Most flowers that are seen on day-to-day sale are bouquets or "bunches" of flowers. These are designed either to be presented to a recipient publicly or carried in this form to her home or work. Once handed over they can either be put into a vase of water in the same shape of bunch or taken apart, separated and rearranged.
The florist's art is, however, shown at its best in more complex flower arrangements. A family gathering for a special meal, or a conference both involve large numbers of people sitting in a group around a table. A large flower arrangement provides the perfect focal point for either. This type of table flower arrangement is usually based in florists foam, or on a shaped chicken wire frame, to hold the stems in position. This allows the flowers to be placed at angles to each other and not just keep their place by gravity. Flower arranging is more of an art than a skill, seen in its most highly developed form in Japanese flower arranging, where a minimal arrangement of stones and driftwood might support and provide a setting for only a few flowers, or even a single bloom.
Modern flower arrangements often try to use this minimalist style to fit in with contemporary interior decoration, but it is an art developed over centuries and western versions often fall short of the standard. Contemporary flower arrangements are best kept for business and artistic occasions, not for family gatherings such as weddings or funerals where a more traditional type of simple flower arrangement is expected.
Birthday flower arrangements are one time that style is a totally free choice: whether to use exotic flower arrangements or simple fresh flower arrangements. As at any party there is generally a mix of both small and large flower arrangements. In some cases the smaller arrangements, if in disposable plastic trays, can be given to guests as keepsakes to take home, thus extending their use for a few days longer.
Wedding flower arrangements are generally flamboyant but traditional in nature, matching the bride's chosen colour scheme and keeping within her design ideas. Flower arrangements for weddings are used at the reception dining tables, on the top table, the buffet table, bar, cake table and perhaps the dance hall. Wedding ceremony flowers can be placed on the altar, pew ends and entrance archway. Sometimes these can be taken and adapted as part of the reception flowers.
For a funeral flower arrangement the choice is usually more constrained as tradition is generally a stronger force here. Wreaths, pads and simple lily bouquets all have their place at the funeral. There is a place for more unusual flower arrangements in commemorating a particular aspect of the deceased. A floral flag of their home country, an arrangement of letters to spell MUM, DAD or their name are often seen. Sometimes friends and family like to commission a personal floral work such as a team colour football shirt, or a floral fish for a keen angler. Religious flower arrangements can also be used such as a Cross, a star of David, a floral prayer book, Gates of Heaven, usually as a base of white carnations or chrysanthemum with a spray of contrasting colour using favourite colours or blooms.
Anywhere that a touch of colour will brighten a gathering there is a place for a flowers of some kind. Those who don't know how to make flower arrangements themselves, or who have the ability but are lacking in time, should consult a florist as to the best way to outlay their budget. Flowers are such a glorious way to add colour and freshness to any event.