Sending flowers to a family as a way to express sympathy for the loss of a loved one is a kind and thoughtful gesture of support. Flower bouquets are often sent by friends and coworkers of the deceased as a way to extend their condolences, and offer a visual expression of hope, life and comfort. As with anything funeral-related, though, there is certain funeral flower etiquette that should be followed when determining what type of flowers to send, when to send them, and where they should be sent.
Funeral Flower Etiquette
The type of flowers you send will depend on a couple of things, notably how you are connected to the decedent. While there are no hard and fast rules, there are etiquette guidelines that are typically followed when selecting the right kind of funeral flowers.
Here are a few tips:
Immediate and Extended Family: As a member of the decedent’s immediate family, there are no limitations to the type of flowers you can order. There are certain arrangements that should only be ordered by the immediate family, however. For example, a casket wreath or heart-shaped arrangement would typically come from the decedent’s closest family members. Additionally, the placement of the flowers also matters. Arrangements from the immediate family are generally placed closest to the deceased, and, in some cases, the flowers may be inside the casket as well.
Friends and Coworkers: Basket arrangements, live plants, and bouquets in vases are great choices to send if you’re a friend of the family and/or a coworker of the decedent. Any arrangement that can be taken home and enjoyed by the family will be appreciated because it will be a beautiful representation of what their loved one meant to you.
If you are a friend or coworker, before you decide whether or not to send flowers, make sure to find out if the family has specific religious beliefs that might help you with your decision. For example, in the Jewish community, it is not appropriate to send flowers at all, while garlands are traditional flowers in Hindu funerals.
The colors and flower types can vary depending on the message you’re trying to convey. Bright flowers are a good way to express beauty and hope, while more subdued colors present a more somber, reserved visual. Neither is wrong.
The choice of when to send the flowers may seem obvious, but if you found out about the death after the funeral has already passed, it’s perfectly appropriate to send flowers anyway. It will be a nice reminder to the grieving family that you’re thinking of them. Even if you attended the funeral, waiting several weeks to send flowers is still a nice gesture for the same reason.
If you plan on sending funeral flowers, which are the standing sprays, wreaths, and other large flower displays, the only appropriate place to send them would be to the funeral home. If you are sending sympathy flowers, which are smaller arrangements that can be placed on a desk or table, it’s appropriate to send them to either the mourner’s house or the funeral home. However, it’s a better idea to send the flowers directly to the house so the family doesn’t have to carry them back from the funeral home.
Above all, the decision of what type of flowers to send, when to send them, and where to send them, isn’t as important as the meaning behind the flowers themselves. When you send flowers to the family of someone who has passed away, you’re extending a warm, intimate gesture that will serve as a beautiful reminder of the loved one they lost.