If your loved one’s affection in February depends entirely on the size and grandeur of the Valentine’s Day bouquet you bought... you might have some deeper relationship issues.
We can’t help with those. But we can help you shop wisely for flowers in February, and earn you some extra brownie points without throwing money down the drain—which isn’t a very attractive thing to do anyway.
1. Visit a local florist
If you follow only one piece of advice on our list, make it this one.
Look, it’s tempting to feel taken advantage of when shopping for Valentine’s Day flowers. But of course what you’re really experiencing is simple economics. Namely a combination of low supply (flowers in the middle of winter) and high demand due to the holiday. There are also a number of well-positioned and well-advertised companies that offer more convenience in exchange for even more money.
So your first step should be to cut out these middlemen. Companies like 1-800-Flowers.com do ship their own boxed flowers, but the best bouquets are contracted out to local florists in your area. You can simply call or visit these very same florists.
They’ll probably be delighted to see you, too. A direct sale means better profits for them, and better prices for you. Everyone wins.
2. Don't scoff at the supermarket
Supermarket flowers were once justification for a breakup. Nowadays, local supermarkets often carry an impressive selection including orchids, cacti, perennials, and—of course—roses. You can find pre-arranged bouquets or ask the florist to help you create something special for your lover.
We’re not necessarily talking about pricier shops like Wegmans or Whole Foods, either (although they do carry beautiful cut flowers too). Nope, your local grocery store might be all you need, and at a lower cost.
Worst case scenario: You walk in, you don’t like what you see, you don’t buy them. Best case: You cross Valentine’s Day off your to-do list at a fraction of the cost while you stock up on milk and bread before the next big snow storm. Your significant other will surely love that.
3. Reserve your delivery time early
If you must go with an online retailer like The Bouqs, 1-800-Flowers or FTD, don't wait until the last minute to order. Even if they promise guaranteed delivery on Valentine's Day, it's the busiest day of the year for florists and there's a good chance your order won't show up on time.
Let me tell you, an email confirmation that you bought flowers is a sweet gesture, but it's never remotely as good as the real thing. Try to place your order as early as possible, no later than February 9 to ensure your order is processed with plenty of time to spare. This goes for online and in-store orders. Your local florists will almost definitely run out of the best bouquets early.
If you're down to the wire, you'll end up paying way more for the delivery fee when you try to order a bouquet online anyway. Save your wallet and set aside time to find a gift in a brick and mortar store. Even if it's not flowers, an actual gift is better than nothing. Bonus points if you can surprise your significant other to deliver your present in person.
4. Don't accessorize
Along with your bouquet, most flower retailers will offer teddy bears or chocolates or special vases, giving you the opportunity to express your love with still more money. They often present it as a great deal, bundling two gifts in one so you can do all your Valentine's shopping at once. But really, these gifts are typically low quality—poorly made stuffed bears and waxy chocolates—and you end up pay way more than you should, even with that so-called discount.
Don’t bite. Love comes from selflessness, long conversations, and time. Not stuffed animals and candy. If you do want to supplement your flowers with something long-lasting, there are surely better alternatives at any retailer except the one currently trying to upsell you. Besides, this way you can get your significant other something personal they'll actually love instead of that hokey generic teddy bear.
5. Don't forget the promo code
If you’ve gone the online retailer route and you’re ready to place your order, stop right there. If you spend 10 seconds googling that retailer’s name + “promo code,” it could save you anywhere from a few bucks (like free shipping) to $20 or more on your order. You can also install the Honey Chrome extension, which will automatically seek out any coupons or promo codes and apply them for you when you're ready to check out.
Success or failure here depends on which promotions the company happens to be running. But if you’re shopping for roses in the middle of February, you better believe there’s a sale or two going on.
6. Go get 'em, tiger
Now that you know how to avoid all the pitfalls of buying flowers on Valentine's Day, you're guaranteed to pull off the cheesy overly romantic show of affection your significant other has been hinting at all year.
The only thing you have left to do right now is either get everything squared away as soon as you're done reading this or put a reminder in your phone to take care of things when your next paycheck comes. You're going to do whatever it takes to guarantee the special someone in your life feels as incredible as you feel about them.