For many, losing a loved one feels unfamiliar. Loss disrupts the flow of our lives and leaves us asking, “What comes next?” When grief and uncertainty feel overwhelming, you may feel powerless to make a difference. In these moments, thoughtful acts of kindness often carry the greatest meaning.
Sending a floral arrangement to a funeral is a way to let the bereaved know that you care. Flowers offer comfort and serve as reminders of your love and care after the funeral is over. To express your condolences, you’ll want to select the perfect flowers. Here are some best practices and tips when it comes to sending funeral flowers.
Should I Send Flowers to a Funeral Service?
Before sending flowers to a funeral or viewing, you should consider if it is appropriate. Think about these factors:
- Funeral flowers vs. sympathy flowers: Some types of funeral flowers are often reserved solely for family members of the deceased. Close family will select casket sprays, floral wreaths on stands, and flowers placed directly in the casket with the deceased. These arrangements are typically larger than the average arrangement and may be formally displayed at a viewing, funeral service, or graveside burial. Sympathy flowers fit the more traditional arrangement description — a flower display in a vase or basket — and are sent to the funeral home or a loved one’s residence. Anyone can send sympathy flowers to pay tribute to the deceased or comfort family members.
- Family’s wishes: In some cases, family members may request that, “in lieu of flowers,” you make a charitable donation in honor of the deceased. Respecting the family’s wishes is a wise course of action in these scenarios. However, you may choose to both make a donation and send sympathy flowers to loved ones. Use your discretion when deciding whether flowers are appropriate for the situation.
- Funeral attendance: If you won’t be attending the funeral, it is very appropriate to send sympathy flowers to let family and friends know you are thinking of them. Even if you aren’t able to have the flowers delivered the week of the funeral, a floral arrangement can provide continued support and encouragement as the family grieves.
A study conducted by the American Floral Endowment showed that many funeral directors identify flowers and plants as the best non-human comfort for bereaved families. Funeral directors also observed that approximately 64% of families talked about flowers and plants they received from friends and loved ones. Sending flowers makes an unmistakable difference.
Funeral Flower Etiquette
Understanding funeral flower etiquette will help you make the most of your arrangement. Here are some common questions or concerns when it comes to funeral flowers.
1. Should I Send Flowers to the Funeral or Home?
If you’re sending flowers to a memorial service or funeral home as a tribute to the deceased, you’ll want them delivered directly to the funeral home or memorial site location. Though it may seem more personal to bring flowers to a funeral, it is traditional to send these types of flowers in advance directly through the florist.
When you’re sending sympathy flowers to a specific family member, you’ll want to have them delivered to that individual’s home. This ensures the individual won’t have to worry about transporting flowers and will be able to appreciate their beauty at home.
2. Do Family Members Send Flowers to a Funeral?
No one is required to send flowers, but family members may be especially inclined to provide floral arrangements. Close family will select funeral flowers, but extended family may decide to send additional flowers. Friends and coworkers of the deceased and of those who are grieving may also send flowers. Sometimes groups of people may decide to purchase larger arrangements together for the bereaved or to send to the deceased’s workplace.
In general, it is appropriate for anyone to send flowers to those they love when they are grieving.
3. Who Should Receive Funeral Flowers?
The deceased’s close family members tend to be the recipient of the most flowers. However, it is also appropriate to send flowers to the deceased’s relatives — especially those you are close to. Floral arrangements bring comfort, joy, and reassurance. If you know someone who would benefit from those things, consider sending them flowers.
4. What Flowers Should I Send to a Funeral?
The type of flowers you select will vary. Though traditionally white flowers are used to symbolize reverence and peace, flower color is up to you. Bright, colorful arrangements can add warmth to a funeral, so don’t be afraid to pick bouquets with a variety of colors. Keep your recipient and their tastes in mind to best tailor your selection and spark joy.
