How to Buy (the Right) Flowers for Your Significant Other

It's a nice gesture no matter what you get, but there are a few ways to do it especially well.

Who doesn't love getting flowers?

Nobody, that's who. Whether you've been dating for three months or have been married for thirty years, a bouquet of fresh-cut stems is an easy, thoughtful, and relatively cheap way to brighten someone's day. Which is why you shouldn't limit them to special occasions. And while you can't really go wrong if you're thoughtful enough to buy some flowers for your significant other – it's the thought that counts, after all – there are some small things to keep in mind when you're at the flower shop that'll make the gift that much better.

Find Out if They Have Any Favorites

If you've been dating for a while, you should probably know this. If not, you're gonna have to take a stab in the dark. but try to make it a somewhat educated guess. For some people, that's easy – I've got a big sleeve tattoo of lilacs on my arm, for example, so it's a safe bet that I'd love a bouquet of those. For most, though, you've got to give it some more thought. If your significant other likes to go see the blooms of something specific at the local botanical garden each year, or has a certain kind of flower that he or she tends to buy for around the house, you've got your answer.

Even if you don't have an obvious cue to go on, try to look for one. Has he or she put out flowers before? Is there a particular floral scent in the cologne or perfume that they wear? If you can't think of anything else, you can always just go by color. Get something bright and bold if that's their style, or go simple with white blooms if they favor more minimal styles.

Don't Settle for the Basics

Yeah, a bouquet of roses is pretty. It's also kinda boring. Unless you know that roses are your partner's favorite flower, it's sort of a cop out – it shows that you didn't put any real thought into the gift beyond just swinging by the florist and buying the most generic option. So try to go above and beyond. If you don't have any idea of what they prefer, as per the point above, pick out something that looks unique. Peonies, ranunculus, and chrysanthemums are nice options, but every shop will have different stuff – take some time to browse around.

Steer Clear of Pre-Made Bouquets

Nine times out of ten, these look overly manicured and slightly tacky. A ready-made bouquet from a big chain florist is still a nice gift, but they lack a sense of personality – which is what you're really chasing here. So unless you're at a small, artful shop that really knows what they're doing, avoid them.

Instead, pick out a half dozen or so of whatever flower (or combination of flowers) you settled on, and then ask the florist to round it out with a lot of greenery and/or inexpensive filler flowers. That way, you get the best of both worlds: you're giving them something that's full and ready to go into a vase as-is, but doesn't look too cookie cutter. Oh, and it's also a great way to save some cash. You can pick out a handful of, say, peonies for a few bucks per stem, then round it out with a whole lot of free or inexpensive greenery for a large bouquet that doesn't break the bank.

Get a Vase

If it's your first time gifting flowers and/or if you're unsure that they'll have a place to put them – like if you're dropping them off at their office – then including a simple, inexpensive vase is a nice touch. It's not strictly necessary, but adds a little extra thoughtfulness to the gesture.

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