Flower Buying Guide: How to Choose the Perfect Bouquet When Time Is Short

Have you ever been stumped on what flowers to buy for what occasion? Me too!

I mean, there are so many occasions where flowers are appropriate to give. Whether it’s just to express gratitude, or to give a bouquet appreciating a friendship – flowers are usually perfect.  For someone going through a period of grief, or just to present at a housewarming, you also cannot go wrong with a bouquet. 

It doesn’t really matter what the occasion, flowers are guaranteed to evoke a feeling of warmth, so don’t forget to buy for yourself too.

But, I get that you are busy, and buying a bespoke bouquet or even finding the right flowers can sometimes be time consuming.  

Therefore, it’s a very good idea to train your eyes and nose to know how to buy flowers even with your eyes closed to never go wrong – because you can.

wedding flower bouquet

HOW NOT TO CHOOSE A MEDIOCRE FLOWER BOUQUET

Have you ever been to a wedding where the eye-catching bouquets are extravagantly displayed and think “This is amazing, I’d really like to be able copy this look”?

The solution is not to make the mistake of having low standards when buying flowers.

First, we know there are many places you can grab a good quality bouquet on the go, including in the supermarket, dashing through the doors at closing time of the local florist, or online specialty flower shops.

Mistake number one is to buy flowers in the afternoons after they have been plucked for a while. I know you’ve been there, looking at heavily discounted thirsty depressed wilted petals nodding halfway to the cold floor.

Another is buying flowers that are generic, sparse, and out of season.

Wilted Flower

Even if you are in a rush, check a few things before you buy. 

  • Get in season flowers that are longer stemmed as these can last up to three weeks after being cut and properly cared for.
  • Check the bouquet to ensure all the flowers have fresh petals, not just the ones in the middle.
  • Try and buy bouquets that have a variety of colors of the same flower or variegated petals.
  • Alternatively, buy flowers in the same color scheme as this is classier.
  • Choose flowers that have a distinctive appearance that are larger in size to capture the attention
PEONY BOUQUET

WHAT FLOWERS TO BUY

Smell them!  Flowers are meant to be gently fragrant, that is why so many perfumes and fragrances are inspired by them.

Keep your repertoire minimal so there is no confusion when you go to buy.  Have about four types of flowers that you elect as your “go-to” which are easily accessible – which can include

  • Roses
  • Hydrangeas
  • Lily of the Valley or any Lily species
  • Peonies
  • Hyacinths

Choose any freshly fragrant rose, such as White Kennedy Roses or Juliet Roses.  

Roses are usually accessible all year round and since they are popular, they are easy to find.  Experiment to find the ones which capture your olfactory preference and memorise it.  Otherwise, just add it to your inventory.

JULIET ROSE

Hydrangeas in the pom pom style are great in either blue, pink, purple or white and are very popular due their flamboyant flair.  They are usually the choice for wedding centre pieces, garden gifts or for housewarmings.  However, beware that when they are cut and put into bouquets they do wilt rather fast.

I like to call myself a black thumb – meaning I cannot grow a living thing without invariably causing it much harm.  Hydrangeas, however, have been immune to my murderous skills, and have miraculously survived my neglect in the patch I call a garden.  

If you are like me, choose these perfect specimens for longevity.

hydrangea plant

I absolutely adore the Lily of the Valley

This an amazing flower to give as it’s sweetly scented with dainty bell-formed petals uncommon in temperate climates.  

Oh how I miss these flowers I took for granted, that are so very common in the Caribbean, but quite expensive elsewhere.

Due to its elusiveness, it makes the perfect gift.  

lilies of the valley

Peonies are another great choice which make striking bouquets.  The large conspicuous heads are very similar to hydrangeas, but so much more delicate.

You cannot go wrong with these.

peony flowers

Hyacinths are amazingly lightly fragrant flowers and wonderful to give for housewarmings or overall well wishing.  

Some people are aware the meaning of flowers or what they represent, so I would avoid getting yellow hyacinths, as it is associated with jealousy.

On the other hand, the purple hyacinth is traditionally given as a symbol of sorrow and regret, making it appropriate to present at funerals.

They are good anchors in bouquets as they can be mixed and matched with other long stemmed flowers.

hyacinth flowers

RARE FLOWERS FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS

If you want to take it up a notch and really impress with your flower giving prowess, my friends from the East recommend some exotic flowers I’ve never heard of. 

They would be difficult to find here in the West, but if you are on holiday in any of the countries mentioned and want to give the perfect flower surprise for an engagement or honeymoon gift – have a look below.

From the Phillipines – Queen of the Night is an exotic rare flower that would make a perfect honeymoon or engagement gift.

If you are in Bali or anywhere in Indonesia, the most beautiful flowers I hear bloom at night and make the perfect surprise when planned.  However, it would be advisable to check with the locals beforehand so you are not left sheepishly egg faced.

In India and Sri Lanka, the sacred Brahma Kamal also is an awe-inspiring bloom. Just joining in the experience of seeing it gently unfold in all its glory is something to engage in if you can.

BRAHMA KAMAL

ONLINE FLOWER BOUTIQUES

If you are super busy and really have no time to dally in flower shops, then having a few online suppliers in your directory is always a good option.

It is useful to experiment with buying for the office or home first, to see the quality of the flowers and how long they last for.  Sometimes it’s also better to have a relationship with a company so if you are in a bind, you can get a more personalised service.

My online custom is biased towards Freddie’s Flowers, for gifting myself bouquets.  They have an amazingly friendly team who supply awesome in-season long stemmed flowers that have lasted me almost an entire month! The good thing is that you can even get the seeds to propagate your garden because I’m just an advocate for all things sustainable.  Win – win! 

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