Over half of people surveyed by the NFDA have attended a non-traditional funeral. This means they likely held it in a secular or unusual location and didn’t follow normal protocol.
This makes knowing the rules around sending flowers for a funeral service these days confusing. And if you’ve never attended a funeral before, you might have no idea how to send flowers for a funeral that’s conventional or not.
Don’t worry! Sending flowers for a funeral, any funeral is straightforward. And once you know-how, you’ll be able to show your condolences without offending.
These tips will explain everything you need to know about how to send flowers for a funeral in an appropriate way.
Different Types of Funeral Services
You likely already know that people with different beliefs have differing funeral ceremonies. But did you know that means they also have different etiquette around funeral flowers?
Here’s a simple rundown of the major world religions and their attitudes towards flowers for a funeral service:
- Christian – Most traditional arrangements are okay
- Greek Orthodox – White flower arrangements are preferable
- Mormon – Arrangements without crucifixes are okay
- Buddhist – Most traditional arrangements are okay
- Hindu – Arrangements are okay but garlands are more traditional
- Muslim – Prefer small and simple arrangements
- Jewish – Flowers are not displayed
It’s not usual for people of the Islamic faith to send flowers in the event of a death. Most denominations prefer a charitable donation instead.
If you’re attending a secular funeral, ask a member of the immediate or extended family for guidance. Sending flowers or not will likely depend on the unique wishes of the deceased.
And it’s not usual etiquette to send flowers to the funeral home for a Jewish ceremony. It’s traditional to bury someone of Jewish faith within 24 hours of their death so there often isn’t time to arrange flower deliveries. You can still send small arrangements or other gifts to the homes of close family to express your condolences.
Different Types of Funeral Arrangements
There are many different types of arrangements that are suitable for a funeral service. Here are the traditional options:
- Casket spray
- Flower wreaths
- Flower letter displays
- Standing sprays
- Basket arrangements
- Bouquet arrangements in vases
- Potted flowering plants
The type of arrangement you should choose depends on your relationship with the deceased. You can use this handy guide to choose the most appropriate option for you:
- Immediate family – casket sprays, wreaths, and letter displays
- Extended family – standing sprays and basket/vase arrangements
- Close friends and colleagues – basket/vase arrangements and plants
If you’re part of the immediate family, you should communicate with each other first before buying flowers. You can only fit one or two sprays on the casket so don’t want to overdo it.
Always choose flowers that are pre-arranged and don’t demand any extra effort. Handing a grieving person a bunch of flowers with no vase or basket can provide more stress than it does comfort.
Where To Send Flowers for a Funeral
There are two places you can send flowers: the funeral home and the home or office of a loved one. Time your delivery with the florist so that someone will be around to accept the flowers.
Send arrangements that need to go in the hearse or wake venue to the funeral home. These are arrangements like sprays and wreaths. Send informal flower arrangements straight to the grieving to provide comfort.
Best Types of Flowers for a Funeral
It should go without saying, but don’t send cheap flowers for a funeral. Yes, it should be the thought that counts. But if you send cheap flowers when you can afford pricier options then you will not look generous and caring.
If you are on a budget but still want to send flowers, choose a smaller yet high-quality arrangement.
There are also certain types of flowers that make better funeral flowers than others. Here are some examples:
These funeral flowers are tasteful and traditional. When in doubt, choose white flower arrangements with lots of green foliage.
If you’d rather send a potted plant, here are some great options:
- Peace Lilies
- Palm plants
Don’t buy something hard to care for as you might burden the grieving person with an extra job. But choose a pretty plant as opposed to something with a striking appearance like a snake plant.
To Include a Card or Not To Include a Card?
Always include a handwritten card (by you!) when you send flowers for a funeral. The message should be short and sweet and include your name. If you do not live in the deceased’s local area, then asking the florist to write the card is okay.
Here are some examples of simple yet thoughtful messages you could write on the card:
- Always in our hearts
- Rest in peace
- With deepest sympathy
- Thinking of you at this difficult time
- I’ll cherish the fond memories
Attach the card to the arrangement. Don’t use a “sorry for your loss” greetings card as the flower card as they won’t stay together. No one will be able to remember which arrangement was yours.
Respect the Family’s Wishes Around Flowers
When in doubt, ask members of the deceased’s close family what you should do. Nowadays, many family members post details of the funeral home and wake on social media. Look out for these posts to see if they mention anything about flowers.
If they don’t want any flowers, respect that. Don’t even send flowers with your condolences. Opt for a different gift or donate money instead.
Follow These Rules When Sending Flowers for a Funeral Service
Sending flowers for a funeral service can be a tricky subject. You don’t want to offend anyone who is grieving or cause them inconvenience. But now you know the appropriate etiquette, you can rest easy knowing your gift will be well received.
Knowing more about social etiquette for milestones and life events is always useful. Browse our life tips for lots more great advice!
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