will be handed to them directly And they will remember you and want to make you happy.
  5. When you are happy, let them know. Thank them for taking care of you so well. Believe me, they will remember that and people really do want to please others who appreciate them and their work.

Choosing an Arrangement From a Picture

The Cookie-Cutter Approach: What you need to know!

How it works:

Many quality flower shops belong to one or more of the well-known, nation-wide "groups" such as FTD or Teleflora. Florists pay fees for their association with these companies. They, in turn, serve the flower shops and the general public by offering visibility, nation-wide promotion, technical tools for flower shop operations and by coming up with standard designs from which you, as a customer, may choose to send anywhere in the country.

In addition to these books of "everyday" designs, holiday specials are offered by these companies each year and include trademark containers, some of which are thought of as "collectible". Local member florists choose which of these designs to offer their customers and they keep these containers and the flowers needed in stock.

Special Tip 1:

It is important, when looking at these designs, for you to keep in mind that in order to show you what is included in the arrangements and to visually present them at their best, these photos will place all the flowers facing toward the viewer, even though it may be an all-around design. because of this, the arrangement may look very different once you see it completed. It won't appear to be as jam-packed with flowers as the picture shows.

Special Tip 2:

Florists may very well not have all the flowers shown in these pictures. This is not at all unusual. They can't possibly keep every flower in every color in stock all the time.

How to use pictures to help you order what you want:

These images, however, can be a good tool, especially if you are new to ordering flowers. Rather than ordering the exact arrangement shown, consider using the photos as a guide to possible styles and/or color palettes. Refer to them as a guides and ask, instead, for a unique arrangement created by a designer on staff.

Be Unique:

As highly creative, well-trained people, designers are delighted to be able to provide you with something unique. Keep in mind that this may be one of the best options for you, because, in this way, the designer will be able to make choices for you depending upon the market and fresh flower availability in their area. And, the arrangement you send will be a unique piece of floral art rather than an attempt to duplicate a photo. No one else will have chosen that same arrangement to send to your recipient. And, your recipient will not be saying, "Oh, I sent that same thing out to someone once."

Be Unique!

As highly creative, well-trained people, designers are delighted to be able to provide you with something unique. Keep in mind that this may be one of the best options for you, because, in this way, the designer will be able to make choices for you depending upon the market and fresh flower availability in their area. And, the arrangement you send will be a unique piece of floral art rather than an attempt to duplicate a photo. No one else will have chosen that same arrangement to send to your recipient. And, your recipient will not be saying, "Oh, I sent that same thing out to someone once."

1-800... vs. The Local Florist

A Strong Caution

You have seen the ads for 1-800 "(insert generic flower shop name)" and had them show up in an internet search. It may seem like an easy choice. However, please beware.

These are called "order gatherers" and are just a telephone bank of employees or an individual taking calls for a company from their own home. They usually have very little, if any, direct experience with flowers and they have no idea what any given shop may have on hand to offer. The order gatherer will keep part of your payment as a fee and then try to pass the order on to an actual, local shop. The shops they place the orders with have no agreement with the order-gathering company which is just fishing for a way to fill their "order" and many florists will refuse to do so.

If a flower shop actually does accept the order from one of these companies, the money you paid for the arrangement will not be what the florist receives at their end. Because the order gatherer will have taken a hidden fee and may have even offered you a supposed "discount" on your order, the florist will have less money to make your arrangement and you will simply be getting something of lesser value than if you had called the florist directly.

Remember, these non-local "gathering" companies don't fill the orders. They call a local florist in the location you have requested and try to get them to fill it! With each step, your final arrangement will be getting smaller and smaller and smaller.

Make sure when you are ordering that you have reached an actual flower shop located in your desired area.They will have the expertise to help you and you will not be paying a tricky, middleman.

Read the next section for tips on how to tell a local florist from an order-taking phone bank.

Flower Shops vs. Middlemen - Read This!

Consumer Information about deceptive and misleading advertising and marketing practices of order gatherering companies.

So Many Styles to Consider

Here are some things to consider when choosing the style of your floral arrangement:

If it's going to the hospital, it may be better to choose something that will not take up too much table space.

If it will be a centerpiece to be used at a meal, it is best to keep it shorter than about a foot so that people can see each other over the flowers. "Long and low" is the term to describe a centerpiece for a long table and "all-around" refers to one for a round table.Your florist will know what to do.

If the table is quite long, you may want to ask for 3 arrangements which can span the length of the table rather than a large one in the middle. That way all your guests have a good view of the flowers. For special occasions, consider a teeny vase for a single flower at each place setting.

If it is for an entry table or a buffet which is up against a wall, a one-sided arrangement is best.

If it is for an artist-friend, then asking for something very creative is a good idea.

For a sympathy, consider asking your florist for a gourmet basket. It's a useful and welcome thing at the home of any grieving family.

For a funeral setting, consider bright colors in the lighter tones. Purples and blues usually do not show up well under funeral home lighting. You may be the kind of person who wants to ask for a very traditional, structured floral display, but I think that a looser garden look gives a nice feeling of nature and is pleasant to the eye and calming to the soul. Try it.

This yellow, monochromatic (all one color) bouquet features Gerbera daisies, roses, calla lilies and Oncidium orchids.
This yellow, monochromatic (all one color) bouquet features Gerbera daisies, roses, calla lilies and Oncidium orchids. | Source

Consider Color Schemes

It makes a difference

Color is probably the most noticed feature of a floral arrangement. Many studies have been done on the effects of color on mood and several have been conducted which specifically study the effects of color in floral arrangements.

