The Do’s and Don’ts of Sending Funeral Flowers

Did you know that the tradition of giving funeral flowers dates back to the Neanderthals? Recent excavations of a cave in Iraq have uncovered the site of several burials, revealing more about the burial rites of our ancient ancestors. Among these burial rites is the use of flowers.

The tradition of funeral flowers has continued to present times. Sending funeral flowers remains the perfect way to celebrate the life of the departed and give condolences to their surviving family members. If someone close to you has recently lost someone, there’s no better way to show you care than by sending flowers.

But, there are a few dos and don’ts to the art of funeral flower arrangements. Read on to learn how to send funeral flowers, so you can pick the right bouquet. 

Sympathy Flowers vs Funeral Flowers

When sending flowers, you have two choices: funeral or sympathy flowers. Funeral flowers are sent directly to the funeral home and are displayed during the funeral service. 

Funeral flowers are generally only sent by close family and friends, so there are usually only a few around the funeral home. If you choose to send funeral flowers it’s important to send them in time for the funeral.

Sympathy flowers are sent to the family of the deceased as a way to express condolences. They are usually delivered directly to the home of the family instead of the funeral home. Anyone can send sympathy flowers at any time, whether before or after the funeral.

If you’re are not very close or directly related to the deceased, sending sympathy flowers is a better option. 

Funeral Flowers for Immediate Family

If you’re picking flowers for an immediate family member, your bouquet will be displayed close to the casket. Specifically, interior casket flowers, casket pillows, and casket sprays are provided by the immediate family of the deceased. 

Casket sprays usually also include banners or ribbons. You can also choose a floral garland, wreath, or other decorative arrangements for the casket lid, inside the casket, or the area around the casket during the service. 

Funeral Flowers for Extended Family

If you’re not an immediate family member, you can pick a standing spray or a small wreath instead. These are displayed around the grave of the deceased during the service. Floral wreaths can be shaped in circles, hearts, or crosses and often include a ribbon.

Funeral Flowers for Friends and Colleagues

If you’re not close to the deceased, it’s best to send sympathy flowers to the family. 

You have more flexibility here, as you aren’t restricted to a wreath or spray. Instead, you can pick a bouquet, flower basket, or another type of arrangement. 

Designing the Arrangement 

It’s traditional to keep funeral and sympathy flowers very neutral. Shades of white and light pastels are traditional for funeral flowers. 

However, there are no hard and fast rules here. If the deceased had a colorful personality and was very full of life, don’t be afraid of designing a more colorful bouquet for them. The closer you were to the deceased, the more appropriate this is. 

If you’re picking flowers for a colleague or simply aren’t sure, it’s best to play it safe and opt for shades of ivory and white. 

Types of Funeral Flowers

Funeral flowers are often more formal than other flowers. This means that they don’t usually include standard garden flowers like sunflowers, tulips, or daisies. Instead, you should send funeral flowers like roses, lilies, larkspur, and carnations. 

This creates a more elegant and reserved bouquet, which makes it appropriate for the occasion. Again, however, there are no hard and fast rules. If you know the deceased loved sunflowers, feel free to incorporate them into the bouquet. 

You can also opt to send a potted plant like an orchid or a peace lily. 

Signing the Card

The card on sympathy and funeral flowers is usually quite small. In addition, the family of the deceased usually has a lot going on and won’t have the bandwidth to read long messages. So, it’s best to keep your message brief.

Write something short and reserved, such as, “Remembering John fondly,” or “With the deepest sympathy.” Then, sign your first and last name. This will reduce confusion.

It’s okay to send one bouquet on behalf of your whole family and to include your spouse on the card. If you worked with the deceased and are sending a bouquet on behalf of your department, it’s also appropriate to sign the card, “The Accounting Department,” or similar. 

The Don’ts of Sending Funeral Flowers

When picking an arrangement, it’s best to avoid anything with balloons or stuffed animals. Even if the funeral is for a child, this type of arrangement can look tacky, especially if you aren’t an immediate family member.

In addition, don’t send an inappropriate arrangement. For instance, if you worked with the deceased it would be considered overstepping to send a casket wreath. In addition, while it can be tempting to pick the biggest bouquet available, a more reserved approach is best to avoid looking tacky. 

Finally, don’t forget to include a card. Eventually, the flowers will fade, but many families choose to keep the cards from sympathy and funeral flowers. They can put them together into a scrapbook or collage as a memorial to the deceased. 

Feel Confident Sending Funeral Flowers 

With this guide, you should be able to pick the right bouquet when sending funeral flowers. There are no rules that are set in stone, so feel free to pick a bouquet that best represents the deceased. But, if you aren’t sure, fall back on tradition and pick a reserved, elegant, arrangement. 

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