If you’ve ever found yourself on the phone to your florist, struggling for the right words to describe what you want, read on. With the help of our resident expert, Freddie Wahid-Staw, we’re going to explore the language of flowers and what terms you can use to order your perfect bouquet.
“I think all florists will agree, there are lots of grey areas when it comes to describing flowers,” says Freddie. “Your idea of classic may be someone else’s ‘contemporary’, and a whole look can turn on its head depending on the colour scheme. The trick is coming together with a common language and being very clear on what you want.”
A dearly loved McQueens resident after eight years as head of sales, Freddie handles the majority of incoming calls to our Bethnal Green HQ and he certainly knows a thing or two about crafting the perfect bouquet and making sure our clients get exactly what they want.
State the occasion
“After asking about what type of flowers, of course, the first thing I ask is, what’s the occasion?” explains Freddie. “This more than anything dictates what will work. The language of flowers is a very subtle but meaningful one, and you certainly don’t want to send your business colleague something romantic accidentally (or worse still, send a corporate bouquet to your partner!). It’s all in the detail, so always be clear about what you want and do tell us who it is for.”
Specify colours, then season
For many of us it’s natural to describe cool, muted colours as ‘wintery’ and warm colours as ‘summery’ however, it’s not always a surefire way of getting what you want.
“A pale, pastel bouquet, for example, may be described as summery by the client but wintery by a florist, or vice versa,” says Freddie.
“It’s best to specify what colours you’d like before you talk about the season. This way you will ensure you get the colours that you want, with varieties that beautifully reflect the time of year, too.”
Understand the difference between “the four Cs”
Naturally, there are a multitude of ways to describe bouquets. However, as a general rule of thumb, they can be broken down into the four Cs: Classic, Contemporary, Country and Corporate.
“Put simply, classic is an evenly distributed combination of flowers and foliage in a popular colour palette,” explains Freddie.
“Our Harvest bouquet is a great example of this, it has an even blend of flowers and visible foliage with a recognisably ‘warm’ colour scheme. It’s also relatively compact, but not too tight.”
“Contemporary is something a little more avant-garde,” says Freddie. “Perhaps a monochromatic colour scheme with little visible foliage, or modern materials that will give the bouquet a little edge.”
“Our popular festive bouquet, Noël, is an excellent example of a contemporary take on a traditional theme — the materials say classic but the monochromatic colour scheme says otherwise.”
“Country implies traditional but looser and a little more natural, often with wild or British-grown flowers – think Country Living Magazine,” explains Freddie.
“Essentially it’s a classic bouquet with more movement. Our Mamma Mia bouquet is a great example of this — it’s full of English country garden flowers, deliberately arranged at different heights.”
Last but not least, corporate is, as you might imagine, something suitable to send from business to business. Something clean, classy, simple — the opposite of fussy.
“We have many business clients and while it’s not unusual for someone to ask for something informal, a corporate bouquet is an ideal option for something that balances the line between friendly and professional,” explains Freddie.
“This typically means a fresh, simple palette, usually incorporating a white or cream. The Austen bouquet is a good example, with its neutral white and green tones, it’s an ideal gift for a professional partner.”
Lastly, if all else fails, it’s always worth mentioning what you definitely don’t want, as Freddie reasons:
“This is a great solution for when you want something fabulous but would prefer not to include certain varieties. Giving a florist a free reign will never fail to produce something bespoke and gorgeous and you may just end up discovering your new favourite bouquet.”