5. What Is the Etiquette for Cremation Flowers?
Cremation has become an increasingly popular choice and can be carried out in several ways. Some families choose to hold traditional funeral services with the remains in an urn rather than a casket. Others choose not to have a public service.
Whichever route the family takes, you can still send flowers to the bereaved. If there is a visitation, memorial service, or a traditional funeral, you can send flowers to the funeral home or funeral location like normal. Opt for some sympathy flowers delivered to the bereaved’s home if there isn’t a public service.
6. What Is the Etiquette for Celebration of Life Flowers?
Celebration of life ceremonies diverge from traditional funeral practices. Each looks different, but all celebration of life ceremonies have a more joyous atmosphere than traditional funerals. Given that these ceremonies happen in a variety of locations, the safest bet is to send sympathy flowers to the family’s homes. In the spirit of these ceremonies, select flowers that evoke memories of the deceased or positive emotions.
7. Should I Send Flowers to a Jewish Funeral?
The simple answer to this question is no. Traditional Jewish funerals happen quickly after the deceased’s passing. They are short and solemn, and afterward, the family returns to their home for a period of shiva. Shiva is the Jewish process of mourning a loss, and flowers are often considered an interruption to this process. Instead of flowers, consider sending a fruit basket or spending quality time with the family. Families in shiva are not allowed to cook, so preparing and delivering a meal may be another practical gift option.
8. What Should I Write in the Flower Card?
Most flower arrangements give you the option to send a personal note along with the gift. This is especially appropriate when sending sympathy flowers. It can be difficult to know what to write when sending flowers to a funeral, but the best thing is to keep your words honest and simple. Express your care and concern for the bereaved and your grief in missing the deceased. Share a heartfelt memory about your time with the deceased to give the note a positive tone. Be sure to sign the note with your first and last name to ensure the recipient knows who the gift is from.
Best Flowers to Send to a Funeral
Sending sympathy flowers to a funeral can be intimidating. Which arrangements make the best choice? In general, flowers mean the most when your recipients can tell you put thought and care into your decision. Your selection will rely heavily on the individual you’re honoring and their family. If you know the deceased’s favorite flower, including it in the arrangement will add extra meaning.
Channeling emotions and meaning is a delicate process. French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac said, “Love is the poetry of the senses.” Your sympathy flowers can convey that love far beyond their visual beauty. Learn more about flowers’ meaning, color, and scent to give your arrangement an extra special touch.
Flower meanings stem from Victorian times. Flower selection was limited, and people often communicated with symbols. Today, these meanings add depth to beautiful arrangements. Here are some flowers whose meanings are well-suited for sympathy flowers:
- Aster: Contentment
- Begonia: Deep Thoughts
- Black-Eyed Susan: Encouragement
- Geranium: Comfort
- Hyacinth: Sincerity
- Hydrangea: Perseverance
- Lisianthus: Calming
- Magnolia: Dignity
- Pansy: Loving Thoughts
- Peony: Healing
- Poppy: Consolation
- Star of Bethlehem: Hope
- Violet: Faithfulness
- Zinnia: Thoughts of friends
If you choose arrangements with these flowers, write a note in the card explaining their meaning. Your recipient will appreciate your consideration and treasure the flowers long after the funeral.
It’s no secret that specific colors evoke different emotions. We may not fully understand color’s influence over our mood and well-being, but the fact is color moves us. Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eiseman, has spent her career understanding and harnessing color’s power.
Eiseman says certain color palettes work together to reflect emotions — especially when paired with the beauty of flowers. Here are some color combinations to consider for your sympathy flowers:
- Nurturing palette: Subtle pastel yellow, peach, pink, white, and green combine to make arrangements with a soft and tender feeling. The psychological force of peach is especially strong. “Feeling peachy” is an English expression indicating high spirits. The French say, “avoir le pêche” which means to be in a good mood and full of energy. Eiseman says these colors evoke a caring embrace, making them ideal for comforting a loved one. Flowers that work well with this palette include carnations, tulips, roses, waxflowers, and freesia.
