You’ve decided to send a bouquet of beautiful blooms to someone you care about (hint: Mother’s Day is coming up). You find yourself standing in my shop, staring at the blank card, hoping for inspiration. Then you glance at the clock because you have to dash, but the words aren’t flowing. Do you say something funny, clever or inspiring? What’s it going to be?
Writer’s block: it’s a real thing! Writing a seemingly simple card message can leave you feeling stuck in a mire of clichéd, tired sayings. Even when you say them in your head, they fall flat, never mind putting them down in print.
This ends TODAY! Owning a flower shop has its privileges – like helping you devise those concise meaningful words (often in 140 characters or less) in a jiffy. Here are my tips to get you through the block:
Use someone else’s words
Go with a famous quote. It’s not as personal and might not fully express what you’re trying to say but an appropriate quote does carry a lot of class. The person on the receiving end will appreciate the thought behind it.
Think about the occasion
Graduation, new baby, wedding, illness? What’s the tone that you want to express? Sadness, empathy, excitement, happiness? Your message should reflect that tone.
For annual occasions like birthdays and holidays, avoid repetition. As a Mom, and a flower shop owner, I can surely say it’s safe to move beyond “I love you, Mom”.Try sharing a recent memory, even if mundane. It keeps the visual memories alive longer.
For sombre occasions, err on the side of traditional.I have seen people try to be funny on a condolence card. You really need to be sure that the person will take it in the spirit with which it was intended, or risk offending.
As a side note, humour is a great option for many occasions, and can really give your recipient a treat, in addition to the blooms! But you have to do it well. If in doubt, take a pass.
Think about the recipient
Is your boss getting married? The style doesn’t need to be formal, but you probably don’t want to refer to ‘the old ball and chain’ or something in that vein! Is your new love working out? Probably not the time to mention past relationships, then. You see where I’m going here? Depending on who is getting your blooms and your words, tailor your tone and message accordingly.
Examples of greetings, to go from boring to illuminating!
Instead of “Thanks for everything, Mom”, try:
“Sooner or later we all quote our mothers. –- Bern Williams”
Forget ‘Happy Birthday’ and try:
“Sending you a bouquet of happiness… the same kind of happiness you bring to me. Happy birthday!”
Change “with sympathy…condolences” to: “When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure.”
Instead of “I love you lots”, try: “If I had a flower for every time I thought of you … I could walk through my garden forever —Alfred Tennyson”
Skip “congratulations on your new baby/home/graduation” and say:“And now the adventure begins…”
Skip “hope these brighten your day”, and opt for: “Every day may not be good but there is something good in every day — Alice Morse Earle”.
Now you’ve got the tools to come up with something that reads as if you spent hours on it. As much as you take care in choosing the right blooms to express what you want to say, your words matter too. Since Mother’s Day is coming up we’ll give you a head start – visit us at West Elm 2434 Yonge St (at Eglinton) Saturday May 12, 12-5pm for Mother’s Day bouquets and our complimentary greeting cards that double as a bookmark. Please stop by!
Jamie Hengartner is Founder & Chief Creative Officer of Rylea Bloom Floral Studio, at Yonge and Eglinton, where meaningful flower designs are created for offices, restaurants, weddings, everyday milestones, and for a growing network of clients seeking refreshing floral "therapy". She also brings over a decade of marketing and communication expertise gained from a flourishing career in the financial industry. Nowadays, when she is not designing she is enjoying precious time with her young family.