8 Tips For Buying Valentine's Day Flowers Online

Aside from chocolates and cards, sending flowers on Valentine’s Day has become pretty standard, but we’ve all heard the horror stories about ordering flowers online. The flowers were dead on arrival, the vase was cracked, or the bouquet never came at all. Those are all worst-case scenarios, of course, but since a lot of guys and gals are expecting a dozen red roses on Feb. 14, you better make sure the flowers you’re ordering online are legit — or you might have a Valentine's Day nightmare on your hands.

The first Valentine’s Day my boyfriend and I spent together, he came by my job to drop off an arrangement of roses in a simple, glass vase. And even though the flowers only lasted a week or two, every time I looked at them, I thought of him and smiled. A lot of people get hung up on the cruel fact that flowers eventually die, but even though that is, unfortunately, the case, they are also a simple way to brighten up a work space and remind someone how much you love them, at least for a little bit. And while, sure, there are probably some things women want more than flowers, I don’t know anyone who would be upset about receiving a big bouquet of their favorite petals.

Because not everyone can hand deliver their flowers to their SO or best friend or relatives, we have to rely on flower delivery sites to do the work for us. But before you place your orders, here are eight need-to-know tips to make sure your flower bouquets make someone smile this Valentine's Day — and you know, actually arrive on time.

1. Shop Local (If You Can)

I’m sure we’ve all browsed or received flowers from big name delivery companies like 1-800-Flowers or ProFlowers, but a lot of local florists now take online orders, too. Before ordering from a national franchise, see what’s available from the florist down the street. The flowers will probably be fresher, and the delivery will be cheaper, since it’s right in your neighborhood.

2. Read Reviews

Before going with a specific florist or site, read the reviews. Sometimes the sites have reviews of their arrangements and services, but you can also find them on Yelp or the Better Business Bureau website.

3. Select Arrangements That Are In Season

One of the things people complain about the most regarding Valentine’s Day flowers is the price. Yeah, the price might be jacked up because it’s Valentine’s Day, but it might also be because those red roses everyone insists on buying aren’t in season for most of the country. Roses usually bloom from spring to fall (though they can still bloom in sunny climates during the winter), which is why it costs a pretty penny to get them on V-Day. A quick Google search will yield results on which flowers are in season in your area, so look for those when buying — typically, they’ll be cheaper, and they will arrive in better condition.

4. Find Flowers That Are Meaningful

Just so you guys know: Roses aren’t the only flowers that mean love, and roses aren’t the only flowers you can send on Valentine's Day. Dozens of readily available flowers have very specific meanings, so find some that send a meaningful message to your recipient. Send chrysanthemums (you’re a wonderful friend) to your bestie, lilies (beauty) to your mom, and sunflowers (you’re adorable) to your crush. Of course, you could also just send your person their favorite flower if you know it, but personalized choices are sure to put a smile on their face.

5. Decide How You Want the Flowers to Arrive

Depending on the company you order from, your flowers will either be delivered in a vase or in a box. Usually, this will be indicated when you purchase the arrangement. There’s no definitive answer regarding whether flowers in vases or boxes last longer, but recipients can take measures to ensure that the flowers you sent them keep. If you’re sending flowers to your SO at work, go with a vase arrangement, since they probably don’t have one readily available at the office. But you might want to go with a box selection if you’re sending them to your very picky grandmother — that way she can arrange them herself!

6. Check Shipping and Delivery Times

A lot of sites will offer same-day delivery, especially for Valentine’s Day, but you can also order in advance and have your flowers delivered whenever you want. Can you imagine how many orders florists and delivery companies get this time of year? Sometimes it can take a few days for your order to process, and you might pay less in shipping if you plan ahead.

7. Compare Prices

Valentine’s Day or otherwise, flowers are expensive, right? Before you commit to buying anything, check a few sites and compare prices on similar arrangements. Take into account shipping costs and any handling fees that come with them. Some sites might even have a coupon code you can use!

8. Check Out Customer Service

Make sure that any site you order from has a customer service line and a written refund/replacement policy. Just in case the flowers arrive damaged or wilted, you’ll want to be able to get it handled properly. If ordering by phone, ask for the confirmation number and if ordering online, keep the confirmation page just in case. The company will probably send you a confirmation email with a tracking number, so you can make sure your delivery arrives on time, too.

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