A Guide to Buying Funeral Flowers
Buying funeral flowers can be a daunting task for both the family hosting the funeral and the guests who are trying to share their condolences. If you’ve never purchased funeral flowers before, you might feel overwhelmed by the choices when it comes to arrangement type, flower type, and the different kinds of displays.
Buying flowers for a funeral: The short version
A general rule of thumb for funeral flowers is the size of the arrangement you purchase should reflect how close you were to the individual who has passed away. The closer the family or person is to the person who passed away, the larger arrangement they generally purchase.
If you are an immediate family member or partner, it’s appropriate to purchase a casket wreath or spray, any large standing spray, or other larger bouquets.
If you are not an immediate family member or partner, it’s appropriate to send smaller standing sprays, bouquets, baskets, and vase arrangements. However, regardless of your relationship, the most important thing is showing your condolences, and there’s never a reason to buy something out of your personal price range.
You should always keep in mind cultural differences and the appropriateness of flowers being sent as a condolence. For example, flowers are not appropriate for a Jewish funeral and should not be sent.
The six most common funeral flowers are: lilies, peace lilies, chrysanthemums, crimson roses, orchids, and carnations.
It is highly recommended that you respect the family’s wishes if they’ve explicitly asked for no flowers or have mentioned that they’d like another show of condolence in lieu of flowers. (Tip: the phrase “in lieu of flowers” means “instead of flowers"). It is also important to note that some religions and cultures consider sending flowers as an inappropriate gesture. You’ll want to check with the family if you’re unsure, but in general it is considered inappropriate to send any flowers to a Jewish funeral and inappropriate to send red flowers (or food) to a Buddhist funeral.
If you’re buying an arrangement for someone on Ever Loved, be sure to look at their Notes section before sending an arrangement. You can send an arrangement by clicking on the Send Flowers link on the right hand side of their page. (If they’ve requested donations in lieu of flowers, it’s a good idea to respect that and donate to the cause of their choice.) You can also send an arrangement on our flowers page.
An In-Depth Guide to Buying Funeral Flowers
If you’re sending flowers to a funeral or family after a loved one has passed away, there are four main points you’ll want to consider. How close you are to the person who passed away The type of flower you’ll want to send (and what the meaning behind that flower is) The size of the arrangement you’ll want to send The type of arrangement you’ll want to send
As mentioned above, the closer you are to the person who passed away, the larger the arrangement you’ll most likely want to spend. Obviously, cost does play a factor as funeral flower arrangements can get pretty pricey, but you’ll still want to keep the size of the arrangement in mind.
Types of flower arrangements for a funeral
Standing sprays can range in size from small to large and are funeral flower arrangements that are attached to a stand or easel. They’re usually placed next to the casket and are generally larger than wreaths or baskets. Sprays are not typically sent to family homes in remembrance and are instead sent directly to the funeral home for use during the funeral.
Casket wreaths or sprays are arrangements that are placed directly on the casket once the casket has been closed. These arrangements are almost always purchased by the immediate members of the family (or partners) and are not an appropriate purchase for others. They are generally larger and are meant to be viewed on top of the casket.
Crosses, hearts, and wreaths
These arrangements are usually larger than a basket or bouquet, but smaller than larger standing sprays. They’re typically displayed on an easel or stand that is placed near the casket at a funeral. While purchasing a casket wreath is inappropriate for members who aren’t immediate family members, it is appropriate to purchase a cross, heart, or wreath as a family member or close friend. These arrangements are typically sent directly to the funeral home.
Baskets and bouquets
Baskets and bouquets are smaller arrangements that are appropriate for family members, friends, and co-workers to purchase for a family. These arrangements should be sent directly to the family’s home unless otherwise instructed. It is generally not appropriate to send these arrangements to the funeral home.
Your relationship to the deceased
As we’ve mentioned previously, your relationship with the deceased plays an important role in the type of flower arrangement you should purchase for the family and for the funeral.
If you’re an immediate family member or the partner of the deceased, you may want to purchase large standing sprays and/or a casket wreath. It’s important to discuss with the immediate members of the family who will buy which arrangements as some families prefer to have a spread or variety of arrangements. There’s generally only a single casket wreath, so if you decide that will be your purchase, it’s important to communicate that to the rest of the family members.
If you were a close friend of the deceased or a relative and would like to support the floral arrangements for the funeral itself, you’ll want to look into purchasing either a standing spray or a wreath, cross, or heart arrangement.
If you weren’t close to the family or the deceased, but would still like to show your support in the form of a flower arrangement, you should look into purchasing either a basket or bouquet.