One of the most elegant and interesting color choices is monochromatic, or a single color, such as all purples or all yellows. A monochromatic arrangement brings out the beauty of each flower, emphasizing different textures and variations in hue within the color you have chosen.

Shown here are lavender roses done in a compact style with all the flowers nestled together closely.
Shown here are lavender roses done in a compact style with all the flowers nestled together closely. | Source

Another Popular Design Idea

One-of-a-Kind

A striking and classic choice for an arrangement is to use only one kind of flower such as all mini calla lilies, all peonys or all tulips. Ask for the flower heads to be gathered close together with greens that compliment the flower and do not distract the eye. This creates a rich and stunning display and emphasizes the bloom rather than the stem. Consider doing something different when ordering roses and ask for short-stemmed roses in a compact design. This will place the focus on the beauty of the blooms and the patterns that are made as they nestle together and gradually open. You might order this using mixed colors of the same flower or as a monochromatic arrangement of all one color.

Shown here are lavender roses done in a compact style with all the flowers nestled together closely.

Crazy Things I've Actually Heard from Customers

Here are some examples of things customers have done when ordering flowers. None of them work well and I don't recommend doing any of them....

1. Place an order for your girlfriend, then order one for your wife, too. Scream at the florist when your wife opens the bill in the mail and asks who "Lisa" is.

2. Ask if the shop can open a personal house account for you because you can't afford to pay this month.

3. Ask them to not reveal to the recipient that you are the one who ordered the flowers. (Only to have the recipient complain to the florist later because you have actually been stalking her.) Then, ask for your money back because the recipient refused to accept the flowers.

4. Go on and on in great detail about exactly how you want the arrangement to look, then threateningly tell them that it had better look good, or else.

5. Ask for the most beautiful arrangement ever for $10.

A Great New Flower Book Aimed at Consumers

Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers
Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers

Here is a great new book for the consumer with lots of useful information on flowers. If you want to know more about ordering flowers, this is an excellent book to have! Its also great for designers and anyone who wants to learn more about the floral industry.

 
Source

Choosing Flowers for Valentine's Day

What you need to know about this floral holiday

Almost everyone wants to send roses for Valentine's Day. Its tradition, isn't it?. They are considered by some to be the most romantic flower and it's an easy choice. There are other options to consider, though. Do you know why you might want to think about sending something different? There are some good reasons.

On and around Valeninte's Day, rose prices go up considerably. Due to high demand, growers must force more blooms, driving up prices which are passed on to the retailers and to you, the consumer. By ordering something other than roses, you will get more for your money.

Roses aren't always the most romantic option. I think showing how well you know your sweetie is much more romantic than going with the norm. Be creative. Find out what her favorite flower is then shower her with those. Or, send her a bouquet using everything that was in her wedding bouquet.

Another interesting way to go is to research the messages behind each flower used in bouquets during the Victorian era, when a great deal of communication took place through the giving of nosegays of flowers.

Have fun with it. Men want to play it safe on Valentine's Day, but use your creativity when ordering your flowers and save some money at the same time.

Then, again, there are some women who really want those roses!

Let us all know what you think. Do you have flower-ordering experiences to share? What else would you like to know?

Your Opinion? Questions? Suggestions?

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    • profile image

      Graficflower 3 years ago

      Very good explanation of the steps to keep in mind about flowers delivery, flower shop in our online classes are producing all that sent Spain through our special treatment for flowers

    • njg profile image
      Author

      Nancy Graham 6 years ago

      @Runnn: That depends on her style and personality. Show her that you know and appreciate her by giving her something fit her style. If you describe her personality and style of dress, for instance, to your florist, they should be able to create something especially for her.

    • profile image

      Runnn 6 years ago

      My friend has grand opening for her dance studio. Can you suggest what flower should I give her?

    • profile image

      SulekhaYP 8 years ago

      nice lens, i really loved it and enjoyed reading it. just forwarded this lens to my florist friend to make use of it to grab customers since this lens is in customers point of view.

    • profile image

      windowbox 8 years ago

      Great Tips Regarding Flowering i am always curious abt Flowering. I also have some tips abt flowering if you do not have such space at your home than you can use Flower Window Boxes or Container Gardening.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Thanks again for another wonderful lens, and I have to thank you so much for posting the information that consumers need to know about the various "1-800 Flowers" and similar floral middlemen and such.As someone who's worked in the floral design trade I have dealt with too many complaints from customers in the past.Also, your advice on how NOT to deal with a florist/floral designer...I've had several of those happen, plus a few other nervewracking and hilarious incidents.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Very useful recommendations. Now I understand point of view of florists. It's so pity I always have no time to think much how to order flowers in best way.

      Best flower for present

    • Laura Schofield profile image

      Laura Schofield 9 years ago from Chicago, IL USA

      Fantastic tips on how to work best with your local florist! I've been reading a lot on florists and cut flowers lately, you've brought up a few points I hadn't thought of yet! I am putting together a lens on what to know about ordering flowers online, I'd be honored for you to leave your comments (it's only 2 days old though and a work in progress!).

    • LisaJesse profile image

      LisaJesse 10 years ago

      Hi ! Great work on your lens. I loved it!

      Lots of info and I can't wait to see more

      from you. Please visit my Sweet Honeymoons

      lens. How much do you love me? Hit me back and

      let me know! Your friend, ~ LISA ~

    • teamlane profile image

      teamlane 10 years ago

      Great lens. A 5 to you! This lens caught my eye as my husband and I completed a silk flower arranging class. He was the only guy, and did the best arrangements! Consider stopping by and checking out a new lens of mine, Cool Desert Nights. :o)

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      Useful info. More please!