Introduction: Clueless Guy's Guide to Buying Flowers

About: From time to time, I'll provide Amazon affiliate links. When you click on them, it helps me continue to contribute awesome Instructables.

Here's your foolproof guide to choosing the perfect bouquet to impress your miss. It doesn't take a lot of money or any kind of floral-knowledge to knock her socks off! A few easy-to-remember pointers is all you'll need for the rest of your life.

Step 1: Learn at Least a Little Something About Your Girl

What color does she like? If you have no idea, think about what colors she often wears or has about her. What color is her bag, her phone, her shoes, her laptop? Chances are the answers are all around you.

How would you describe her? Edgy? Nature-y? Soft and romantic? Career/goal-oriented? Delicate or bold? Shy or outgoing? Funny, quirky, serious? Even just one or two descriptors will help.

Is she allergic to flowers? Worth finding out. If you don't want to be obvious and ask, find some flowers when you're out together for her to smell. That'll give you a good idea.

Step 2: What Do You Want to Say?

Decide what your gesture is trying to say.

  • I like you and want to pursue something further?
  • Thanks for a great evening?
  • I'm totally in love with you and want everyone to know it?
  • Happy birthday/anniversary/batmizvah?
  • I'm really sorry for what I did/said/forgot?
  • I was just thinking how much you might like these flowers for no reason at all? (this is an especially good one)

Step 3: Find a Florist

Look in the phone book to find a local florist. If there are multiple florists and reviews available, check those out to help you with a decision. If you can't find one nearby, try to find a grocer with a floral counter. Even this is better than nothing!

If there's one near you, a farmers' market is also a great place to find fresh flowers and support local growers.

Step 4: Get Help From a Pro

It's fine to stop and look at all of the pre-arranged bouquets they have to offer. But know this: you'll get more for your money by getting something custom made

After you've had a look around, find someone who works there and tell them the following things:

  • "I want an arrangement made for (occasion/reason)." .Even if the flowers are to say "I'm sorry," fess up, and the florist will totally look after you.
  • "I want to use (girl's favorite colors)." The florist will usually recommend a couple complimentary colors. If your girl is bolder, go for opposite or contrasting colors. If she's softer, go for a palette of similar shades.
  • "I want it to look (however you would describe your girl)." This will help the florist choose shapes and sizes of blooms, along with extra greenery to fill out the arrangement.
  • "I want to spend (your budget)." Let the florist know right away what your price range is so they can work your budget to its fullest. Don't be shy, or you will end up with sticker shock.

Don't be afraid to be original. Roses aren't for every girl or every occasion. There's a chance you're not the first guy to hand over a dozen roses, so make sure you find some way to stand out! If you do decide to go with roses, ask the florist for recommendations to avoid boring standards.

Now watch them go to work! People love to be asked for their advice, and this is a great way to encourage creativity from someone who might otherwise be spending their day picking brown petals off of dying blooms.

Added bonus: florists will often go over your budget a little without charging extra if it completes the look or enhances their design. They want to take pride in their work as much as you do and will often offer up a nicer bouquet than you could have bought pre-arranged!

Step 5: What to Do If You Can't Find a Florist

Try to avoid going to the convenience store/gas station to buy your flowers, but if you absolutely HAVE to resort to this, there are still ways you can class up your act:

  • Remove the plastic from the flowers
  • Buy some colored tissue paper, butcher paper or craft paper and some ribbon or raffia or whatever you can find to tie them up with
  • Make your own card (see step 6)

Step 6: Write a Card

This is the hard part, but you'll be OK!

Keep it short and simple. Avoid anything generic or cheesy and make it sincere. Even a few well chosen words will go farther than some over-quoted sonnet.

If you're totally stuck, I recommend using a famous quotes site. I recommend Bartelby's or where you can type a word or phrase into a box and get a slew of results! But be specific: a search on "love" will leave you reeling. Find a word that has some significance to you or the occasion, and go from there.

Remember, when quoting someone, include their name at the end of the quote. Otherwise your girl may think you're trying to pull one over on her! Make sure to give credit where credit is due.

Step 7: Give Flowers, Get Kisses!!

The last step is to decide when and how to deliver your precious gift.

If you're picking her up at her house, the flowers-behind-the-back trick is classic.

If you're going to be out together all day, consider whether she'll want to be carrying around a big bunch of flowers on your adventures (probably not). If this is the case, invest in a cheap cooler and store them in your car's trunk until the date is over. If you don't have a car or trunk, get creative. Your thoughtfulness will be appreciated.

If you're meeting her at work/school, decide if she's the kind of girl that likes attention. If so, spring the flowers on her when there are plenty of other people around. If not, wait until you're alone.

Final tip:
If you're picking a girl up for a date from her house, and you're meeting her mother for the first time - buy the flowers for your girl. Have a separate, single stem of something truly beautiful to give to her mom. Serious points all around. Seriously.

Step 8: Special Thanks

Special thanks to: