A Guide to Funeral Flower Etiquette
Sending flowers to a funeral is one of the most common ways that folks choose to show support to a family after they’ve experienced a loss. If you haven’t sent an arrangement before, it can be difficult to know exactly what to send. Are all flowers and arrangements appropriate to send? When should you send them? Are there flowers that would be considered insensitive? Knowing the kind of arrangements to send and when to send them can help you feel confident in your show of support.
When to send flowers after a death
Sending flowers can be done as soon as you hear that someone has passed away. If you’d prefer to send them to the family’s home and know the address, you can send flowers right away. Alternatively, if you’d like the flowers to be sent to the service, you should wait until the family sets a time and location and shares that information.
Additionally, it can be helpful to remember that the family will be grieving even after the funeral occurs, so sending an arrangement after the service can let the family know that you’re still thinking of them, even though the service has passed. Some folks find it thoughtful to send flowers on a special anniversary related to the person who passed away (such as a year since the passing or on a birthday, for example).
Do you send flowers to a memorial service?
If a family is holding a memorial service instead of a funeral, it’s still common to send flowers to the memorial service in the same way people send them to funerals. You should find out where and the memorial service is taking place (this is usually posted on the memorial website or on the funeral announcement card) and have the arrangement delivered to the service.
Do you bring flowers to a funeral?
Bringing flowers to a funeral isn’t customary and should only be done by very close family members, if they decide to. If you’re a friend or extended family member, it’s better to have the arrangement delivered in advance instead of bringing them yourself as it makes it easier for the family or funeral home to decide where to display the flowers, and can avoid any potential awkwardness.
If you are adamant that you'd like to bring flowers to the service, it's a good idea to show up a bit early and try to locate the funeral director. The funeral director can direct you to where the flowers are being displayed or the best time to give the family the flower arrangement directly.
Cultural considerations to keep in mind
It’s good funeral flower etiquette to have a general idea of what the flowers you’re sending represent, especially if there are cultural considerations that may affect the type of arrangement you send (or if you send an arrangement at all).
Sending a flower arrangement to a Jewish funeral is not considered an appropriate gesture of sympathy. It’s customary for friends, family, and others to pay their respects to the family by coming by the home during Shiva. Shiva occurs for seven days after the service is performed. If you’d like to make a gesture of sympathy, Kosher food, desserts, and fruits are an acceptable gift to send.
It’s acceptable to send flowers to a Buddhist funeral, but it’s considered bad funeral flower etiquette to send any flower or gift that’s the color red.
Sending white or yellow chrysanthemums to an Asian funeral is generally appreciated. If you’re sending flowers or attending the funeral, it’s important to remember not to wear red or send red flowers as they represent happiness.
It’s best practice to consult a religious leader or ask the family if they’re accepting flowers as opinion can vary on whether or not it’s acceptable to send funeral flowers to a Islamic funeral.
What are appropriate flowers for a funeral?
Funeral flower arrangements come in many shapes and sizes, with lots of variety and styles for you to choose from. Before you know which flowers to send, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the types of arrangements you’ll commonly find at a funeral service.
Types of funeral flower arrangements
These are the common arrangements you’d typically find at a funeral service or ones that are sent to the family after they’ve lost someone.
Standing sprays can come in both small and large sizes and are flower arrangements that are attached to an easel or a stand. These arrangements are generally placed next to a casket and are usually larger than baskets or wreaths. Sprays are usually only sent to the funeral home and are not sent to family homes as flowers for mourning.
Baskets and bouquets
Bouquets and baskets are usually what people think of when they think of sending a funeral flower arrangement. These arrangements are appropriate for anyone to send and are usually sent directly to the family’s home, unless they request otherwise. It’s generally not advised to send these types of arrangements to the funeral home.
Casket sprays or casket wreaths are funeral flower arrangements that are placed directly on top of the casket once it has been closed. Casket sprays are usually purchased by immediate family members and are not considered to be an appropriate purchase for others.
Crosses, wreaths, and hearts
Crosses, hearts, and wreath arrangements are smaller than most standing sprays but a bit larger than baskets or bouquets. These arrangements are usually displayed on an easel or stand (similar to standing sprays) and are placed near the casket at the funeral. These arrangements are usually sent to the funeral home and are acceptable to be purchased by family friends and family members.
Types of funeral flowers
When you know what kind of flower arrangement you’d like to send, it’s time to choose the specific flowers you’d like to see in the arrangement itself.
Traditional funeral flowers include the following:
As one of the most popular flowers for funeral arrangements and funerals, lilies are an excellent choice and safe bet when it comes to flower choices. Lilies come in many different colors, but white lilies are the typical choice when it comes to funeral arrangements. Lilies symbolize innocence, peace, and sympathy.
Pink carnations are generally meant to represent a mother’s love and are usually purchased by the mother of the deceased. Purple carnations can represent grief and sympathy -- they are also considered “the funeral flower” in France. White carnations are a great choice if you’re a family member, friend or acquaintance.
One of the most common funeral flowers, many people chose to send white, yellow, and red roses as a funeral arrangement. Yellow roses are symbolic of friendship and are usually sent to the service or to the family by a close friend of the deceased. White roses are symbolic of purity and innocence while red roses symbolize grief, loss, and sorrow.
These beautiful flowers (affectionately referred to as “mums”) represent well-wishing, sorrow, and loyalty and are a popular funeral flower in multiple cultures. In some Asian cultures, yellow chrysanthemums are symbolic of luck while white chrysanthemums are symbolic of grief. In general, white chrysanthemums are a safe and respectful choice to express your grief and support towards a family.
Orchids, when cared for properly and consistently, have the potential to last over 100 years. White orchids are symbolic of purity and innocence, pink orchids symbolize grace, purple orchids symbolize respect and dignity, and yellow orchids represent friendship.
Peace lilies are a sturdier type of plant that can last a very long time. This is a great choice for those that want to send a lasting plant that will stick with the family for a longer period of time. Peace lilies are (unsurprisingly) a symbol of peace, hope and innocence. They’re also easy to care for when compared to other indoor plants.
How to send flowers to a funeral
Now that you know what kind of flowers you’d like to send and what type of arrangement you’ll be sending, it’s time to send the flowers.
The best option when it comes to sending funeral flowers is to purchase the arrangement online, at least a day in advance. Purchasing funeral arrangements online is easy and lets you purchase at reasonable and competitive prices. In general, the cost of funeral flowers ranges between $90 - $200, depending on the type of arrangement you’re sending.
Here’s how to send flowers to a funeral by purchasing online:
- Make sure the family is accepting flowers and that it’s culturally appropriate to send flowers as a gesture of sympathy.
- Find out where the service is taking place. (This information is usually included on the funeral invitation card or on the memorial website.)
- Choose an arrangement -- if you’re on Ever loved, you can send flowers directly from the memorial website the family has set up. Simply click on the ‘Flowers’ tab and select the address you’d like to send the arrangement to.
- Be sure to include a small message in the card that’s sent alongside the flowers.
Now that you’re ready to send an arrangement, it’s time to start browsing through funeral flower arrangements! Ever Loved offers a large and beautiful assortment of funeral floral arrangements for an affordable price.