Funeral and Sympathy Flowers

It is hard to put sympathetic feelings into words and sympathy flowers can say it for you.

No words need be spoken. When you send a floral tribute to a memorial service the meaning is always understood and appreciated by the bereaved. Sympathy flowers are a way to share the burden of grief and loss and are also a symbol for community support for a life well lived.



A Brief  History Behind Memorial Flowers


Placing flowers around those who have died is almost certainly mankind’s oldest tribute to the dead. One of the earliest discoveries of funeral flowers was documented by Dr. Ralph Solecki who excavated the Shanidar Cave in Northern Iraq in 1951 and discovered several burial sites. Soil samples determined that funeral flowers were indeed placed on this now famous burial site.

To say giving flowers for a funeral is traditional would indeed be an understatement! Some scientists believe that the first flowers for funerals served a dual purpose. Firstly, flowers were thought to be the symbol of the life cycle from birth to death, the fragility of life and its temporary beauty. Secondly as a more practical application they were used to mask the smell of decomposition at a time before embalming.

1-800-Flowers - Deepest Sympathy Standing Spray-Peach/Orange/White - Small
For example, this Sympathy Standing Spray from 1-800 Flowers, in shades of peach, orange and white, is a beautiful symbol of your sympathy and support. Peach roses, orange Asiatic lilies, white carnations and more
An appropriate gift for family, friends and business associates to send directly to the funeral home.



Common Sympathy Flower Etiquette Questions


Is it okay to send flowers to the family’s home?


Most certainly. This is a wonderful way to express your sympathy and is a very common trend. Some people choose to send flowers or a plant to the home immediately, while others prefer to wait a week or more.

There are no steadfast rules. Flowers can be a very comforting reminder during the grieving process that friends are thinking of an individual during their time of loss.



When you want to express your sympathy during a time of loss, this classic dish garden is a touching choice. Fresh, beautiful blooms and a lush variety of green foliage plants are specially designed by 1-800-Flowers florists.  Appropriate for family, friends or business associates to send to the service or to an immediate family member’s home










See How to Write a Sympathy Card Message

Is it appropriate to send flowers even if the death notice mentions a charitable donation or “In Lieu Of”?


Yes. Flowers help say what is often difficult to express, they are always appropriate and in good taste.

Flowers also play a functional role, adding warmth to the service and providing the visible emotional support that the family needs during this time. In fact research has shown that receiving flowers contributes to a persons emotional well being.




If several of us want to go in together for a floral tribute, how do we sign our names so the family knows who the senders were?


When a group of individuals go in together on flowers, the arrangement can be very special and make a larger showing.



There should be room on the floral enclosure card for several names, but if there’s not enough space it is best to sign as a group, such as “The Staff in Accounting” or “The Munro Family.” Include a contact name and address on the card so the family knows who to thank.



What can I do to make my floral arrangement unique or special from the rest?


To make your floral tribute particularly special and unique, ask your florist to create an arrangement that fits the deceased’s personality, for example, a rustic basket of wildflowers to honor someone who loved the outdoors.



You could also include his or her favorite flowers or colors, or a flower that had special significance in your relationship with that person. Whatever you do, the family is certain to appreciate the extra thought and effort you put into it.



I found out about the death after the funeral was over. What can I do?


A floral arrangement received at the home after the activity surrounding the funeral can be a comforting, welcome reminder that friends haven’t forgotten. In fact, research shows that bereaved family and friends appreciate being thought of in the weeks or months after the funeral.

A personal note or ‘we are thinking of you’ message with the flowers would be especially nice. Any support you can offer will let the family know you care.


See How to Write a Sympathy Card Message



Is it appropriate to send flowers for a cremation?


A tastefully designed floral tribute adds beauty to any type of memorial service. It is common for the family to have a floral arrangement designed for display with the urn.



Is it appropriate to send a plant to the funeral home and will it be sent to the family after the service?


Yes, it is appropriate to send a green or flowering plant. Some funeral homes will deliver plants or floral arrangements to the home if specified. Otherwise, the funeral director will simply notify the family members that they may take the plants with them after the service.



Is it acceptable to send flowers in a glass vase to the funeral home?
From an etiquette standpoint this is perfectly acceptable, however I generally recommend against doing so as many funeral homes have rules about certain types of floral arrangements. This is particularly the case with vases that may be prone to tip and spill when being moved.



Here is a suggested list of items and the times they are the most appropriate:




Funeral Baskets


are appropriate for delivery to the funeral home, mortuary or church. These beautiful floral arrangements are displayed in decorative baskets or containers and make a lovely presentation. These arrangements can also be sent to the residence, but typically are sent to the funeral home, mortuary or church.


