How to find a florist in a different city

Toronto florist Periwinkle Flowers arranges a bouquet for delivery

Sending flowers to someone involves a bit of a leap of faith- you need to trust that the florist you order with is going to come through with something as gorgeous as you are imagining. 

Traditionally, sending flowers to a different city involved visiting your florist and placing an order through what is called a wire service, which meant that you chose from a book, paid the florist for the  order value plus some extra fees, who then "wired" or transferred the order to a florist in the destination city that was also part of the wire service. The destination florist would then fill the order for a little less than the order value, because what you don't know is that they aren't getting paid in full for the flowers- the starting florist gets a bit and the wire service operator gets a bit. And to make matters worse, in order to be able to pick your design out of a book, the designs offered have to be generic and "same" so that any florist anywhere on the service can recreate them, no matter the season. 

All of which means the end result is, almost always, immensely underwhelming.

But, we now have the wonderful magic of the world wide web, which means you can in fact google a florist in the city you are sending to and then visit their website to place your order (letting you see the floral style they make, choose from their specific options and avoid paying the extra fees).

So, when a client of mine asks how to send flowers to someone in another city, here is my advice:

  • do a google search for "florist" "the city you are looking for" and even add in "the postal or zip code" if you have it. So, to find a florist in Montreal, type in "florist Montreal A1A 1A1"
  • ignore the first few sponsored companies that come up that don't have a physical location in the city, these are usually what we call order gatherers, meaning they don't make the flowers, they just charge extra fees to take your order and transfer them, just like the old fashioned wire services did.
  • go down the list until you start seeing listings that show the florist is actually located in the city you are looking to send to (not just that they are able to send there, again to avoid the "order gatherers"
  • visit the websites of at least three florists that look like they are in the city you want to send to that have a physical address.
  • take a look at the style of work, do they have a look that appeals to you? Does their work look individual and unique? It can be harder to find in smaller areas, but you want to find a florist that is creating their own designs rather than using  the cookie cutter templates that you'll notice as you do your research. You want a florist that is creative in their design style and has their own photos of their work, showing that they are able to make up something unique for you no matter the season. 
  • You can place your order online, or try calling to speak to the florist directly. By chatting with them you will get a feel for how well they know their work and they should be able to guide you and explain what their designs will look like. Let them guide you through the order process, a top notch florist knows how to do this.
  •  DON'T try to tell the florist exactly the flowers you want included, in my experience this only ties their hands and makes it so much harder for them to create something special for you. Remember, you probably know far fewer flower names than they have on hand so you'll end up missing out on so much beauty if you direct them not to use blooms by not including them in your list. Same goes for colours, give an idea of softer or stronger but don't limit them to just one or two colours, it will result in a much less creative design.
  • INSTEAD, try to describe the "vibe" or style you are looking for, such as "english country garden", "eclectic" or "wildflower", which can help them understand if they make the style of work that you would like.
By doing just a little bit of searching to find a florist that is actually located in the city you are sending to, plus has their own creative style of design that you can see, you will undoubtedly be much happier with the end design they deliver and can avoid paying extra fees that don't go towards your floral gift.