Funeral Etiquette: How to Make the Appropriate and Meaningful Flower Choice


Losing a loved one hurts deeply and can be shattering. Sometimes in an attempt to console the bereaved, people unknowingly hurt them with inappropriate words. When words fail you, sending flowers is an appropriate gesture to express your respect and condolences to affected family members and show respect for the deceased. 

Flowers are grace notes that meaningfully aid the bereavement process. During the sad funeral occasion, sympathy roses add color, fragrance, beauty, and hope! Flowers are a language that communicates. With numerous options for funeral flowers, picking appropriate ones can be overwhelming. You may therefore want to be careful and ensure that you communicate the right message with the flowers of your choice. Read on for some guidelines on how to go about it. 

Appropriate Flower Arrangement for Funerals

Flowers represent growth, movement, and new life. The blooms’ natural beauty at the home of mourners and funerals gives a sense of comfort and warmth. While flowers are not mandatory, sending a bouquet to the bereaved is an appropriate way to express love and concern. You can order flowers from a florist and deliver them to the residence or funeral home. 

If you send flowers to a funeral home, ensure they arrive before the first visitation hours of the day. The arrangement should greet and add cheer to the family when it arrives. If time is not allowed, consider sending the love expression of flowers or plants to the bereaved home. A potted plant symbolically means continuity of life and growth.   

Immediate family members will most of the time, provide flowers to adorn the casket. These are like a floral rosary, casket pillow, or casket spray. Casket sprays, including things like ribbons and banners, express affection for the deceased. If a family chooses a cremation service, they are more likely to select funeral flowers for decorating the display table. 

Extended family members, colleagues, and friends can choose more extensive arrangements like floral wreaths or funeral sprays. Funeral wreaths come in lovely shapes, including hearts, circles, and crosses. Usually, wreaths and sprays are displayed close to the casket on standing easels. 

The deceased community, like friends, neighbors, and colleagues, will select from a wide variety of sympathy floral arrangements. A local florist will help you settle for preferred designs, including sympathy flower baskets, funeral urns, and vase arrangements. 

Here are a few common types of flower arrangements:

Floral Arrangements: These come in many types, from cut flowers to basket and container arrangements. 

Wreaths: These are circular floral arrangements that represent life. Wreaths are placed on the grave or casket or displayed on a stand. 

Sprays: are arrangements that allow viewing from a single-family side. 

Inside pieces: are items placed inside the casket like small floral sprays.  

Choosing the Right Flowers

Your choice of flowers and the arrangement you pick should be consistent in telling the story of the relationship you had with the deceased. It is crucial to understand the meaning of your choice of sympathy flowers. 

Lilies: Their smell is associated with funeral homes. Lily is often considered the go-to funeral flower as they suggest that the deceased’s soul has returned to a peaceful, innocent state. Some Christian groups associate the flower with virginity, purity, and radiance of the soul. It is a common belief that Virgin Mary’s tomb was covered with this flower. 

Roses: Roses are appropriate funeral flowers, and the colors differ in connotation. White roses symbolize purity, spirituality, and innocence. The classic deep rose evokes grief and love, while the yellow rose is often given by close friends to express their bond. Rare dark pink roses express gratitude to the departed one. You can mix roses with other flowers or use them in a casket spray, wreath, or standing spray. 

Hydrangea: Though the meaning is not well known, many believe this flower symbolizes genuine heartfelt emotions. 

Hyacinth: Hyacinths are constantly added to an arrangement of assorted flowers. Many people have different ideas about what the flowers mean, but the most common is that ‘you are in my prayers. 

Some people believe the hyacinth symbolizes games, rashness, and sports. Be careful lest your innocent gesture is interpreted as an insult. 

Carnations: Carnations are often used in standing sprays and funeral wreaths. Like other flowers, the colors have different meanings. White symbolizes innocence, and red shows affection. Many Christians and Catholics, in particular, use the pink carnations since they believe it was created from Virgin Mare tears. 

Chrysanthemums: The meaning behind chrysanthemums varies worldwide. In Europe and the US, the meanings focus on honor and sympathy. White represents innocence, and red symbolizes love. In Asia, chrysanthemums symbolize rebirth and are expected at baby showers rather than at funerals. You may want to rethink this choice if you are in Asia. 

Orchid: Regardless of the color, the orchid has a universal meaning which says. ‘I will always love you.’ These blooms make unique gifts in an arrangement and last longer in the office or home.  

When Condolence Flowers are Not Appropriate

Bereaved families sometimes request flowers instead of donations. In that case, sending flowers may be inappropriate. Comply and make your donations if you wish. 

While funeral flowers are not forbidden in Jewish law, it is not customary as the law demanded burial within three days of demise. Jews usually send food baskets and fruits to the bereaved home during the period of mourning instead of flowers. 

In Islamic funerals, placing individual flowers along palm branches and other greenery on graves is common. 

Flowers are also not a traditional ritual in Hindu funerals but are allowed. 

Buddhists use white or yellow flowers in funerals; however, red flowers are not. 


Flowers are appropriate to express love for the deceased and concerned family members. Consider the visual arrangement of the blooms as it helps to strengthen your message. In most cases, regular, large, and standing arrangements are sent to pay tribute to the deceased, but you can also consider getting a smaller or mid-sized bouquet.   

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