Green and Blooming Plants
Theses are appropriate for delivery to the funeral home, mortuary, church, residence or place of business. These beautiful plants are displayed in a pretty pot or in a decorative basket and are appropriate to send to any location.



Sympathy Sprays


Sympathy Sprays are appropriate for delivery to the funeral home, mortuary or church. These beautiful arrangements are displayed on a standing easel and make a spectacular presentation.




Vase Arrangements


Vase Arrangements are appropriate for delivery to the residence, or a place of business of a friend or family member who has lost a loved one. Arranged in a beautiful vase, these arrangements are a tasteful way to offer your condolences.



Wreaths and Specialty Arrangements


Wreaths and Specialty Arrangements such as crosses, bibles etc., are appropriate for delivery to the funeral home, mortuary or church. Wreaths and specialty arrangements are displayed on a standing easel and give maximum presentation.



Is it appropriate to send flowers within all religious beliefs?
The significance and use of flowers in funerals is often dependent on the religious beliefs of the deceased and the bereaved. There are some rules of etiquette to follow when sending funeral flowers, particularly in incidences where religion is a factor.


Here are some very general guidelines, however if you are uncertain it is always advised to speak to a family member:


See How to Write a Sympathy Card Message


Buddhist funerals will almost always take place in a funeral home and never in a temple. Sending flowers is considered appropriate for a Buddhist funeral.


Eastern Orthodox practitioners are strict about three days between death and burial. During this time, flowers may be sent to the funeral home. White funeral flowers are seen as especially meaningful.


Hindus hold a funeral service on the day of death,before the sun goes down if possible. Sending flowers isn’t part of the Hindu tradition, but it may still be seen as a thoughtful gesture. You can safely send a nice funeral spray to commemorate the deceased.


Jewish tradition doesn’t include the sending of flowers at death. It’s more appropriate to send gift baskets or fruit during the period of mourning.

Broadway Basketeers Kosher Shiva Gift Basket


Mormons (or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) appreciate flowers and funeral sprays at the time of mourning. Don’t send them in the shape of a cross as this may offend, and note that Mormon funerals are not held in the temple.


Muslim or Islamic cultures may have differing opinions concerning funeral flowers, depending on their ethnic origin and perhaps even on what particular branch of Islam they are from. Ask the opinion of someone close to the family, if you can.


Protestants and Other Christian faiths accept all forms of funeral flowers. However certain branches or denominations further out of the mainstream (especially in some Reformed traditions) may have particular ideas concerning simplicity and adornment.


Roman Catholics welcome flowers and funeral flower arrangements. There may be some particulars concerning delivery of funeral flowers to a church or cathedral.



Some final thoughts on funeral and sympathy flowers


Flowers are a thoughtful and appropriate way to express emotions without adding to the burdens of losing a loved one. Sending a bouquet to the funeral home means that everyone will get to enjoy the sight of the flowers you provided – oftentimes in colors and styles that the deceased may have loved throughout his or her life.  And because fresh-cut bouquets require little upkeep, they also don’t add to the cares and concerns the family is already dealing with.

Bouquets sent directly to the home are also an appropriate way to send your condolences. Oftentimes, the spaces the deceased once inhabited become fraught with memories and sadness. Fresh flowers can add incredible appeal to a space and emulate a garden setting, in which eternal life and beauty is stressed.

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.



How to Plan a Funeral

How to Write Sympathy Card Messages

Coping With Grief (And What I Did)

About Me

Create Your Own Blog


2 thoughts on “Funeral and Sympathy Flowers

  1. Tomorrow, I will be going to the funeral of a Mormon man that I knew. Even though he was of that faith, I don’t think that he was ever offended by the cross. Why exactly would people of his faith be offended by a flower arrangement that was in the shape of a cross?

    1. While it may not be universal to all Mormons, the rationale I’ve heard from many Mormons for their aversion to the cross as a Christian symbol has included rejoinders such as, “We don’t use them because that’s a Catholic thing,” and, “Why would I want to see a reminder of the thing that killed Jesus? That’s morbid!” The fomer president of the Mormon Church, Gordon B. Hinkley, had this to say: For us [Mormons], the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ, while our message is a declaration of the Living Christ.” With so many funeral arrangement and gift basket choices, it’s easy to find something with no chance of offending anyone. As I mentioned in the post, these religious suggestions are very general guidelines; if you are uncertain it is always advised to speak to a family member.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *