Flowers sent to the funeral home serve as a tribute at the service of the deceased. They add decoration, beauty, fragrance, and life to a somber event. They are symbolic not only of love and sympathy, but also of eternity and immortality. Throughout the world, funeral flowers have played an important role in funeral customs because of their fragrant beauty and comforting qualities. In ancient times, tradition called for loved ones to use flowers and herbs to anoint the bodies of the deceased, while aromatic flowers and plants were used to decorate the burial site. Today, flowers remain one of the most beautiful ways to express our condolences when words fail us. Need help getting started? Shop our Funeral Collection by location, color or price. Or read on for more helpful information.
What's the difference between "funeral flowers" and "sympathy flowers"?
Flowers for the funeral service go directly to the funeral home. These floral arrangements are often large and formal. They provide decoration and serve as a tribute to the deceased. Due to this, they look best in a funeral home and at graveside services. Funeral flowers are usually not addressed to a particular loved one of the deceased but are intended, instead, as a way to pay respect to the deceased themselves.
Sympathy flowers go to the home of the deceased. They should be addressed and sent directly to a loved one of the deceased (family member, friend, acquaintance or business associate) who has suffered a recent loss. They are usually smaller or mid-sized floral arrangements that look good on end tables or used as centerpieces. Plants also make a great sympathy choice because they provide a lasting reminder of your thoughtfulness and serve as a keepsake in memory of the recipient's loved one.
The tradition of adorning the casket with fresh flowers is typically reserved for the closest family members, often the deceased's children or those making the funeral arrangements. For that reason, it's recommended that you inquire with the family before ordering a gift of flowers for the casket.
I just heard the sad news…is it too late to send funeral flowers?
No matter when you hear the sad news, sending flowers is always appropriate. If you still have time, you can choose to send a flower arrangement to the funeral service, or if you already missed the funeral, then you could send a plant, food basket or sympathy flowers to the home of the surviving family members.
Are there certain types of flowers that are not appropriate for sending to a funeral service?
Every flower, when tastefully arranged, is appropriate for expressing condolences. Designs that are going to a memorial or funeral service usually have larger flowers to create dramatic tributes. These might include gladioli, snapdragons, lilies, standard chrysanthemums, carnations and roses. Small-scale flowers in mid- to small-size designs are usually used for sending to the home. Only family members who are arranging the funeral should order flowers for the casket. You may also want to browse:
The obituary says "In lieu of funeral flowers," but I still would like to send flowers – is this appropriate?
As part of making funeral arrangements, family members sometimes request a charitable donation is made "in lieu of flowers". We think you should make the contribution; however, it is also acceptable if you decide you would also like to send flowers to the funeral service. Your donation will honor the family request and the flowers will add beauty, fragrance and life to a somber event.
I'd like to send a colorful, less somber arrangement that celebrates life.
A funeral service is as much about gaining closure following a death as it is about celebrating the delight and energy the deceased brought to life. For that reason, selecting vibrant, colorful, and bright funeral flowers are just as appropriate and can add a joyful note of remembrance to an otherwise somber occasion.
I am not certain where the service is being held. Can the florist help me?
Don't worry, if you have the name of the deceased and the funeral home, most florists have the local obituaries on hand to check them. You can trust the florist to take good care of your order and get your arrangement to the funeral on time. Also, it is possible that the florist may have multiple orders for the same funeral. They will be aware of any theme or color scheme preferred, and they know the local customs.
I don't know what to send to a funeral that is out-of-town or overseas
If you are sending flowers to a service that is out-of-town, ask that the local florist who delivers the order to fill it "according to local customs." Then they will send the style of design that is best suited for the service. There are many types of services, from traditional funerals to memorial services. It's appropriate to buy and send funeral flowers to any of these services.
I am unsure on what to say and how to sign the card.
Most enclosure cards are pre-printed with messages like "Deepest sympathy" or "With love and sympathy." All you need to do is sign your name. You should use your first and last name to avoid confusion for the family. If there are a group of names, you should spell each one for the person taking the order to make sure he or she has the correct information. Also, take a look at our Suggestions for Writing Sympathy Card Messages page.
I'd like to send flowers to the memorial that can also be enjoyed at the viewing and church service.
For multiple day services, it's best to send flowers that will be designed in a container with water or floral foam. This will keep the flowers fresh for the longest possible time. Design styles include vase arrangements, baskets, and container designs. Plants are also an excellent choice, as they can be enjoyed in the home long after the services are over. Browse our Funeral Bouquet Collection for ideas.