- Tranquil palette: Calming shades of light blue, green, and purple remind us of the sky or ocean. These colors evoke serenity and peace — something quite valuable and necessary in times of mourning. Eiseman notes that displaying tranquil-colored flowers in a vase that showcases the stems and water adds another layer of calm to an arrangement. Flowers that work well with this palette include eucalyptus, hydrangeas, lisianthus, freesia, roses, and carnations.
- Whimsical palette: Though “whimsical” may not be the first word that comes to mind when looking for sympathy flowers, this palette can help evoke fun-loving and free-spirited joy. The whimsical palette uses a combination of contrasting colors to imitate a vibrant garden. Bright greens, blues, purples, yellows, and oranges make these arrangements great for celebration of life ceremonies. Flowers that work well with this palette include roses, carnations, alstroemeria, and viburnum.
Consider incorporating some of these colors into your sympathy bouquet to help convey the deep emotions and well-wishes that are difficult to put to words.
One way to let your loved ones know you’re with them is to select flower arrangements that can fill a room with their scent. Everyone has different scent preferences, and there are a variety of options when it comes to fragrant flowers. Here are some of the most popular flower scents:
- Rose: Perhaps one of the most popular floral scents, rose’s unique fragrance is sweet and joyful. The scent of a rose arrangement is sure to remind your loved one of your love and care.
- Lilac: This scent is sure to elicit memories of spring flowers. Lilac’s potent scent can be sweet and nostalgic as your loved one reflects on fond memories with the deceased.
- Jasmine: These dainty flowers pack a powerful, sweet scent. A common fragrance in candles and lotions, these flowers will bring a calming aroma to your loved one’s home.
- Gardenia: Soft, velvety petals pair with an exotic scent to make gardenias an excellent choice for sympathy flowers. Often used in weddings, these flowers will fill a home with pleasant memories and aromas.
- Sweet Pea: Another popular choice for lotions and perfumes, sweet pea flowers are extremely fragrant. Your loved one will smell these flowers each time they walk in the room, reminding them of your love and care.
- Iris: Irises come in a variety of colors and scents. Ranging from fruity to floral, these flowers add a pop of color to their sweet scent.
- Lily of the Valley: Don’t let their delicate blooms fool you. Lily of the Valley is often used in high-end perfumes for its potent fragrance.
- Hyacinth: A classic spring scent, hyacinth delivers a sweet aroma to match their bold appearance. These flowers will fill your loved one’s home with color, joy, and a delightful fragrance.
Choosing an arrangement with a beautiful scent only magnifies its impact. Show your loved one the depth of your thoughtfulness when you consider flower meaning, color, and scent.
How to Send Flowers to a Funeral Home
To set your plan into motion, you’ll want to understand how to send sympathy flowers to a funeral. If you’re working with a local florist, talk to them about your options and select an arrangement. Have the flowers sent to the funeral home as early as possible on the day of the viewing or funeral, so they are in place when the bereaved arrive. If the funeral is close to the florist, the florist probably has experience with delivering and setting up arrangements before the event. Talk to them to ensure you’re following proper protocol for your area.
If you’re ordering online, simply select the arrangement you’d like and schedule it to arrive at the funeral home as early as possible. If you can’t guarantee a shipment time, it may be best to send the flowers to a loved one’s home. Both options are equally thoughtful.
Sympathy Flowers That Speak
When you’re struggling to find the right words, send a message with sympathy flowers. At Ode à la Rose, we make unique, in-house arrangements with a French flair. We source our flowers from the best farms in the world and deliver all our arrangements in our chic signature box to ensure the best quality.
We want our arrangements to exceed your expectations, so we’ll send you a picture of the actual bouquet before it’s shipped. You can even personalize your order with a custom photo that we’ll print and deliver with the flowers.
For reliable service and stunning results, order sympathy flowers from Ode à la Rose today!