Friday, June 18, 2010

Thank-You Flowers After a Party

As I reported in my last post, Boy and I recently gave a bruncheon party at Darlington House.  We had a delightful time doing so, and we particularly enjoyed the mix of guests who attended it, some of whom we were meeting for the first time.  I am happy to report that everyone who attended the party was charming, well-dressed, and marvelous company.  Boy and I had great fun and were saddened when the party inevitably drew to a close, when our last guests departed.

Imagine our pleasant surprise when three of them returned but fifteen minutes later, and the party was able to resume, albeit on a much cozier level!  It turned out that two of the three, a married couple, had missed their train back to New York, and the next train didn't leave for several hours.  The third of the three was their host for the weekend, and had given them a ride to the station.

Needless to say, we were absolutely delighted to see them!  We grabbed another bottle of Prosecco and a box of Li-Lac chocolates that another guest had thoughtfully arrived with, and we settled in to the screened porch, where we spent several delightful hours in amusing and clever conversation, interspersed with much laughter.  The highlight was when, at one point, the husband and Boy delightedly realized they both knew the lyrics to several of the songs from "The Producers" and fell into spirited song, much to the pleasure of the wife and me.  It was much fun.

The next day, back in the work-a-day world, I received a phone call from Boy that flowers had just been delivered to the apartment, a gift of the couple.  And not only that, but they were from Zeze, one of Manhattan's premiere florists and a great favorite of those who appreciate such things.  How deliciously and extravagantly thoughtful, I said.  I couldn't wait to see them.

When I opened the door to the apartment, I was first met with the bouquet's sweet and heady fragrance, a pleasure indeed.  And what a pretty arrangement I found!  A mixture of roses, peonies, hydrangea, lillies, and sweet pea, all in lovely late spring colors, and in a discrete colorless glass vase.  How splendid.  And what a pleasure it was to receive it.

On top of that, it came with this charming note: "Dear Boy and Reggie, Thank you for a wonderful afternoon full of our two favorite things--sparkling conversation and sparkling wine.  We look forward to sharing many more of both! With warmest wishes, Emily & Andrew"  How about that!

I am sharing this story with you, Dear Reader, for a number of reasons:
  1.  Reggie never gets flowers and is excited and thrilled that he did, and is bursting to tell someone of his pleasure with it;
  2. A gift of flowers is greatly appreciated when delivered to a host after a party, when he has time to savor it and enjoy it along with the fond memories of the party and the sender that it elicits; and
  3. Reggie believes that a gift of flowers presented by an arriving guest at the onset of a party is more of an inconvenience than a pleasure, particularly if they require attending to; such flowers are inevitably relegated to a sink or left to wilt during the party, thereby defeating the intended purpose of such a gift.
When giving a gift of flowers, Reggie recommends that his Dear Readers follow the example of Emily and Andrew, and send them as a thank-you after an event rather than arriving with them at the beginning of a party.  A gift of flowers is a delight indeed, and even more delightful when it is delivered to the recipient when he has the leisure to enjoy them.  And that means after the party.

All photos by Boy Fenwick


  1. Couldn't agree more with those helpful tips for the guests in our lives. Those flowers are heavenly and it sounded like a fabulous party...xv

  2. Reggie --

    My mother taught me to arrive for dinner with either wine or chocolates (neither of which was EXPECTED to be consumed that night) -- flowers were to be sent (not brought) AFTER the party along with a lovely thank you note.

  3. As an occasional cyber-visitor, who happened upon your post this morning, I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciated your charming words and pictures, which are beautiful. It is as if the flowers were sent yet a second time, to be enjoyed by the world at large, and moi!

  4. I am also delighted with Emily and Andrew and their wonderful gift.
    Thank you for the words of wisdom. I am attending a garden party tomorrow evening and I will definitely send some thank-you flowers on Monday.
    Gorgeous photos!

  5. I thought I knew the lovely couple who returned for the encore. By the time I got to part where he and Boy knew LYRICS and SANG them, I was confident. But when I got to the thank you note with its sparkling verse, I knew. I say lucky week-end, indeed. For posterity, the conversation should have been recorded. I think Cole Porter would have thought it absolutely sensational.

