It seems that everything that comes under the category of social mores in some way conveys a message. Take flowers for example, a red rose declares passionate love, hydrangeas have an either or message, one negative, the other positive: heartfelt gratitude or frigid heartlessness.
And on it goes.
I imagine most of us choose the composition of bouquets because we think a flower is beautiful and if we prefer a mixed assemblage of blooms we find the contrasts esthetically pleasing, nothing more.
According to Albane de Maigret it’s not quite so simple in France. Some basic considerations accompany the choice and presentation of flowers. Even the messages that accompany a bouquet are not always the same as those in other countries. The ones expressed here come from her.
Personally, I wonder how strictly these “rules” are observed. Still, for our purposes it’s fun to discover the dos and don’ts of these most appreciated gifts as well as what one might be trying to subtly express with the gesture.
This is what she told me:
1.) Flowers are to be offered only to a girl or a woman, although it would be acceptable to give them to a monsieur très âgé.
2.) When giving flowers to a young woman, they should be of a very pale color.
3.) Cut flowers are always presented in an uneven number — 13, 15, 55. . .
4.) In general, one doesn’t give flowers to someone who lives in the country.
5.) If one lives in the country, it is charming to offer flowers from one’s garden.
6.) To slip a single red rose into a bouquet, boldly declares one’s love.
7.) Flowers may be used as “an apology” accompanied by an appropriate note to say how one regrets a maladroit gesture or an unintentional misplaced word.
8.) Of course, a bouquet or a single bloom, is the perfect expression of affection.
9.) Always put flowers in a guest room.
10.) The fiancé offers his fiancée her wedding bouquet.
11.) Never (we all know this) bring flowers to a dinner party.
I imagine you won’t necessarily agree with some of Madame de Maigret’s observations.