Flower Etiquette

by Claire Valenty on August 15, 2010

in Everyday Etiquette


Is it ok to give your sister a single flower for her birthday?  Is it acceptable to give your Japanese teacher a bouquet of white tulips?  The answers can be found in our article on Flower Etiquette.

Flowers are beautiful, smell wonderful and receiving them can make someone feel really special. But, before you make flowers your go-to gift when you are in doubt of what to give, make sure you know proper flower etiquette!

  • Red roses are reserved exclusively for lovers. There are never any exceptions. Don’t believe me? Send red roses to your boss. See how the office gossip flies!
  • Speaking of colors, if sending flowers to someone from a different culture than you, do some research on color meanings. For example, in Mexico, red casts spells and white lift spells. However, in Asia, red represents happiness and white is a reminder of funeral and mourning.
  • Funeral flower etiquette states that if the family of the deceased have asked for donations to a charity in lieu of flowers at the funeral, you must respect their wishes. However, it is acceptable to send flowers the day after the funeral in addition to your donation to convey your sympathy and best wishes. If you are in doubt as to what type of flower to send, every florist will be able to help you put something personally together or they will have arrangements already made for you to choose from.
  • While not such an issue in the US, in many places, it is considered unlucky to give an odd number of flowers. The exception is giving a lover a single flower.
  • According to the men in my life, young and old, they do not like getting flowers. They may tell you to your face that they do, but, they will hide those things the second you move out of sight. And don’t ever, ever have flowers delivered to their work – they will never live it down!

When you have doubts about flower etiquette, you are in luck – consult your local florist. They have spent a lot of time in the field and know what is socially acceptable for every occasion!

Photo: stock.xchng/Israel Papillon

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Scarlet Michaels September 8, 2011 at 3:01 am

It is a better approach when observing funeral flower etiquette to refer with the bereaved family if they want to accept the flowers and ask some suggestions to the florist for a beautiful funeral flower arrangement.

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