  6. I find myself in full agreement here. Can there be anything more
    awkward than being handed a sheaf of cut flowers as a guest enters
    the house? That well-intentioned gesture suddenly turns into a great
    nuisance. Vases brought out, water, cutting of stems to fit, etc and I
    have done all that with mixed feelings while the other guests wonder
    what became of their host.
    And I can also chime in to say that when it comes to flowers being
    sent after the party, Emily sends the prettiest bouquets going.

  7. So agree - especially if they are from a top florist like Zeze... Flowers after an event always seem to prolong the good feelings created during the event!

  8. Sparkling conversation and sparkling wine! What a fabulous afternoon. Emily & Andrew sound like the perfect guests.

    While I always appreciate the gesture when a guest arrives with flowers, I completely agree that I'd rather have them to enjoy the next day.

  9. Sounds like you had a blast and I agree, how lovely of Emily and Andrew to send that stunning bouquet of flowers after your lunch. Love the bright pops of yellow.

  10. Flowers as a thank-you after a party are always delightful. But I disagree that it's a faux-pas to bring them as a gift TO the party. It's really not an inconvenience. There's no expectation that the host(ess) will immediately prepare, vase and display them. I always say "thank you" and put them in a bucket of water in a cool dark spot until I can arrange them the next day.

  11. Dear Anon 4:22, thank you for your comment. I find that when people bring flowers as a gift to me when I have a party, that I am often met with a crest-fallen face by the presenter when I say "thank you" and put them in the sink as you suggest. My advice to those considering arriving with such a gift is that that they should reconsider, and have them delivered afterwards, or arrive with something else -- if they must -- that does not require the host to drop what he is doing (welcoming his guests) to attend to such a gift that requires his immediate attention. One is, in fact, preferable to the other, and that is why I raise it here for my reader' edification.

  12. Great post, as usual. A bit off topic but
    Happy Fathers Day to Reggie and Boy. I hope Pompey acknowledged this special day in his own way. Bouquets to you. The Producers--love the movie!!


  13. Reggie --

    While I generally agree, I remember that only six weeks ago some of our neighbors in the country showed up for dinner with a) a large cut crystal vase filled with lilac, and b) a small glass vase filled with a variety of spring flowers from their gardens.

    So there was no inconvenience, and it provided a welcome occasion to return the favor with our own flowers when we dropped off the vases at their place a couple weeks later.

    So, while I agree entirely about bunches of "drugstore roses" (or bunches of anything else), I dissent from your absolute ban. Details matter.

    Best, etc.

  14. First, they are lovely flowers, and I agree that wine, chocolates, jam, whatever, make an easier gift for the host, and that flowers are a better sent post dinner party.

    HOWEVER, given that many otherwise perfectly nice people lack your self admitted highly tuned sense of etiquette, I can only feel sorry for you that you've actually had guests so thoughtless as to bring you flowers. How perfectly dreadful of them. I hope you made sure that you never invited those caddish souls again. As for myself, while the flowers are likelier to come from me after, I agree with anonymous 4:22. I've personally never been given a flower and found it anything but a delightful pleasure. AND, had I been a guest at your house, and had been so inept as to bring flowers with me, and then read here what an inconvenience it caused (like you don't know where you keep vases?), It would not be a problem, as I would not be accepting another invitation. tsk tsk.

  15. Ancient: Yes, I agree it is a different matter when said flowers arrive already prepared and arranged.

    DED: Reggie is not having a snit here, as you seem to be suggesting. Reggie is merely sharing the wisdsom he has developed during many years of hosting and guesting with his readers. As a youth I arrived at parties more than once with a bunch of flowers, whereas I have learned as a host to rethink such a practice. As I wrote in response to the firestorm of comments to my "Rules For Popular Party Guests" post, Reggie always welcomes his guests with pleasure and civility, regardless of their level of sophistication or refinement. A gift of flowers is a delight, indeed.

  16. Barbara: Why, thank you. My regards to you and yours, too.

  17. After reading your wonderful post while visiting LPC's Privilege, I had to pop over for a visit.

    You have a delightful corner here in BloglLand, and I'm not only going to visit more often but I'm going to join as a follower and add "Reggie Darling" to my Lifestyle and Travel list of blogs to visit - so others can find you and benefit from your entertaining expertise be inspired by your writing!!

