We’re now past mid-January, which leaves us less than a month until Valentine’s Day. In anticipation, we thought we’d help with a little primer on flowers:
Rule #1: Save Money, Order Early
A key benefit to ordering flowers early is it ensures they actually get ordered. We all know what happens when we procrastinate, so amend your January to-do list by adding flower shopping sometime before February.
Meanwhile, ordering the month before will also save you a good bit of money. Roses ordered during the second week of February can cost four times more than those ordered ahead of time—so get in before the climb. (A bit of advice: don’t aim to save money by ordering early; instead, aim to spend the same amount and make a larger impression.)
Rule #2: Buy Artisan, Buy Local
Browse through a few online floral giants and you’ll see a very common disclaimer: actual arrangement may vary.
I once ordered a romantic bouquet online, and what arrived looked like hospital flowers. Substitutions that extreme might be rare, but they’re not worth risking. Find a local florist (not a grocery store or pharmacy) who will create your order based on your one-to-one input, not on stock photography and online order numbers.
Rule #3: Be Thoughtful, Be Prepared
Prepare a general idea of your preferences prior to contacting a florist. To do this, you first need to prepare an idea of your significant other’s general preferences. Unless you’re matched with the rare partner who detests roses (rest assured you’ll have heard this rant several times if this were the case), you likely want the rose as your foundation.
If you’ve heard whisperings of a favorite flower, now is the time to capitalize on them. (If not, February 14 is far enough away to allow you to inquire without much suspicion.)
A great alternative, though, is to just request the arrangement center around your match’s favorite color. Are you dating someone who drives a yellow convertible? Yellow might be your most thoughtful choice. Did you help them paint the bedroom purple? You might want to tell that to your florist.
Don’t tell your bartender I said this, but flowers are a lot like beer. Sure, some beers are better than others, but any is better than none—and I’ve never gone wrong by going local (think microbrew) and enlisting the help of an expert.
*Finally, if you’re reading this a few days before Valentine’s Day and need a Hail Mary pass, go with guaranteed one- or two-day delivery from Amazon Prime. Their Curated Flower Collection comes with better guarantees than a lot of their competitors, and Amazon is large enough not to depend on the price hikes of specialty florists. (And if you’re truly desperate and find yourself flowerless on the morning of February 14, don’t rush to the corner gas station. Instead, try an upscale natural market like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Their selections are often sourced from fair-wage growers with a higher emphasis on quality.)