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Losing a loved one is never easy but, in many cultures, expressing condolence and remembrance through funeral flowers provides solace and comfort.
Flowers represent life in all its beauty and fragility, and funeral flowers can serve as a visual representation of feelings that are sometimes hard to express in words.
Selecting the right flower arrangement for a funeral ensures that the gesture carries meaning, whether that is to convey sympathy or to celebrate a life well-lived.
The following guide covers the significance of funeral flowers and the options for different types of arrangement.
Importance of Funeral Flower Etiquette
Understanding funeral flower etiquette is important to ensure that the gesture is appropriate and meaningful, and respects the family and cultural considerations.
Show Respect and Sympathy
Funeral flowers are displayed as a tribute to a much-missed loved one, and as an expression of support and sympathy for the grieving family.
It is important to understand and respect the customs of different faiths and cultures when choosing funeral flowers. Some cultures have particular flowers that are traditionally used in funeral displays and for others it is not customary to send flowers at all.
Here is a general guide:
- Western – white lilies or rose commonly used.
- Asian such as Chinese or Japanese – white chrysanthemums are often preferred.
- Hindu – may incorporate marigolds, which symbolise purity and considered sacred.
- Jewish – usually do not include flowers, but charitable donation can be made in lieu of sending flowers.
If you aren’t sure, ask a family member or find further information in the Religious Funerals section of whiteballoon.
Selecting the Right Floral Tribute
Personal Preferences and Relationships
The choice of flowers that you choose for the funeral may depend partly on your relationships to the person who has died. Larger flower arrangements tend to be sent by close family and smaller ones by friends or colleagues.
It is lovely to send something that you feel the person would have liked. If you know that they loved a particular colour or flower, you can include this in the arrangement. Your own personal preference will play a part in your decision too.
Types of Floral Tribute
- Wreaths: Circular flower arrangements symbolising eternal life and often placed on stands during the ceremony. Typically featuring a mix of flowers and greenery.
- Sprays: Larger floral arrangements that can be displayed on an easel or directly on top of the casket. They come in various shapes and sizes.
- Baskets: A versatile option that can be used for both traditional funerals and memorial services. These can be customised with different flower combinations and colors.
- Casket Sprays or Coffin Adornments: If you prefer something more intimate, casket sprays or coffin adornments are small arrangements designed specifically to be placed on top of the casket during the service.
Understanding the Meaning Behind Different Flowers
Flowers have long been associated with and used to express different emotions, sentiments and meanings:
- Lilies – Always popular for funerals, they represent the restored innocence of the soul of the departed. White lilies specifically symbolise purity and rebirth, whilst stargazer lilies convey sympathy.
- Roses – Timeless, classic blooms that symbolise love, beauty, and respect. Red roses often represent deep love for the departed, while white roses signify purity and innocence. Yellow roses represent friendship.
- Carnations – These flowers come in various colours, each carrying its own meaning. Red carnations express admiration for the deceased, pink carnations convey remembrance, and white carnations symbolise pure love or innocence,
- Orchids – Represent eternal love and strength during difficult times.
Flowers for the Coffin or Casket
Flowers for the coffin or casket are typically chosen by the immediate family. The choice of display may depend on the preferences of the person who died, a family member, or the time of year that the funeral takes place.
Your Funeral Director may be able to help you find the right arrangement for you. Most florists have good working relationships with local Funeral Directors and they will be able to liaise with each other with regards to when and where the flowers need to be delivered.
Alternatively, you can order funeral flowers directly yourselves. If you would like inspiration for different types and styles of flowers and plants, or to order directly, please visit the Flowers & Plants sections in Inspiration and Providers.
Ecologically Friendly Flowers
If you are mindful of your ecological footprint, you may want to consider flowers that are produced in a way that minimises their environmental impact. For example:
- Choose locally grown flowers rather than imported or hothouse-grown flowers to minimise the carbon footprint.
- Find growers and florists who are chemical free or organic.
- Avoid having floral displays that use floral foam, plastic or other non-biodegradable materials.
- Think about having potted plants or plant a tree that can live on after the funeral.
Sometimes the family may request friends and acquaintances make donations to a chosen charity instead of sending flowers for the funeral. However, some people choose to send a plant or arrangement too, to let the family know they are thinking of them in their time of grief.
Tips for Writing Meaningful Messages on Flower Cards
When sending funeral flowers, including a heartfelt message can provide comfort and support to the grieving family.
Finding the right words to express condolences, love and sympathy to the grieving family and friends can be challenging.
Express Condolences or Share Memories in a Concise Manner
Often a card attached to a floral tribute will not contain much space, so it is important to be concise, whilst still conveying emotions effectively.
- Be succinct – Choose your words carefully and keep the message brief but meaningful.
- Use simple language – Avoid overly complicated language that may distract from the intended sentiment.
- Focus on key emotions – Express feelings of love, sympathy, support, or remembrance clearly.
Ideas for Messages to Accompany Funeral Flowers
Think about your relationship with the person and those closest to them, and why they were important to you.
- Share memories – Note down a special moment, memory or anecdote you shared with the deceased. For example, “Remembering the laughter we shared during our summer holidays together. With love and fond memories.”
- Express empathy – Simply acknowledging the pain of the grieving family and friends can be enough to offer.
- Solace – Writing a concise, thoughtful messages such as “May these flowers bring some peace at this difficult time. Sending you my deepest condolences.”
- Offer support – let them know you are there for them. A statement like “Lean on me whenever you need someone to talk to or simply hold your hand.” is simple, yet thoughtful.
Delivery Options for Funeral Flowers
Whether organising flower arrangements for a funeral or simply purchasing a bouquet, using the services of a local florist can offer several advantages.
A local florist may have a deep understanding of the community and are familiar with local customs and preferences.
They can give professional guidance and advice for selecting appropriate floral arrangements and can answer questions. They will also help you to find something that matches your budget.
Local florist services also ensure timely delivery as they are well-versed in navigating the area efficiently. They often have established relationships with local funeral directors, allowing them to coordinate deliveries seamlessly.
Furthermore, supporting local businesses contributes to the community’s economy.
When ordering funeral flowers remotely, choosing a reputable florist is crucial. Opting to use the services of online florists who specialise in delivering funeral flowers nationwide or internationally is a good, secure option as these services often collaborate with local florists near the recipient’s location to ensure fresh and timely delivery.
- Plan ahead – Funeral flower deliveries require careful coordination due to time-sensitive nature. Place your order as far in advance as possible to allow sufficient time for processing and delivery.
- Provide accurate information – Double-check all details including the recipient’s address, contact number, name of the deceased, and any specific instructions regarding timing or placement of the flowers.
- Communicate directly – reach out to both the online florist and local florists if possible. Establish clear communication channels to stay informed about the progress of your order.
- Consider express delivery – If time is of the essence, inquire about express shipping options to ensure the flowers arrive on time.
How whiteballoon can help
There are some beautiful ideas on our Flowers & Plants Inspiration page. If you would like to link directly to local or national providers, please visit the Flowers & Plants Providers section of whiteballoon.
Personalised Ideas Folder
Details of Providers, plus items and images from our Inspiration pages can be saved to a personalised Ideas Folder in our Planning Tools section. This can be printed out and, if you wish, shared with family, friends, your celebrant or funeral director.
All of our Planning Tools are free to use. Just Register to securely save information to your folder.