    Should you have an opportunity to visit I can be found at
    Cheers, HHL

  18. Such a good idea to send them afterwards! Gorgeous. So glad I found your blog!

  19. Ancient said it very well, as he always does.

    In no way did I think you were having a snit. As it happens, before posting the above comment, I did go back and read Reggie's Rules, which did seem inspired by a snit, and they reinforced my comment above. However, when I posted the above, I was having one of those moments (woefully too frequent) that English suddenly becomes a foreign language, so more simply put, I feel sorry for the hapless guest who with kind intention brought an inconvenient gift, and then read of such in his host's blog. If I happened to be that guest, I would find myself disinclined to return---regardless of my host's level of sophistication or refinement. But I would decline the invitation promptly and with great civility. "Mr. Dilettante Regrets that he is unable to accept Mr. Darling's Kind Invitation to the Festival of Flowers on July 10, at Four O'Clock" On the same good heavy correspondence cards my late grandmother used. Although her monogram at the top does confuse people....

  20. Reg: A week or so ago I had week-end houseguest who, like me, entertains frequently at home. We were lamenting the general lack of manners among so many people today(invitations not responded too in a timely fashion, arriving late for a seated dinner, absence of a thank you note and no attempt to reciprocate).Although these awful traits are not universal, they are certainly wide-spread enough to ellicit comment. We were even laughing about a mutual acquaintance who had been our respective guest on many occasions, yet seemed miffed when my house-guest called to include her and her husband in a dinner he was organizing at a very expensive new restaurant, and made it clear that it would be "Dutch Treat". In any event, against this backdrop of bad manners even among folks who should know better, my standards have also shifted. In a perfect world, a sheaf of cut flowers presented at that door by an arriving guest may be slightly problematic, but short of a kitten from the local animal shelter, I am happy to receive anything a guest might bring as an advance "thank you". And I will never forget the posy of Lilly of the Valley brought to me by a friend's date this spring. I was almost happier having it than the guests.

    security word of the day: Predlist- Directory of alter boys kept by local parish priest

  21. What a lively conversation over your floral recommendation.

    I love flowers, any way they come, and yours before and after the party are quite lovely, indeed. I must admit to having times I'm in the midst of getting my food ready and worrying about that lovely bouquet that just came in and is sitting on the counter, but, love them just the same.

    As a garden club member - and, no, we are not dowdy ladies. We do an inordinate amount of service to the community and provide scholarship money. I digress. As a garden club member, I have learned to always bring any flowers from my own substantial garden along in a pretty vase, the host to keep, whether from my garden or from a florist. To me, the point is to never inconvenience the host or hostess with what you bring, but, to say thanks in the most gracious way you can.

    Thank you for this lovely and provocative post.

  22. This isn't disagreement, or contrary view, per se. Just an aside. I like to send flowers before an event ... particularly if I am a houseguest. I avoid arriving at an event with flowers not because I think it will somehow inconvenience my host, but quite honestly, it inconveniences me. If I am picking up something in advance, I prefer to avoid anything potentially wet, messy, or wrapped in plastic. But I certainly don't mind if people bring them to my home nor do I feel pressure to deal with them instantly...

  23. Reggie,

    Flowers from Zeze, yes a true pleasure to experience.

    Agree for the most part except when it as said cuttings from the garden all ready to set in a nice spot and enjoy!

    Art by Karena

  24. I popped over after seeing your guest post on LPC -- what a fantastic post, I loved the perspectives! And this post is just as fabulous -- the charm of your guests, your delight, and all of your commentary -- I'm so glad you guested so I could find you! Looking forward to more -- Hope you are enjoying your travels!

  25. I also landed here via have a delightful blog Reggie and I am looking forward to adding it to my reader.

    Have a lovely day!

  26. HI REGGIE-

    Your blog is so great.
    Fist the flowers FOR the party and next the flowers AFTER THE PARTY.
    I must say I'd be thrilled with flowers from ZEZE...and have you ever been to his cafe, near Sutton Place.
    YOUR flowers for your party were superb! The peonies...such a dream. The elegant.
    Bravo to you...wish I had been there...
    cheers, your friend, DIANE


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