thank you gifts for dummies
December 12, 2012 2:44 PM   Subscribe

What would be an appropriate thank you gift for my florist friend who really went above and beyond in helping with my wedding?

A friend of mine who has her own floral design business offered to do the flowers for my wedding free of charge. Throughout the whole wedding planning process, she was super helpful and calming and reassuring. A week or so before the wedding, she also volunteered to be the Day Of Coordinator.

The wedding was last weekend, and I pretty much have no idea how it could have happened without her. The flowers (and there were a lot!) were absolutely perfect. She got to the venue early, took control of everything without letting me worry about a single detail, stayed late to help with clean up, and was basically awesome.

I paid for the cost of flowers and reimbursed her for travel costs, and I plan on writing business reviews on various wedding websites, but I'd really like to do something else for her.

What would be a good budget for this? We've been friends for a while, but not especially close friends. I can think of a few things she would like (a marble pastry board, books, knitting supplies?), but I also know that she and her husband have been unemployed for a few years and money is tight, so I'm wondering whether giving her cash would be either a nice gesture or just tacky? Is there anything that would be particularly useful to a floral designer trying to grow her business?

Thanks for any input. I'm generally a pretty crappy gift giver and I don't know what the etiquette is in situations like this.
posted by logic vs love to Human Relations (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd do the following:

1. Buy the marble pastry board and give it to her with a very grateful note.

2. Tell her you are going to praise her to the skies and then do so promptly, on Yelp! and every wedding site you can think about, including photos of her gorgeous work. Let her know each time on of your reviews goes up.

And if you are good enough friends for this, consider treating her and her husband to a lovely dinner with you and your spouse.
posted by bearwife at 2:48 PM on December 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I think the cash is a great option. "Thanks so much for everything you did. You went above and beyond and I really wanted to tip you for the services even though you didn't want to charge me."

In addition to that a gift certificate to a restaurant would be good. I know eating out is one of those things that gets nixed when you're low on money/unemployed and they might really enjoy getting a money stress-free date night together.
posted by zephyr_words at 2:49 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

If this is someone you know in a social context, I would not give cash. If you really feel like it's appropriate, at the very least, I would not do so and call it a "tip".

I'm a sometimes graphic designer, and I designed wedding invitations for a (very close) friend as a gift. It would have been really awkward if she had tried to tip me.

The only way I'd consider "tipping" is if this person is more of a professional connection who did you a solid -- like if you guys are friends because you buy flowers from her shop frequently, or know each other in a similar proprietor/customer context.

I would be more inclined to send a tangible gift like the pastry board idea, or to treat her to some kind of service like a spa day or nice meal. Together if you guys are close enough for that, or possibly some kind of gift card. If it really has to be cash, I'd enclose it in a nice card with a personal message that says "Thank you so much for all your help!" and not "here is a tip for quality service."
posted by Sara C. at 4:01 PM on December 12, 2012

If you write her a glowing thank-you letter, she can hang it up near the cash register so that subsequent customers can read what an awesome florist she is.

Also, florists are really, really busy before Christmas, and I suspect that the 22nd to the 24th will be particularly hectic, because Christmas falls on a Tuesday this year. I'm willing to bet that you will gain a LOT of gratitude if you deliver some snacks to her and her staff in the middle of the day. Anything like tangerines, wraps, chocolates, or cheeses would work. (Deliver them on the marble pastry board?) Think of things that are tasty and can be eaten quickly without washing your hands!

Congratulations on your wedding, and congratulations on your awesome florist!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 4:04 PM on December 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

When you get your wedding photos back from your photographer, make sure to share a hi-res version of any good photo showing her flowers--including centerpieces, altar flowers, bridal party flowers and one of you holding your bouquet. Just throw em all on a thumb drive and send it to her.

High quality photos will help her market her own business.
posted by dottiechang at 4:21 PM on December 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

I think Multicellular has it. The marble chopping board + snacks.

Also, do the internet thing, and go hard. Praise her to the skies. Throw some stunning photos on your FB page, with her name prominently displayed. Yelp her, or whatever.

Honestly, if money was tight and I was trying to grow a small business, I would love you forever if you gave me a ton of free, awesome advertising.
posted by Salamander at 6:10 PM on December 12, 2012

Restaurant is a fine idea, I'd also suggest a massage. It's one of those other things that goes out the window when money is tight, and nothing says "I appreciate your hard work" like an hour of total relaxation.

Avoid monetary gifts. There's a fascinating chapter in Predictably Irrational about what happens when you replace social norms with market norms, and why it's hard to get the friendship back after that happens. Bolstering her online presence with reviews and photos is a thoroughly wonderful idea, and it's something money really can't buy. (At least not at small-business scale.)
posted by Myself at 5:13 AM on December 13, 2012

I would also suggest reviews everywhere, copies of good photos, going out of your way to recommend her. As a small business owner, that kind of thanks is invaluable and anyone who is recommended to use me by a happy customer (including one I've done a freebie for) will usually decide to use me with little persuasion, and starts off another node of recommendations - very, very useful.
posted by LyzzyBee at 10:50 AM on December 15, 2012

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