Types of Funeral Flowers
Different flowers have different meanings associated with them which can vary depending on religion and cultural background. In general, it’s a good idea to research the kind of flower you’d like to send before sending a funeral bouquet (or any bouquet, for that matter).
Here’s a brief overview of the most popular flowers for a funeral and what they tend to mean or convey.
Lilies are often considered the go-to flower for funerals and funeral arrangements. Lilies can come in a variety of colors, but white lilies are the most popular choice when it comes to funerals. Lilies represent sympathy, peace, and innocence are often symbolize a return to peace. Lilies will last around 10-14 days if properly cared for.
Peace lilies are associated with peace, innocence, and hope. This is a sturdier type of flower that is usually meant to last quite a bit of time. It’s also a great indoor plant, so it might be a good idea for a loved one you know spends most of their time working indoors. Peace lilies are also relatively easy to care for compared to other indoor plants, so this is a great overall choice.
Also referred to as “mums”, chrysanthemums are representative of loyalty, well-wishing, and sorrow. In some Asian cultures, white chrysanthemums are symbolic of grief while yellow chrysanthemums are symbolic of luck. It’s important to know the family you’re sending flowers to determine the correct color, but white chrysanthemums are a safe decision in almost all cases. Chrysanthemums will last around three weeks if cared for properly.
The most common color choices for roses sent to a funeral are yellow, white, and crimson red. Yellow roses represent friendship and are usually sent to the family or the funeral services by a close friend of the deceased. White roses symbolize innocence and purity while crimson red roses symbolizes grief, sorrow, and loss. Roses will last for around one week.
White orchids represent innocence and purity, yellow orchids are given by friends as they represent friendship (similar to roses), and pink orchids represent grace, and purple orchids represent respect and dignity. You can also choose to have orchids as a singular part of a larger arrangement. Orchids, if cared for consistently and properly, have the potential to last a lifetime, over 100 years.
As with other flowers, white carnations represent innocence and purity. Pink carnations are known for being a symbol of a mother’s love, usually these are brought by the mother of the person who has passed away. Purple carnations are for grief and sympathy, and are known in France as a funeral flower. Carnations ordinarily last three weeks time.
Sending flowers to a funeral home or family
When it comes to the act of purchasing and sending flowers, you have a few options. The easiest option is to order funeral flowers online, through a website or through a flower store directly.
If you have a memorial page on Ever Loved, visitors have the option to send an arrangement directly through our site. It’s a good idea to include the address you’d like flowers sent to on your memorial page to make it easy for people to share their condolences.
You can look for national flower vendors online or a local flower store that might be near where the funeral is taking place.
It is not recommended to make your own flower arrangement and send it as funeral arrangements are usually quite specific in their layouts.
Alternatives to sending flowers
While flowers are a traditional inclusion at most funerals, they aren’t always desired or even accepted. Some funerals (such as Jewish funerals) do not include flowers as part of the process and do not see sending flowers as an appropriate method of sending condolences.
While bringing food to a grieving family or individual is already pretty traditional, it’s important to note. When someone has passed away, the family or individual in mourning will usually have an extremely difficult time keeping up with daily tasks. If you’re trying to help by sending a family food, it’s a good idea to make sure that it’s microwaveable and can keep for more than a few days. It’s an even better idea to make food that’s packaged in tupperware or smaller containers so that they can easily pop it in the microwave and move on with their day.
Notice that they’ve already received tons of food? Offer to help out with the dishes, or organize the food into different meals.
Donate to a personal or charitable cause
Funerals and memorial services can be extremely costly and most families are not prepared for the loss of a loved one or the toll it takes on their family. If a family has a fundraiser set up, it’s a good idea to send donations their way to ease the burden of cost. If they don’t have a fundraiser set up, you can set one up for them to encourage the community to help them in their time of need. (It’s a good idea to check with the family before setting up a fundraiser, as they might already have plans in place or they might not want a fundraiser set up for them.)
You can also donate money to a charity that was significant to the person who passed away. Many people on our platform raise donations on behalf of charities or nonprofits that were important to the deceased and are often surprised by the overwhelming support their communities show them in their times of need.
General acts of kindness
If you’re looking for other ways to help, consider donating some of your time to the family in need. Try to avoid saying things like “You can call me anytime” or “Let me know if you need anything” as families in mourning often times aren’t even sure of what they need and don’t want to feel like a burden by reaching out. If the dishes are piling up, the kids need to get to school, or the lawn needs to be mowed: offer your time and services to take those daily tasks off their hands. If they are grieving parents, offer to take their kids to the park and a movie so that they can have some much needed alone time. If they have a large family, offer to come over and do some chores for them. While it might not seem like a lot, it will most likely be hugely useful to the family in need. Smaller tasks tend to add up, especially during times of immense stress.