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How to Choose Flowers for Each Occasion

Ioana Andrei
Flowers engage the senses in ways many other gifts don’t. How they look, feel, and smell provokes different emotions, depending on the arrangement—from joy to calm and contemplation. However, choosing the flower type and bouquet style for specific occasions is no easy task. Missing the mark, especially at events such as a first date or a funeral service, may cause embarrassment—at best.

No need to stress, however. This article explains how best to pick flowers for different occasions, with plenty of examples to make your life easier. Plus, there are recommendations for some online flower delivery services that can send the arrangements on your behalf.

How To Choose Flowers for Each Occasion

Here’s a selection of special events and how to select flowers creatively for each one.


Choosing your loved one’s favorite bloom or color is a foolproof way of getting birthday flowers right. For instance, do they adore roses and the colors pink and blue? Consider a pink rose bouquet complemented with blue irises. If you’re unsure of their preference, popular birthday picks include brightly colored lilies, gerberas, and carnations.

To mark the time of the year they were born, you can also opt for seasonal blooms. For instance:

  • Dahlias, irises, sunflowers, or even a pot of hydrangeas or lavender during summer

  • Chrysanthemums, snapdragons, asters, and marigolds in autumn

  • Year-round flowers like roses, orchids, camellias, or lilies in winter

  • Tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, columbines, or freesias during spring

Mother’s Day

The best bouquet for Mother’s Day is the one containing her favorite flowers. If you’re not sure what they are, why not ask her? Even better, ask for her top three picks and hire a florist, such as 1-800-Flowers.com, to create an arrangement with all of them.

Here’s another option—surprise her! Popular Mother’s Day choices include carnations, roses, lilies, tulips, and chrysanthemums. Get a massive bouquet with just one flower type to signal stability, or combine two or more complementing blooms for a creative effect.

Romantic dates

Different flower arrangements can signal different intentions and emotions depending on the date. Here’s how to pick the right one.

  • First date: Signal your early feelings (without getting too ahead of yourself) with tulips, gerberas, lilies, or pink roses if you’re feeling bold. You can also go seasonal—say, spring hyacinths or summer irises.

  • Going-steady dates: By now, you may (or should) know your partner’s favorite flowers. Keep it creative by centering the bouquet around their top preference—purple tulips— and adding “sidekick” blooms like freesias and carnations.

  • Valentine’s Day: You can’t go wrong with a classic bouquet of red roses (or even a single red rose), signifying commitment and passion. However, you can mix it up if you’ve been together for a while. For instance, combine red roses with pink and cream ones or offer them a bouquet of vividly colored orchids.


Sending newlyweds a generous bouquet to their home, hotel, or honeymoon destination is a thoughtful way of showing your support. Go for the couple’s flower preferences if you know them, or follow these creative suggestions.

  • Did you know that sweet peas are customary at French weddings? Mix them with larger blooms, like peonies or dahlias, for a bouquet with a natural feel.

  • Modern weddings increasingly feature bold accent flowers in deep blue, dark purple, or bright orange colors. Why not find out the wedding’s color scheme and add a matching bouquet of blue roses or purple orchids?

  • Want to stay classic? Choose white flowers. For instance, blooms such as white roses, peonies, gardenias, and lilies are unfailing choices. 

  • If you’re superstitious, you may avoid flowers that bring “bad luck” to weddings. These include red carnations, white or red poppies, lavender, marigolds, and yellow roses.

Baby showers

Your floral choice at a baby shower is as much for the parents-to-be as for the baby. So, create a bouquet that communicates joy, hope, celebration, and purity. All-white bouquets, symbolizing innocence, are extremely popular, with classic options including roses, lilies, and orchids.

Think also of the parents’ style and personalities. For instance, if they’re quite quirky and decorate their home in vibrant color patterns, add a splash of color to your white bouquet—a magenta rose or purple gerbera.


Anniversary flowers help celebrate milestones by denoting longevity and growth. Here’s how to pick them for different occasions.

  • Wedding anniversary: Show your admiration for the couple’s love and resilience with a classic rose bouquet (red, white, or yellow), complemented with lilies, freesias, or carnations. Alternatively, opt for a potted flower like a hydrangea to suggest continued growth. 

  • Work anniversary: A long, dedicated career deserves a sumptuous bouquet. First, consider the recipient’s profession. For instance, an artist may prefer an experimental arrangement, while an engineer might enjoy a more classic pick. Furthermore, mixed bouquets work well for work anniversaries, symbolizing prosperity and the idea of flourishing.

  • Meaningful milestones: For other personal milestones, match your bouquet with the mood of the occasion. For instance, you might get a joyful, multicolored seasonal bouquet for someone celebrating their immigration anniversary. Conversely, choose something simple and elegant, perhaps white lilies, for the anniversary of someone’s passing.


Ordering flowers for a funeral or supporting someone mourning is not easy—but it can remind the family of the beauty of life. Start with colors: white, yellow, and blush pink are common at Western funerals, symbolizing passing and peace. More specifically, yellow daylilies are common at funerals, but white roses and orchids are also strong choices.

Don’t worry if you find this decision too tricky. You can always ask the funeral company or a specialist florist, like FTD, to make a judgment call on your behalf. 

Get well soon

A get-well-soon bouquet brings calm and optimism to your recovering friend or relative. Cheery yellow flowers, including tulips, roses, and sunflowers, fit the bill well. A combination of pastel-colored blooms also works, such as pink gerberas complemented with yellow freesias and white daisies.

Consider also the location where the person is recovering. For example, if they’re resting at home, try to complement their environment by ordering a purple bouquet for a room with yellow walls. Meanwhile, you’ll want non-fragrant, hypoallergenic flowers such as daffodils, carnations, or orchids in a hospital setting.


You don’t need a big occasion to express appreciation to your loved ones. A surprise “thank you” bouquet lets you express your personality while symbolizing the essence of your relationship with someone. It’s hard to get appreciation bouquets wrong, so you can be creative with your choice.

For instance, you may offer your mentor a live orchid, such as the phalaenopsis, symbolizing growth and strength. For a friend, yellow roses act as a symbol of platonic companionship. Mix up the main blooms with complementing colors to spark joy—for instance, yellow roses work well with pink carnations and green zinnias.


Being in the right ballpark with your choice of flowers is important. Flower types, colors, and bouquet styles can evoke different feelings—from joy to sympathy. So, on occasions such as birthdays, funerals, and romantic dates, it’s wise to follow basic guidelines—such as white lilies symbolizing purity and yellow blooms suggesting optimism. 

However, don’t hesitate to be creative. Using your knowledge of your loved ones’ preferences and personalities makes the arrangement more special. Finally, when you can’t present the bouquet in person, explore online flower delivery services that can send it for you.

Ioana Andrei
Ioana contributes to Top10.com as a passionate dating & relationship expert, as well as a tech and media management consultant and business writer. She holds a BSc in Business Management from King's College, with 5+ years of experience consulting in the industries of tech and media. Her insightful, female-forward articles on dating and relationships have been published on Thrive, Medium's P.S. I Love You, and Newsbreak.